Currently, renting out software to customers is illegal unless you have permission of the rights holder. For "normal" software (e.g. operating systems, computer games, office software), this law is acceptable.
The problem is, is that nearly every electronic device has software in it (cars, microwaves). This outlaws:
- car rental
- computer rental/leasing (even with proper operating system licenses, as the "bare-metal" computer does have a BIOS which can't be removed),
- hotels with TVs in the rooms,
- landlords who provide the use of a microwave etc.
In hardware, the "software" is usually "firmware", however in the EU Computer Programs Directive (91/250/EEC) which our law is based upon, it does say that "the term 'computer program` shall include programs in any form, including those which are incorporated into hardware".
This undermines our right to rent out hardware that we own. It is infeasable to ask every manufacturer of every single electronic device permission to rent/lease hardware, just because it contains a small amount of software