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Australia Software The Courts The Internet Technology

In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods" 81

bennyboy64 writes "A court decision ruling that the supply of software through a digital download mechanism is not a supply of 'goods' has been upheld in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia, setting a precedent that software downloaded via the Internet is not protected by the Sale of Goods Act, reports ZDNet. It's a court decision that lawyer Patrick Gunning said attorneys had been waiting to have clarified for some time. What this meant was that 'people who purchase software will have more legal rights if they buy over the counter rather than downloading,' Gunning said."
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In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods"

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  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:29PM (#32131796)

    Or counted as theft.

  • by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:33PM (#32131844)

    If the companies are simply providing a service to write arbitrary bytes to a customers' hard drive, not selling a market good, then they shouldn't get copyright protection on those bytes being written either. After all, those bytes aren't a sold good, but are merely a byproduct of the service provided.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:35PM (#32131874)

    Does it extend to other purely-digital creations? WHAT ABOUT E-BOOKS? What about logo designs? What about digital photographs? Even if sold, are they no longer considered "goods" as well?

  • by spun ( 1352 ) <> on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:40PM (#32131968) Journal

    I believe downloads do not meet the legal definition of 'goods' under AU law and therefore, would be considered a service. The judge felt compelled by the letter of the law to render the decision he did, even saying it would lead to injustice, and calling on parliament to change the law to reflect the changing definition of 'goods.'

    It's amazing what one can learn by actually reading the articles. It is not, despite what most Slashdotters seem to think, a complete waste of time that only serves to keep one from achieving a first post.

  • by Bing Tsher E ( 943915 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @03:53PM (#32132166) Journal

    Australia wasn't founded by criminals. It was founded by wardens.

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:15PM (#32132526) Journal

    My, my, so angry.

    You have your opinion. The judge has his opinion. Guess whose opinion is actually law?

    Just because it's clear and obvious to you, doesn't make it so in the real world.

    IANAL. You neither, I'm sure.

    Your intuitive sense that intangible goods are still goods will probably win the day, but right now law hasn't caught up to that perspective. And this is not about right or wrong, this is about law. The judge himself indicated that he agrees with you, intuitively, but he only interprets law, not creates it. That's why he calls for the legislature to change it.

    As it stands, it appears that "intangible goods" seems to be intimately tied up with and generally conflated with "services". Google hasn't helped me find any concrete examples to the contrary. (This is where not being a lawyer is unfortunate, since Google is not that good of a legal research department.) If you can cite any valid example of where the law recognizes software as a good rather than a service, please, point it out. That might redeem the reputation you're building for yourself as a ad-hominem flame-mongering idealist with impulse control issues and no idea how law actually works.

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Friday May 07, 2010 @04:20PM (#32132616) Journal
    Well, other than the fact that a PS3 isn't completely blank out of the box, that's precisely how a PS3 works. You bought the hardware. You license the software, and SCE can (and will) change it any time they want--because it's still their software. The recent "Other OS" debacle is the logical extreme of the "software as service" approach, as well as the typical disclaimers of warranty you've seen in EULAs (not that those would fare so well in court, IMHO... the serviceability and suitability for purposes of use of the hardware being completely dependent on the software, after all.)

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.