The EU court of justice has ruled that end-users must be able to re-sell their digital purchases, for instance a game bought from Steam or on iOS.
This comes out of a law suit against ‘UsedSoft’, a company that makes its business selling used licenses, by Oracle who denounced it as piracy.
The judge has ruled that Oracles exclusive rights to their software license sale are “exhausted” after they make the sale, handing over the rights to the end-user.
The implications of such a ruling are huge, Apple’s App Store for instance is now illegal in Europe, as is Valve’s Steam and all other digital distribution services, unless they provide a way of allowing the end-user to re-sell their purchased software.
This law is in effect even if the user has agreed to a EULA that condemns re-sale, the relevant clauses are voided:
“Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.”
So we can hopefully expect facilities for digital license re-sale to appear across European services some time soon, to avoid being banned from Europe entirely, which of course publishers, however much they hate this, will hate less.