Trio Of Important First Sale Cases All Hit Appeals Court In Early June

from the it's-first-sale-month dept

Zusha Elinson has noted that a trio of important cases concerning the "first sale doctrine" in copyright law will all be heard on appeal in the (at times wacky) 9th Circuit in early June. We've written about all three cases here before. There's UMG v. Augusto, which questions whether or not it's legal to resell "promo CDs" that record labels stamp "not for resale." In that case, the judge ruled that reselling was perfectly fine, and preventing such sales was a violation of the first sale doctrine (and would, effectively, give record labels a way of creating perpetual and all-controlling copyright, if the decision went the other way). Then there's Autodesk v. Vernor, similarly involving the right to resell software. Again, the district court ruled that this was allowed, noting that software is really sold, not (as Autodesk claimed) just licensed.

The third case is the troubling one. MDY v. Blizzard is the one case that went the other way, in a ruling that left many copyright experts scratching their heads, noting that it seemed to go against everything that the first sale doctrine stood for -- and that nothing the guy did (he made a bot that worked in World of Warcraft) actually violated copyright law.

Hopefully, the appeals court upholds the first two cases and reverses the third... but these days, you never know how courts are going to rule on these sorts of issues. And, the 9th Circuit is often notoriously... weird in some of its rulings. Either way, these are three cases worth watching, as they could have a pretty big impact on the question of whether or not you have the right to do what you want with products you bought.
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Filed Under: augusto, copyright, first sale, mdy, vernor
Companies: autodesk, blizzard, umg


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  1. icon
    Designerfx (profile), 12 May 2010 @ 6:55am

    Re:

    they can absolutely "kick you out". That also has absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit, either.

    The lawsuit is for copyright infringement. This means that they are saying that you're breaking copyright on something nebulous, by creating a bot that will play wow for you.

    What copyright are they exactly breaking? What are they copying without permission?

    Blizzard tried to argue that you're "Copying the client software", but obviously wowglider doesn't even have to do that.

    If I made a website, and you made a way to do something to the website that I didn't intend for, how or why would I be able to sue you for copyright? Sure, there are other things you can be sued for depending on what you do, but I fail to see anything showing that you understand the case or what happened at all.

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