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Old 02-01-2013, 12:00 PM   #1
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Valve/Steam sued in Germany over 2nd Hand Game Sales

Finally someone with guts has done it:

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/gam...game-ownership/

Steam does not permit its users to resell games they no longer want, and even forbids the transfer of Steam accounts from one person to another.

Now they are getting sued over this.

Quote:
The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZVB) has sued computer game distributor Valve because it prohibits Steam-gamers from reselling their games.

Steam users own the games they purchase and should be able to resell them when they want to, just like owners of traditional card or board games can, said Carola Elbrecht, project manager for consumer rights in the digital world at the VZVB, on Thursday. But while those traditional game owners can resell their games whenever they like, Steam users often cannot, she said.

In theory, a Steam user could download a game, burn it on a CD and resell it, she said. In most cases, though, buyers wouldn't be able to play the game they purchased because the games are linked to a user account and without the key for that specific account, online only games are not playable, she said.

Because Valve forbids its users to sell or transfer their accounts to another person, the exchange of games that can only be played online is impossible, she said. This means that a Steam user only partially owns games, Elbrecht said. "If I pay the full price for a game, then why am I not allowed to do with it what I want," she added.

Valve was warned in September by the VZVB to change this practice, but the company did not comply with the federation's demands. Therefore, the federation sued the company in the District Court of Berlin on Wednesday.

Valve did not respond to a request for comment.


Last edited by DePaint : 02-01-2013 at 03:36 PM.
 
Old 02-01-2013, 12:21 PM   #2
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ahh the good old Verbraucherzentrale ..... it's about time
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Old 02-01-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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Quite amazing. Someone correct me, but I believe this came from Steam supposing a 'licence' or contract model where you licence the games, which can pose restrictions on what you may do with the licences. Like I may not sell my phone contract on (I believe). Steam does this by having you pay a one-time fee for a 'lifelong' licence, which would be non-transferable in a similar vein. What the European court ruled (again, I believe) is that a single-fee licence is identical to an actual sale, meaning you should be able to do with the game what-ever you want.

If this goes through it will quite blow a wind through distribution channels as they would all have to implement a way to 'sell' games!
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:35 PM   #4
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Hmm, perhaps the solution to stop people simply transferring games willy-nilly is to have some protection clauses - like time limits on how often it can be transferred, or sold back to the original owner etc.
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Old 02-01-2013, 02:43 PM   #5
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So if I buy a "digital" movie from iTunes, I should have the right to sell it to someone else? Can that be done?
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryDS
So if I buy a "digital" movie from iTunes, I should have the right to sell it to someone else? Can that be done?


Good question, especially considering the high price of purchasing movies from iTunes. i wonder when the EU will be taking a look at exhorbitant prices for movie downloads? Looper and Dredd downloads are something like €16.99 each, making them more expensive that standard DVDs, and almost as expensive as Blu Rays! I was able to buy both movies on DVD for €13.99 each, the Blu Rays were only a few Euro more than iTunes downloads. Early promises of Internet movie downloads and virtual products bringing lower prices haven't been kept as far as I can see.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryDS
So if I buy a "digital" movie from iTunes, I should have the right to sell it to someone else? Can that be done?


Were movies on Betamax or VHS tape re-sellable?

Yes they were.

Can you sell a DVD or Bluray you are bored with to someone else?

Yes you can.

Were you able to sell 2nd hand games or software on floppy disc or CD-ROM/DVD to other people?

Yes you were. Back in the days when there was no "online product activation" at all.

Did people re-sell music on vinyl, audio tape or audio CD?

Yes they did. For decades in fact. Especially people in school/college on a budget did this a lot.

In all these cases that involved content on physical media, you were pretty much free to do whatever you want with the product after the initial purchase.

You could share, swap, buy or sell games, music, films, books, magazines and other stuff freely.

Then "purely digital" content - downloadable content without a physical medium - came along, and slimeball, hard-capitalist companies like Apple, Valve, Amazon and many others decided to take away ALL OF THE THINGS you could do back when stuff came on physical media.

So all of us lost very basic rights we had for decades once industry went "digital".

And now, hopefully, a German court will bash some sanity back into this situation.

As with many things legal, these days, once Germany decides to kick these slimeball companies in the shin, other countries/legal bodies may very well follow suit.


I'm all for Apple, Valve, Amazon and many other e-tailers being kicked in the nuts.

If I buy something digital for roughly the same price as something physical, why should I loose all of my old rights just because "this shit is digital now".

