Companies Can Forbid You To Resell Your Software, Court Rules

A California court has ruled that software makers can forbid buyers from reselling a copy of a program they bought. This is not about people making illegal copies of games, this is about buying a CD with a program on it and not being able to resell that CD. Expect this to go to appeal, but watch out, Gamestop.

Guess What, You Don’t Own That Software You Bought [WIRED] (Thanks to Adam!)


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  1. ArcanaJ says:

    I expect this ruling to be challenged.

    • Sammich says:

      In addition to being challenged, I also expect this ruling to be mostly ignored, leading to a potential windfall for a large number of lawyers.

      • ArcanaJ says:

        Of course it will. It’s not as if companies can monitor ever private swap or yard sale and it’s common knowledge that you can’t register used software, so it’s unlikely that second-handers will be caught that way.

        • Woofer says:

          Technically this shouldn’t have been second-handed in the first place. The company that originally licensed from Autodesk was supposed to destroy its old copies when it upgraded. CTA ruined it for everyone.

        • Griking says:

          No but it could lead to websites such as eBay and Amazon to prohibit the sale of such items. And Gamestop…well, I actually don’t feel bad for them at all.

          • ShadowFalls says:

            Ebay doesn’t even do enough to stop the selling of bootlegs… What you expect really with the conflict of interest involved in them making a profit on it.

            • Griking says:

              The problem with banning bootlegs is that the people selling them obviously don’t advertise that they’re selling one. Unless eBay has proof that the item being sold isn’t legal there’s really nothing that they can do. If the sale of ALL used games and software were banned however then I think it would be a little easier for eBay to police.

    • Griking says:

      EVERY ruling is challenged nowadays regardless what it’s about or even if the challenge is justified.

      • huadpe says:

        No, the vast majority of rulings aren’t challenged. Going to an appeals court, particularly at the federal level, is amazingly expensive, and most lawsuits aren’t worth the fight and/or are on well-settled issues of law where an appeal is unlikely to have a snowball’s chance in hell.

        Major felony convictions, new areas of law, or cases where huge sums are at stake get appealed most of the time, due to the consequences for one side.

    • KhaiJB says:

      I expect the Challenge to be Challenged.

    • dg says:

      Most definitely will be – on the concept of Right of First Sale. That being that once you purchase a copyrighted work, that you’re free to sell it if you wish, and the publisher gets nothing.

      The fact that a 3-judge panel of the appellate court was convinced of this nonsense simply means that an en banc appeal will be sought. If not granted, an appeal to US Sup Ct will likely be sought…

      There’s a case – Mudd-Lyman v. UPS which upheld “click-wrap” licenses, but ONLY IF YOU AGREE YOU READ IT. I don’t know too many people who wade through 30 screens of legalese, 12 lines at a time and understand what they read. Moreover, none of these companies can PROVE that you did read it, and did actually click on anything. It’s entirely possible that you never saw anything, never clicked on anything, and the program was incorrect in recording that you did.

      Screw EULAs, click-wrap, shrink-wrap and the rest of that worthless trash. It’s not useful for anything other than bird cage liner…

      • kujospam says:

        You don’t really understand it. The copyright holder is allowed to retain his copyrighted work when all you buy is a license, which in the case of software companies have been arguing for years. They may just be getting their way. Also the Supreme court has said that, if it is a license, and the copyright holder says that they want the software back after the license is over. That there is no Right of First Sale. It depends on the amount of control the copyright holder puts on the licensee.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Great, just encourage me to get the software illegally in the first place.

  3. apd09 says:

    It is pretty standard for software agreements and terms of service to include provisions about reselling the software to 3rd parties. You buy it, but you are not a licenses distributor which means as a user of the product you do not have dissemination rights to it and it is strictly for your own private use. I am just surprised it has taken this long for companies to really start cracking down on it.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Really? Because when I purchase anything non-digital I am the full owner of the item and can re-use or se-sell it in any manner I want with very few restrictions.

