Recycling Pre-owned Software

Under a recent EU ruling the reselling of computer software second hand is now big business

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Now EU companies can legitimately sell their used software licences for downloadable software such as Microsoft Volume Licensing. This is resulting from a landmark decision by the European Court of Justice in which the software licenses have been deemed to be the permanent, transferable property of the licensee.

The verdict now means that legitimate customers of software companies with valid software licenses that no longer wish to make use of the product can put the licence up for sale, providing that they stop using any existing copies and uninstall all transfered softwares from their own systems.

The ruling follows on from a case in Germany where Oracle were seeking to stop preowned software retailer usedSoft from reselling licences for Oracle software.

According to Oracle, the resale by usedSoft breached the terms of the licence for the software and was therefore an infringement of copyright.

The court however ruled that the licence could be sold on under European law as it was the permanent property of the licensee.

The decision itself is a major victory for usedSoft who seek to recover funds from spare licences that are no longer in use.

You can also get rid of your unused licenses to generate additional income – for example, when you reduce your staff

According to the usedSoft website: "We have connections with users in the international arena as well as with liquidators. That is why you get 'used' software from nearly all application fields and manufacturers at usedSoft: from Microsoft to Novell,"

"You can also get rid of your unused licenses to generate additional income – for example, when you reduce your staff, switch systems or restructure your company."

This is a victory on behalf of all software users in many ways but do beware that this ruling so far only permits entire agreements to be sold on as a single item, not for companies to sell off item by item from a large software agreement. The upshot is that if you are buying second hand you may have to be satisfied with paying a little extra for items you neither need or desire in order to get the bulk of what you need. The advantages for companies wishing to stock up on old versions of Microsoft Office or Windows for very low prices are considerable though and this ruling does much to break how ridiculous many of the licensing rules have become that are dictated by the biggest software companies.


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