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The 7 golden rules for trading used software


Even if we talk about software, we are on the subject of reuse and saving of resources. With one basic difference: unlike almost all other products, the software does not wear out and does not need to be regenerated. For the buyer, one software license used it has the same value as a new one, except that those who buy it get hold of it at more advantageous conditions, with a saving of money that can reach 50 percent.

The most important thing to know, however, is that trading in used software is legal, provided that the transparency conditions that also apply to all other products are respected. IS 7 golden rules for buying used software. Claiming this is less trivial than it seems given that we have been in a gray area for a long time with regard to the purchase of used software (ie licenses already used elsewhere for once).

Selling and buying i used software it has always been legal, in principle. However, technological development continues so rapidly that the laws age quickly leaving room for difficulties of interpretation. For example, the directive valid throughout the EU that allows the resale of computer programs was enacted in 1993, therefore at a time when no one yet speculated that one day it would be possible to buy software via download. This lack of clarity has been mainly exploited by US software producers to confuse customers and thus secure a monopoly position.

What is the legal reference?

The cornerstone is the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) of 3 July 2012, with which the CJEU ruled that for every first sale of a software the principle of exhaustion. According to this principle, the distribution right of a manufacturer over its product expires when the manufacturer has put it into circulation for the first time. The CJEU in practice emphasized that: "The rightful owner, even if the license agreement prohibits subsequent sale, can no longer oppose the resale of the copy concerned ". This means that, after the first sale, a manufacturer can no longer influence what the buyer of this product later does with it. The new owner is free to resell it.

And what about updates and updates?

The European Court also ruled that the second purchaser can still download the software from the manufacturer even for computer programs transferred online. The provision reads: "The exhaustion of the distribution right extends to the copy of the program up to the improved and updated version owned by the copyright owner". Therefore the buyer also benefits from updates and other updates through the software manufacturer.

As you can easily guess, the ruling of the CJEU represents a milestone for free trade in Europe, making free and fair possible competition in the software trade. However, to make the best use of the used software market to their advantage, buyers need to keep in mind 7 golden rules for buying used software.

1. Volume licenses can be split, Client-Server licenses cannot. According to this principle, the software of the volume programs can be split, ie resold individually. This is a certain amount of single licenses sold in one package for distribution and marketing purposes only. For example, a Volume license consists of 100 individual licenses sold in a package, so that you can install the software on 100 individual PCs. In this case, for example, 50 pieces can be resold.

It is different for Client-Server licenses. These cannot be separated. Reason: A Client-Server license is stored on a server. The buyer purchases a certain number of access rights for this single license. As this is a single license, it cannot be split.

2. Regular license transfer. The essential thing in the purchase of used software is that the license has been duly assigned. Anyone who decides to buy used software should turn to established dealers. In this way, the purchaser of the software can be sure that everything has been done in accordance with the license transfer. The CJEU also provided that the software can only be resold if the vendor no longer uses it. An effective means of obtaining a guarantee and proof of this is a notarial certificate.

3. Purchase standard software only. In principle, you can trade all sorts of used software. However, it is better to buy only standard software, to be on the safe side.

4. Only purchased software can be sold. Trading in used software is only legal if it is software that has been "Put into circulation by sale" (ie: sold). Therefore, the software of rental or leasing contracts cannot be included in the second-hand trade.

5. Supply capacity of the trader. Only large traders are in a position to supply parts immediately and in large quantities. Most of the small bidders are made up only of brokers, who can only sell what other companies want to sell, and only the exact number of pieces offered at the moment. Since they always have a large software warehouse with many thousands of licenses, merchants can offer a much wider range of software types and versions.

6. Choose the suitable version. There are both current versions and older programs in large quantities on the used software market. As the example of Windows 8 shows, new doesn't necessarily equal the best. On the one hand, the most up-to-date version of a software requires a running-in period, and on the other hand it is linked to higher hardware requirements. An equally valid and familiar version is then a good alternative. Since this version is often no longer offered by the manufacturer, the used software market becomes the only way to get it. Used by no means means that they are just older programs. The large suppliers of used software allow you to significantly reduce the cost of purchasing the most updated versions.

7. Payment acceptance. After purchasing a software, the previous version is often no longer used. Major merchants accept it in payment for the purchase of other software. In this way, companies can transform fixed assets into liquid assets and save double in the purchase of new software.

What is the general origin of the software used?

Both current versions and older programs are on the market for software used in large quantities. The used licenses they come from insolvencies, discontinued operations, restructuring measures or system changes. The truth is, in addition to buyers of used software, sellers can also take advantage of the new business model. By selling surplus licenses, companies can transform fixed assets into liquid assets.

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