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The decision of the European Court may bring changes in copyright law, and in software consumer habits across the Member States – says in his interview about software remarketing to Computerworld Sándor Zsoldos, the Managing Director of IPR.
The European Court declared, that even in the case of downloaded products – meaning products without installation media – the remarketing of used software is legal too, therefore the manufacturer (the rightholder in this case) can not prevent the transaction.
The precedent judgment, that was made as a consequence of the Oracle vs. UsedSoft court case (that was appealed to the European Court by the latter) could bring remarkable changes on the software market.
Copyright law already have let resale of products that are covered by the exhaustion of distribution rights due to sale of copy of the work, but software manufacturers represent a view, that in the absence of copy of the work – namely the physical data carrier – this does not concern to the downloaded software products – says Sándor Zsoldos, the Managing Director of IPR-Insights. This basically means that through the user agreement they purposely wanted to make the resale of the volume licenses almost impossible, like Oracle – as we referenced above -, who directly prohibited this. The recent judgment of the European Court now clearly says, that the copyright law does not differenciate downloaded software and software with media; resale of their licenses are equally legal.
Judgment also says, that as the downloaded upgrades and fixes are becoming part of the license too, those can be resold together with the license. Users though can not separate the multi-user license packages, these only can be resold together.
The limitation was needed to prevent profiteering – Reckons Sándor Zsoldos. Volume license packages have discounts incorporated, therefore law can not permit licenses to be taken out of the package and resold separately on a higher price per piece.
The judgment of the European Court is not a legislative decree yet, but it already grants more legal safety for the users and the software remarketer companies. The expert anticipates that the copyright laws of the Member States will be modified shortly in the spirit of the judgment.
As a result, the software manufacturers too will potentially come up with solutions, where they offer to take back used licenses, like we see today in practice at Microsoft in some cases – added Sándor Zsoldos. On the other hand enterprises will consider how broad license packages to buy, keeping in mind the possibility of software remarketing.