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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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  • Diablo 3 refunds? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rooked_One (591287) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:50AM (#40526317) Journal
    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.
  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:56AM (#40526371)

    What can the U.S. government do against the whole of the E.U.? I suppose this decision means I can sell my Microsoft Office 2010 license on ebay. Yay! I never use the software anyway. (I wonder if I can sell ebooks too? Or maybe just the whole amazon account; ebooks and all.)

  • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:04AM (#40526471)

    I wonder if this has any implications for game developers?

    I've always though the tactic of enabling multiplayer (and nowadays even some single player) via a code that's become prevalent in just about every console game over the last year or two really stank of a complete breach of the precedent of the right to sell your content on second hand.

    Similarly, I wonder if it has any implications for Valve, with whom you're forced to activate some games with to prevent resale?

    I know a lot of people here will defend Valve etc., but really, computer software is about the only product I know of whereby you're artificially prevented from selling on in the same working manner you can consume it in second hand. Toasters, clothes, cars, music CDs, DVDs, books, plants, furniture, washing machines - just what other products are there other than games that have these artificially restrictions in place to prevent resale? Should they really be allowed to get away with it by simply claiming they're anti-piracy measures when we all know the pirates nearly always get their copies earlier precisely because they don't contain these measures?

  • Re:Just in time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Miamicanes (730264) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:04AM (#40526477)

    Upgrades are a special case. When you upgrade "most" products, you don't get another license... the old one is extinguished the moment you activate the new one.

    Also, did the court rule that consumers have the *right* to buy & sell used licenses, or merely that it doesn't constitute infringement? Big difference -- in case 1, the licensor must cooperate. In case 2, they can't sue you, but can use DRM to render the used license worthless.

  • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:18AM (#40526611)
    Valve is in a great position regarding this. You can already gift games to other players; They just need to enable gifting of currently owned games and Bob's your mother's brother. Hell, it may occur that Steam gets more subscribers as games are gifted to people who aren't currently subscribed. Licenses held in escrow until someone creates an account to redeem them? PayPal does that with money already.
  • Re:Just in time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sique (173459) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:20AM (#40526629) Homepage

    The core ruling can be found at the end of Page 1:

    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.

    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.

  • by rbrausse (1319883) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:23AM (#40526649)

    I expect them to throw their resources at legislative change to "fix" this European problem.

    you're dead-on.

    Oracle's press release [oracle.com] says:

    We trust that this is not the end of the legal development, and that the EU Member States as well as the European Commission will be doing all they can to protect innovation and investment in Europe’s technology industry and to prevent business models which threaten both.

    or - in short - WE HATE YOUR LAWS. CHANGE THEM.

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

    by silas_moeckel (234313) <silas@[ ]inc-corp.com ['dsm' in gap]> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:25AM (#40526673) Homepage

    It depends on how it was worded. There are many rights that can not be given up or overwritten by contract. If that were the case non transferable would not be legal and MS would be compelled to allow it. I doubt this ruling went that far.

  • by shione (666388) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:32AM (#40526773) Journal

    1. buy laptop with a forced copy of windows
    2. extract windows key
    3. rplace windows with Linux
    4. sell windows on ebay
    5. ????
    6. profit!

    Interestingly, if you could get more than $3 from selling windows which you most probably could, it would beat begging the oem to refund you the windows price.

  • by Xest (935314) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:36AM (#40526831)

    "Assuming you mean online multiplayer, the developer/publisher provides the service that allows the multiplayer to happen. It's underhanded, true, but also understandable, as (usage of) the service is licensed separately to the game itself."

    Does it? XBox Live costs me £40 a year and multiplayer on every single game I've played bar Battlefield 3 is peer to peer. I don't disagree with you if we're talking about something like WoW where there is significant server overhead, I don't even disagree with something like BF3, though ironically with BF3 not only have they introduced a subscription service, they've actually stopped providing 99.99% of their servers and instead charge people to run their own. I guess I can't fault them as it works, but certainly on consoles there's negligible expenditure on multiplayer costs - the bulk of it is paid for by Microsoft by way of the Live infrastructure rather than the games companies themselves.

    It's frustrating too, because me and my girlfriend both enjoyed Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, we both have an XBox, and we both have a Live subscription, yet because of the activation code she can't play multiplayer whilst I'm playing a different game on my console without paying yet another £10 despite the fact we already paid for the game first hand.

    Effectively we've reached a point now where you have to actually buy a copy of many games for every person in the house that wants to play multiplayer, rather than where you'd just need a copy per household previously. We're quick to criticise the music industry because they've been trying to make us rebuy content we've already paid for for years now, but we seem to have sleepwalked into allowing games companies to get away with exactly this.

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