Oracle cannot block the resale of its software in Europe
Summary: Downloaded software can be resold just like software on physical media can, the Court of Justice of the European Union has said in a ruling that shreds the distinction between software and license sales
By David Meyer | July 3, 2012 -- Updated 11:46 GMT (04:46 PDT)
Oracle has found itself on the losing side of a judgement by Europe's top court, which ruled on Tuesday that software licences can be sold on a second-hand basis, even when the software in question is downloaded rather than sold on physical media.
The decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)
applies to the whole of the software industry operating within the EU, not just Oracle and UsedSoft, the German reseller that Oracle sued. It follows an opinion in April by CJEU advocate-general
, Yves Bot, who also said that the same resale rights should apply to downloaded software that apply to software sold on CDs or DVDs.
"Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy — tangible or intangible — and at the same time concludes, in return [for] 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," the CJEU said in a statement (PDF)