Reselling Software
April 18, 2007 1:41 AM   Subscribe

Can I resell my bought software?

I have a student copy of Adobe Creative Suite. Is it legal/legit to sell it (for example on ebay).

If so, is there some process in which I need to transfer the license to the new user.
posted by benji to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Yes, you can.

But you have to uninstall/delete all copies of that software from your own computers and backups. Once you sell it, you yourself don't get to use it anymore.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 2:04 AM on April 18, 2007

Of course, the page SCDB links itself won't support such a categorical answer: "The first-sale doctrine as it relates to computer software is an area of legal confusion." There are different precedents in different circuits.

Also, you don't say what country you are in, which matters.
posted by grouse at 2:21 AM on April 18, 2007

From the Adobe Student Edition FAQ:

May a Student Edition be resold?

No, the Student Edition may neither be sold by the licencee nor given to others for free.

Those are, apparently, the terms of the license agreement with Adobe. Whether said terms would hold up in court in your jurisdiction is another matter, and in practice one sees these editions for sale quite frequently, but in principle this is what you've agreed to.
posted by chrismear at 2:23 AM on April 18, 2007

Academic copies of software are often sold or licensed under different EULA or sales terms than commercial software, that try to prohibit use by other purchasers, under non-academic circumstances. Specifically, academic licenses normally don't include manufacturer support or upgrade rights, so academic copies are often worth little to business users or other commercial interests.

But Adobe has been pretty good about treating academic licenses as "real" copies in the upgrade cycle in the past. I've personally bought and transferred commercial Adobe product licenses in the past, and it just required a letter from the previous purchaser, indicating serial number, and stating that all machine readable copies had been destroyed along with transfer of licensed materials, to accomplish this.

Because Adobe makes the academic versions available cheaply however, there's not a lot of incentive for most people who can qualify for academic copies to buy second hand software.
posted by paulsc at 2:29 AM on April 18, 2007

What if you have not yet opened the box and therefore haven't agreed to the EULA?

If you see a copy of the software in your university bookstore and simply buy it at a register without agreeing to anything explicitly, would you still be prevented from reselling it?

I recall back when I was in college (about 12 years ago) that they sold academic versions of PC software in the bookstore. I never bought any of it since I used an Amiga at the time, but I always wondered what kept people from buying and reselling it to non-students.
posted by joquarky at 9:28 AM on April 18, 2007

IAAL ... the legal answer is anything but certain ... in this corner we have first sale doctrine ... in the other corner we have freedom to contract and the actual software license ... DING!. However I can tell you this ... sell it on eBay and Adobe can submit a DMCA notice to Ebay, have the auction pulled, possibly your account cancelled, lodge a civil claim in court and win by default if you do not attend (including financial damages ... ie you will owe them money). How do I know this ... I have worked for a software company doing this.

Don't sell questionable software on ebay!
posted by jannw at 10:09 AM on April 18, 2007

What if you have not yet opened the box and therefore haven't agreed to the EULA?

Then feel free to resell it. The specific practical problem with reselling Adobe student editions is that you have to buy the box, and then contact Adobe to prove your eligibility and receive a serial number.

If you haven't got your student serial number yet, then it's just an unopened box to be sold as you please. If you've already received a serial number for that box, then it's attached to you, and they're unlikely to issue a fresh one to a new owner.
posted by chrismear at 10:16 AM on April 18, 2007

What if you have not yet opened the box and therefore haven't agreed to the EULA?

Then feel free to resell it.

But if you sell it to a non-academic user, they will violate the license if they install it, as the EULA specifies that it is for academic users only.
posted by exhilaration at 3:40 PM on April 18, 2007

Yeah, but that's their problem, isn't it?
posted by chrismear at 4:06 PM on April 18, 2007

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