The rights of lawful copyright users are potentially eroding through the current treatment of digital copies of copyright works under sale of goods/consumer law and through the application of copyright exhaustion. In this paper, I look at the inconsistent treatment of digital copies of copyright works distributed online in sale of goods/consumer law and in the application of copyright exhaustion. Should they be treated as goods, services or as being of a sui generis nature? Should copyright exhaustion apply to digital copies distributed online? What exclusive rights of copyright holders are involved in their commercialization? The Court of Justice of the European Union and the Supreme Court of Canada were recently confronted with similar questions in two cases: UsedSoft GmbHv. Oracle International Corpand Entertainment Software Association v.Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.I argue that many of the inconsistencies in the treatment of digital copies of copyright works distributed online derive from a misunderstanding of the nature and function of three dichotomies: the distinction between tangible and intangible, goods and services and between sale and licence. I analyze the issues at hand through the lens of property law and theory as a unifying theme and legal basis for a more reasoned approach to the regulation of digital copies of copyright works distributed online. I look at the criteria to help determine when digital copies of copyright works distributed online should be treated as goods and when copyright exhaustion should apply. A more coherent approach to digital copies of copyright works will not only provide more legal certainty, it will also ensure a more consistent level of protection to copyright users through a firmer recognition of their ownership rights in digital copies of copyright works. This exercise will also help clarify which of the copyright holders’ exclusive rights are involved in the distribution of digital copies of copyright works and facilitate the understanding of related aspects of the collective administration of copyright.