Secondhand love

Opinion

Secondhand love

Can a user of purchased software resell their licence (and hand over the software) to a third party? That's a question that a German court has asked the European Court of Justice to consider.

The case involves Oracle who are upset that usedSoft are selling used Oracle software licences for customers to use as their own, an act which Oracle considers to be illegal. Oracle's licences say that they are not transferable and that anything otherwise is an infringement of copyright.

According to reports, the Court has said that the case will turn on whether or not a buyer of a second hand software licence is a 'lawful acquirer' of software and therefore acting within German and EU law.

The result will be awaited by all involved. For manufacturers an adverse decision will sting whilst for users, a positive decision will mean lower costs. Who wants to flip a coin?

This was first published in March 2011

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