9 juil. 2012

Freedom to redistribute software, UsedSoft, C-128/11

On 03/07/2012 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice interpreted in case UsedSoft GmbH, C-128/11, that a software copyrights holder (Oracle International Corp.) cannot oppose redistribution of the software by a buyer of the license (§ 80).
The copyrights holder Oracle supported by French, Irish and Italian Governments argued that the contractual terms prohibit further transfer of the software, requiring each new user to enter into a direct contractual relationship with the copyrights holder (§§ 77 and 82). The Grand Chamber found that this view would render ineffective the exhaustion of the copyrights holder’s distribution right (§ 83). This right becomes exhausted at the moment of selling the license to the very first user.

Oracle maintained that it sells only one license and not an unlimited number. The judges replied that the original acquirer of the license must delete her copy of the software when decides to redistribute it (§ 78). Oracle argued that it is impossible to verify whether she would delete her copy. The ECJ replied that the copyrights holder remains free to search for a technical solution (§ 79).

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