October 13, 2010 | By Corynne McSherry

EFF Asks Appeals Court to Review Dangerous 'First Sale' Decision

EFF asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Tuesday to review its ruling in Vernor v. Autodesk, a decision that could undermine the rights of software buyers and other consumers.

Last month, a three-judge panel held that copyright's first sale doctrine – the law that allows you to resell books and that protects libraries and archives from claims of copyright infringement – may not apply to software if the vendor saddles the transfer with enough restrictions to transform what the buyer may think is sale into a mere license. Plaintiff Timothy Vernor has asked the full court to review this decision, and EFF – along with the Association of Research Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of College and Research Libraries, and Public Knowledge – filed an amicus brief in support of this rehearing.

Copyright owners should not be able to trump the first sale doctrine by using a few "magic words" in a license agreement. By undermining the crucial balance between copyright owners and users that supports valuable resources like libraries, used bookstores, and rentals, the practice hurts both our ability to save a few dollars and our ability to retain, archive and access older, out-of-print materials. We hope that the court agrees to review the case and treats it as an opportunity to put consumer rights and expectations ahead of the overreaching demands of software vendors.


Deeplinks Topics

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Putting private companies in charge of the rules for online speech can lead to censorship. https://edri.org/copyfail-3/ #CopyrightWeek

Jan 20 @ 4:11pm

Copyright has a serious free speech problem. Curbing takedown abuse could help fix that. https://www.techdirt.com/arti... #CopyrightWeek

Jan 20 @ 3:33pm

EULAs that purport to waive users' fair use rights hurt libraries as well as consumers. http://www.districtdispatch.o... #CopyrightWeek

Jan 20 @ 2:59pm
JavaScript license information