The New York state legislature passed, and Governor David Patterson signed, a bill dealing with textbook pricing (the Textbook Access Act) that incidentally bans faculty members from selling “complimentary” copies of textbooks. This sounded bad at first, because I’ve got a nice little side business on eBay with the books I randomly receive for courses which I’m clearly qualified to teach, like Secured Transactions. But when I read Section 724(1) of the law, I immediately wondered whether it would be pre-empted by Section 109 of the Copyright Act. If federal legislation says that you can’t limit resale of a copy of a work once you’ve lawfully acquired it, where does New York get off saying that I can’t do so for textbooks? And who says law professors aren’t guardians of the public interest? Hey, lattes in Brooklyn don’t pay for themselves!