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Timothy Vernor

Court Ruling Recasts Notion of Ownership of Books, Movies, Music, Software in Digital Age

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SAN FRANCISCO, September 10, 2010 — A federal appeals court ruling on Friday could eventually end the huge secondary market that has bloomed online in used books, software, and other forms of media both physical and digital when it said a software company can use its licenses to control the re-sale of their products.

The panel of three judges for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided that Autodesk’s software license trumped the “first sale” doctrine encapsulated in federal law. This appears to give companies more leeway to license more of their products rather than simply selling them and giving up control.

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