Online Distribution of Content in the EU
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Online Distribution of Content in the EU

Edited by Taina Pihlajarinne, Juha Vesala and Olli Honkkila

The legal issues surrounding the online distribution of content have recently gained prominence due to the European Commission’s commitment to the Digital Single Market (DSM). This book is one of the first to provide highly topical analysis of the key legal challenges surrounding the online distribution of content, with particular focus on intellectual property rights, competition law and the regulation of new technologies.
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Chapter 5: Meet the unavoidable – the challenges of digital second-hand marketplaces to the doctrine of exhaustion

Péter Mezei


The doctrine of exhaustion, or the first sale doctrine, is both a fundamental principle of copyright law and an utmost guarantee for lawful owners of cultural goods to exercise their interests stemming from the right of property. Under this doctrine, the rightholder must accept that copies, or the originals of copyrighted works, and other subject matter lawfully placed into circulation by or with the authorization of the rightholder, through sale or in any other form of transfer of ownership, are subsequently distributed by the lawful owner of those copies or originals, if the rightholder received proper remuneration for the initial distribution. This chapter addresses mainly the question whether this doctrine might be applied for the online redistribution of works and other protected subject matter.

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