October 30, 2013
Author: 
Tomás O'Leary

The world’s biggest car makers get inspiration from the software giants.

When it comes to your car, you either own it or you don’t. There may be a variety of ways to finance a car purchase, but if you own it, you can sell it. If you rent or lease it, then you don’t own it and you can’t sell it. Simple right?

Let’s imagine the three biggest auto makers: Volkswagen, Toyota and Daimler would imitate the practices of the three biggest software publishers: Microsoft, Oracle and SAP.

Picture the outcry if car owners all over the world were prevented from selling their vehicles because the manufacturer had included the word “non-transferable” into the contract of sale?

 
An Absurd Situation

Of course this suggestion is completely absurd. However, by imagining the practices of software companies in analogous context, it becomes even more obvious they have been ripping off their customers. No longer!

With software licences, it is just as simple as with cars, you either own them or you don’t. If you have a perpetual licence, then you own a licence to use the product forever (in its then current form). A term licence means that there is no upfront investment and you may only use the product whilst you are paying the subscription fee.

Rights Beyond The Contract

Since the beginnings of the software market, publishers have tried to prevent the second-hand resale of perpetual licences by inserting the term “non-transferable” into their agreements with customers. Software publishers will tell you that this means that you, and only you, can ever use that particular licence - this is no longer true!

Thankfully, European law has put you back in the driver’s seat. In the European Economic Area you can sell the software licences you no longer need. On 3 July 2012, the highest court in Europe held that software companies could not prevent the resale of perpetual licences, regardless of what the licence agreement says.

Don’t Get Milked

If you are unaware of your rights when it comes to software licensing, then software vendors will lead you by the nose, like a cow to the milking parlour to be, well, milked.

Free ICT Europe is dedicated to raising the awareness of ICT user’s rights within the European Union.

Join the campaign. Sign up to our mailing list and share this on social media.

 

This guest post was written by Christiaan Murphy. You can get more from Christiaan on SoftwareSpend.com

Image credits:

"for sale - '73 volkswagen superbeetle”, by Robert Couse-Baker, creative commons, flickr.com

“20130911-OC-RBN-3959”, by U.S. Department of Agriculture, creative commons, flickr.com

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