      Why should a physical item that happens to have digital content on it be any different? That’s ridiculous.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        “Because when I purchase anything non-digital I am the full owner of the item and can re-use or se-sell it in any manner I want with very few restrictions”

        I think airline tickets would be an exception to that.

        • Griking says:

          As is alcohol and tobacco. In certain areas seats to sporting events cannot be transferred. You can’t resell firearms without jumping through a lot of hoops first.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            But that’s for a completely different reason, as is alcohol and tobacco. All are controlled Substances. Microsoft Office is not a controlled substance.

            • apd09 says:

              Yes it is, it is controlled by Microsoft because it is their copyrighted and protected code. It is the same for any other company in the software world because the code was developed by them and is their legal property. When you purchase Office you are purchasing a license for use, and agree to the terms of service. You are not purchasing a right to distribute their code.

              It all comes down to copyright laws.

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                Um, Microsoft Office is not a federally controlled substance with restrictions based on age or criminal status. You are wrong there.

                • apd09 says:

                  All we are talking about are goods, yes drugs are illegal and the government says you cannot sell those, guns, etc… but Microsoft is controlling their product and they are telling you. That’s what i am trying to make you understand. Microsoft owns the copyrights and trademarks to their software and they can control how it is bought or sold. Ask yourself why Dell does not sell their computer in retail stores. They would rather sell it themselves and get all the profit and not share it.
                  Dell controls how their products are sold, and Microsoft does the same thing when it comes to programs. They authorize Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and all those other stores to sell it for them so they don’t have to do it all themselves.

                  Stop being so literal in your points and look at the big picture. Microsoft is not a controlled substance by the government definition of it, it is a controlled substance by their definition and by the government granting them patent, copyright, and trademarks to it.

                  • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                    I skipped most of this comment, because it’s just continued rhetoric unrelated to the fact that the term “controlled substance” always unilaterally refers to drugs, alcohol, and firearms.

                    If you wish to discuss licensing, copyrights, and Doctrine of First Sale, please do it in another section of this string of blog posts. Not in the discussion of whether or not software is a controlled substance. Does software even have any substance?

                    • apd09 says:

                      I am not getting into a flame war with you. If you cannot see the difference then there is no point in discussing this any further with you. I admitted it is not a controlled substance according to government standards as they relate to drugs, alcohol, and firearm. But it is a controlled substance according to the person who created it. The substance is the program no matter how you choose to purchase it whether electronic or in store.

                      controlled: noun, the situation of being under the regulation, domination, or command of another
                      substance: noun, that of which a thing consists; physical matter or material:

                      You are talking about a “controlled substance” in the government definition of drugs, alcohol and firearms. I am talking about it being a controlled substance in the literal translation of the words.

                    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                      I was referring specifically to controlled substances in the terms at which the entire phrase “controlled substance” is defined. If I wanted to talk about controlled substances in the context of items not alcoholic, psychodelic, or homocidic, I would have used words such as copyright, license, etc. Clearly, I was talking about drugs, alcohol, and firearms all by themselves and their special circumstances and using termininology specific to those circumstances.

                      You, on the other hand, used the terms literally to twist the conversation back to your points of contention against the greater argument rather than using the opportunity to dam up the arm of this particular river delta of a conversation. No need to run amok off tangents that detract from the important part of this conversation.

                  • lchen says:

                    There’s nothing to stop you from reselling your Dell computer, but I guess with the issues of software here then everything on the computer couldn’t be sold.

              • fantomesq says:

                So why would it not be bound by the First Sale Doctrine of Copyright?

                • apd09 says:

                  Because of provision in the End User License Agreement, as it states further down:

                  In a more recent case involving software EULAs and first-sale rights Davidson & Associates v. Internet Gateway Inc (2004)[1], the first sale reasoning of the Softman court was challenged, with the court ruling “The first sale doctrine is only triggered by an actual sale. Accordingly, a copyright owner does not forfeit his right of distribution by entering into a licensing agreement.” However, the point was moot as the court found the plaintiff’s EULA, which prohibited resale, was binding on the defendants because “The defendants .. expressly consented to the terms of the EULA and Terms of Use by clicking ‘I Agree’ and ‘Agree.'”

