Capitol Records, Virgin Records Win Copyright Spat with ReDigi — The long-awaited opinion in a case involving the application of the first sale doctrine to works that are distributed through digital transmission—i.e., can you sell your “used” mp3s?—was published this week by the Second Circuit. Writing for the panel, Judge Leval explained that the first sale doctrine only applies to copyright’s distribution right, and because digital transmission necessarily involves the creation of a new copy, it implicates the reproduction right, which is not within the scope of the first sale doctrine. The court also held that ReDigi’s copying was not shielded by fair use.

The AG Opinion in Metall auf Metall: it’s not a fundamental rights violation to say that sampling requires a license — Also this week, the EU’s Court of Justice’s Advocate General delivered an advisory opinion on a case dealing with questions regarding whether digital sampling is an infringement of copyright. Among the answers, the AG argued that the right of artistic expression, protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, does not take priority over the property rights of the copyright owner. Wrote the AG,

It is the censorship of that content which is particularly likely to lead to a violation of the freedom of the arts. I take the view, however, that the freedom of artists is less extensive so far as concerns acquiring the means of their creation. Artists must adapt to societal living conditions and the situation of the market on which they operate. The freedom of the arts does not free artists from the constraints of everyday life. Is it conceivable for a painter to rely on his freedom of creation so as not to pay for his paint and paintbrushes?

Watch List: Commission sets sights on counterfeit and piracy hotspots — Also in Europe, the European Commission launched its first piracy watchlist, which identifies, among other things, online websites offering infringing materials. The Commission will “use the Watch List to continue the cooperation with EU’s trading partners in the framework of intellectual property rights dialogues and working groups and also in the framework of the ongoing technical cooperation programmes in China, Southeast Asia and Latin America.”

Norms for copyright reform: my submission to the INDU Committee — Canadian attorney and copyright expert Barry Sookman presents his written remarks to the Parliamentary Committee, which is currently reviewing Canada’s copyright law. The submission responds to a number of broader arguments seen in copyright debates outside of Canada and are well-worth a read.