A German court has dismissed a ‘reselling’ case in favour of Valve Software, the maker of Steam OS. German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv) had filed a complaint against Valve as Valve’s EULA (End User Licence Agreement) prohibits users from re-selling their games.
It’s bad new for users who lose the right to re-sell their digital content. What it means in layman’s terms, if the court’s decision is applied in the physical world, is that you are not allowed to re-sell your old car, couch or anything at all.
In July 2012 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that users have the right to re-sell downloaded content and a publisher can’t stop that via EULA. US companies are extremely aggressive over ‘ownership’ of content and taking away control from users. That case was one of the reasons why vzbv filed second complaint against Valve as the UsedSoft vs Oracle case concluded that the copyright owners exhaust their exclusive right after first sale which allows users to resell the digital content.
This ruling was the basis of vzbv complaint, but it seems the German Regional court believe that the CJEU ruling doesn’t apply to digitally ‘distributed’ games. For now it seems that digitally distributed games in Germany are not covered by ‘exhaustion’.
While companies do try to protect their works from ‘illegal’ downloads, or illegale re-selling, they should give customer total ownership of works they paid for. Looking at the extremely community friendly stand of Valve Software, we may expect Valve to give more power to users.
Patha Das contributed to this story