Is selling software manuals legal?

alex_ant

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Original poster
Feb 5, 2002
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I acquired 5 AutoCAD boxes with manuals and everything inside them from a company that was going to throw them away. They do not contain the software, only the paper manuals and box inserts. Since I don't use AutoCAD and have no use for any of this, I put it on eBay and just received notice that the "intellectual property rights owner" requested that these items be de-listed, which eBay did. I always thought that selling software manuals was about the same as selling books - e.g. you can't photocopy them (copyright law applies), but you can sell them outright. Who is right - me or eBay/Autodesk?

And if I'm right but eBay won't let me relist, anyone wanna buy some AutoCAD boxes/manuals? :D
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
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It's possible that the manuals are covered by the shrink wrap EULA in the same way as the software, but that does not seem reasonable. Can you ask eBay for a contact to query the de-listing?
 

alex_ant

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Feb 5, 2002
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I emailed the "intellectual property rights owner" (the email address eBay had listed) and got no response so far. I guess I'll email eBay next, although I don't really expect them to give a ****. They have some FAQs about selling software, but they don't seem to address my situation. It would be really weird, although I guess not that surprising, if it is actually illegal to sell printed software manuals in the US.

:mad:
 

Macky-Mac

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May 18, 2004
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alex_ant said:
.... It would be really weird, although I guess not that surprising, if it is actually illegal to sell printed software manuals in the US.

:mad:
are they some kind of stand alone manual? or were they part of the software bundle? if that's the case then the license might require that all of the components be sold together to allow a transfer of ownership of the license.....as an examle, Apple's EULA requires that any printed material included with the software bundle be transferred along with the software
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Dr. Dastardly said:
Well the manuals are copyrighted by the company and can deem them not for individual sale. I don't know why they would give two sh!$ about it though. :confused:
Their position will probably be that selling the manuals helps those people who have pirated the software.

Basically though, if you have caught the attention of the copyright owner, then its game over for eBay. They're gonna believe AutoDesk, not you.
 

alex_ant

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Here is what one of the box/manual sets looks like. it doesn't include any software, only printed matter. Software WAS originally present in this box, but I don't have it. I know that the manuals are copyrighted, but I didn't think selling them was a violation of copyright law. Books are copyrighted, but you can sell those, right? I understand that these might be considered part of a software bundle and not books, but still, it's legal to sell software, as long as it's original non-OEM media - right?

Ohhhh, I see... maybe they don't want me to transfer the license to this "software" because it might have been acquired in volume at a special price by this company I got it from. I guess that would explain it......... sort of.
 

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alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 5, 2002
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Gee, this kind of sours my attitude toward Autodesk. I never had any problem with them before. Now what am I gonna do with 20 pounds of AutoCAD manuals?
 
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