In terms of copyright, these kinds of licences are also free treadable, as the exhaustion rule can be applied to every single licence. The legitimacy of a contract clause determining that the licences can only be reassigned as a total, is seriously being doubted at least by experts. According to the German Civil Code (BGB), a purchaser has to be enabled to dispose freely of his property, and contractual restrictions as mentioned before are incompatible with this principle.
Munich Regional Court (Landgericht) ruled that “the sale and/or the disposal of individual Microsoft software licences previously issued as part of volume licence agreements, is fundamentally possible even without the approval of Microsoft.”
In practice, this means the following: If Microsoft sells several rights of use in a volume package, for instance with only one master CD, its right of distribution is nevertheless exhausted in relation to every individual licence. These licences may correspondingly also be resold individually, and not only in the form of the original package. With this judgement, the Court rejected the legal conception on the part of Microsoft, according to which the purchaser of a volume licence does not acquire individual licences but only a right of duplication.
Munich Regional Court (Landgericht) explicitly refers to the judgement by the Hamburg Regional Court, which in June 2006 had already declared the re-sale of individual Microsoft licences from volume licensing contracts to be admissible (File reference 315 O 343/06). In this ruling, the Regional Court of Hamburg decreed, inter alia, that Microsoft’s argument was a clear rejection that the splitting-up of volume licences would not be possible owing to the more favourable conditions granted for them. This is, according to the ruling, “completely irrelevant … to the question of applying copyright exhaustion.” In conclusion the Hamburg Court emphasised that the provisions in Microsoft’s licensing conditions that restricted the resale were ineffective: the exhaustion relates to “mandatory law that cannot be contractually waived.
The prohibited splitting-up of licences raised in the ECJ’s judgement dated 3 July 2012 refers only to the Oracle licences dealt with there. This was also confirmed by the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court’s judgement on 18.12.2012 (File reference 11 U 68/11).