Software "ownership"

Subject: Software "ownership"
From: "Poshedly, Ken" <PoshedlyK -at- polysius -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 17:26:35 -0400

Fellow Tech-whirlers!

I already asked this question off-list of another person here, and we're
both sorta stumped. And even if this seems oh-so elementary, please be

When I purchase a software package from a retailer or legitimately
online, I already know that am entitled to all the bells and whistles
and updates that go with it. I register the package so the software
company knows who I am and that I have their product.

But what happens if I sell or give a software package to someone else?
If I sell my legit FrameMaker 5.5 package to John Doe, what is he
entitled to? A knock on the door from the Software Police? I assume he
is not entitled to register the package, nor can he get free tech
support from the manufacturer. But that's no big deal.

But can he obtain subsequent updates to the package?

To hear the software companies tell it, I -- as the original owner --
can only dispose of it by melting the CD down and burning the manual.
But that's gotta be crap! Automakers don't restrict you from buying
aftermarket parts for your auto or prevent you from selling it to
another person (at least, not yet). So the warranty is not transferable?
So what?

Since most of you are in the software industry:
* Is it legal for one person to give / sell his / her software
package to another?
* Exactly what are my rights as the first "owner" of a software
* Do I really "own" it in the first place or do I simply "own" a
license (permission) to just use the software package?
* Do the Software Police come knocking on my door demanding that I
give it up?

-- Ken in Atlanta


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