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  1. Just because you bought that software doesn’t mean you own it « CitizenVox
    December 24, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

    […] Public Citizen represented Vernor in his case against software-publisher Autodesk, which claimed that reselling the software on eBay was copyright infringement. The district court agreed with Vernor and rejected Autodesk’s copyright argument, holding that Vernor had a right to resell the software under copyright’s first-sale doctrine. The first-sale doctrine holds that the “owner of a particular copy” of a copyrighted work has the right to resell that work without permission of the copyright owner. The doctrine dates from a 1908 Supreme Court decision in which the Court held that a book publisher could not restrict the price at which its books were sold on the secondary market, and Congress subsequently added the doctrine to the Copyright Act as one of the law’s crucial consumer-protection provisions. Here, the district court held that Vernor was the “owner” of the software, and thus entitled to the doctrine’s protection, because Autodesk had distributed the software in exchange for a one-time payment and had no expectation that the software would ever be returned. In other words, because the transaction looked like a sale, it was a sale. […]

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