The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that used software resales are legal. The decision potentially means that people who buy an ebook could then sell that ebook on to another user, provided they permanently remove the ebook from their own device at the same time.
The case being discussed was between software company Oracle and German firm UsedSoft. The latter wanted to buy up and resell software licences from US companies. The ECJ ruled that “the exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a [used] license is exhausted on its first sale”. This ruling is very different to the situation in the US, where a similar attempt to resell used software was struck down last year.
Customers have long been used to the idea of reselling used books, and some argue that reselling digital books is no different. Others suggest that there’s no way of policing this type of resale, and that ‘reselling’ a digital product such as an ebook is tantamount to making a copy. It’s not clear whether Oracle plans to appeal the ECJ’s ruling.