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What the CJEU’s UsedSoft decision means for software resales

The Court of Justice of the EU has ruled in favour of software resellers in a dispute between Oracle and UsedSoft. Flemming Moos and Marian Alexander Arning of Norton Rose explain what the decision means in practice

Flemming_Moos_Norton_RoseIn its landmark decisions on software resale in the UsedSoft case, the CJEU provided valuable guidelines on how to organise the resale of software in compliance with copyright law.

The Court considered it a "sale" of software under the directive on the legal protection of computer programs if a user downloads software from the manufacturer within the EU on the basis of a licence agreement with the copyright owner that permits the permanent use of that software. As a consequence of that, the exclusive right of distribution of the copyright owner is exhausted on first sale, which means that a resale of electronically distributed software is generally permissible. The Court also stated, however, that a buyer may not split its licences. For example:

• If...

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