Lawsuit started over lawfulness of software resale

A lawsuit was launched in the American city of Seattle on Tuesday to determine whether the resale of software is allowed. Trader Timothy Vernor thinks so; software maker Autodesk disagrees.

Vernor has been selling used software on eBay for years, including Autodesk products. However, this software maker disapproves of the practice and states that the resale is prohibited by the license, so that Vernor is working illegally. Autodesk had repeatedly filed complaints with eBay about the illegal sale, after which Vernor’s access to the auction site was revoked. He then filed a lawsuit against Autodesk.

Vernor states that he only offers original CDs for sale, so that there is no copyright infringement. According to Autodesk, however, a user does not buy a program, but a license, and its resale is not allowed. Autodesk’s attorney stated that while there are no pirated copies, the result is the same, because the original owner can continue to use a copy of the software after he resells his original.

Vernor’s lawyer stated that while Autodesk is talking about a license, it is in fact just a product being sold. He compared the case to copyrighted books. Here, the imprint typically says “All rights reserved,” meaning anyone who purchases it may not make copies of it or recite it to the public. However, the owner may do anything with it, ranging from incineration to resale, despite the fact that he does not own the rights. According to this reasoning, someone who buys software should also be allowed to resell the CDs.

Both parties had asked the judge to immediately decide the case in their favor. He can indeed now decide the case quickly, or judge that a thorough substantive treatment must take place, if reports PC World.