Re: Software "ownership"

Subject: Re: Software "ownership"
From: "Edgar D' Souza" <edgar -dot- b -dot- dsouza -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Poshedly, Ken" <PoshedlyK -at- polysius -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Aug 2006 12:19:18 +0530

My 2c..
1. You haven't bought the software itself. You have merely paid for a
license to use the software. Your rights, even in that usage, are
usually restricted. Most of these terms are laid out in a License
document which accompanies the software, or in the End User License
Agreement which you have to click-to-agree before you can install the
2. Unsurprisingly, the license terms / EULA conditions vary between
software vendors. You need to check the license terms to find out if
you may legally transfer the license to use the software to another
person (for a consideration, or gratis is usually not material,
3. If you *transfer* your license to J. Doe, and remove any/all copies
of that software from your computer and storage/backup systems, that
should be legal; the EULA, of course, determines whether you can or
can't do so.
4. If you still have and/or use a copy of the software on your
systems, both you and J. Doe are liable for a visit from the S/w
police, as you call them :-) since one of you is running an unlicensed
copy of the software - and the other has aided and abetted that .. is
it a felony? I dunno.
5. If you are legally entitled to transfer the license to someone
else, then that person, IMO, is entitled to updates and other bens of
possessing a registered copy; he should re-register the license in his
own name, to ensure this.
If the EULA or other legal conditions prevent you from transferring
the license... nope, he's ineligible for those bens...


On 8/31/06, Poshedly, Ken <PoshedlyK -at- polysius -dot- com> wrote:

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?

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Software "ownership": From: Poshedly, Ken

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