The first sale doctrine allows the owner of any copyrighted material to dispose it in any way he or she wishes whether by selling it loaning or leasing it. An exception is however provided for computer programs and sound recordings in respect the ease of reproducing such works with minimal quality degradation and at lower costs than the original. In the present world and in light with the development in technologies, the rationale of this exception may apply to other forms of works since it is becoming easier and easier to put this works in a digital or electronic form.
As stated earlier, the first sale doctrine does not allow the reproduction of copyrighted material. In this context, copyrighted materials cannot be transferred electronically through for example the internet. This is because such a transmission will leave the owner with a copy while at the same time providing another to the recipient. All this translate to reproduction of copyrighted material which is an infringement of the exclusive right of the owner of the material to reproduce the work.
This can be seen as a different case all together if the transmitter of such a copy has the permission of the owner of the copyright. In essence, there has been an ongoing debate aimed at narrowing down the scope of the first doctrine to exclude copies that are obtained through network transmission. If such was the case, a book purchased online cannot be reproduced or distributed to other individuals. It has also been argued that for as long as the transmitter destroys his copy, then the doctrine of first sale should apply.
Otherwise, the transmission will represent reproduction of copyrighted material. For all the exemptions provided by the doctrine of the first sale, there is a certain exception. The use of first sale doctrine as an infringement defense should be conscious of the copyright owner exclusive right of distribution. If this right is violated, then the user of the copyrighted work infringes the copyright and as such is subject to legal action. Another limitation to the use of copyright is seen in the exemptions made for educational purpose.
In this regard, an educational institution which is non-profit may exercise in performance or in display of any copyrighted material in any area that involves face to face teachings. This is however subject to various factors. First, the display or performance in question must present itself as a regular part of instructional activities which are systematic and in accordance with the practices of educational institution. Secondly, such performance or display should be related directly to the teaching content and that it present material assistance in such a case.
Finally, educational purpose exemption is subject to the fact that any transmission done is aimed for classroom reception or the reception is aimed to certain individuals owning to a certain established disability. In general, the educational use exemptions like the library exemptions are provided in addition to the doctrine of fair use and other exemptions also available to non profit educational institutions (Howell, 1990, p. 79). The above discussed limitations are the major limitation to copyright. However, there are other limitations including the reproduction of computer programs.
In this case, the exclusive rights of a copyright owner are limited in the sense that the owner of a computer program may reproduce a copy or adapt the program as a necessary step for making the use of the computer program. However, the limitation only holds in respect to the owners of copies of such a program and not borrowers or license holders. Certain displays and performances also present limitations to the exclusive rights of a copyright owner. In some countries, the statute exempts the display and performance of certain copyright works in the course of offering religious services.
The same apply to the transmission of those performances of certain copyrighted materials to disabled people and the performance of musical works in an effort to promote sales among others. On the other extreme, if the performance or display entails a communication through transmission for a public reception through a single receiving apparatus, then there are exemptions to the rules applicable to transmission of copyright work. However, the single receiving device must be of the same kind with those commonly used in private homes.
For example, a radio or a television station may perform copyrighted works for public reception through radios or televisions at home (Christopher, 2002, p. 78). In the above context, a transmitting organization does not commit infringement of the executive rights of a copyright owner if it lawfully posses the right to transmit to the public a display or a performance. In this regard, the organization under some conditions is refrained from making more than one copy of the transmission which encompasses the display or performance in question.
Finally, we have compulsory licenses which limit the exercise of the exclusive rights in the sense that they provide certain provisions allowing satellite operator and cable systems to retransmit copyrighted materials and programming is they pay certain fees as provided by the statutory law (Howell, 1990, p. 82). In conclusion, while the owner of a copyright enjoys exclusive rights over the work in question, there certain limitations that limit his control and exercise of the various exclusive rights.
Perhaps the most affected of these rights is the right to distribute his or her work. However, these limitations are important in the sense that they create the needed balance between the copyright owner and the user of the copyrighted material thus providing conditions under which the two can benefit without taking advantage over each other. It is not entirely unfair for the copyright owners to face limitations in their exercise of exclusive powers. Bibliography Christopher Benson, 2002. Publishing Law. London, Routledge Publishers, 78 Herrington Tyanna, 2001.
Controlling Voices: Intellectual Property, Humanistic Studies and the Internet. United States, Southern Illinois University Press, 45, 47 Howell Dorothy, 1990. Intellectual Properties and the Protection of Fictional Characters: Copyright, Trademark or Unfair Competition? Westport CT: Quorum Books, 78, 79, 82 Seville Catherine, 1999. Literary Copyright Reform in Early Victorian England: The Framing of the 1842 Copyright Act. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 98, 102 Thomas Gibbons, 1999. The Yearbook of Copyright and Media Law-Vol. 4. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 45, 47