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Re: Transfering Software licenses

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I believe that you are not completely correct on this.

To begin with, the ability to transfer a license for a software program
(much more accurate than saying "selling a copy") will first be governed
by what the end user agreement [EUA] (i.e. the license) says.  Many
computer programs have licenses that state that the license CAN be
transfered to another person/entity.  The key is that in all/most cases
this means that you must tranfer ALL versions of the program that you have
to the other person.  Thus, for example (assuming it is permissible under
the EUA), if someone owned a license for AutoCAD and had continued to
upgrade it so that they were at the current version, then they could not
just transfer version 14 to another person...they would have transfer ALL
the versions to another person including the most current version AND stop
using AutoCAD (assuming that was their only license) and NOT retain any
copying of any of the disks/programs.  In otherwords, when a transfer is
permitted by EUA, then everything remotely related to that license (all
disks, all manuals, all versions including upgrades, etc) must be
tranfered to the new "owner" of the license.  The is only one minor except
that I am aware of...some software companies will allow old versions of
software to be given (i.e. not sold) to public school, etc. for their use
in educational purposes...but again this is ususally spelled out in the
EUA. Additionally, in most cases where the EUA allows transfering of the
license, it usually means that the license could be sold for original cost
or lower (i.e. can't sell if for more than the software company sells a
new license); or could be given to another.  The main thing to keep in
mind is that when you upgrade (i.e. pay less than full price to switch
from version 1 to version 2), you ARE NOT purchasing another
still have ONE license and paying a reduced amount for the right to use
newer version of the software.

Having said all that, the EUA is not the "end all, be all".  There are
somethings that software companies try to include in the EUA provisions
that are not enforcable/legal.  I know that some EUAs include statements
that "no copying of the disks are permitted" or some such, which I am
pretty sure is not enforcable.  Obviously, you are not permitted (by law)
to copy the disks and give/sell them to someone else, but you ARE
permitted to make a copy of the disks for backup purposes.  Thus, it is
entirely possible that even though an EUA does not permit the transfer of
a license to another party, you could still be allowed to do so.  This
would definitly be an issue to ask a lawyer about (I am just a dumb
structural engineer who happens to be somewhat aware about some issues of
EAUs since I am also a computer geek).  The logic behind this is that you
own the license to use the software like you own your car or house or a
book, so it is your basic right to be able to sell you license to another
party.  Again this would be a question for a lawyer, especially since
local laws of the state or country can affect things like this.

In the case of Juan's posts, he has specifically stated in both cases that
sail of the licenses was with "authorization" from Tekla and IES.  So
unless he is lying (which I would doubt) or incorrect, both these
companies do permit that sale of a license to another party.  The
mentioning of being "authorized" to sell the license brings up a good idea
(and something that may be required by the EAU anyway)...if you decide you
want to sell you license for a piece of software, it might be a good idea
to contact the software company to get their "blessing" (even though it
may not strictly be necessary).

I would at minimum suggest that you take a look at the EUA for some will see that the transfer of a license can in fact be
legal.  In fact, here is the section on the issue of transfering of a
software license from the EUA from Adobe Photoshop:

"4. Transfer. You may not rent, lease, sublicense or authorize all or any
portion of the Software to be copied onto another users computer except as
may be expressly permitted herein. You may, however, transfer all your
rights to use the Software to another person or legal entity provided
that: (a) you also transfer each this Agreement, the Software and all
other software or hardware bundled or pre-installed with the Software,
including all copies, Updates and prior versions, and all copies of font
software converted into other formats, to such person or entity;  (b) you
retain no copies, including backups and copies stored on a computer; and
(c) the receiving party accepts the terms and conditions of this Agreement
and any other terms and conditions upon which you legally purchased a
license to the Software. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you may not
transfer education, pre-release, or not for resale copies of the


Ypsilanti, MI

On Tue, 13 Aug 2002, G Vishwanath wrote:

> Ref: Juan J. Treff's post offering to sell his
> friend's copy of X steel version 5.4
> To the best of my knowledge, transer of a software
> licence is not recognized by Software development
> companies.
> I wonder if Tekla will recognize the buyer of of a
> second hand X steel license  as a legal user.
> I have tried to purchase licenses of Autocad Rel 14
> for the organisation I work for.
> But Autodesk does not sell them any more.
> They sell only the latest which we don't need and are
> not willing to pay for.
> Pirated copies are of course freely available.
> But they are of no use to me as I work for  a Public
> Limited company, subject to internal and external
> auditing, and to ethical business practices.
> Even if you locate the people who have legal licenses
> of outdated software, and are willing to sell them,
> the buyer is still considered an unauthorised user.
> So the transferred copy is not legal.
> So why would any one bother to "buy" it? 
> There is something definitely unreasonable about this
> business of software licences. 
> When we can legally buy an old house or a  used car,
> why not old outdated software if it meets the users
> needs? More people will buy legal licenses of new and
> latest software if such packages have resale value.
> True, the developers may wash off their hands from
> obligations of support, updates etc and the buyer will
> cheerfully put up with this. But why should such a
> transaction be considered illegal?
> No wonder piracy flourishes.
> Am I missing something here?
> Best of luck to Juan J Treff's friend in his attempts
> to sell his old software. The latest version is Xsteel
> 8.0 and I wonder if any one will purchase version 5.4
> if after spending the money the copy is still illegal.
> It makes better economic sense to get a pirated copy
> provided one is able to ask his conscience to shut up
> and is willing to take the risks and be careful not
> publicise the fact that he possesses a copy.
> If Juan's friend is unable to "Sell" and is willing to
> gift it away, I am willing to take his old copy of
> Steel version 5.4 and use it for educating myself and
> practice using this package. It will still be
> considered his property and I will return it to him
> whenever he asks for it. 
> I will ask for a letter from him stating that he has
> gifted or lent it to me, to keep myself in the clear
> legally. (Lawyers may poke a hole in this arrangement
> too. I don't know)  I also will not commercially
> exploit this gift and will use it personally at home
> to prepare for the day when the organisation purchases
> the latest version for commercial use.
> But of course, Juan's friend will only have to trust
> me on this. 
> A better idea is for Juan's friend to gift it to some
> one he knows well instead of a total stranger like me
> or  to a technical educational institution, preferably
> owned or run by the Government.
> I am not a detailer myself but I manage a detailing
> set up in India and I cannot afford the exorbitant
> cost of this package in India. For the cost of a
> single license of X steel, we can buy a two bedroom
> aparment in the city of Bangalore where I live.
> Regards
> G Vishwanath
> Bangalore, India
> gvshwnth(--nospam--at)
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