Short answer: no. Buying and selling used software is now legally protected in Europe following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling back in 2012 which enabled businesses to legally sell their disused software licence assets. The most important factor to bear in mind when purchasing used software licences is to use a reputable secondary reseller that can provide your business with the unique perpetual software licence agreement number (identifying the original Microsoft customer) and ownership documents. Perpetual used software does not expire or need renewing and will continue to be supported by the vendor in exactly the same way as new software licence customer enjoy. Unlike with the Cloud, used software businesses do not have to renew/install the latest software version when launched – used software clients can maintain a previous version of the software on its network.
How Does Pre-owned/Used Software Work?
Basically, buying used software can save any business a considerable amount of money - discounts of 50- 75% off conventional reseller prices are quite normal. However, in the pre-owned / used software markets, it is important to choose your used software reseller carefully as your business will need to be able to prove its legal ownership of the software in the event of a software licence audit.
A reputable used software supplier will be able to provide your business with
- The original licence contract numbers (tracing back to the original Microsoft customer);
- A copy of genuine media and installation keys;
- Rights to use the product
- Documentation from the previous owners, proving ownership and demonstrating de-installation of the software.
This means the requirements of any Microsoft software licence audit are met in full so that the software vendor/manufacturer cannot legally refuse to acknowledge the validity of the pre-owned/used software.
Who Can Buy Used Software?
Any business, organisation or government authority can buy second-hand software. It is a valuable way for organisations of any size to become compliant or upgrade software assets, without having to paying full market prices. Government bodies, local authorities and businesses of any size invest significant sums of money into software assets and so opting for used software can be an extremely cost-effective way of reducing IT costs and stretching budgets.
Risks Of Buying Used Software
As long as you are provided with the used software licence details, documentation tracing back to the original Microsoft customer and a genuine statement that the used software was fully uninstalled from their system, the validity of your used software cannot be lawfully challenged by a vendor or an auditor.
When buying used software, it is imperative that the software was originally put into use within Europe suffice. It is vital that any used software supplier offers legal warranties and insurances in order to safeguard your business ownership rights. Therefore, as already noted, make sure you opt for a used software reseller with essential expertise so that legal issues do not arise in the future.