The ethics of reselling software

Okay, so earlier this year, I finally purchased the Adobe Creative Suite (shortly before CS2 was released, but that’s another story). I also own some older versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, and GoLive which I no longer have any use for. Would it be legal/ethical to sell this old software on eBay or the like? Does the fact that they’re the “education versions” (meaning I got them for a lower price because I was a student at the time) affect the legality of reselling them?

Ethically it should be fine to resell software to a single person if you no longer use it. It’s yours and you’re not trying to pirate, you should be allowed. :slight_smile:

Legally, the educational discount is a little fuzzy, it’s possible it is not meant for resale or maybe you should only resell to a student. :confused:

If you read through the Eula (without your eyes rolling backwards from the legalese gibberish) you should be able to determine the company’s position on resale.

I think you should look up right of first sale.

Emphasis mine. Did you purchase your newer versions outright or were they upgrades purchased at a lower cost? If all versions were purchased outright you’ll have to go by the EULA but I personally don’t consider it unethical. If they were upgrades then it is a certainty that you would be violating the EULA and I don’t think that you are entitled to sell them.

I bought the full version of the Creative Suite, so it doesn’t count as an upgrade. However, I do have an upgrade to Photoshop 7 which I figured would be unethical to sell. (On the other hand, would it be ethical to sell it bundled with the copy of Photoshop 6 to which the upgrade was applied?)

I think so, definitely.

But the real reason I’m posting:
Applause for thinking this through and caring about these issues.
I could download Photoshop 7 for free and find a license online in about an hour… at least my friends brag that they do so… it is heartening to see someone who cares about doing what is right and not stealing/duplicating just because it is easy and no one is looking.

Bravo, kudos, etc.

Software companies vary in their licensing policies. Adobe’s is pretty standard; you can transfer ownership to another individual, provided the transfer includes all previous versions and upgrades needed to make it legit. Adobe requires a form be filled out and faxed to the company, if you want to be properly registered:

Be aware that not ALL companies have this policy, namely Autodesk (formerly Discreet for some titles). Once you open their software, it’s yours forever unless someone at the company takes pity on you. This comes as a surprise to many an owner of the $3500 3DS Max, when they decide to sell it and can’t.

Ditto beagle’s kudos, also!

Does anyone have any case law showing that EULA can change the right of first sale? Because it seems to me that thebeaglebeagle and initech are veering quite far from the don’t steal lane and into the only things you can do with your purchase are what the company wants you to do with your purchase.

If we listened to what the companies wanted about those things then we would not now have video rental or portable mp3 players.

Fair enough, but doesn’t a company have a right to establish the terms of a license? The “A” in EULA stands for “Agreement,” after all, and we’re under no obligation to sign on. That’s certainly why I don’t own any Discreet/Autodesk products.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sticking it to the man. But that doesn’t change the fact that you can’t find a used copy of 3DS Max or Combustion on eBay. At a certain point, it’s just a practical matter.

Yes, the company can dictate whatever it wants in the EULA, HOWEVER, what you physically bought is yours, regardless of the EULA. You might not be able to resell the license, but you may certainly sell the CD, manuals, box it came with without claiming that you are selling the license to use the software. IF somebody finds value in the CDkey sticker, CD, manual and box, good for them. Whether they are a licensed user at that point is between them and the software manufacturer. You don’t come into it.

Reselling? Is that like wrestling?

The answer here is simple. You may both ethically and legally sell any software you buy. Software is just property, and like any other property you may sell it. HOWEVER, ethically and legally after you sell it you MUST uninstall that software from any computer that is yours. As soon as you sell it, if you don’t you are a software pirate.

As for the “education versions”, that is an issue for the buyer, not you the seller. It is the buyers responsibility to make sure they follow the license terms. Note that the license only applies to actually using the software. Theoretically, if you were to sell your Adobe Creative Suite software to me, as I don’t qualify as a student, professor, etc. I can’t legally use that software. However, I could sell it to a student who would qualify. This might make sense if I knew a student who wanted the Adobe Creative Suite software, and you sold me your copy for $1. If I knew that student would happily pay me a lot more than $1 for that software, I’d eagerly buy it from you knowing I could quickly make a tidy profit.

Really old software that won’t work on any modern box might someday (and perhaps even has) become a collectable item. If the price was low enough, I can imagine someone buying such software because they thought the box looked really cool.

I believe there is a law prohibiting renting software. This would obviously open up lots of piracy possibilities. However, if you want to buy my Windows 98 upgrade CD from me (which I have absolutely no use for), I may legally sell it to you for any price I consider fair. It’s mine, I bought it, and can sell it if I want to. There’s probably some teenagers who own a working Windows 95 box they bought for a few bucks at a flea market out there who’d happily buy my Windows 98 upgrade CD if I offered it for a few bucks. There’s actually a couple deaf women in the town I live in who are actually using an ancient Win 98 box I just gave them. I was surprised to find out that there would be deaf people in this day and age who weren’t using computers. The advantages for someone deaf communicating via the Internet with computers should be obvious. When I asked why they didn’t have a computer, their answer was “we can’t afford one.” After scratching my head for a moment perplexed, I just told them I’d be happy to give them one of the old, working boxes I have for free. They said yes, and I brought over one of the old, working boxes I had laying around, and a working monitor. As I do some frelance security work for a local ISP, I was easily able to wing a comped account with the sysadmins there. I just set up the box at their home, showed them how to go online, and they quickly picked up on how to do so. I was shocked that there only contact with the rest of the world was an archaic TDD via phone line. I had thought the rest of the country had moved to e-mail and online chat long ago. They really like online chat. There’s actually quite a few online chat channels used exclusively by deaf people.

Thanks for the assistance, all. Now I go onto eBay with a clear conscience and hand off my unused programs to someone who needs them.

On that note, is anyone here interested in some old Mac OS versions of Adobe software? :slight_smile:

From Wikipedia:

However, it goes on to describe a conflicting ruling in Missouri.

I dont beleive that there are laws against renting software. If people have cites I would like to see them. I have seen PC games for rent although not lately. Blockbuster rents games for consoles.

The video rental places rent software all the time. The aisles that used to be taken up by the old fashioned tape cassette thingies are now filled with video games. The little mom-and-pop place I used to go to several years back in Lansing, MI rented PC video games! Back then a 250MB hard drive was large, so the CD was required to run most games, kind of negating any piracy that could happen (although about that time I paid about $500 for an external SCSI CD burner at 2x speed!).

Also there are many, many computer rental stores in the phone books. My father used to run such a place. Customers never rented the software; it was loaned free of charge with the rental of the computer.