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Friday, 15 October 2010 08:57

Second hand software market in trouble

Written by Nick Farell
y_lawbookhammer

US Court steps in
In a move which could kill off the second hand software market, a Federal Appeals court has ruled that publishers can stop buyers from reselling old software.

Game publishers in particular have been trying to kill off the reselling used games because they do not get cash from them. EA has instituted a charge for gamers that buy their copies used and wish to play online and other outfits are set to copy them.

But according to the Dallas News the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in the case of Vernor vs. Autodesk that software publishers have the authority to prohibit the resale of their software to another user. The ruling contradicts previous decisions have claimed that software could be resold under the “first sale doctrine.”

The ruling is related to computer software which has a license agreement specifically built in and spelled out in no uncertain terms. It could be extended to include all electronic equipment that is sold second hand.

However the case is not really about games. It was bought when a seller named Timothy Vernor tried to sell copies of Autodesk’s AutoCAD on eBay. Autodesk claimed that the secondhand sale violated the software license and demanded that eBay remove the items. EBay complied, but also filed a brief on behalf of Vernor, claiming that the sale did not violate U.S. copyright laws, and that the sale of used items is vital to the economy.

Nick Farell

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