The Supreme Court recently ruled in an international copyright case that could have significant impact on U.S. companies who sell books, videos and other copyrighted materials.

The Supreme Court ruled that it is okay for individuals or other companies to resell books and videos that have been copyrighted without the permission of the owner.

The Supreme Court ruling stems back to the case of a California college student from a foreign country that would purchase college textbooks from Thailand because they were cheaper and then resell the textbooks in the U.S. to make some extra money while going to college. The publisher of the textbooks sued the student for copyright infringement and won the lawsuit in New York.

After the Supreme Court heard the case, they threw out the original verdict against the college student, saying that the student had the right to sell the products that he bought because when a person buys a product, he then owns it and have the right to sell the product if he or she so chooses.

The Owners' Rights Initiative, which includes online companies like EBay, libraries, used-book stores and discount retailers, applauded the Supreme Court decision saying it was a landmark ruling that will benefit consumers, small businesses and retailers.

Companies in the U.S. that sell books and online software were not pleased with the ruling saying that it would not only harm the publishing industry but also any company that sells copyrighted works like music and movies. The movie, music and video game industry did not seem pleased with the ruling but it will take time to tell how they will be impacted by the Supreme Court ruling.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court sides with book reseller in copyright ruling," David G. Savage and Dawn Chmieklewski, March 19, 2013