Gamasutra reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld an appeal stating that software companies should be allowed to prevent the re-sale of their products.
The case itself actually revolves around AutoCAD, a design program developed by Autodesk. Timothy Vernor, the defendant, picked up a copy of the software in a sale, and then tried to re-sell it on eBay.
Autodesk claimed the End User License Agreement (EULA) that users agreed to before using the software stated that the program was merely licensed, not sold, and that the user's license was non-transferable.
The courts initially affirmed Vernor's right to re-sell it back in 2008, but Autodesk appealed and last week the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the earlier decision.
"We hold today that a software user is a licensee rather than an owner of a copy where the copyright owner (1) specifies that the user is granted a license; (2) significantly restricts the user’s ability to transfer the software; and (3) imposes notable use restrictions," the Judge said.
In the US at least, this has essentially created a distinction between software sold, and software licensed. Should videogame publishers start including such distinctions within their own EULA's, then the implications for the pre-owned market are clear.
We'll bring you more on this story as it develops.