Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 19:15 UTC, submitted by tupp
Legal In the Used Soft GmbH v. Oracle International Corp. case, the Court of Justice of the EU ruled today that it is okay to resell software, regardless of clauses in the software license. This is a pretty big deal, and further affirms that a software license is not necessarily binding. Great news for European consumers.
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Great
by WorknMan on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 21:22 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

The question is, are digital goods the same as physical? Well, let's see:

- Some people say they are when they start talking about the right to sell them, the right to modify them, etc.

- But then they claim they're not when it comes to stealing - eg: pirating an album is not the same as walking into a store and stealing it.

So, which is it? Either they are the same, or they're not. My stance is that they're not the same, hence the concept of selling used digital goods (or selling new for that matter) seems rather dumb, especially since the stuff is infinitely copyable anyway.

So what does all this mean? More than likely, it means universal product activation everywhere, except where stuff is already free. In other words, you're better off trying to find technological ways to keep people from pirating/selling your shit, rather than legal ways. Think it can't be done technologically? Have they cracked Diablo 3 yet? You keep some (or all) of the program/game bits on the server, and that makes it kind of hard to work around.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Great
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 22:37 in reply to "Great"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

The question is, are digital goods the same as physical? Well, let's see:


Isn't this about reselling the *license*?

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: Great
by WorknMan on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 22:45 in reply to "RE: Great"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Isn't this about reselling the *license*?


I don't know, but the concept for trying to enforce a license that's not technologically enforceable is ludicrous. For example, if you were using a piece of software I wrote, and there was a clause in the license that said you could only use it while standing on one leg, how is that enforceable? Answer: it isn't. And how is that any different than saying you can only run it on one machine, or that you can't give it to any of your friends? Answer: it isn't.

Best chance you've got for enforcing a license is to have all the runnable bits (or at least enough to make it impossible to copy) behind a paywall, such that you're in total control of how/where/when people can use it. But even for movies/music, that still wouldn't work, since if it can be seen or heard, it can be copied.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Great
by tupp on Wed 4th Jul 2012 04:26 in reply to "RE: Great"
tupp Member since:
2006-11-12

Isn't this about reselling the *license*?

Yes. I recall that, during the Psystar case, Apple fans insisted that "one doesn't actually buy software -- one buys a license."

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Great
by some1 on Tue 3rd Jul 2012 23:12 in reply to "Great"
some1 Member since:
2010-10-05

Undeniably digital and physical goods are different. When you buy digital stuff you're not buying a copy (copying is essentially free), you're buying a license. Pirating isn't stealing, it's using unlicensed copies. Stealing would be to deprive the owner of his original.

Now for physical goods we have long established and boring laws, but for licenses we have all kinds of "innovations" going on. Companies think they can sell you various limited licenses, e.g. non-transferable. There isn't actually any reason why I couldn't sell my license. Sure, I could keep my copy too and continue using it, but that's just pirating. It's not any different from me not having any license from start. If I intend to stop using my copy it seems totally fair if I could sell my license for it.

Of course, software companies don't like this idea. This would create secondary market for software and drive prices down. One difference from physical goods is that used program isn't any bit inferior to a new copy of the same program. It doesn't sounds like the end of the world at all, there can be other incentives to by new copies, e.g. customer support, new versions etc. But allowing reselling is giving up some monopoly and profits, so naturally software companies don't want this.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: Great
by WorknMan on Wed 4th Jul 2012 00:27 in reply to "RE: Great"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

If I intend to stop using my copy it seems totally fair if I could sell my license for it.


Except that there's really no way to force you to stop using it, aside from some invasive DRM. Honestly, I wouldn't blame developers for being against this. Otherwise, I could just go buy the latest version of Photoshop, make myself a copy, sell the original on Ebay, and keep using the copy I made. Heck, if I bought a digital copy, I could sell it to hundreds of people for $20 a piece and make myself a nice bit of cash ;)

Only thing stopping me is whatever DRM they have built into the product.

Edited 2012-07-04 00:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1