Casebooks and the First Sale Doctrine

What’s going on with casebooks and the first sale doctrine? If you’re a law professor or student, you may have heard rumblings last week about a new program from Wolters Kluwer’s AspenLaw called the Connected Casebook. Under the initial proposal, print casebooks would come with long term access to a digital edition with note taking and highlighting tools. In exchange, students would be required to return their print books to Aspen at the end of the term and forbidden from reselling or giving them to other students. Aspen has since backpedalled, but this arrangement is still an option.

You can read more about what happened and why this potential encroachment on the first sale doctrine is problematic in my guest post at the American Association of Law Libraries’ Washington Blawg.

While the suggestions there are intended more for law librarians, another thing you can do to help is to use and request open casebooks. There are a couple open casebook platforms (as well as some individual open casebooks), including HLS’s own H2O. 

Scroll to Top