Do you still need to understand why software should be open source? Part 4

We’re grateful to “The Register” for drawing attention to the latest licensing information regarding (non) transferability of Microsoft Office licences.

We think it’s worth reading in conjunction with:

not to suggest a narrative thread but as part of a broader canvas. After all there are documents from HMRC we can’t read, among other problems.

From the website we may read:

It is important to note that Office 2013 suites have consistent rights and restrictions regarding transferability as the equivalent Office 2010 PKC, which was chosen by a majority of Office 2010 customers worldwide.

but in effect the article only mentions the restrictions.

In Europe, the legal right to transferability was established after a 2011 decision in an seemingly interminable law suit in Germany which was confirmed by the Court of Justice in 2012.

From para 88 of the judgment:

Articles 4(2) and 5(1) of Directive 2009/24 must be interpreted as meaning that, in the event of the resale of a user licence […] that licence having originally been granted by that rightholder to the first acquirer for an unlimited period in return for payment of a fee intended to enable the rightholder to obtain a remuneration corresponding to the economic value of that copy of his work, the second acquirer of the licence, as well as any subsequent acquirer of it, will be able to rely on the exhaustion of the distribution right under Article 4(2) of that directive, and hence be regarded as lawful acquirers of a copy of a computer program within the meaning of Article 5(1) of that directive and benefit from the right of reproduction provided for in that provision.

So you do have the right to transfer the software. In practice, of course, given the success of those seeking a refund for the operating system they didn’t want that was bundled with their choice of hardware, good luck with that.

Fourth in a series:

— Gerry Gavigan, Chair, 21 February 2013

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