Monday, September 13, 2010

Does that mean that Timothy Vernor couldn't BUY AutoCAD either?

As long as we're talking about court cases...

All Points Blog links to a Reuters article about a recent court decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Software manufactured by Autodesk Inc (ADSK.O) cannot be resold on eBay Inc's (EBAY.O) online auction network by a man who bought a copy at a garage sale, a federal appeals court has ruled.

More here, but not much more. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (again), who obviously has views on this matter, provided this summary:

In a triumph of legal formalism over reality, the Court held that the copyright’s first sale doctrine – the law that allows you to resell books and that protects libraries and archives from claims of copyright infringement – doesn’t apply to software (and possibly DVDs, CDs and other “licensed” content) as long as the vendor saddles the transfer with enough restrictions to transform what the buyer may think is sale into a mere license.

And I'm sure that someone has already noted somewhere that even books might not have these protections if you buy them for display on a Kindle or a similar device.

But I'm wondering something. Let's assume that this case makes it all the way up to the Supreme Court and they side with the 9th Circuit, and with Autodesk. Does this give Timothy Vernor the right to find the original garage sale people and sue THEM, arguing that they shouldn't have charged him for AutoCAD because they didn't have the right to sell it?
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