Update on Resale of Software

Since 2012 Reselling Software has been started by a number of brokers. Though little has been done to reassure owners of surplus software licenses and shelfware that, yes, indeed, licenses can be marketed and sold on. The European Court has restated the legality of the resale of software in Europe in its latest judgment: even where the license agreements signed up to by the licensee declared that the software was non-assignable and only for that particular licensee’s internal business purposes. But the court confirmed that the principle does not extend to software transferred on back-up discs.

Software vendors do not have not been very active in mentioning the resale option to customers. On the other side they cannot be too dismissive: they are constrained by competition (anti-trust) laws in seeking to inhibit the market in indirect ways. This can include discriminating against their customers, refusing support or seeking higher prices from those using pre-owned software. The jeopardy for them is a finding of abuse, damages and fines of up to 10% of their group’s global turnover.

An interesting perspective on support for secondary software being a potential growth market: Support costs on software generally exceed, over time, the initial license fees paid. This means that, if there were a new user of redundant software, there is the possibility of extending the vendor’s customer base and increasing, rather than damaging, its income.

Link to full article by Robin fry