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The End of OwnershipPersonal Property in the Digital Economy$
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Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262035019

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262035019.001.0001

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Ownership and the Fine Print

Ownership and the Fine Print

(p.57) 4 Ownership and the Fine Print
The End of Ownership

Aaron Perzanowski

Jason Schultz

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the license agreements imposed by IP rights holders that redefine transactions and strip consumers of ownership even after an apparent sale. Despite their importance, consumers seldom read these license agreements because of their length and complexity. In response, IP rights holders produce highly uniform license terms that impose restrictions on the rights acquired by consumers. There are two approaches of interpreting license agreements: one treating them as contracts that require the mutual consent to be effective, while the other construing license agreements as expression of permission that does not require agreement to be effective. Many courts rely on license agreements to determine whether consumers enjoy ownership over the things they purchase. The better approach, however, should be to look at the economic reality of a transaction.

Keywords:   License, EULA, Contract, Sale, Price discrimination, Consumer choice

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