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(Rock Paper Shotgun)   Steam under pressure: EU rules that games bought and downloaded online can be sold on   (rockpapershotgun.com) divider line 45
    More: Interesting, International Court of Justice, German companies, European Court of Human Rights, digital copy, first sale, preliminary ruling, resellers, CD-ROM  
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2974 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Jul 2012 at 12:17 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-03 11:54:57 AM
The specific rule seems to be that if a license is sold indefinitely - i.e. not a license for a year, or similar - that the rightholder "exhausts his exclusive distribution right".


Then they will lease you a game for 10 years or something.
 
2012-07-03 12:25:02 PM
Well on one hand I'm happy as I have some some Steam games I'd sell (that DRM shiat laden POS known as the PC port of GTA IV comes to mind). On the other hand I wonder what this does to the price point of things like Good Old Games. They basically sell cheap and having to include some resale mechanism would up their costs and thus mine.
 
2012-07-03 12:26:38 PM
SUBBY:Steam under pressure: EU rules that games bought and downloaded online can be sold on

Well, sold on what, Subby? Don't leave us hanging.
 
2012-07-03 12:27:41 PM

ha-ha-guy: Well on one hand I'm happy as I have some some Steam games I'd sell (that DRM shiat laden POS known as the PC port of GTA IV comes to mind). On the other hand I wonder what this does to the price point of things like Good Old Games. They basically sell cheap and having to include some resale mechanism would up their costs and thus mine.


How dare ye insult the good name of GTA IV?
 
2012-07-03 12:29:05 PM

ha-ha-guy: They basically sell cheap and having to include some resale mechanism would up their costs and thus mine.


Seeing as GoG doesn't put DRM on what they sell, they could argue that no additional mechanism would be needed in order for their stuff to be resold
 
2012-07-03 12:29:16 PM
I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam. I've never used Origin, but I guess it'd be similar. Even if they do change to give you the option to download an actual exe, if you choose to resell it then who's to say you won't be just copying it? One person could buy a game, then resell it a million times for £10 under the original price, good for him, but even worse for the game manufacturers than piracy, since the people buying are people who would have bought anyway, not like pirates, most of whom wouldn't have bought the game anyway.
 
2012-07-03 12:34:36 PM

EvilEgg: The specific rule seems to be that if a license is sold indefinitely - i.e. not a license for a year, or similar - that the rightholder "exhausts his exclusive distribution right".


Then they will lease you a game for 10 years or something.


10 years from now services like OnLive will be the norm - they will finally get around the DRM and license rights of the user dilemma by just stripping users of license rights and access to source code, because let's be honest most games bought nowadays are really just "leased"
 
2012-07-03 12:49:15 PM
After SCOTUS's ruling on ACA I am totally confident they would rule the same as the EC in this case.
 
2012-07-03 12:59:52 PM

cman: How dare ye insult the good name of GTA IV?


It was a great game, but R* can't port to PC for shiat.
 
2012-07-03 01:09:55 PM
Wait a second....I did a double take, but this makes a lot of sense.

If patents are considered transferable property, then games could be considered similarly to patents since they are both related to a creative product of the mind. However, patents are usually owned by one or a few entities, while games many thousands or millions. So there'd be some caveats.

Am I just crazy, or would everything suddenly make more sense if game ownership rights were treated kinda like a patent but with tons of ownership? Or it is that way right now? I have no idea maybe I'm just talking out my ass.
 
2012-07-03 01:10:57 PM

Mentalpatient87: cman: How dare ye insult the good name of GTA IV?

It was a great game, but R* can't port to PC for shiat.


Which is sad since the company got their start, and built the foundation of their fortune, on PC.
 
2012-07-03 01:27:35 PM

Mentalpatient87: cman: How dare ye insult the good name of GTA IV?

It was a great game, but R* can't port to PC for shiat.


Seriously. The system required to smoothly run a freaking ps3 game is ridiculous. And the controls. Good god, the controls. The helicopters are almost unusable. I picked up all of the gta games on steam a few months back when the bundle was on sale for somewhere around 90% off, and i'm still not sure it was worth it. Hopefully they'll do a better job with gtav, but i'm not optimistic.
 
2012-07-03 01:31:11 PM

Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam. I've never used Origin, but I guess it'd be similar. Even if they do change to give you the option to download an actual exe, if you choose to resell it then who's to say you won't be just copying it? One person could buy a game, then resell it a million times for £10 under the original price, good for him, but even worse for the game manufacturers than piracy, since the people buying are people who would have bought anyway, not like pirates, most of whom wouldn't have bought the game anyway.


