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German court upholds decision on used software licences

German court upholds decision on used software licences

A court in Munich has ruled that the sale of used software licences is illegal, upholding a decision reached by another court that ruled that the sale of software licences by Soft infringed upon copyrights held by Oracle.

A higher German court has ruled to uphold a decision by a lower court to ban the sale of used software licenses, in a case involving a subsidiary of Oracle. The Appellate Court of Munich ruled on Thursday that the sale of used software licences is illegal, upholding a decision reached by the District Court of Munich on 19 January, which ruled that the sale of software licences by Soft infringed upon copyrights held by Oracle International.

The most recent decision is of significant importance, Oracle said, as it clarifies a decision reached in July 2000 by the German Federal Supreme Court that prompted the launch of companies selling used software licences.

At the time, the court ruled that the first sale of a licence for software on tangible media, such as a CD-ROM, limits the manufacturer's right to restrict the resale of the media under certain conditions.

That ruling, however, applied to the sale of original media, Oracle argued, and not the sale of used licences, as the two courts have since confirmed in their rulings.

A legal basis for this business model no longer exists, Oracle said.

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