Law & Legal & Attorney Copyrights

The History of End-User License Agreements

    Sony Corp. v. Universal City Studios

    • Modern end-user license agreement, or EULA, case law began in 1979 with the so-called Betamax case. In this decision, a movie studio failed in its attempt to have VCRs outlawed.

    The Consumer Video Sales/Rental Amendment

    • In 1983 an amendment to the Copyright Act was proposed that would have required stores to obtain copyright-owner permission before renting videotapes. The bill was defeated.

    Novell v. Network Trade Center

    • In 1997, so-called shrinkwrap license agreements -- by which opening a package constituted acceptance of an enclosed EULA -- were outlawed.

    Timothy S. Vernor v. Autodesk Inc.

    • In 2008, a software vendor argued that resale of its software was prohibited because the vendor did not sell the software but only licensed it. The judge did not agree.

    Pearson Education Inc. v. Ganghua Liu

    • In 2009, it was found that the first-sale doctrine does not apply to products legally manufactured abroad but sold in the U.S without authority from the copyright holder. While this sounds bad for U.S. copyright owners, copyright owners no longer have to overcome the first-sale doctrine before making a case for copyright infringement.

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