While generally speaking I'm against the draconian licensing that software and media companies are trying to get away with, in terms of online gaming this is not an issue that's technologically easy to solve.

If a publisher offers a retail package as well as online, I would think that giving consumers the option of re-licensing if they purchase the retail package would be a good technical compromise. If you purchase online, I think you'd lose that right. Alternatively, they'd have to give you a reusable key that's tied to your software license. Probably a better way of handling it is if you sell you'd have to notify Steam or Origin that you've resold your software and a new key could be issued to the new user and the old key blocked from playing.
 
2012-07-03 01:36:00 PM

Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam.


Actually, should be fairly easy- have a 'sell' button- when you push it, it gives you the option to sell it to a steam friend. Once you complete the transaction (the actual money transfer could be completely disconnected from the sale process) the game license would transfer from your account to the new owner.
 
2012-07-03 01:39:49 PM

Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam. I've never used Origin, but I guess it'd be similar. Even if they do change to give you the option to download an actual exe, if you choose to resell it then who's to say you won't be just copying it? One person could buy a game, then resell it a million times for £10 under the original price, good for him, but even worse for the game manufacturers than piracy, since the people buying are people who would have bought anyway, not like pirates, most of whom wouldn't have bought the game anyway.


Well, if it's DRM'd, selling it to someone would deactivate your ability to use it. I'd imagine it would be something like they do with gifts. For example, a friend of mine already had TF2 when he bought Orange Box, so he essentially 'owned' two copies of it. Steam let you give that second copy to a friend.

Even if people started 'selling' one copy back and forth as long as it could only be in use by one account at a given time, it's equivalent to sharing a physical disk. The only thing that's really too bad about this ruling is that if it forces a system like that, the DRM will have expand to actually support it.

Well, that or they'll start offering 99 year licenses of all their games.
 
2012-07-03 01:41:05 PM
Guess all contracts are null and void in the EU. Good to know.
 
2012-07-03 01:44:27 PM

Dinki: Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam.

Actually, should be fairly easy- have a 'sell' button- when you push it, it gives you the option to sell it to a steam friend. Once you complete the transaction (the actual money transfer could be completely disconnected from the sale process) the game license would transfer from your account to the new owner.


I see a problem where steam allows you to have multiple installations among differing computers while also allowing offline mode. I could theoretically buy a single player game install it on my PC and sell it but then use it forever if I never turn steam online.

I do not know how feasable this is for scaming but shoot, with what I have in my steam account right now I think I could have years worth of play in offline.
 
2012-07-03 01:56:04 PM
I see this as actually being really bad for consumers. You think they're going to go through the effort of figuring out reselling systems and rights management and all that for every game they offer? When the alternative is just to change to "renting" us the game for X number of years?

Our only hope would be that X would be larger than anyone would ever play for.
 
2012-07-03 02:05:52 PM

Saiga410: Dinki: Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam.

Actually, should be fairly easy- have a 'sell' button- when you push it, it gives you the option to sell it to a steam friend. Once you complete the transaction (the actual money transfer could be completely disconnected from the sale process) the game license would transfer from your account to the new owner.

I see a problem where steam allows you to have multiple installations among differing computers while also allowing offline mode. I could theoretically buy a single player game install it on my PC and sell it but then use it forever if I never turn steam online.

I do not know how feasable this is for scaming but shoot, with what I have in my steam account right now I think I could have years worth of play in offline.


Odds are you'd have to go online to sell it? Of course that just means the next EU battle will be over controlling resale channels.
 
2012-07-03 02:09:33 PM
This would be a bad thing.

Being able to resell a boxed game is not that big of a deal, because most people won't bother to do it. It's too much trouble to ship the box to someone else for most people. With downloaded games, such as on Steam, anyone could easily sell off all of their downloaded games. This would result in a single copy of a game being sold and resold possibly dozens of times, resulting in very little money for the publishers of the game.

The great thing about Steam is that you can buy all sorts of very cheap games. I've bought probably a couple dozen games for $5 or less each (plus some more expensive ones). If people were reselling these $5 games, the publishers wouldn't be publishing anything, as they wouldn't be making any money.
 
2012-07-03 02:14:56 PM

ProfessorOhki: Odds are you'd have to go online to sell it? Of course that just means the next EU battle will be over controlling resale channels.


I can do that on the wife's laptop while leaving my pc offline.
 
2012-07-03 02:31:58 PM

Saiga410: ProfessorOhki: Odds are you'd have to go online to sell it? Of course that just means the next EU battle will be over controlling resale channels.

I can do that on the wife's laptop while leaving my pc offline.


