Here's all you need to know about the Autodesk vs. Vernor ruling:
1. Software "licenses" where the customer pays upfront a single fee for perpetual use of the software, with no obligation to return the software, must be treated by the courts as if it were a sale. Therefore the application of copyright law follows the first-sale principle.
2. Software vendors can get avoid have this ruling apply in any one of several ways.
a. renting the software. The Autodesk vs. Vernor ruling interprets a fully paid up perpetual license as a sale. If the license is not perpetual and fully paid, the interpretation of sale would not apply.
b. require the customer to return the software at the end of use. This would leave open the possibility of negating one of the conditions of the Wise decision on which this ruling is based.
I recommend the following CADCAMnet article for additional reading: http://www.newslettersonline.com/user/user.fas/s=63/fp=3/tp=47?T=open_article,969809&P=article
Full text of the decision can be seen at: http://www.newslettersonline.com/user/user.fas/s=63/fp=3/tp=47?T=open_article,969810&P=article