Court Says Reselling Software Is Okay

from the good-news dept

Last year, we wrote about a case filed by an eBay seller against Autodesk, claiming the company unfairly prevented him from reselling used copies of Autodesk software that he had legally purchased. Basically, every time the guy listed Autodesk software, the company would send a DMCA takedown to eBay who would take it down. Each time, the guy would send a counter claim, which Autodesk would ignore, allowing the software to go back on the site. However, with so many takedown notices, eBay banned his account for abuse -- even though he successfully responded to each claim as being false. For that, he sued Autodesk. Autodesk moved to have the court dismiss the case claiming that the seller had no right of first sale because the software was "licensed" rather than sold. If that sounds like weak semantics, you've got a point... and it appears the court agrees with you. In denying Autodesk's request to dismiss the case, the court indicates that, even though the case law covering this issue often varies, it believes that the software has been sold, not licensed, and therefore the right of first sale does exist on Autodesk's software. The case should now proceed if Autodesk doesn't quickly show up with an offer to settle the case quietly (which it might). Assuming the case does go forward, it's going to be worth watching closely, as it will have important ramifications for the right to resell software you purchased.

Filed Under: auctions, autocad, dmca, right of first sale
Companies: autodesk, ebay

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  1. identicon
    Buzz, 22 May 2008 @ 12:27pm


    Software companies' attitudes continue to worsen with each passing day. First, customers turned to piracy to try-before-you-buy (usually with games). Software providers don't like that, so they started prosecuting people. So, here we have someone who bought the software, used it, decided he didn't want it anymore, and wants to recoup some of the money he spent on it. He does what anyone else would do: sell it someone else who wants it. What does the software company respond with? "Sorry, but once you buy it, you're stuck with it." License or not, that is just bad business ethics. If we have to spend absurd amounts of money on software, we definitely reserve the right to sell it off.

    The company didn't LOSE any money. They're being greedy by forcing someone else to buy a new copy. The first guy paid for it, and now he is simply transferring the license to someone else.

    While we're on the topic of licensing and software protections, if I have a choice between a $10 copy (locked down with various serial keys, online validation, etc.) and a $60 copy (free of any protections), I'd buy the $60 version. No, I wouldn't share it with anyone (despite what software companies assume about all their customers). I'd be grateful that I can run the program 10 years from now even if the company's validation servers are gone.

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