Author Topic: You don't own that game you bought (Copyright)  (Read 10946 times)

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Offline kat

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You don't own that game you bought (Copyright)
« on: September 15, 2010, 01:17:25 AM »
Why? Because you purchased a 'license' and not a 'product'. A 'license' basically means you have no material rights to the item you're in possesion of except to use it. If you then want up upgrade or 'get rid of' the item, you're actually legally obliged to return or destroy it. That's the law now according to a new ruling by the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court on the case of Vernor vs Autodesk

Quick background recap. Vernor sold some copies of AutoCAD on ebay, Autodesk tried to shut him down. Vernor and Autodesk go to court with the latter claiming the former didn't have right to sell the software as he, in Autodesk's eyes, possessed the material illegally. As the software was sealed  and accompanied by legitimate license codes (although they were stuck to the outside of the packaging)  Vernor and his Legal Council understood this to mean he had legitimately 'bought' the software from the previous owners assuming therefore, that ownership rights had been duly 'transferred' to him as a result.

According to the ruling, this is wrong.

Autodesk claim the original owners of the software only licensed  it and as such that meant  they didn't have any rights to it except in being able to use it; their case rests on the fact that their software is licensed and not sold which means the end-user only acquires what equates to a 'permission of use'. That's it. So what Vernor then did is of secondary concern because the original owners were actually legally obliged to destroy the software once they were done with it (in affect, they could be prosecuted for copyright infringement - selling/distributing something they didn't have the licensed rights to do).

But there's a problem.

Autodesk contends that the license is non-transferable so it cannot be passed on to another person or entity in any way, shape or form. What everyone reporting on this seems to be missing is that a license is a contract and as such it needs to be agreed to or acknowledged in order  for it to be binding   between all affected parties. The crucial question here is; at what point is that agreement made? When the material is purchased? When the packaging is unsealed? Or when its installed or the user clicks "I Accept These Terms"?. If it's the former, then quite frankly we're all rather screwed. If it's the latter then was Vernor acting as nothing more than a reseller like Tiger-Direct, Jigsaw24 or any number of the thousands of  resellers who purchase their stock to sell on to their customers, usually from wholesalers. Remember according the the report itself, the software was sealed. Unless I've missed something reading the ruling, it doesn't mention anything to do with this: at what point is the agreement made and then binding between parties. The whole case seems to rest upon determining this fact.

Now you don't need to be a genius to understand the implications of this, if the Autodesk ruling stands it means that pretty much anything consumers purchase with a license is likely being  bought under the same sort of non-transferable conditions as Autodesk and its AutoCAD software suite. That means end-users cannot sell on their games, music or DVD's. Period. What about hardware? Want to sell on your old iPhone? Got an old PC you want to get rid of? If this ruling stands it's all going to need to be stripped bare of any licensed material, returned to the manufacturer or simply destroyed, you can't even return item to the place of purchase because doing so is in the literal sense  transferring ownership of the item.

This is pretty much the silver bullet the likes of the RIAA, MPAA, the various software associations and other industry bodies that protect 'licensing' and 'copy' rights, have been looking for and needing to prosecute not just file-sharers, but also the used-games, software, music, film and DVD markets, all of which have been on the a hit-list for a  long, long time.

How do consumers fight back? Go independent, open source and where-ever possible, simply don't use their stuff.

Offline pazur

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Re: You don't own that game you bought
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2010, 09:38:36 AM »
Is this now UK or US law?

Offline kat

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Re: You don't own that game you bought
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2010, 03:41:21 PM »
Technically it's US law. But, and this is a big "but", it's argued under the remit of "copyright" to which many Western Nations are signed up (Berne Convention on copyright as well as DMCA) and by a company that has global holdings. In theory if you were in Guatemala selling Autodesk software (or anything for that matter) on EBay, they have the precedent to shut you down forthwith now because their software is sold globally under the same license conditions.

Offline pazur

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Re: You don't own that game you bought
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 10:42:22 AM »
I remember when Windows moved from an "ownership" to a "license" model in Germany. There have been some protests and people claimed it's against German law but in the end MS introduced it.

Offline kat

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2013, 02:03:11 PM »
Interesting article from T3 (link now 404'd) on the XBox One and Microsoft speaking to consumers not owning the games/software they buy (thanks FB buddy ;))

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2013, 10:23:34 PM »
agreed, that was very interesting, although i'm not surprised by any of it since i remember reading those type of eula's at least a decade ago.

Offline kat

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2013, 12:17:56 AM »
TBH.. whilst the EULA's *have* been there, I think the recent outcome mentioned above with respect to Autodesk and the eBay guy has probably given sway to the likes of Microsoft to take a much harder line on what constitutes the 'product' a consumer purchases (just what are we buying?).

The one big issue the author of that T3 article didn't mention (no-one else has either from what I've read/seen)... is that in order for MS to 'manage' the kinds of licensing privileges they are to grant users, their products have to be tagged and bagged. In other words, they system *requires* fixed identifications with respect to who has what - MS will know the who, what, why, when, where of product usage - the only options in that instance are as always with this type of rights management, we either use and accept what that means, or not use it and become Luddites.

Again it's hard not to think conspiratorially on matters like this but the games press typically neglect to either point these issues out, make them a none-issue or ignore them outright despite their being genuine concerns of consumers.

The big issue I have with these sorts of systems is that from a broader point of view, they actually dis-empower the user, giving them false choices - you can have any colour you like as long as it's one we provide for you.

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2013, 01:27:27 AM »
good points, and that a hobson's choice isn't it?

Offline kat

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2013, 03:02:24 AM »
Yep that's the one.. was a toss up between Hobson's, Morton's or Buridan's ass. True story. ;)

Offline ratty redemption

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2013, 02:48:29 PM »
he he.

Offline kat

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Re: You don't own that game you bought (copyright)
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 08:08:18 PM »
Oops, wrong topic. Heh

 


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