A lone quixote in Seattle is suing Autodesk for sending copyright infringement notices to eBay, where he is a professional seller. At issue is Tim Vernor's listings for used copies of Autodesk's AutoCAD software -- Autodesk says that when you buy its software, you only "license" it and so you don't get the right to sell it after you're done with it. Vernor is seeking $10 million.
Autodesk is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to have legal copies of their software removed from eBay so they can sell more new copies. The latest version of AutoCAD software is around $4,000 a copy. Autodesk's lawyer, Andrew S. Mackay states "AutoCAD software is licensed, not sold and that license is not transferable." AutoCAD software is available for purchase at most major software retailers. There is no indication your purchase would be different from any other until you get it home and open the box. There is a piece of paper tucked inside that says it is a licensing agreement with the statement "by opening the sealed software packet(s), you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of this license agreement". This is called a "shrink wrap" contract. It cannot be read until you open the package which according to the contract constitutes agreement. US courts have not held a "shrink wrap " contract to be valid. Furthermore the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is only intended to enforce copyright violations, not breach of contract.
The lawsuit also alleges perjury since the notice that was sent to eBay is required to be signed under penalty of perjury and fraud. Using illegal means to make a legal gain (i.e. sell more new copies) is a civil definition of fraud. Autodesk's attorney Andrew S. Mackay is currently under investigation (# 07-24456) by the California State Bar Association for his actions in this matter.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image. But the Illum’s cutting-edge technology records the direction of these rays, generating […]
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