Crikey: EU Rules You Can Resell Downloaded Games

"Crikey: EU Rules You Can Resell Downloaded Games
Well here’s some pretty huge news. The Court Of Justice of the European Union has just ruled that people should be able to resell downloaded games. In an environment where publishers are trying to destroy basic consumer rights like the ability to resell physical products you’ve paid for, this could be one heck of a turnaround for customers. And that’s no matter what it might say in the EULAs. This could have absolutely enormous implications on how services like Steam, Origin, GamersGate and the like work, and finally restore some rights back to the gamer."

As a Canadian living here in Europe, it is nice having the EU Parliament back up us gamers.

In theory, hurrah! But what does this really mean for games?

For starters, we have to point out that this is a preliminary ruling, and so not in itself binding – it’s subject to being challenged, and for a national court to actually enforce. It’s also worth noting that the software at the heart of the case isn’t a game, but Oracle’s tools, and a company selling ‘spare’ licenses.

In the world of games, the subtleties are different – for starters, DRM. By this verdict, you’d be okay with selling/gifting a DRM free game to anyone you chose, provided you deleted/destroyed/rendered useless your original copy. However, anything locked to a personal account and a service’s DRM would be problematic, as the EU has specific anti-circumvention rules in place. -
There’s not much use selling a game if the person buying it won’t be able to play it. Insert your own Diablo 3 joke here.

At the same time though, would that make DRM officially a tool to stop people reselling their games? That would be specifically against this ruling, which prohibits any preventative action. An interesting clash, to be sure, if the courts can be convinced it isn’t simply a question of fighting piracy.

Check out the précis of the ruling here -
and the full text here. -

Expect to see the digital distribution industry fight this tooth and nail though – their control over products (to at least honest customers) and lock-in is a huge part of digital’s appeal, and not a power any of the big boys will give up lightly.

<em>Edited by Pvt.Snail on Jul 03, 2012 - 05:00 PM.</em>
"There’s not much use selling a game if the person buying it won’t be able to play it. Insert your own Diablo 3 joke here."