Edited by Irene Calboli and Edward Lee
Chapter 4: “Exhaustion” in the digital age
In its judgment of July 3, 2012 in UsedSoft v. Oracle, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled: • that the right of distribution of a copy of a computer program is exhausted if the copyright holder who has authorised, even free of charge, the downloading of that copy from the internet onto a data carrier has also conferred, in return for payment of a fee intended to enable him to obtain a remuneration corresponding to the economic value of the copy of the work of which he is the proprietor, a right to use that copy for an unlimited period.1 This decision opened up an intense debate about the applicability of this “exhaustion rule” to copyright-protected digital products other than software, particularly since the CJEU based its judgment on Directive 2009/24,2 which is lex specialis in relation to the InfoSoc Directive 2001/29.3
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