Backup copies of software can’t be re-sold, rules top EU court

Enlarge (credit: George Chernilevsky)

The initial buyer of software that comes with an unlimited user licence may resell that copy and the licence, Europe’s top court has ruled—however, where the original physical medium has been damaged, destroyed, or lost, a tangible backup copy mustn’t be sold in its place.

The case considered by the the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) concerned two Latvian nationals, who were alleged to have sold thousands of copies of Microsoft products in an online marketplace in 2004.

The court said: “It is estimated that they sold more than 3,000 copies of programs and the material damage caused to Microsoft by the activities of Mr Ranks and Mr Vasiļevičs has been evaluated at €265,514.”

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