by Mike Masnick
Mon, Jul 28th 2008 8:16am
by Timothy Lee
Fri, Jan 4th 2008 7:15am
from the competing-with-free dept
This business model actually illustrates two good ways to add value to free content. First is convenience. A lot of people don't have a high-speed Internet connection, don't like watching videos on their computer monitors, or want to be able to take their content with them in a compact format. For those users, a DVD is a much nicer format than a file on their computer's hard drive. DVDs are also a much more convenient format for giving gifts: you can wrap a DVD and put it under the Christmas tree, something that's harder to do with a video on YouTube. Second is filtering and organization. There's way more content out there than any one person could possibly watch. So there's a lot of value in helping people separate the wheat from the chaff. That's a big part of the value we provide here at Techdirt: a lot of the information you'll find on our blog comes from other sites, but we try to highlight only the best and most relevant information, helping our readers to keep up with news in the technology world more easily. By the same token, people who sell public domain content on the Internet create value by filtering and organizing the information so it's easier for others to quickly and easily find what they're looking for.
I won't belabor the implications for traditional content industries. Like it or not, their content is available for free on peer-to-peer sites, and if they want to make a profit they're going to have to find ways to make their content more valuable than what you can get with BitTorrent. Two important principles for doing that are: use formats that convenient and versatile and make sure content is organized in a way that makes it easy for users to find what they're looking for. That means, for example, that you probably shouldn't cripple your products with DRM or sue companies that help people find your content.
by Dennis Yang
Wed, Oct 10th 2007 8:47pm
from the don't-forget-your-primary-business dept
by Dennis Yang
Wed, Oct 10th 2007 2:57am
from the they-forgot-to-call-it-a-beta dept
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 14th 2007 6:43am
from the ah,-copyright-law dept
In this case, the guy had a legitimately purchased copy of AutoCAD and was trying to sell it on eBay. This should be perfectly legal. He had purchased a good and was trying to resell it. Assuming he had removed all copies on his own computer and wasn't using the software any more, there should be nothing to complain about here. However, instead, Autodesk sent eBay a DMCA takedown notice, claiming that the sale was a copyright violation. This would appear to be an abuse of the DMCA, sending a takedown notice on content that the seller has a legitimate right to put up for sale. Abusing the DMCA with false takedown notices can get you in a lot of legal hot water.
However, once again, the case takes a bit of a twist. Autodesk is claiming that the right of first sale doesn't apply in this case, because the guy did not purchase the software, but merely licensed it, thanks to the shrinkwrap license found inside the box, which the purchaser doesn't get to read until well after he or she has "purchased" the software (which appears like any normal purchase, rather than license). Unfortunately for Autodesk, some courts have already ruled that, despite mind-numbing EULAs that no one reads, if you purchase... er... license software, you still get certain ownership rights, which likely include the right to then sell the software. This case seems to have a little something for everyone interested in software and copyrights, between the questions on first sale doctrine, DMCA abuses and shrink wrap EULAs. It should be worth paying attention to as it moves forward.