EU judge rules people can resell downloable games

While we have seen people resell console games on discs to others, the common theory is that games that were purely sold as a downloadable product could not have the same privilege. Now a judge for the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that downloadable games can be resold just like game discs.

Eurogamer reports that according to the ruling, "An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licenses allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet." The court also ruled this condition applies even if the game or download services' End User License Agreement says otherwise.

The only catch with this ruling is that the previous owner of the game must make his or her copy "unusable at the time of resale". If they don't, they are in violation of copyright laws. There's no word as to how this could be enforced.

This court decision will apply to all of the countries in the European Union. There's no word if any game publishers, or the companies in charge of downloadable game services such as Valve's Steam division will appeal the ruling or change their EULA to comply with the court's decision.

Source: Eurogamer

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7 Comments

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Yet another stupid move by the EU.

Thanks to this, we will see yet more limited-activation DRM. Lovely.

gg EU, keep up the bad work.

Wait, doesn't this actually apply to more than games? (aka, why is this on Neogamr and not Neowin?)

The judge mentioned software, so it should cover things like smartphone Apps, PC/Mac applications, etc...

Would like to see this extended to music and movies and so on, too.


It's one of those days when I'm happy to live in the EU again haha. ^__^


GS:mac

I don't see why people would want to resell games anyway, they are so cheap in steam sales and its nice to be able to look through a list of games and be able to pick something that takes me fancy to play that day

Teebor said,
I don't see why people would want to resell games anyway, they are so cheap in steam sales and its nice to be able to look through a list of games and be able to pick something that takes me fancy to play that day

Agreed, but the main issue that prevents some people from going digital in gaming is the fact that currently, you can't sell the game if you want to. On Steam, at least; Green Man Gaming's allowed you trade in old game for money off new ones for a long time. That's definitely a step in the right direction, but thanks to the EU's ruling, the online stores will eventually have to go all the way now.

Speaking of Steam, just allow people to resell/trade their licenses and make it so buyer can use wallet funds for second hand licenses. Once the license is transferred, the game disappears off of the sellers account. They would also need to make wallet funds refundable/transferable.

It's beyond ridiculous that I am disallowed to transfer the license to someone else if I wish to.

It scares me how Europe can pass consumer protection laws, and come to actual ruling about treating software like a commodity object and the US can't...

Steam would be able to easily implement this, you transfer, it's removed from your account and access is revoked. I do expect Steam to at least put up some fight and appeal on behalf of the publishers.

I really do think DRM / Restrictions would be tolerated by US if we had the consumer laws / protections in place so we can transfer, recover, and move stuff around our devices freely, with the option to be held accountable for copyright violation illegally copying content.