Rethinking the value of Logos and electronic resoruces

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 10 2015 8:28 AM



But you didn't. The owner didn't have the right to transfer ownership of the licenses without first relinquishing the licenses. Otherwise, what is to stop me from purchasing a base package for $1000 and selling it to all the freshmen students down the hill for $100 a piece?

The analogy breaks down here: Selling someone the original physical product (CDs/case/activation codes/serial numbers) is different than seeking to defraud a software company and other individuals by selling 10 people the same activation code. It seems reasonable, to me at least, that ownership should follow the possession of physical property. I understand Logos ties a product's license to the original purchaser, but the issue I have is the physical software's packaging does not specify this. I am a reasonable person - I would have no issue if the packaging stated this, but it doesn't.

You make a very good point and something that needs further discussion and clarification.  As an additional example, I can assure those interested that when I choose to give a paper copy of a book to someone, or when I die and my paper library is given to another, or if I sell those books in a legal transaction, in fact, the recipients of the books will be the owners of those books.  I won't need any permission from anyone to make that so.  The recipient will not need permission of anyone other than myself and the fact of the legal transaction to assume ownership.  All this regardless of how many illegal copies of pages I made in the past.

This wades off into the legalities of digital rights and something for the attorneys of the publishers and consumers to work out, but I believe a legal transaction with receipt of dollars exchanged (goods and services) is a legal and binding contract.  Exchange and possession of the materials associated with that legal transaction do constitute ownership.  It is, in fact, the test of ownership.  If I cannot transfer something I own to someone else (for whatever compensation or exchange is agreed upon), then I truly do not own it.

All that to make a point that digital rights contracts, because of the complexities involved, are not so simple and have favored protection of the publishers rights.  You only have to look at the abuses of pirating music in recent years to understand why.

I think in this case, you have a legitimate reason for asking for a transfer.  Whether the physical packaging states those terms would seem not relevant.  Perhaps you could obtain some sort of transfer note from the seller stating that they have transferred the product to you.  If not, maybe you could get a refund from them.

I suspect there was a good faith presumption and intent - on both the buyer and the seller's part - that in selling the physical media of a CD-based product, they were transferring the right to use the digital resources embodied on that media. That would certainly be the case in the sale of a video game cartridge or a DVD movie. The issue seems to be that the intent behind the transaction is not being recognized because it has not been documented in any fashion other than the surrender and transfer of the physical media. In a cloud-based environment, it would seem possible to recognize this intent if another account associated with the serial number/activation code of the product have not been accessed by a prior purchaser for some reasonable period of time (e.g., 6 or 12 months). If the prior user hasn't accessed their account in that period of time, and the new user can demonstrate possession of the physical media, it would seem reasonable to presume the sale of the product. Of course, Faithlife would have to be prepared to address situations where the original user subsequently claims theft. My guess is that these instances would be fairly rare.  In any case, this does seem to be an area where law and commercial practice have not fully caught up with the reality of digital products.

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