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By | John Oates 1st October 2009 11:49

Autodesk goes after eBay seller - again

You bought it, but you don't own it

The case of Timothy Vernor, the man Autodesk tried to stop selling their software on eBay, has had another day in court.

Vernor is a full-time eBay seller, usually of comic books. But in 2005 he found a copy of AutoCAD design software at a garage sale - software which usually sells for about $4,000.

Shortly after he put the CD on eBay the auction house received a lawyer's letter from Autodesk alleging infringements of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. eBay pulled the auction but Vernor complained and eBay, and Autodesk, eventually backed down.

But when Vernor chanced upon some more Autodesk CDs, apparently at another garage sale, they again hit him with DMCA notices.

So Vernor counter-sued Autodesk for $10m because by getting his eBay account suspended they'd removed his main source of income. There was a motion hearing on Tuesday in the US District Court of Western District of Washington - when a judge decides if a trial is warranted.

Vernor claims his actions are justified by "first sale doctrine" but Autodesk, in common with most software makers, claims Vernor is licensed to use its software but not to sell it on.

He is represented by lobby group Public Citizen, which claims that Autodesk is using DMCA takedowns incorrectly and that Vernor cannot be bound by a license agreement he never agreed to.

Autodesk is likely to argue that it can license its own products on any basis it chooses. ®

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