                  Unless the government rules that companies cannot have terms of service and EULA then the software company can restrict the use of sale of the software itself.

                • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                  I read that. It sounded like I was allowed to copy the software and then give the copy to another, resulting in two copies being used by two people when only one was purchased. Did I read that wrong?

                  • Woofer says:

                    No. Once you install the software and accept the EULA, you’re subject to the terms. If the EULA doesn’t restrict resale or transfer (REALLY unlikely), you can do what you please, although I believe you’d have to hand over all backup copies and media. Otherwise you haven’t really sold it, more like lent or rented it, and that’s a different ballgame. There was a case some years ago where a guy unbundled an Adobe software package and sold the pieces. Cali courts ruled that was okay since he never accepted the EULA b/c he never installed any of the software before unbundling/reselling it.

                • Woofer says:

                  Read the original case ruling. It’s in plain English, albeit a bit long. Wired and Consumerist do not go deep enough into the ruling to explain it. The primary effect of this case is that you need to actually deal with the original copyright holder to get a license rather than get one from a 3rd party if that’s what the copyright holder wants.

                  This guy went to a garage sale and picked up a sealed box copy he tried to resell on eBay. It’s not a big leap to replace the copy with something like a GPS device. Buying things at a garage sale doesn’t give you ownership to what you receive unless the person selling it had good title – a thief could sell a stolen GPS device at a garage sale for $xx. This wouldn’t give you ownership of the device, just possession.
                  Vernor didn’t have any ownership of the software, all he bought was a box – this was the source of the problem, not the resale on eBay – he never had the right to sell int he first place because the guy he bought it from never had the right to give it to him.

              • cherveny says:

                Except, all prior court rulings on software being licensed only, not sold, has been decided along lines that software is a product, and the license agreements are void and unenforceable. This is one of the first case rulings to go in the opposite way. Even on copyrighted works, when a work in the eyes of the court, is deemed to be a purchasable object, not just a licensed product, the purchaser of the product then has the rights to re-sell the item under whats known as the “first sale doctrine.” Due to the number of cases that have ruled in the opposite way in the past, I fully expect this case to lose in appeal. (Sorry if this reply is a bit sloppy, had to kind of wrap it up quickly as work is paging again)

              • AstroPig7 says:

                My copy of Atlas of Human Anatomy for the Artist is under copyright, meaning that someone owns the contents and nominally controls its distribution rights. So why am I legally allowed to resell this? Is it just because the software industry decided to squeeze as much money as possible out of their customers?

          • SpinnyD says:

            Apparently you’ve never been to Court Days in Mt Sterling Ky, C’mon down we can get some guns and go shootin’, don’t worry about your ID, just bring cash enough for some Ale-8’s after your get your gun.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I did say there are exceptions. But there isn’t a physical book out there I can’t resell, that I am aware.

        • consumerfan says:
          • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

            Interesting site. I really like this quote:

            “It invigorates revenue management through a better understanding of what people will pay,”

          • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

            “He cited the example of a passenger purchasing a US$300 ticket and then selling it through FairAir closer to the departure date for US$400, while airlines would charge US$500 for the same ticket.”

            So this won’t work either. YOU can’t make $100 because the airline sees it as you costing them $200.

            • Difdi says:

              Why, precisely, is that a bad thing or wrong? If the airline sells a ticket for $300, they’ve sold it. That seat now belongs to someone. That someone can forfeit it by not showing up for the flight. They can trade it in, possibly with a fee, possibly without, for a different seat. They can ride in that seat. So why can’t they sell it? If it’s only leased to them, rather than sold, the airline retains some rights about resale, but there are certain consumer protections on leases that are different from those on sales. From what I’ve seen, the airline claims the rights of a lease and a sale simultaneously, even when they would be mutually exclusive for any other product or service.

