EU second-hand software ruling could prompt tightening of licensing laws

Simon Placks, director of fraud investigation and dispute services at advisory firm Ernst & Young, told IT Pro the move could result in vendors losing track of software sales.

"Businesses will need to increase their vigilance over the ways in which digital downloads percolate through their IT infrastructure," he said.

"Consequently, we could see this ruling acting as a catalyst for more publishers to move to subscription and-cloud based licensing models in an attempt to regain control of their intellectual property."

However, Clive Longbottom, service director at analyst Quocirca, said vendors should find the changes easy to circumnavigate.

"Vendors could move from a perpetual license to an annual one," he suggested.

"If the customer does not pay to renew the license, then the customer's right to use the software is revoked."

Software firms could also introduce restrictions about the exact locations where their products can be used or adopt subscription-based licensing models.

"This will have an immediate, but temporary impact on the market. Expect a massive leap in sales of second-hand software, including perpetual licenses , followed by a clampdown on contracts to make this possible," he said.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.