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AutoDesk bans AutoCAD Ebay sales

Thin end of the licence wedge
Sat Dec 07 2002, 19:51
MAJOR ARCHITECTURAL and building and design tool AutoCAD cannot be resold on Ebay, the company confirmed Friday, prompting the obvious question. What other sales of software - packaged or not - can pass the licensing test.

AutoDesk said on Friday that, with a very few inter-company exceptions, it is absolutely illegal to resell a copy of AutoCAD using auction services like Ebay.

That's because of the nature of the software licence you pay for when you buy, or rather license, its software.

AutoCAD software can only be bought from one of its licensed resellers and there is no second hand or used market in sales of the product, AutoDesk said.

That holds true even if a so-called "licence transfer" is involved, and the terms and conditions of the original sale hold true.

Whether the licence agreements that software manufacturers make their customers sign is, so far as we are aware, not tested in UK law.

One reader told us: "It's a pity that the licensing scheme can't take this method of acquiring software into account. It's normal for just about all other property. What other property do you pay $3995 for the right to use but not to own or to dispose of? AutoDesk's answer to this is that you do have the right to sell it back to them for 30 days from purchase!"

But we believe many other software companies have similar licence schemes. All you have to do is to have a quick look at the agreement you made when you bought the software to see what the story is.

While AutoCAD is one of the more expensive pieces of software on licence, we believe that this rule may apply to much, if not most, application software available under similar terms. And some operating systems, we think, too. µ

 

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