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Sun Sept 12 2010 16:56:51

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay seller Timothy Vernor opened a legal can of worms when he sued software maker Autodesk in 2007. Greg Beck, a lawyer for the organization representing Vernor, said last week's Appeals ruling in the case could lead to the end of ownership of books and music.

At stake is the first-sale doctrine, which holds that the owner of a particular copy of a copyrighted work has the right to resell that work without permission of the copyright owner.

However, the Ninth Circuit appeals court said Autodesk's standard fine-print license terms were restrictive enough that anyone in possession of the software could not be considered its actual owner.

Public Citizen's Greg Beck wrote about the Appeals ruling:

If standard fine-print license terms like Autodesk's are enough to withhold ownership, it is safe to assume that most people do not own the software they believe they have bought. And, unfortunately, there is no obvious reason why other publishing industries couldn't begin imposing the same terms. If they do, it may be the end of ownership of books and music.

The Ninth Circuit acknowledged the seriousness of some of these concerns, but held that its hands were tied by prior circuit decisions. Hopefully, the en banc court will be willing to reconsider those decisions.

I spoke to Tim Vernor today, he said there are "still a few more layers," and he would be filing an appeal. Asked what was the basis for the appeal, Vernor said he best understood it by reading the wikipedia site, which explains there was a precedent that the 3-judge Appeals panel had to follow. He will appeal to the full 9-judge court, which has the authority to overturn previous decisions, he said.

After that, the next level would be the Supreme Court, he said.

Is he sorry he got involved in the case? "No, absolutely not. It's been educational, and it's been fun and interesting. And it's not over at all."




Comments (14) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Sep 12 17:22:49 2010

Ina, Ina, Ina.

Using terms like "en banc" will just confuse the LieWorld trolls. Yes I know banc is a four letter world and, under most circumstances within their vocabulary bubble, but it's in another language not English. The propaganda trolls will think it means taking their ill gotten social engineering gains and putting them in the bank.

Social engineering: the 21st century equivalent of propaganda.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: Ming badda ding ding

Mon Sep 13 00:02:26 2010

Ming, Ina was quoting Greg Beck... she then went on to explain what en banc means so the lieworld trolls won't be totally lost by the conversation.

The impact of this ruling could have an incredibly chilling effect on our ability to use the software, e-books, music and other digital content we pay for. I certainly hope the larger court or supremes look at this from a different perspective.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Mon Sep 13 11:47:45 2010

Idiots. Terms like those are fine for downloads, which is where they belong and should have stayed. But don't they see that when someone gives up their old copy, Autodesk gets to sell another license without the packaging, distribution, and advertising expense?

-but no, cuz when version X.0.1.1 gets released they (meaning all those software mills) happily send all the old boxed software to Big Lots where it sells for $9.99, and then wonder why the new stuff isn't selling. They are so CD-centric, with their Velcro closure, fold-out sexy box cover flaps, and other assorted nonsense. The e-book people have it all over them- they know you don't need a real box.

And don't get me started on the activist judges. Living in a padded bubble all their lives and then trying to tell us how the world works.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: Larry V

Mon Sep 13 11:50:35 2010

Ah yes, the liberal judges making law and whittling away at our rights. This sounds like a ruling made in socialist heaven. Of course we don't own our CDs, books, records, tapes, DVDs, software etc etc. Now all they need to do is figure out a way to take the copyrights away so that nobody own any intellectual property. Cultural revolution anyone?

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: Rich

Mon Sep 13 12:22:20 2010

I doubt this will threaten the resale of music or books

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: Another Wronged Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 13 12:34:42 2010

I wonder how the judge would feel knowing that his personal books and software aren't able to be re-sold?

Another judges ruling with no common sense.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 13 14:31:56 2010

i agree with rich.  there is a wide gap between the resale of software and the resale of a book.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Sep 13 20:17:30 2010

Legal decisions are always what they seem.

Occasionally a court will rule a certain way in order to compel or encourage further judicial review which appears to be the case here.

Changing an established precedent requires the entire court hear the case and issue a new ruling rather than a one or three judge panel.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: Ebay Pays My Foreclosure

Mon Sep 13 21:50:10 2010

@ Larry V Meg Whitman For Governor Troll

Judge ruled in favor of a CORPORATION over the individual.  That's not socialism, it's CAPITALISM.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Sep 13 22:56:28 2010

Current books are not affected, Beck is saying publishers may begin printing licenses in books that would affect their resale going forward - more on this issue in Tuesday's newsletter.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Sep 15 00:21:05 2010

"Activist" judge is a Frank Luntz/conservative coined two word culture term term for those who are clueless about rhe law or how the legal system works.

You don't think the justices who just decided corporations have the same rights as natural persons and can therefore donate unlimited amounts of money to political candidates AREN'T "activist?"  

Probably not, since they're Repiublican conservative appointees.

Corporations, not people, will increasingly determine that people have fewer and fewer while corporations will have more and more.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: Shawn Marie Hardy
Web Site

Wed Sep 15 12:29:11 2010

This brings to mind a certain book I own--Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 15 16:17:43 2010

interesting article, but i still think that the difference between books and software are apples and oranges.  though the point about textbooks was well made, because like software they have a limited shelflife.

eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music   eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling Threatens Resale of Books, Music

by: sonu
Web Site

Mon Dec 27 23:19:48 2010

That is the good eBay Seller Lawsuit-Ruling. Idiots. Terms like those are fine for downloads, which is where they belong and should have stayed. But don't they see that when someone gives up their old copy, Autodesk gets to sell another license without the packaging, distribution, and advertising expense?

-but no, cuz when version X.0.1.1 gets released they (meaning all those software mills) happily send all the old boxed software to Big Lots where it sells for $9.99, and then wonder why the new stuff isn't selling. They are so CD-centric, with their Velcro closure, fold-out sexy box cover flaps, and other assorted nonsense. The e-book people have it all over them- they know you don't need a real box.



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