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ExtraTorrent.cc > Articles > Selling Used Software, Is It Legal?

Selling Used Software, Is It Legal?

Selling Used Software, Is It Legal?

Added: Monday, October 12th, 2009
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Ridiculous Criminal Trials
Tags:File Sharing, p2p, Torrent, Rights, software, Autodesk, license, eBay
If you owned a plane, a train an automobile, a house, a dog, a cat, an appliance, and you bought a new one, you would probably try to sell the old one right? Many people do this on a daily basis, and in fact, there are tens of thousands of businesses that exist solely for that purpose. Re-selling used products is nothing new, that's why when a case of a man who re-sold software that he had legally purchased was taken to the courtrooms, he and other media outlets were outraged at the audacity of the circumstances.
The Team Of Resellers

Autodesk, a world leader in design software for the industries of manufacturing, building, and other construction arts, have claimed it's illegal under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) to resell software, stating that it does not actually "sell" it's software, but rather licenses it to the consumers.

A man named Timothy Vernor was accused by the company Autodesk, of illegally selling and profiting from it's AutoCAD and Revit software o eBay, in late 2007. Following the charges, eBay suspended My. Vernor's account, and Mr. Vernor claimed this caused him to lose his "primary source of income".

Mr. Vernor bought and sold goods on eBay not only as a hobby, but to make ends meet. This was his day to day supply of funds to live off of. He then decided to file a lawsuit against Autodesk in a United States Federal courtroom in Seattle, Washington. He had sought to “prevent Autodesk from engaging in further unjustified interference with his business, and damages for lost sales".

The case, Timothy S. Vernor v. Autodesk Inc, was slated for trial in late September. Attorney for Autodesk, said in the opening arguements, “The deal between Autodesk and the licensee is that you pay us for the software and you’re not going to be able to sell it on the used market.” Autodesk went on to argue that by spending cash on the software, you merely bought a license rather than own the product.

All NEW products from the company, have an enclosed license agreement, that states the following: By opening the sealed software packet(s), you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this License Agreement. These are the only terms upon which Autodesk software products are licensed. If you do not agree to these terms, you may, within fifteen (15) days, return this entire package, including the unopened software packet(s), to the location where you acquired it for a full refund.

The attorney for Mr. Vernor, Greg Beck, has countered this claim, stating that "The Supreme Court has long recognized that, once a copyright owner has sold a copy of its product, it has no right to control subsequent sales, and just putting a paper inside the box and calling it a license agreement doesn't negate that fact. If copyright owners could restrict resale of their products with these so-called agreements, used book and record stores would soon disappear. And if companies could so easily transform a sale into a license, a wide range of statutes that protect purchasers of products could be circumvented with a stroke of a pen."

The fact that you can legally buy this product, and be sued for attempting to resell it, is outright ludicrous, and the audacity of the case is surprising to most. More inconceivably, they still tend to sell this software in the stores, making customers believe that if they buy the hard goods, then they own the actual product. Sadly according to Autodesk, this is not the case.

Beck, whom represents consumer advocacy groups outside his law firm, has noted that Autodesk is improperly using the DMCA to remedy the situation. “The DMCA provides no prior notice or opportunity to respond, and its heightened remedies were meant to fight piracy, not to enforce contracts," he said. "Additionally, even though Autodesk is trying to interpret its license agreement to prohibit all resale of authentic copies of its products, Vernor never signed or agreed to anything." He went on to state, "Additionally, even though Autodesk is trying to interpret its license agreement to prohibit all resale of authentic copies of its products, Vernor never signed or agreed to anything.”

Now that all arguments have been heard by the judge in the case, the court can either now make a final ruling, or decide to send the case over to the Supreme Court on a Federal level. The ruling is sure to be an important decision in all future cases. Possibly even deciding the outcome of some cases which are still pending in the United State. The MPAA has stated in the past that making even "one copy of a DVD is illegal" and that if consumers wanted to do so, then the company selling the DVD would have to be the deciding party on whether or not that is allowed. So this case could also possibly decide similar cases to this.

As of right now, we're awaiting a final decision on the matter, and as soon as the Supreme Court makes ruling, we will keep you informed.

Monday October 12th, 2009

Posted by:  Blocked
Date:  Monday, October 12th, 2009

Comments (14) (please add your comment »)

posted by (2009-10-12 11:04:20)
kingtiger01 avataragain... another story of big guys with lots of money but no brains, that why its shoved so far up there own As*'es

posted by Site FriendXbox (2009-10-12 11:34:23)
Z0R4N avatarFor sane people this whole thing doesn't make any sense because they know that bought product can be resold but for these bunch of cheap programmers and their lawyers it's more profitable to take some money from the good people one more time. I use AutoCAD too and it's a cool software but they shouldn't be so cocky about their product, the basic status is the same, they sold it already, so they should calm down a little and accept the fact that that exact product is no longer theirs. Mr Vernor purchased it fare and square, he got the license key (serial number) so if he doesn't use it, so only he's buyer will use it. No way this counts as piracy of any kind. Thanks OBS for bringing this matter to our attention. Crazy news from this mad world...

posted by (2009-10-12 13:11:57)
xxVOIDxSURFERxx avatarI am alittle confused on this matter, simply because it is legal for me sell my pc right..even with all this software on it? I can still take it right up to a pawn shop and sell it and the software installed no problem...so how is this any different?

posted by (2009-10-12 13:24:59)
bipolarsuxs avatarIf selling something you buy is illegal then every person who ever had a garage sale should be charged also the police in various cities (Peoria, IL for example) should be charged as well for the auctions they have. I love all your articles OBS I always pass the word. This is another great article!

posted by Blocked (2009-10-12 13:54:18)
No avatarQuote : 3
posted by xxVOIDxSURFERxx (2009-10-12 13:11:57) I am alittle confused on this matter, simply because it is legal for me sell my pc right..even with all this software on it? I can still take it right up to a pawn shop and sell it and the software installed no problem...so how is this any different?

