≡ Menu

Autodesk court case: Can shrinkwrapped software now be legally reverse-engineered?

UPDATE: The Ninth Circuit reversed – see this posting.

If you’re a software vendor, you need to know about this recent Autodesk case, holding that typical software "license" transactions are in fact sales of copies, which the purchaser is free to re-sell under the First Sale Doctrine in copyright law. 

If the court’s reasoning is upheld on appeal, software vendors might find themselves legally unable to stop their customers from reverse-engineering the software.

They might also have a more difficult time asserting trade-secret rights in the executable code.

Court smacks Autodesk, affirms right to sell used software