The European Court of Justice cites exhaustion rule as a limit on computer program copyrights

9 July 2012

On July 3, 2012, the ECJ issued their decision on the matter referred to the court for a preliminary ruling in case C-128/11.

The specific case arises from a complaint filed by ORACLE regarding an operator that sold second-hand licenses for their computer programs.

The ECJ upheld that the copy distribution right for a computer program is exhausted if the copyright holder authorized, in exchange for payment, the internet download of the copy to a computer device and likewise granted the right, without any time limit, to use of the copy.

The Court likewise upheld that in a user license resale which entails the resale of a copy of a computer program downloaded from the website of the copyright holder, the second acquirer of said license, as well as any subsequent acquirer, can cite exhaustion of the distribution right and, therefore, be considered to the legitimate acquirer of a copy of a computer program.

More information at: http://curia.

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