EU Ruling Declares the Selling of Used Downloaded Software is Legal
A ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (Europe's highest court) has declared that selling used downloaded software is perfectly legal in Europe, with the following ruling, "An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet. The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program". This is a major win for consumers in the face of ever tightening restrictions by publishers, who have a mistaken sense of entitlement to every sale of a piece of software, even if used, the first sale doctrine be damned.
Ironically, this has come about because Oracle sued UsedSoft for selling used versions of their software, since Oracle felt that they had no right to do this. Crucially, the ruling also defines downloaded software via an online distribution method as being no different to that distributed on physical media, allowing the sale of this used software. Great news for all those Steam users then, who are stuck with all the games that they ever bought, no matter how much they wanted to sell them on. Valve, the makes of the Steam platform, will now likely be forced to switch on the ability to transfer the software from one user account to another. We can't wait. The full ruling is available at the link below and makes for happy reading - for European consumers only. With any luck a similar ruling will spread to other parts of the world, including America.
An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his ‘used’ licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet. The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a licence is exhausted on its first sale.
...the principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website. Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.
Posted by | Wed, Jul 04, 2012 - 06:53 PM