[thelist] Who owns SW? Was:Difference between domain registrars

Ken Schaefer ken at adOpenStatic.com
Fri Mar 26 17:25:13 CST 2004

From: "Ken Moore" <psm2713 at hotmail.com>
Subject: [thelist] Who owns SW? Was:Difference between domain registrars

: Chris wrote:
: >I realize that "ownership" is a very tricky subject when it comes to the
: >world of computers and most companies like to think that the things you
: >from them are actually only licensed to you and not owned by you.
: Court cases have ruled against this position. Renting and/or
: leasing involve regular payments for a set period of time.
: The courts have consistently ruled that this is not the case
: with most SW. They have ruled like Borland International
: has always said in their "like a book" liscense. It is like a
: book. If you want to remove the SW from your PC and
: sell it, that is your right.
: The arbitrary re-definiton of the term does not stand up.

As a general rule, if a licence permits you to onsell the licence, then you
can. The fact that you can sell a licence to a 3rd party does not indicate
that you "own" something.

A licence does not give you any rights in the property of the object.
Licencing has nothing to do with leasing, or renting. There are lots of
types of licences that do not involve regular payments. For example, a
government may licence telecommunications spectrum -  the telco doesn't own
it - it only has a licence. But there's no need to make ongoing payments,
nor is there a blanket restriction against onselling the licence.

So summarise:
a licence does not give you an *property* rights in an object (I'm speaking
of the legal definition of property here)
a licence is not the same as a lease - the lack of lease payments does not
count against something being a licence.



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