Good question first of all, then does this not bring into the question of one re selling a refurbished or used PC? For example.... You buy a machine from a local computer builder, with a legal licensed copy of the OS and various programs on it, does this not make you also question the legality of this? That is surprising to me, how you can possibly do that and not be charged as well. I would suggest the this case soon boils into media headlines, being the decision that will break the grounds for future rulings similar to the scenario you just mentioned... Great post there. Too answer the question how is it different? I would suggest we're about to find out in courtrooms worldwide. This is a great day for torrents, that legislative bodies have to take into the consideration that selling PC's with pre installed software is nearly the same battle they rage in "anti piracy". They can not merely start a war with p2p when so many other LEGAL resellers are also selling PC's with such content and making money from it... A nice curveball is now thrown into the mix. Seems daily these stories get more interesting.

posted by Blocked (2009-10-12 13:58:50)
No avatarAlso thank you bipolarsux I try to keep them as relevant as I can although I also act as the counter punch to the propaganda. I may seem a little one sided at times towards pro-p2p, but I assure everyone its not merely my support for p2p that motivates that judgment, it is also the fact of the downright ludicrous behavior of those within the anti p2p movements that totally sicken me and make me feel strongly that they are trying to war on our freedoms. As if they do not have enough control, they strive for more and more.

posted by (2009-10-12 14:11:46)
xxVOIDxSURFERxx avatarJust another side to the pc thing is, in America we have popular furniture rental stores like Rent a Center and Rentway. These places not only sell used pc's but also rent them with said software installed.

posted by Blocked (2009-10-12 15:17:02)
No avatarYup.

posted by Blocked (2009-10-12 23:14:17)
No avatarDigital Copy - What you need? According to copyright law must take digital copies of CDs and DVDs, if it is for "personal use of the manufacturer or his household."

It will briefly say that you may copy your own CDs and use them in eg the car and cottage. You may also do well on the CDs to MP3 files which can lie on your computer. Do not just give away or sell the music to others. The same rules apply when you copy movies and DVDs.

You may like:

• Copying material by the author himself has been given permission, you may copy.

• Copy a legitimate CD or DVD for personal use and then sell the original.

• Copy a CD and play it for a private party (also with others).

• Copy a CD and listen to it at work, at school, etc.

• Copy a CD to the car, the cottage, boat and your discman or MP3 player.

• Copy a borrowed CD / DVD, if the copying occurs in an analog medium (eg tape).

• Copy a DVD for use on a second DVD player, such as home or cottage.

• Record music from radio and film from the television.

• Break a region code on a DVD.

• Breakout barring a copy to listen to the CD or watch DVD.
You may not:

• Pick up a copy of a CD / DVD when you have received the copy of others.

• Copy the original CD / DVD borrowed from a friend or the library.

• Copy of an original DVD you have rented in a video store.

• Copying material generated in the network, when the material is posted without the author's consent.

• donating a copied CD / DVD away.

• lend, barter or sell a copied CD / DVD.

• Send a digital copy via email.

• Playing a copy of a CD / DVD publicly.

• Breakout barring a copy to copy the CD or DVD. Even if the copy is intended only for use within your household, in your car or in your holiday home not sure if any help :XD

posted by (2009-10-13 01:52:45)
neoonxz avatarthis not the first time autodesk has done this my fathers companie was sued by them an he won in a portland court room

posted by ET baby (2009-10-13 02:27:20)
No avatarThe problem here lies with intellectual property (or intellectual ownership).
The media upon which your purchased software exists, is yours completely. The software upon said media, however, is never ownership-transferred, meaning that you own the CD/DVD/whatever, but not the program on it. This is where it gets tricky.
That said, however, it does not preclude the re-sale of software, on the proviso that the re-selling person has no copies in any way, shape or kind (including any installations/saved files/etc) of the software being re-sold.
Naturally, there are differences in rules and regulations in different countries around the world, but most are the same in regards to intellectual property.
If mr Vernor can prove that nothing exists on any of his PCs or media, in any way related to the software he wants to re-sell, then he is, by law, allowed to re-sell said media upon which the software exists.
It comes down to wording, which is, of course, the very thing lawyers pride themselves on..
Good luck mr. Vernor!

posted by Blocked (2009-10-14 07:55:47)
No avatarExactly, laws need revisions when regarding to technology which is constantly evolving.

posted by (2009-10-17 03:39:37)
garycol avatarIn most cases one has to break the seal to be able to find and then read the license agreement so this automatically negates the return policy. How many end users actually read the agreement anyway?
The problem with changing laws to reflect a more accurate picture of what is happening with technology is that most law makers are illiterate in most of the laws they vote on not that they actually read the proposed laws anyway. They rely on the advice of "experts" and staff members who often have their own agenda focused on keeping their jobs.

posted by (2010-05-08 17:44:16)
TheTess avatarlmao. I dont know how many times I have bought software at garage sales, ebay, & Thrift stores. They cant stop this at all. I guess they will go after the Goodwill Stores next! lol

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