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Oracle Software The Courts Your Rights Online

Used Software Can Be Sold, Says EU Court of Justice 385

Posted by timothy
from the over-and-over-and-over dept.
Sique writes "An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licenses 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 license is exhausted on its first sale. This was decided [Tuesday] (PDF) by the Court of Justice of the European Union in a case of Used Soft GmbH v. Oracle International Corp.."
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Used Software Can Be Sold, Says EU Court of Justice

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  • by RoverDaddy (869116) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:49AM (#40526313) Homepage
    This has enormous implications. I just wonder how many threats to 'take their ball and go home' will ensue, followed by threads of 'I'm getting my dad (the US government)'.
  • Well of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jasper160 (2642717) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:51AM (#40526319)
    Why not? I can re-sell my car, books, records, and cassettes. Software should be no different.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:53AM (#40526343)

    I won't even ask why these enlightened decisions always come from the EU.
    Where the fuck is the US ?
    So the enlightenment is back in Europe while the dark ages are in full throttle in the US.
    Interesting century we're living in.

  • by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:56AM (#40526369)

    What does that have to do with it? This ruling is about people being allowed to sell software copies they own to other people, not forcing stores to buy those copies.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:57AM (#40526389)

    I hope so... I know it won't happen in the US.... Which actually says a lot. As Americans we are used to getting what we paid for. If something sucks, we're entitled to our money back.

    No refunds in the US, but you can still sell it. I've made a separate Bliz account for each of their recent products and sold the account when I'm done with it. For their two most recent games, "done" came two days after purchase.

  • Re:Well of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by w.hamra1987 (1193987) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @07:58AM (#40526397) Homepage

    well... because software is not a physical object like cars, books and records... you can not "own" it in the sense of ownership you do to physical object... but wait... all the stupid *intellectual property* laws enforced in the last few decades... claimed IP can be owned like physical property... hmm... someone is struggling with basic logic in the capitalism and mass theft department...

  • Re:Well of Course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:04AM (#40526465)

    The argument is naturally is that you own the book but you are only licensed to use the software. Still this ruling will annoy a lot of US Companies.

    That argument is bullshit and always has been. It's nice to see a court (albeit European) finally recognize it for once!

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:05AM (#40526489) Journal

    They have fought tooth and nail to keep their "software as a revocable license" model so that they can continue to extort huge sums of money from the industries they service. I expect them to throw their resources at legislative change to "fix" this European problem.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:15AM (#40526591) Homepage

    Game developers already have a solution. Make the game require internet access with a single use code. You can sell the game but it is worthless without a new code.

    Similarly you can be the next version of RandomApp Pro 2013 will require online activation tied to your email address and with no way to change or update it.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:29AM (#40526721)

    Why? You can secretly love the movie, but pretend it "sucks" (what defines sucks, btw?) and take it back. Free rental isn't a good business model for anyone.

    You can't watch a movie, then go back to the ticket counter for a refund because you didn't like it. You CAN, however, if the sound cut out half way through, or the audience unduly interfered with your ability to watch the movie. You can't get your money back for a football game that sucked. Entertainment follows completely different rules when it comes to consume r ights. Was the game played in its entirety, without undue distraction or delays? Then what's the problem? Oh, your team didn't win (you didn't like the book, you hated the movie, you don't like the singers voice)? That's a shame. You still got the product that was promised as part of the contract between you and the content provider when you purchased the "ticket".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:42AM (#40526893)

    He's not American, and probably not clueless but rather actively malicious. Anyone who decries the ousting of Berlusconi (a man more ruthlessly corrupt than anyone in the Bush administration ever was) in the name of democracy is so far beyond reasonable discourse that it's not funny. And remember, Britain does not have the Euro, and a major reason the current UK government was voted into power is their constant fear-mongering over the currency.

    Meh, the entire quote smacks of typical wannabe Old-Boy Imperialism. "We won the war, but no matter how much we fuck over our own country the rest of Europe won't listen to us."

  • Re:Just in time... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:53AM (#40527027)

    So the Court ruled that the buyer of any non-expiring software license (consumer or not) has the ownership of the copy and is untrestricted in his right to sell the copy.

    Seems fairly obvious the direction this will take then. Expiry periods built into software licenses.

  • by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @10:34AM (#40528641) Homepage Journal

    That argument is bullshit and always has been

    It hasn't always been complete bullshit. Software business deals actually happen in several different ways.

    Sometimes you buy it and then you (or someone you give it to) later open the box and possibly spot a license. Surprise! The Blizzard judge says that box's contents cause some kind of mystical time travel, where the title to the box and its contents retroactively transfer or didn't transfer, with your knowledge so that there wasn't fraud, at the earlier point of "sale" depending on the eigenstate of the box's contents.

    But sometimes you actually have a sales contract between the informed and knowing customer and the developer, where no software is delivered nor is any payment made, until after the contract is agreed upon. I made paychecks for 18 years in a business like that, and sometimes there were even actual negotiations and changes to the contracts (it wasn't a contract of adhesion), because the customer had the balls to insist on what they wanted (if only we could all be like that), and we still wanted their money. Shrinkwrap EULA software sellers like to pretend they're running that sort of business, despite all obvious differences in what you see actually happening if you observe the transaction.

    It looks like this is similar to what Oracle was doing, except for the negotiating and sometimes changing the contracts part; Oracle's contracts were "Agree or else we would rather no sale happen." But adhesion or not, an actual license, rather than software, is what was sold. The court even uses that wording in this decision -- they write about selling a license. This is a very different kind of transaction than what you normally do when buying software retail or mail order, where anyone who hasn't been bribed by Blizzard can plainly see you are really buying a physical item.

    And yet, this EU court is treating it much like a retail transaction for goods. They're treating the license not as terms and conditions for the sale, but just a proxy for the item itself. There's a big dose of common sense and fairness there, but how they justify it legally isn't clear to me. Whether that's because it's a contract of adhesion, or if they would do this regarding all contracts (and if so, why just software?), would be interesting to know.

  • by aztracker1 (702135) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:27AM (#40529559) Homepage
    Oh, you mean like video rentals? guess you don't do that either...

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