              They even have criminal law protections that other service providers do not. Quite the scam, there.

              • El-Brucio says:

                Hmmm. I’m kind of torn over that. Part of me likes the idea of being able to re-sell a plane ticket if I can’t go on vacation for some reason but at least making a small profit if I can sell the seat.

                The problem is they haven’t figured out how to keep scalpers from preying on concert tickets, and I don’t see them being able to keep them from buying plane tickets either.

      • jessjj347 says:

        I understand your point, however, licensing of software has been around for a very long time so I’m not that it will ever change. There’s a lot of money in it for proprietary software makers, after all.

      • apd09 says:

        when I purchase anything non-digital I am the full owner of the item and can re-use or se-sell it in any manner I want with very few restrictions.

        You’re right it is a double standard on things but look at it like this, if you bought one license of Microsoft Office and installed it on numerous computers you are in violation of the license agreement and can be fined or even arrested depending on how egregious your violations are. When you install that software, and any software for that matter you agree to terms of service and lawful use which include the private use and restriction of selling it. Software companies depend on new revenue and maintenance agreements in order to maintain and upgrade products. When you buy a tangible good like a shirt there is an expected deterioration factor in it and the life of the item is not as long as the life of a digital item.

        • tmac40 says:

          The problem is that this ruling is exactly opposite to the First Sale Doctrine. The first sale decision was about a book publisher printing on the first page that a book could never be sold below a certain price. For the next 100 or so years courts said if you bought a physical copy you were allowed to do anything you wanted, as long as you were not copying it. You could lower the price, give it away, or sell it; the original publisher has no right to dictate whether you can resell it or not. I don’t see any reason why software should be any different.The fact is that when I sell the software I don’t use anymore, it gives me the ability to buy something else. What these companies fail to see is that I might not buy your software if it will cost me $60 and I have no way to resell. If it cost me $60 and I can expect to get $30 back when I no longer want to use it, there is a better chance I will buy it. I almost hope the industries get their way so they can see how much money they lose if there is no secondary market.

          • Powerlurker says:

            Professional software is an entirely different market from consumer software. In a lot of these cases, you’re signing the contract before the vendor even takes your money.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          It’s one thing to deny via the licensing agreement to install on multiple computers to be used simulataneously. That part I have no objection to. This helps gives the item the properties of, as your example, a shirt since that can only be worn by a single person at a time. But you should be able to freely give it to another person, whether they pay a re-sale fee or not. The licensing agreement should not control the path of the item.

          Further, software already has a method of eventually deterioration. Software platforms, accessories, etc. are constantly being declared obsolete for newer updates and advances in software and hardware alike. Software rarely stays relavent long enough to threaten developers’ revenue stream.

    • Dyscord says:

      What about the video game market? Or is it because you’re still buying something physical most of the time?

      • Griking says:

        If the challenge fails I’d expect to see the video game industry right behind this. It’s no secret that they’re not fans of used sales.

        • Dyscord says:

          Personally, I think that would kill the game industry. A good many people prefer to buy games used. When you tell them that they’re paying 60 bucks for something that can be technically taken away at any time because they don’t own it….well…

          • goodfellow_puck says:

            But they’ve already been doing that with DRM. You take out the used games market, how does that hurt the game industry at all? They already aren’t getting that money, and they already have issues with piracy. Those ppl that buy used or rent will just divide between those who buy new, and those who pirate. Either way, still more money for the developers that they didn’t have before.

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              Someone made a great comment somewhere else below. If I am able to resell my video game, that money is probably going towards a new game. In fact, I may not further your game for $60 if I know that I won’t be able to get $20 back later on to use towards more games.

              The gaming industry does in fact see some of the used game market revenue. It’s just not directly given to them.

  4. Robofish says:

    Well this will help publishers with their war on used games. But this will be bad for me when I want to trade in a game.

  5. FreshPorcupineSalad says:

    So how long will it take before this applies to books, music, movies, and games?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      My real question is when will the centuries-old rules for books, music, movies, and games be finally applied to software?

      • mrscoach says:

        This ruling could do the reverse and apply software rules to books. If a publisher slaps a ‘license’ in the book, then it would become illegal to sell, or even give away.

    • banndndc says:

      there’s a very good reason why the american association of libraries opposed this ruling.

      ive been wondering about the “essential step” part of the ruling. the court said that only owners (not licensees) have a right to the essential step defense (which allows for copying into memory). are RAID arrays the next thing we think is legal but is actually illegal?

    • spamtasticus says:

      The real question is do you still have a right to sell your car. It contains a ton of software now and if it has Sync from Microsoft hmmmmmm?

  6. TuxthePenguin says:

    Question… if they are not selling the item to me, but rather licensing it, why am I paying sales tax? Wouldn’t that mean that all these retailers have been inappropriately collected sales tax?

    • ShruggingGalt says:

      Many states don’t care if something has a physical part to it. TX, for example, does charge sales tax specifically on software. And music downloads.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        Many states also charge sales taxes on services.

      • Geotpf says:

        California does not, however. I don’t pay sales tax when I buy (or shall I say “buy”) a game on Steam. Then again, maybe that’s due to the fact that Valve is physically located in Washington State…

    • Sammich says:

      You’re still being sold a licence.

  7. framitz says:

    The court ruling doesn’t have any teeth for products that have existing licenses.

    Many licenses (and I’ve read hundreds of them) account for transfer of the license while others might prohibit such transfer.

    In the future the license may state that transfer is prohibited and this ruling might uphold that stipulation.

  8. YouDidWhatNow? says:


    The law grants the right of first sale, which is an odd term for being able to sell a copyrighted product that you legally purchased.

    Without that, many industries would go topsy-turvy…not just software.

    There’s not a chance in hell that such a decision has any basis in law – or common sense. Which, unfortunately, means it has a pretty good chance at standing…

  9. Hi_Hello says:

    make sense though. you installed it then sell someone the cds or something 0-o. Although if the company who released the software make it work where they enter a license key and that key can’t be used twice, it doesn’t matter if the person try to sell it or not… it make it so they need the cd in the computer to run… and make so an iso can’t be created and virtually mounted…

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It sounds like you just explained why this law isn’t necessary to software companies to remain viable. And yet you started with how it makes sense…

      License keys and requiring the disk to be present is how they prevent multiple users on the same individual CD(s).

    • Razor512 says:

      that is already being done. it wont stop someone skilled in reverse engineering from cracking the software. What these companies need to learn is that if they make legally owning the software difficult then people will just pirate it.

  10. mike says:

    I try very much to purchase/download all my software and games legally. One of the things I count on is USED copies. Especially one-play games like Assassin’s Creed. I don’t want to spend $60+ dollars for a game I’m only going to play once and cannot resell.

    If I can’t resell, charge $40 then we’d have something.

    • tmac40 says:

      This is the problem that the software industries don’t see. I have about $120 per year that they will get. If I buy 2 $60 games and get nothing back they only get $120. If I buy 2 $60 games and then sell then when I am done for $30 each, they will end up getting $180 from me. The guy who bought my used games, probably would not have bought them new if used was not available, he just would not buy anything. They are cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

      • dolemite says:

        Not to mention…

        There are many times I won’t even buy a game when it first comes out, because it doesn’t look like something I would enjoy, and I’m not paying $60 for something I am “iffy” about.

        Later on, the game is priced $19.99, or I buy a used copy. I find out I really enjoy the game, so when they come out with “so and so Part 2”, I will go ahead and buy that brand new for $60.

        • Griking says:

          There are demos for many new games to allow people to see if they like a game or not. You can even download many of them directly off of Xbox Live.

      • brianisthegreatest says:

        So, you promise promise to buy a new game if they miss out on two more sales from the guy who bought the used titles. You still are wrong.

        • tmac40 says:

          It works the same as any other used market. Would car manufacturers be better off if you couldn’t resell cars? No, only the very rich could afford cars because you would not be able to get any money back when you wanted a new one. The video game industry is no different. By eliminating used games, they are effectively raising the average price of games. Since supply is effectively infinite, a raise in price will only result in a drop in demand. If they are lucky the end result would be the same total revenue, but a more likely outcome is the industry shrinking by a significant amount.

        • carsinamerica says:

          What is “wrong” about selling something you no longer need? You can sell used houses, cars, clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, model cars, computers, artwork, etc. Why should software be different? I would agree that it’s wrong to sell software if you retain a copy for yourself, but that is not the issue here. It is a product. You use the product, and gain utility from it. Once it has no utility for you, then you ought to be able to sell it to someone else for whom it would have utility..

    • brianisthegreatest says:

      It’s interesting you imply that you have some moral high ground for not downloading things illegally. You then go on to explain the fact that you like to purchase used software.

      How much money does Ubisoft make if you downloaded Assassins Creed illegally? Ok. How much do they make if you buy it used?

      Both are lost sales. Both bother the companies enough to try and stop it. You might as well have been downloading. I mean, don’t download illegally, but, do you see the point here?

      Does it justify the latter because GameStop took your money without any mention it was bad for the developer?

      • anewmachine615 says:

        Except that the value of resale is a given part of the purchase value. When I buy shorter single-player games, I do so with the understanding that I can resell it quickly. A game like Assassin’s Creed 2 isn’t really worth $60 (IMO). It’s worth $60 less whatever I got back for it when I traded it in. If I had no ability to trade it in, UbiSoft wouldn’t have gotten my money whatsoever – I would’ve waited for it to go on clearance in a year or so. Legal, and problematic – if too many people did this, then shops would stop carrying the games (which, given that they are on clearance, are now selling at a very small margin or a loss).

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        How much money does Ubisoft make if you downloaded Assassins Creed illegally? Ok. How much do they make if you buy it used?

        Both are lost sales.

        Both may be lost sales, however, there’s only a limited number of used copies available at any one given time, and Ubisoft made money off of the original sale of each copy. With illegal copies there is an infinite number of copies, and Ubisoft only made money off of ONE of those copies

      • Jasen says:

        It’s interesting you imply that you have some moral high ground for not downloading things illegally. You then go on to explain the fact that you like to purchase used software.

        That’s not what I saw him try to say at all.
        Why should we treat the resale market for IP any different than any other good?
        I can’t afford a $60k Mercedes. Maybe I can afford that same Mercedes used at $40k. This is called “free market” and “capitalism.” Buying a used music CD or software title off eBay is somehow wrong?
        In neither case the the manufacturer receive a cent for the resale.
        If a part of your intended market cannot afford your product at the retail price, they will buy it second-hand. IP should not be treated any differently–legalese licensing bullshit tricks or not.

        I’m a software developer by trade and I feel this strongly about it. I create and sell a good, not a license to use a good for a limited time. This isn’t the way any IP has ever worked until now, and I don’t want to be a part of this trend.

      • Griking says:

        Except that one option is for now still legal while the other is not.

  11. Griking says:

    This will become irrelevant in the near future when the purchase of all media with be done with a download rather than purchasing a physical product in a store.

    • Dre' says:

      Games & smaller utilities maybe. If I’m paying $5000 for ArcGIS or MicroStation, they are damn well sending me media & manuals.

      • Griking says:

        Actually they’d probably just have you register it on their website and then allow you to re-download it as needed. As for manuals, I haven’t seen a real manual in a computer program since the 90s.

    • TasteyCat says:

      +1 for Steam. As much as I’d like to have the physical media, this will only serve to force my hand. I don’t buy new unless it’s on sale. There are certain things you should never pay retail for, games being one of them.

  12. ThunderRoad says:

    Can I resell the box that the software comes in and include a free CD of the software with it?

    • Griking says:


      • ArcanaJ says:

        Why not?

        • Geotpf says:

          Well, you could, but you couldn’t legally use the software. You would be selling a physcially item without the legal right to use said item.

        • Griking says:

          It also depends on how far you want to go to break the law. eBay for instance will pull any auction that tries stuff like this. If you do it more than once or twice they’ll suspend your account for it.

          And again, you’re not purchasing a CD or a DVD when you purchase a program, you’re purchasing the right to use a program. The CD or DVD is just the method of delivery. You don’t even have to have a CD or DVD to install a lot of popular programs nowadays. You can go stright to Microsoft’s website and purchase, download and install Office 2010. The same for Symantec and all the Norton programs. The CD is irrelevant.

  13. Croccydile says:

    I can’t wait till cars, houses, furniture come with EULAs now!


    • trentblase says:

      Many houses do. See HOA covenants.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Since when do software companies provide me with free maintenance on the software I purchase? Sorry, but a bad analogy. I pay HOAs, but they cover ground maintenance. Miscrosoft does not provide me with free updates in exchange ofr not being able to resell their product.

  14. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    I wonder how this will effect the used PC games market on Amazon and Ebay. Fortunatley I just sold off most of my old ones over the past year, but I’d really like the ability to resell games I purchase in the future. It’s really the main reason I buy a physical copy over a digital one.

  15. diasdiem says:

    Yeah, good luck with that. That’ll stop ’em.

  16. dolemite says:

    So, 20 years from now, we will say: “Remember when you owned the things you bought? Those were the days. Next month I have to pay my yearly fees on the fridge, house, windows 15, the TV, the car and the house. That’s a big bill when you add it all up!

    • dolemite says:

      I said house twice…one is local fees, one is federal..hah.

    • Southern says:

      Some countries already do this – charge a yearly “tax” based on every television, radio, and cell phone in a household. (even the UK!)

      As for houses, you do that also (in most states) in the form of a property tax – try not paying it for a few years and see how long you get to keep your house. :)

      Cars you can get away with not registering (so long as you don’t drive it).

      A bit tounge-in-cheek, but the government gets their fair share every year, don’t you worry..

    • paul says:

      Sounds like Rent-to-Own

  17. msbask says:

    Is this why Weight Watchers banned me from selling all of my old books and calculators and such on ebay?

  18. Extended-Warranty says:

    The argument that you own the disc is an extremely weak one. Everyone seems to understand that they cannot sell digital media though. So what’s the difference? The intention is selling a license either way.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Good question. I can’t sell the software, but can I transfer the license?

    • dolemite says:

      Honestly, unless the company is providing ongoing support (servers, new content), I am not sure why I need a “license”. If the software is standalone, and doesn’t need patches, etc.

  19. JonStewartMill says:

    This ruling might spawn new interest in open source.

  20. damicatz says:

    This is coming from the 9th circus court of appeals. They have more rulings overturned by the supreme court than any other circuit. Take anything these idiots say with a grain of salt.

  21. dolemite says:

    I think that the consumer will need more protections if this is the direction we are headed. Sometimes you buy software, and it won’t run on your computer, or it isn’t what you needed. You can uninstall it and get at least some of your money back if you sell it to someone else. Just about every software dealer in the US refuses to take returned software. So if you won’t let a consumer return it, and they can’t sell it…what recourse do they have?

  22. mcgyver210 says:

    This is why when I need new software I first look for an open source project. I haven’t used MS Office in many years & haven’t missed it even a little.

    I also rarely purchase music due to the attacks initiated by an ungrateful industry that has forgotten without customers they are nothing. Same thing will happen to software companies if they try to use this Socialist Republic of California.Judges ruling.

  23. IThinkThereforeIAm says:

    I don’t see anything new about this.
    Pretty much every EULA I read states that you are sold a “non-exclusive, non-transferable” license to use the software, and not the software itself.
    Even though all software EULAs are a backstab for the customer (has anyone ever seen a single one the does not disclaim liability for “suitability for any particular use”?), they nevertheless are legally binding contracts.
    So yes, you don’t own the software, hence you cannot sell it.

  24. Starfury says:

    Some games you have to tie to an online account (EA I’m pointing at you for BF2 and 2142 Battlefield) and if you get a used copy you have to have the EA account info. Lucky for me the 2nd copy of 2142 was from a friend and he gave me the acct info so I could use the game.

  25. Southern says:

    California needs to sink into the Pacific. Seriously.

  26. Southern says:

    The Software & Information Industry Association, whose members include Google, Adobe, McAfee, Oracle and dozens of others, urged the court to rule as it did. The Motion Picture Association of America also sided with Autodesk. (Autodesk is the one that sued).

    Well there’s your answer. Especially with the MPAA being involved. They would just LOVE it if the courts decided that it was illegal to resell “used” movies. I’m actually surprised the RIAA wasn’t mentioned anywhere specifically in the article.

    With that kind of money behind ’em (especially Google & the MPAA), they’ll probably win. *Sigh*

    I wonder why GOOGLE wants this law to pass, too…

  27. WickedCrispy says:

    I wonder if this will dissuade people from buying crappy games that aren’t worth the packaging in which they’re shipped.

  28. consumerd says:

    Yea I am hoping this gets challenged really quick otherwise anyone who buys a computer from the big manufacturers just as well subtract $200 off the price because the Windows Operating system won’t transfer with the computer. Essentially the computer will only be worth the price of the hardware and that isn’t much. Microsoft pretty much guaranteed it’s monopoly status on machines because you got the PC and the key. Now since this ruling, you should be able to buy a clear machine and install what you want on it at just hardware prices. This decision pretty much gave the open source/free software types a new profit stream. Most people will look at it as, since you don’t technically own it… why pay for it!

  29. beretta3000 says:

    We use AutoCAD at work. There is no physical media anymore. You buy a license, download the software, and the software is then authorized for use by AutoDesk’s servers. If the computer dies, you inform AutoDesk and they “release” your authorization and you can use it on another PC. The licensing itself is an actual fingerprint of your PC (some combination of the harddrive serial number, MAC address, video card serial number, and CPU), so it is damn hard to pirate.

    Cost for a license of AutoCAD 2011? Standard is currently retailing for around $4,000. The version we run? Around $12,000. Per license. And then you pay ongoing maintenance per year to be able to download the latest version of the software every year without rebuying it.

    Professional software prices and the rules involved? Insane.

  30. Eugene says:

    Many companies have sold OEM or student discount versions for many years with some very restrictive license agreements. It was a slow process but I’ve managed to get free from purchasing most software, I’ve switched over to open source completely.

  31. FilthyHarry says:

    I’d nitpick. Sure companies can forbid it. Question is can they penalize you for it?

  32. JollyJumjuck says:

    Me: “My one year video game disk got a scratch on it and it won’t work.”
    Company: “Too bad. You have to repurchase it. You bought the physical media.”

    Me: “I would like to sell this one year old video game I no longer play.”
    Company: “Too bad. You bought a license. Everyone must buy their own copy.”

    Ah, so the software companies get to have their cake and eat it too. Now I understand.

  33. Mortimer Changworth says:

    This shit’s retarded.

    Also I don’t know if it came up because I cba to rtfa (eating some bbq atm) but I’ll bring it up anyway since it’s on the same subject: software patents are double retarded. Patenting a software concept is like if Stephen King patented the horror novel or if M Night Syamalan patented the twist ending.

  34. greatgoogly says:

    Welcome to The United Corporations of America. Don’t count on the Corporation dominated Supreme Court to overturn this one kiddos.

  35. HogwartsProfessor says:

    This sucks ass. My bf surprised me with a visit yesterday (!!!!!!!!) and left me his PS2 because he’s planning to upgrade when he gets to his new city. I guess I need to get down to GameStop and buy a crap ton of used games before they pull them all.

    He’s trying to turn me into a game nerd. His insidious plan will work, if I don’t have to spend $50 on games. Money is the main reason I never got a console before now.

  36. Concat says:

    Ah getting rid of used sales,another great way to discourage piracy. Wait, what?