So, You think you own that software, book, or movie you downloaded eh. Think again.

There has never been any doubt that when you walk into a store and plonk down your money, then walk out with your purchase you can do anything you want with it. You don't have to ask the store where you bought the item. You don't have to ask the company that manufactured the item, and you don't have to ask permission from the person who might have created the item in the first place.

This is because all physical goods fall under what is commonly referred to as first-rights doctrine which means you buy it and you can do what you want with it.

As much as we might want to believe that this applies to everything we buy the reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. We don't and especially so with it comes to electronic goods like e-books, software, videos, or music.

This is something that I have mentioned many time before but it is sometimes hard to convince people that this is indeed the case. You don't own the goods - you 'own' a bunch of legalese that can change at any time.

Ed Bott over at ZDNet's Microsoft Report has an excellent post that breaks down and looks at the legalities of iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic when it comes to your rights when you buy music from their services.

If you buy a digital album from an online service such as the iTunes store, Amazon MP3, or eMusic, you have no legal right to lend that album to a friend, as you could if you had purchased a CD. If you decide after a few listens that you hate the album, well, tough. You can't resell it. You can't even legally give it away.
When it comes to software things become even more convoluted. Over at WinExtra I wrote a post about this back in November of 2009 where I talked about this:
The problem is that those EULAs are sneaky and on more than one occasion they have been found to contain more than one type of gotcha. With the exception of a rare breed of computer users who do indeed examine each and every EULA of every piece of software they install most of us just click on I Agree and carry on our merry way. It is only later we find out that maybe we should have read that EULA after all.
In this case however, unlike with things like music, books or movies, this post was about a piece of software you can download that will scan those nasty EULA that we never read. The point was, like Ed's, that we are very quickly becoming a world were owning something is becoming a figment of our imagination.

If you don't think so take a moment and read Ed's post and as he says at the end:

The moral of the story? If you really want to own your music, forget about downloading and buy a CD. You might even save some money compared to a digital download.
Never has caveat emptor meant more.