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Pre-owned market could be outlawed in US

Court of Appeal ruling has big implications for used games

A Court of Appeal ruling could render the pre-owned software market illegal in the US - and have wider implications for video games in the future.

The case involves defendant Timothy Vernor and Autodesk, the developer behind AutoCAD (a design package).

Autodesk successfully prevented Vernor from selling his copy of AutoCAD - complete with serial number - on the basis that the software's End User License Agreement states that the package is licensed, and that the licence itself is non-transferable.

The court gave the following ruling:

"We hold today that a software user is a licensee rather than an owner of a copy where the copyright owner specifies that the user is granted a license, significantly restricts the user's ability to transfer the software and imposes notable use restrictions."

The ruling sets a precedent, in the US at least, that would mean games developers could take a similar approach with licensing agreements on their own software that would effectively render the re-sale of games illegal.

As Gamasutra points out, EA's standard End User Licensing Agreement doesn't mention resale policy but explicitly states: "This Software is licensed to you, not sold."

Call of Duty: Black Ops developer Treyarch has a better idea when it comes to combating the pre-owned market - Make better games.

[ SOURCE: Gamasutra ]

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