Just about the only problem with re-selling digital content is that some people may do that AND keep a digital copy of whatever they just re-sold for themselves.

But with HARD-DRM systems like iTunes, Steam, Uplay, Origin and others in place, the likelihood of lots of ordinary people finding a way to keep a digital copy of shit they resell for themselves is slim.

I hope that this German court thing is the first battle in a worldwide legal war to get our basic consumer rights back.

And screw Valve, Apple, Amazon and other e-tailers. They make a fucking fortune each financial quarter, just from selling us little digital bits that sattisfy for a few hours at most in many cases.

Let the legal battle for RESTORED CONSUMER RIGHTS begin.

And may courts around the world follow suit, and eventually kick Apple, Valve, Amazon and all the other digital ueber-capitalist squarely in the nuts.


There. I feel much better already!

Last edited by DePaint : 02-01-2013 at 03:35 PM.
 
Old 02-01-2013, 04:13 PM   #8
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To be honest, I don't agree that the digital games should be resellable, for one, it's complicated because even if Valve allows for games to be transferable it won't work for online because that authorization is controlled by the game developer. I don't really agree that you own the game either, it seems more like a license, plus Valve gives services for games like allowing you to download it as many times as you want, you're not paying for just the game.

Plus, considering the extreme sales they do all the time, I don't think it's fair to complain about not being able to sell games when you can get them for so cheap, even new games often go on sale pretty soon after they release.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:22 PM   #9
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The other issue, is that way back when, piracy of content wasn't and issue. If you had vinyl, you sold it once. If you have digital, you can sell it indefinitely, thus putting the originator of the content out of business. So with digital media, it could open the floodgates to massive pirating of games, and already it's a ongoing issue.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryDS
The other issue, is that way back when, piracy of content wasn't and issue. If you had vinyl, you sold it once. If you have digital, you can sell it indefinitely, thus putting the originator of the content out of business. So with digital media, it could open the floodgates to massive pirating of games, and already it's a ongoing issue.


You can only sell your game once; still possessing it afterwards would be like copying the vinyl and selling the copy.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerryDS
The other issue, is that way back when, piracy of content wasn't and issue. If you had vinyl, you sold it once. If you have digital, you can sell it indefinitely, thus putting the originator of the content out of business. So with digital media, it could open the floodgates to massive pirating of games, and already it's a ongoing issue.


once you resell your game, you'd be reselling it with its license (activation code). Otherwise it couldnt be played. Its basically an authentic copy. No code, no way to play.

Digital distribution costs the same as hard copy objects but gets you less rights. Its why i'll never buy into it fully. The moment someone from somewhere else can decide what i may or may not do with MY money that i spent, its game over. Not to mention the glitches like the Amazon kindle lady had where her account was locked off and she had to go through the media to complain to even get Amazon customer service to listen to her and unlock her wrongfully banned account. Slippery slope.
 
Old 02-01-2013, 05:33 PM   #12
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It really does become a complex issue. I buy software and cannot resell it, like 3ds Max. I can't even really effectively transfer the license without an extreme amount of hassle. People used to sell their copies all the time or their older versions. Basically my fee is a license to use it. Luckily vehicles don't work that way. Honda would license me to drive their brand, but I could not sell it, only the dealership could sell it. However, if I buy a car, and then paint a image of it and try to sell it on a t-shirt, I'll get sued.

Just because someone gets sued, doesn't mean they will loose. The game company is probably very confident in their defense and may just as likely win. They will also have the big guns like Apple, Amazon, etc likely backing them to insure a win. Sometimes, a successful defense can force the plaintiff to pay the cost of the defense as well.


This one will be interesting to watch play out.

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 02-01-2013 at 05:40 PM.
 
Old 02-01-2013, 06:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evolucian
.......Digital distribution costs the same as hard copy objects.....


I don't believe that. An actual product like a disc in a case with printed cover costs more, add to that all the shipping costs required to get it from the manufacturers to stores in all corners of the planet. Hosting a virtual product for customers to download themselves costs far less.
As an example, my Dad runs a motorcycle site and forum which has free maintenance articles, photos and videos that get downloaded by bikers all the time. Server/hosting costs are the same each month regardless of how few or how many people browse the site or download content. The key is to have a server package able to cater for the guesstimated traffic without bogging down.
There is just no way that can cost more than an actual product in the hand.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:59 PM   #14
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He meant the same thing, that digital copies should not cost the same as physical copies since you get less for the money.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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With digital files, they can be cracked and then sold over and over again ... no licence issue.
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