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EU court rules that digital downloads can be resold

EU court rules in favour of second hand digital games, now allows you to resell them
| Business, Financial & Legal News | Posted: Jul 6, 2012 11:17 am

One of the things that sucks about digital media is the fact that until now, once it was downloaded, that was it. No trade-ins, no selling them to friends or someone over the Internet. But, the Court of Justice of the European Union thinks you should be able to resell those games.




The court thinks consumers should be able to resell any software they buy, no matter if it was physical media, or in a downloadable form. Where did this judgment pop up from? A case involving UsedSoft, who is a company that resells Oracle licenses acquired from previous owners. Oracle tried to stop UsedSoft from selling licenses, but it didn't fare well for Oracle. You can check out the full ruling here, as well as the official press release, a snippet can be seen below:


Under that directive, the first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program by the copyright holder or with his consent exhausts the right of distribution of that copy in the EU. A rightholder who has marketed a copy in the territory of a Member State of the EU thus loses the right to rely on his monopoly of exploitation in order to oppose the resale of that copy. In the present case, Oracle claims that the principle of exhaustion laid down by the directive does not apply to user licences for computer programs downloaded from the internet.


By its judgment delivered today, the Court explains that the principle of exhaustion of the distribution right applies not only where the copyright holder markets copies of his software on a material medium (CD-ROM or DVD) but also where he distributes them by means of downloads from his website.


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. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.


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