first sale doctrine
A legal principle that limits a rightsholder��s rights to control content after it has been sold for the first time. According to first sale doctrine, lawful ownership of an item, such as a music CD or a book, is not the same as owning the copyright of the item. The owner of the item may lend, resell, give away and or/destroy the copyrighted item but is not granted the right to copy the item in its entirety. The transfer of the copy does not include the transfer of the content��s copyright. The legal principle applies to physical items as well as digital content that is downloaded over the Internet.