Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property

Tethered technologies, cloud strategies and the future of the first sale/exhaustion defence in copyright law*

Christoph B Graber *

Keywords: intellectual property, Internet, cloud strategies, digital exhaustion, first sale, private copyright enforcement


With tethered technologies permitting the monitoring of consumers’ use of copyrighted works and private copyright enforcement, IP protected digital works are increasingly disseminated solely through access-based schemes. This article reviews the actual and potential implications of this development in light of consumer autonomies and copyright doctrine. It specifically evaluates the courts’ opposing views in the European Union and the United States on the matter, drawing attention to the need to radically rethink the application of the first sale/exhaustion principle for the distribution of digital content, and proposes a novel approach balancing individual and social interests at a broader scale.

Author Notes

The text is based on a paper presented at the 33rd Annual Congress of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP), University of Montpellier (France), 6–9 July 2014. The author would like to thank Martin Korrodi for comments on an earlier version of this text.

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