Europe's highest court ruled on Tuesday that the trading of "used" software licenses is legal and that the author of such software cannot oppose any resale.
The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a licence is exhausted on its first sale, said the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This applies to downloaded software as well as that bought on CD or DVD. This ruling sets a precedent for trading of used software licenses throughout the European Union and could potentially impact ebooks and computer games as well.
The court also ruled that any patches or upgrades made to the software through a service agreement also form part of the used software that can be sold on. However it said that the reseller must make the copy downloaded onto his own computer "unusable" at the time of resale.