Saturday, October 08, 2005

sorry it's not for sale used

I don't get it.  I can go to a thrift store and buy tapes and cds that are used.  I can buy a used car, and purchase used furniture.  I can go to a yardsale and purchase stereo equipment, and take it home and have my neighbor give me a few cds they don't want anymore.  I can do all of this legally. 
But you can't do this with computer software.  
 The first-sale doctrine is an exception to copyright codified in the US Copyright Act, section 109. The doctrine of first sale allows the purchaser to transfer (i.e. sell or give away) a particular, legally acquired copy of protected work without permission once it has been obtained. That means the distribution rights of a copyright holder end on that particular copy once the copy is sold.

The doctrine of first sale does not include renting and leasing phonorecords (recorded music) and computer software, although private non-profit archives and libraries are allowed to lend these items provided they include a notice that the work may be copyrighted on the copy.

US copyright case law supports that consumers cannot make copies of computer programs contrary to a license, but may resell what they own. This however is conflicting with both section 117 and 109, and the case law itself is conflicting depending on which circuit the case was heard in.

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