Microsoft must put in the OEM dispute defeat
The Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) has led dispute over the coupled Sales of software and PC hardware dismissed in for months a lawsuit by Microsoft against a Berlin PC manufacturers and thus also the legal status with hardware “gebundelter” programs ( “Original Equipment Manufacturer “(OEM) – or” Delivery service Pack “(DSP) software) determines which had been disputed among lawyers.
Yesterday, July 6, 2000 the 1st Division of the Supreme Court has decided after an oral hearing that a software company traders who are not contractually associated with it, each resale of “entbundelter” Software – the manufacturer marking only the joint distribution with particular the new hardware is provided – to consumers can not prohibit. According to BGH The copyright provides no recourse for the enforcement of such sales restrictions.
This sets the highest competent federal court a line under a dispute between Microsoft and many traders who are not direct contractors of the software group, but individually OEM or DSP versions about Windows or Office packages or with self-imposed (also used) Hardware proposed to end customers.
As a special slap the software industry, the adoption of the Supreme Court can be said that the split distribution of software represents (as a regular full-price and when discounted OEM version) is not a necessary and worthy of protection law. Microsoft had argued that in the interests of combating piracy to be dependent on such marketing concept. If the company Microsoft programs at a discounted price PC makers abgebe to promote PC original equipment with their products, had no reason – according to the BGH – why not interested should come to an isolated copy of the program to benefit from the lower price. The interest of a manufacturer, different market segments to use with different prices, so it was said, would not otherwise protected by the legal system. In the language of the house Microsoft the actual OEM versions, which are once again significantly cheaper than DSP products (Microsoft products), major contractors such as Compaq, IBM, Dell or Fujitsu Siemens reserved – depending on contracts obtained this hardware manufacturers only the necessary licensing rights to equip their products with the appropriate software, but no complete original packages.
German copyright law allows the author of a protected work (or about the manufacturer of the software product) to determine, among other things about the reproduction and use of his work and to grant third parties the relevant rights fee. This disposal right of the author, which always refers directly to each individual item produced, however, exhausted by its delivery (or transfer of manufacturing rights) to a licensee – for example, an OEM partner. The manufacturer can thus for example an end customer who only has an agreement with its dealers, but no direct contract with the manufacturer, not ban, be legal erstandenes copy to sell, unless he changed nothing in it.
The BGH has now thus creating a piece of legal certainty. A certain distribution channel can not be enforced by means of copyright. Consequently, now is also likely to an end customer, which is about an OEM – acquires product with a new computer and this operating system does not use the software in good conscience continue to sell. Neither he nor the ultimate purchaser would thereby violate the copyright.