Court Smacks Autodesk, Affirms Right to Sell Used Software
A federal district judge in Washington State handed down an important decision this week on shrink-wrap license agreements and the First Sale Doctrine. The case concerned an eBay merchant named Timothy Vernor who has repeatedly locked horns with Autodesk over the sale of used copies of its software. Autodesk argued that it only licenses copies of its software, rather than selling them, and that therefore any resale of the software constitutes copyright infringement.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Corynne McSherry put it in a Thursday blog post, "if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it's a duck." Autodesk clearly sells its software, and merely re-labeling the transaction as a license doesn't negate the First Sale Doctrine.