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But what about legally? Are you allowed to buy and sell used software? 

The answer is yes! It is legal to sell and use used software if, among other things, the following conditions are met, for which the provider and its customer bear the full burden of proof: 

The computer program must have been originally marketed with Microsoft's permission in the territory of the EU or another contracting state of the European Economic Area (EEA).  

The license must be of unlimited duration.  

All copies from previous purchasers must have been rendered unusable at the time of resale. To clarify this, one must know all previous buyers!  


When you purchase used original software from Dajema IT Distributors, we provide the following legal and manufacturer compliant proofs: 

- Proof of delivery & invoice incl. serial no. & installation key (incl.2 downgrade versions)

- Copy of the software license agreement from the original first owner.

- Document "Legally approved transfer of usage and application rights".

- Installation medium

- Signed declaration of destruction from the original owner

Note: The purchase and sale of used software is therefore only allowed in Europe and countries within the EEA.

Advantages pre-owned software:

- As a rule a lot cheaper than new licenses

- Reduction of the ecological footprint

- Counteracting the current 'throw-away culture

- Attractive margins for the reseller

For a successful and legal transfer of the licenses (purchase and sale), it is essential to hand over the following documents! 

The resale of software (in particular Microsoft products) in Europe and countries within the EEA is completely legal and also approved by the European Court on April 24, 2012.

Below and in the provided weblink, you can read about what and what the court ruled in this court case. In short, it boils down to the fact that end users in Europe purchase the software package including the right of ownership, in which case only the right of use of the software package is purchased against end users in America.

In Europe, the software package is therefore entirely in the possession of the buying party, so that the ownership of the purchased software in America remains with Microsoft. 

Case law

European decision

24 April 2012∂=1&cid=1437095


Second-hand software licenses are completely legal, ruling European Court of Justice

The European Union Court of Justice has recently taken a milestone decision in favor of the commercialization of second hand software licenses of any kind. According to this, once a software seller or distributor sells a copy of any software tool, it automatically loses its exclusive rights to distribution, making it completely legal for companies and individuals to re-sell their own copies, legitimating this niche market for companies such as the German based UsedSoft, the company that took the case to the European Court.

In addition, it is clearly stated in the Court decision that no difference could be applied between physical media and download products. “It makes no difference whether the copy of the computer program was made available by means of a download from the right holder’s website or by means of a material medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD,” the court ruled. “Even if the right holder formally separates the customer’s right to use the copy of the program supplied from the operation of transferring the copy of the program to the customer on a material medium, the operation of downloading from that medium a copy of the computer program and that of concluding a license agreement remain inseparable from the point of view of the acquirer.”

The transfer of property of the licenses also implies the transfer of the legal obligations stablished for both parts, including maintenance and upgrades, also meaning that multiple user licenses for instance cannot be split and sold separately, since the original conditions would still apply in case of a re-sell.


However, this decision only affects the European markets, since previous Court decisions in the United States followed a completely different direction. In the precedent-setting case Vernor vs. Autodesk, it was established that US buyers purchase the ability to use a license, but they do not own the software, making redistribution not legally possible. This does not prevent American users to purchase licenses outside the USA, although the legality of such possibility is still unclear.

Nevertheless, this European Court decision has a huge importance for companies, since it eliminates the distinction between the purchase of a license and the purchase of a product. The implications of this measure for international trade and intellectual property legislation on the long term still would need to be further discussed, but on the short term the cost-saving potential for European organizations is undoubtedly very important. We will see in the future the real impact that the opening of this market has for European Union based companies.