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.