Excellent news. In the ongoing case involving Autodesk and a guy, Timothy Vernor, who was trying to sell legally acquired used versions of AutoCAD on eBay, the district court judge has ruled that Autodesk has no right to restrict the sales of its used software. This wasn’t a huge surprise, as the court indicated as much last year, when it refused to grant Autodesk’s motion to dismiss the case. But this is an important ruling for a variety of reasons. Beyond just reiterating the well-established right of first sale on software, it also helps clarify that when you by a piece of software, you own it, rather than just license it. As the judge noted:
“The transfer of AutoCAD copies via the license is a transfer of ownership.”
The judge also mocked Autodesk’s claim that allowing such sales to go forward promoted piracy:
“Vernor’s sale of AutoCAD packages promote piracy no more so than Autodesk’s sales of the same packages.”
Autodesk, of course, will likely appeal the ruling, so this isn’t done yet. But, so far, this is definitely good news.