Ninth Circuit Rules on License versus Sale of Software

19 12 2010

The Register of Copyrights may have concluded that precedents defining the difference between a license and a sale of software are conflicting (see our prior blog post on that point), but a panel of the Ninth Circuit had no difficulty in resolving the issue in its recent opinion Vernor v. Autodesk, Inc., 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS (9th Cir. Sept. 10, 2010). The panel reconciled a series of prior panel rulings deemed inconsistent by the lower court, and ruled that proposed resales of packaged software via an eBay auction were not protected by the copyright first sale doctrine because the initial transaction between the software developer and its transferee was a license, not a sale.


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