does the first sale doctrine protect against buying fan art and then reselling

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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does the first sale doctrine protect against buying fan art and then reselling

If i were to buy a fan designed marvel inspired t shirt from or Would it then be legal for me to sell that item to someone else
under the protection of the first sale doctrine?

Asked on April 23, 2019 under Business Law, Alaska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The first sale doctrine only protects you from suits or liability for sale of properly licensed or legal products: i.e. if you bought then resold a licensed shirt. It does not protect against liability for trademark or copyright violation from selling products that themselves infringed on intellectual property. That is because otherwise, everyone could skirt the IP laws by "selling" their infringing products to a third party for a nominal fee, then having the third party sell it publically.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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