Autodesk Resale Prohibition Under Attack

I’ve just posted at CAD/Court about a new lawsuit filed by Timothy S. Vernor of Seattle accusing Autodesk of using fraudulent means to enforce its license agreement prohibition on reselling legitimately purchased software. This subject comes up often, and I think there is a lot of grass roots support for Mr. Vernor’s argument extending well beyond Autodesk customers.

The license agreement is not the central tenet of the lawsuit, but questions about its legitimacy do come into play. The legal principle involved is called the First Sale Doctrine, which essentially exempts buyers of copyrighted works from copyright infringement claims when they resell the work. The nebulous legal framework around so-called “shrink-wrap” software licenses, and the degree to which the First Sale Doctrine applies to software, is still an open question here in the US.

For those of you interested in learning more about the First Sale Doctrine, listen to this podcast discussion on the Technology Liberation Front web site.

AutoCAD 2008 Slow Startup Fix

[Update: See Disable AutoCAD InfoCenter]

I’ve noticed more frequent posts in the Autodesk discussion groups about slow startup problems since AutoCAD 2008 was released, and I have the same problem on my development system. Part of the problem is .NET loading, due to the new .NET gadgets like the dashboard palette. Another long running startup hassle is the communication center (WSCommCntr1.exe if you check running processes in task manager) that Autodesk products use to call home.

In addition to the time the communication center process takes to start up, it can also get “stuck” (either due to network or connection problems, or because of AutoCAD crashing) and cause interminable startup delays. If AutoCAD is trying to start while the communication center is “stuck”, it will wait in a completely frozen state for about 2 minutes before it times out and loading continues.

In addition, AutoCAD 2008 service pack 1 introduced a new “pure virtual function call” C runtime error that shows up when the communication center closes after an AutoCAD crash.

All these problems can be easily fixed by disabling the AutoCAD InfoCenter, which is the culprit that loads the communication center background process. I disabled it by changing the demand load registry key for the InfoCenter. That key can be found in the registry at:


Change the LOADCTRLS value to 0 (zero) to disable it from demand loading.

If you disable your InfoCenter from demand loading, you can still load it manually by using the NETLOAD command to load AcInfoCenterConn.dll from the AutoCAD 2008 folder.