Owning software – what you think

In February 2009, I ran some polls here that are relevant to the discussion regarding the US court system’s most recent backflip in the Vernor v. Autodesk legal saga. Here is a reminder of the results.

Software ownership poll results

In April 2009, I ran another set of polls that are also relevant, as they provide an indication of your attitude to license agreements. Here are those results.

License agreement poll results

If you voted in these polls last year, have your opinions changed in the meantime?

3 comments to Owning software – what you think

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Steve, I did vote in these polls and I have not changed my mind. These polls raise some very important issues and sadly expose some considerable deficiencies in understanding by users; and an ever greater deficiencies in vendors’ transparency, honesty and integrity. I welcome you raising the topic.

  • Brian Myers

    The greater question is do individuals believe they OWN their Autodesk software? The reality is that you’ve purchased the right to “X” number of software licenses and you can leverage those licenses as long as you are in compliance with the software agreement. You do own the books, media, etc that they provided you (if they provided it to you) when you entered the licensing agreement… unfortunately you don’t own the license or rights to the software itself.

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Brian, Your opening question is an important one to answer correctly and this topic requires statements to be paired to facts; as generalization will not necessarily apply to all software licences. Indeed, even within Autodesk’s T&Cs there are variations to consider.
    I have may own views about these issues, many are known and most misunderstood.
    With regard to your opening question and the comment you make about the “books, media etc” I would draw your attention to the following from Autodesk’s documentation (the books are part of the licence);

    “EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY PROVIDED OTHERWISE IN THIS AGREEMENT, TITLE, OWNERSHIP AND ALL RIGHTS AND INTEREST INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, COPYRIGHTS, IN AND TO THE SOFTWARE AND USER DOCUMENTATION AND ANY AUTHORIZED COPIES MADE BY YOU REMAIN WITH AUTODESK AND ITS LICENSORS. THE STRUCTURE, ORGANIZATION, AND CODE OF THE SOFTWARE ARE VALUABLE TRADE SECRETS OF AUTODESK AND ITS LICENSORS AND YOU SHALL KEEP SUCH TRADE SECRETS CONFIDENTIAL. THE SOFTWARE AND USER DOCUMENTATION ARE LICENSED, NOT SOLD.”

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