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Used Software Can Be Sold, Says EU Court of Justice
Posted: 04 July 2012 12:04 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/07/03/1245200/used-software-can-be-sold-says-eu-court-of-justice

Wow. This gives some implications, not to just the gaming industry, but to all kinds of digital content. I wonder how Amazon will respond to this and how they might transfer licenses.

http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/if-used-software-can-be-sold-why-not-used-ebooks/

So, DAZ3D, I know the EU-market might not be as big as the US market, but it might pay off to read the decision of the EU court. It basically says that the EULA cannot be used to hinder a resell of digital content, and this will apply to those living in in a EU-country (not my country, we’re - surprisingly not a member).

Say somebody decides to sell off their entire runtime, this will be legal in the EU. I think that what the copy contains (program, e-book, other digital content) doesn’t matter.

But it will definitely give some headache to the publishers.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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DAZ3D is a US based company and their EULA is subject to US federal laws and Utah State laws.


If I am correct, and I am not a lawyer, but all customers of DAZ3D who purchase content and programs from DAZ3D are subject to these US based laws no matter where in the world they reside or download to.  In short, laws do not cross boarders.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I’m a bit confused. A sale through internet, which laws apply?

A sale in the US, through the internet, is based on US law. That’s true. But the court-ruling states that whatever the EULA says, after the digital content has been sold - can be sold to a third-person as long as the content is rendered unusable.

The case of Oracle (a US-based company) versus Used Soft (a German-based resale company) states otherwise from what the EULA says.

What it also states is that they have worded the ruling in such a way that the first-seller can’t circumvent the term ‘sale’ by calling in a ‘license’.

Edit. I forgot something else. They also states that if the digital content is sold, it cannot be divided. Say you have bought 10 licenses from Oracle, then you cannot sell 1 out of 10, you need to sell the whole thing for the law to apply. As far as I know it. That’s why I posted it would be a headache for the publisher (first-seller).

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Posted: 04 July 2012 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Posted: 04 July 2012 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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And don’t forget the US is extraditing British citizens for allegedly breaking US law, even tho they haven’t IIRC broken any equivalent British law.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Mattymanx - 04 July 2012 12:44 PM

In short, laws do not cross boarders.


Tell this to the Norwegian government and court… They disagree with you when it comes to use debit-cards in casinos. IOW, the banks here are required by Norwegian law to block purchases outside the borders in places where gambling may apply. Eg., it is known that if you want to buy reservations in Las Vegas at a hotel-casino, you’d better use cash, even when the purchase is non-gambling in nature. These are the facts here, and it is hotly disputed.

Found a link:
http://gamingzion.com/gamblingnews/new-norwegian-gambling-laws-interfering-with-visa-cardholders-1445

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Posted: 04 July 2012 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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No matter what the “law” says, if you can’t afford to pay for the legal representation then you lose by default.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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True, Kendall. I wonder if this will spur the move to the cloud-computing, by using the digital content as a service. Nothing downloaded, just swapping of licenses. Should be able to control infringement.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Norse Graphics - 04 July 2012 02:02 PM

True, Kendall. I wonder if this will spur the move to the cloud-computing, by using the digital content as a service. Nothing downloaded, just swapping of licenses. Should be able to control infringement.


That would involve “calling home.”  I think we’ve all see the explosions caused when the possibility of that happening has been broached.  What I think will happen is that one will not “purchase” anything, only a usage right that will be for limited time (5-10 years) with a renewal cost.  That would get around this kind of ruling.  I also believe that this ruling will be the death knell for digital content on physical media in the EU.


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Posted: 04 July 2012 02:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Well, the ruling includes physical AND digital distribution online - they don’t see them as separate items.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m not sure that the ruling would have that big an impact - it doesn’t legalise making and distributing multiple copies, or (if I’m reading right) using a license of version n to get an upgrade price for version n+1 then selling version n separately. It would, if upheld at face value, allow transfer of licenses - but many companies already do that, either with a blanket permission or on a case-by-case basis.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Norse Graphics - 04 July 2012 02:53 PM

Well, the ruling includes physical AND digital distribution online - they don’t see them as separate items.


Indeed, however the case is more clear cut with physical media.  As I said, I see this ruling forcing timed expiration+paid renewal for digital content in the EU.  The time interval is going to be the critical determination.  I also see a fee being instituted for the “effort” of transferral.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this fee being close to the cost of a renewal of the license.


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Posted: 04 July 2012 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I wonder if this will put pressure on pricing items.

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Posted: 04 July 2012 09:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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...so should this force a time limit, will it be just on the core application(s) or everything one downloads like plugins and content?


If the latter is true, that could result in one big micro management headache if users will be required to track all 3D “purchases” over the years and continually have to renew licences for every single item in their runtimes when they expire.


I can just imagine the frustration of opening up a scene you are working on and getting an error that some of the content or pluguns already used in it cannot be accessed until the licences are renewed.


This would not be as much an issue with core applications as they are usually updated every couple years anyway and the licence renewal can even be included as part of each completely new version (not SPs or .x updates) that is released.

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Posted: 05 July 2012 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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It’s as Richard Haseltine mentioned, if you sell the software (that normally means the right to use) you are not longer allowed to use it.
From my point of view I could not see a difference by selling used books, CDs, DVDs,... or “used” software.
Moving licenses to other users is quite common (not only in the EU), the only change is that a vendor could not longer oppose it.
I do not believe that a “time” limitation will be accepted by the users. (e.g. I do not purchase software any longer that needs an activation after installation and registration, because I had the problem three times that after some years the vendor was not longer available and I couldn’t use my (legal purchased) software on a new PC.)

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Posted: 05 July 2012 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Mattymanx - 04 July 2012 12:44 PM

DAZ3D is a US based company and their EULA is subject to US federal laws and Utah State laws.

That’s the argument they present in their EULA, it does not mean a court in another country will accept that that EULA is legal in their jurisdiction - which is what just happened in the European Court, they decided that a general provision of many EULAs is not legal within the European Union and is unenforceable. Companies can attempt to circumvent that, but you try to undermine the rulings of a court at your own risk! (See next para for a spectacular example).

To pick another example of European law being applied to the activities of US companies from the last few weeks, Microsoft just had a fine of $1.1Bn against them confirmed at appeal by the European Court for failure to adequately comply with a ruling that they must make their interface protocols available to other developers (and they’ve already paid a further $.5Bn in related fines). Their EULAs no doubt say that they are subject to US Federal law and probably Washington State law, but if a court decides to claim jurisdiction there’s little they can do about it. The EU isn’t claiming jurisdiction over MS worldwide, but ruling that they must make info available in Europe (they’re allowed to charge for it, but the fine was levied because the court decided they had deliberately set an exorbitant price to avoid meeting the ruling) does have much the same effect. A previous European Court ruling that they must allow a choice of browsers when Windows is installed - to prevent IE unfairly dominating the browser market, forced a complete redesign of Windows to decouple all the functions that had previously relied on IE source code. They only have to offer the choice of browsers in Europe, but users worldwide now have the option to uninstall IE, which was claimed to be impossible prior to Windows 7.

Court jurisdiction and applicability of laws can get odd, a Swiss human rights case at the European Court of Human Rights (different from the European Court and covering a larger set of countries) forced a change in how disability rights are interpreted within all of the Council of Europe countries by drawing on the interpretation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, even though Switzerland isn’t a signatory of that convention. Then there’s customary law, where states can be held responsible to international standards even if they have no laws to that effect - the ban on executions below the age of 18 in the US results from such a case.

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