Accessibility navigation

Reconstructing copyright exhaustion in the online world

Karapapa, S. (2014) Reconstructing copyright exhaustion in the online world. Intellectual Property Quarterly, 2014 (4). pp. 304-322. ISSN 1364-906X

Text - Accepted Version
· Please see our End User Agreement before downloading.


It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

Official URL:


According to the principle of copyright exhaustion, once a copy of a work is placed on the market, the right holder’s control over further distribution of that copy is exhausted. Unlike the distribution of hard copies of copyright works, however, the electronic dissemination of content is not subject to the exhaustion principle. This means that second-hand markets of digital goods cannot exist. Traditionally, exhaustion is premised on four assumptions that cannot be safely assumed in the online context: it applies to tangible copies only; it covers goods and not services; the goods should be sold but not licensed; and the property entitlement should be alienated upon transfer. After long jurisprudential silence, courts at worldwide level have revisited these normative impediments to affirm that exhaustion can apply online in specific instances. The article discusses the doctrinal norms that underpin exhaustion and determines the conditions under which online copyright exhaustion can apply.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:39092
Publisher:Sweet & Maxwell
Publisher Statement:2014 I.P.Q. 307 (c) Thomson Reuters (Professional) UK Limited and author, available via


Downloads per month over past year

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation