Court considers whether its legal to resell software
When you buy a piece of software, you may or may not actually own it. In many instances, software makers insist that what you're actually paying for isn't ownership of the application, but a license to use the application. And if that's all you paid for, then you don't have the right to resell the software.
But what happens when you buy a software CD secondhand? Can you sell it then? That's what Tim Vernor, an eBay dealer did. He bought several copies of AutoCAD. But when he went to sell that software on eBay, Autodesk, the makers of the software contacted eBay and requested that the auctions be suspended. Vernor issued a response, and Autodesk never responded, so his sales were reinstated.
After doing this a few times, eBay apparently received one takedown notice too many, because the auction site canceled Vernor's account. So he took Autodesk to court, claiming that he has every right to sell the software. While formal arguments have yet to be presented, Vernor has already won the first round. A federal judge denied Autodesk's motion to dismiss the case, which means that it can go forward.
The ins and outs of the case are pretty complex, but the judge has ruled that Autodesk has not yet managed to show that Vernor was bound by the company's license and prohibited from reselling the software. If Vernor is successful, this case could pave the way for an increase in used software sales on sites like eBay, although it's likely that the case would only set a precedent in cases that are extraordinarily similar to Vernor's.