The author of a ‘software’ can not object to the resale of licenses “second hand” that allow the use of their programs downloaded from the Internet, according to a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union. European judges have concluded that “the exclusive right to distribute a copy of a computer program covered by such license is exhausted in its first sale”, said the Court in a statement.
The case concerns a dispute between the U.S. Company Oracle, which develops and distributes computer programs mainly through Internet downloads, and the German company UsedSoft, which sells used and acquiring licenses to Oracle customers. UsedSoft customers still do not have the computer program by downloading it directly from Oracle’s website, after purchasing a license second hand, while those who already have the program can be purchased to complement a license or part of it to additional users.
Oracle sued UsedSoft German courts to prohibit this practice is.
The German Federal Supreme Court, before which the litigation ultimately has asked the Court to interpret in this context, the Directive on the legal protection of computer programs.
Copy and acquired
The judgment concluded that the new purchaser of the license-such as a client-UsedSoft that copy can be downloaded legitimately from the website owner’s copyright. Under Community rules, the first sale in the EU with a copy of a program by the owner of copyright or with his consent exhausts the distribution right in the Union of that copy.
The holder has sold a copy in a Member State both lost the ability to invoke its monopoly of working to oppose the resale of the same. In this case, Oracle argues that the principle of exhaustion of distribution does not apply to licenses for use of computer programs downloaded from the Internet.
Also through the Network
The Court concludes, however, that this principle applies not only where the owner of the copyright copies sold on tangible media (CD-ROM or DVD) but also when distributed via download from their website. European judges to limit the exhaustion of the right to copies in a material would allow the right holder control resale of copies downloaded from the Internet and demand in each resale, a new remuneration.
Moreover, the Court establishes the obligation of the initial purchaser of a copy (material or immaterial) of a ‘software’ in respect of which exhausted the right of distribution to make unusable the copy on your computer at the time of resale, as “if you continue using it would violate the exclusive right of the holder of copyright to the reproduction of its program.” Unlike the exclusive right of distribution, exclusive reproduction right is not exhausted by the first sale, accurate judgment. Any subsequent purchaser of a copy on which you have exhausted the right of distribution may therefore be downloaded to your computer the copy has sold the first purchaser. Such unloading reproductive be regarded as a necessary computer program for the use thereof by the new purchaser in accordance with its purpose.