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
    Michael Johnson, 24 May 2008 @ 9:53pm

    Where would it stop?

    I suppose that if the Vender is willing to give you a license that would allow you to run on any machine then you should have the right to sell it. On the other hand I'd like to see someone sell HP's Load Runner or Borland's Silk Performer. Those packages are between 45K and 2 million. Of course you wouldn't get a new license from them but what if a company were to sell the software and the license servers they ran on. This in itself would open a quick and dirty legal battle which I'm sure the Venders would win.

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