The “Godfather” of the Shrinkwrap Cases: ProCD v. Zeidenburg

This is the seminal case in the shrinkwrap realm, which paved the way for the rise of the browsewrap and shrinkwrap cases.  Upholding the software license as normally provided to purchasers, to get around the First Sale Doctrine under U.S. Copyright Law.   Cite, facts and holding are below. 

ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenburg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996)

– User bought a personal copy of the software, which was priced lower than the commercial version, and resold it to commercial users, in violation of the terms of the enclosed shrinkwrap license.

  • The license restricted sales of personal copies and gave the user the right to return the software if unsatisfied.

– Court upheld the enforceability of the license based on UCC Section 2-206, which provides that a purchaser of goods has the right to review a product, including the terms of the license for the product, and if they are not happy with it they can return it.

  • If they choose to use it and not return it they are bound by the purchase and terms of the license.