True, true. This ruling might eventually force them to move to always-on DRM. Would be unfortunate.
 
2012-07-03 02:40:09 PM
Welcome to nothing but micro transaction games.

Nice work.
 
2012-07-03 03:29:43 PM

torusXL: Am I just crazy, or


You're not crazy, just ignorant. You don't own shiat when you buy a game. You own the physical media and a license to play the game. This ruling is about the license.

In fact, that's how ALL media works. Or did you think you owned some tiny fraction of every song you ever bought? License = usage rights. You're literally buying the right to make use of the product.
 
2012-07-03 03:45:59 PM
You see, EU, this is why we can't have nice things.....
 
2012-07-03 03:54:01 PM
Like most things that become law in the EU - I like what it's trying to do. I hate what it will actually do.

All this is going to do is make game produces stop selling things. Instead - you'll pay for the ability to play. Games will all be 'free' and you will pay for the 'service' of playing it. Everything will require an account with provider and you'll need to be online to play old-school, single player games.

The end result is that the consumer will get shafted harder and people still won't be able to resell their old games.
 
2012-07-03 04:06:10 PM

ProfessorOhki: Saiga410: ProfessorOhki: Odds are you'd have to go online to sell it? Of course that just means the next EU battle will be over controlling resale channels.

I can do that on the wife's laptop while leaving my pc offline.

True, true. This ruling might eventually force them to move to always-on DRM. Would be unfortunate.


There's already a move in that direction anyways. Wouldn't surprise me if steam moves that way eventually even without this ruling.
 
2012-07-03 04:49:13 PM
Eh. It's not like anyone buys a game on Steam/Origin NOT knowing that they can't resell it.
 
2012-07-03 05:41:51 PM
Does this mean people in the EU can buy games and resell them used to AU customers for profit?
 
2012-07-03 05:58:59 PM

netweavr: Does this mean people in the EU can buy games and resell them used to AU customers for profit?


Oh man, regionalized pricing and import/export tariffs. That didn't even cross my mind; this is going to be a trainwreck, at least for a while, isn't it?
 
2012-07-03 06:31:47 PM
The specific rule seems to be that if a license is sold indefinitely - i.e. not a license for a year, or similar - that the rightholder "exhausts his exclusive distribution right".

I look forward to paying yearly subscription prices for games now.
 
2012-07-03 06:56:15 PM

Robots are Strong: Mentalpatient87: cman: How dare ye insult the good name of GTA IV?

It was a great game, but R* can't port to PC for shiat.

Seriously. The system required to smoothly run a freaking ps3 game is ridiculous. And the controls. Good god, the controls. The helicopters are almost unusable. I picked up all of the gta games on steam a few months back when the bundle was on sale for somewhere around 90% off, and i'm still not sure it was worth it. Hopefully they'll do a better job with gtav, but i'm not optimistic.


So I guess I shouldn't be too upset that I'll never get to play Red Dead Redemption then?
 
2012-07-03 07:28:39 PM

Saiga410: ProfessorOhki: Odds are you'd have to go online to sell it? Of course that just means the next EU battle will be over controlling resale channels.

I can do that on the wife's laptop while leaving my pc offline.


But you can do that already anyway with a friend's account.
Also you wouldn't ever be able to add any new games to the account without going online... and I believe Steam does require one online connection a month?

It's an awful lot of hassle to protect a game you probably only paid 20 bucks for (and would be easier likely to just sell it and grab a torrent to replace it).
 
2012-07-03 07:44:14 PM

Fark_Guy_Rob: Like most things that become law in the EU - I like what it's trying to do. I hate what it will actually do.

All this is going to do is make game produces stop selling things. Instead - you'll pay for the ability to play. Games will all be 'free' and you will pay for the 'service' of playing it. Everything will require an account with provider and you'll need to be online to play old-school, single player games.

The end result is that the consumer will get shafted harder and people still won't be able to resell their old games.


shiat I had to make an EA account to play a demo on steam. shiats lame.
 
2012-07-03 08:33:37 PM
Meh, if it turns out to be upheld, then ultimately the consumers lose because every single game will become "Dragon Effect Elite" with a $10 monthly subscription fee, etc..
 
2012-07-03 08:38:13 PM

Robots are Strong: Hopefully they'll do a better job with gtav, but i'm not optimistic.


Me either. They didn't even bother with Red Dead, so...
 
2012-07-03 08:53:30 PM

Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam. I've never used Origin, but I guess it'd be similar. Even if they do change to give you the option to download an actual exe, if you choose to resell it then who's to say you won't be just copying it? One person could buy a game, then resell it a million times for £10 under the original price, good for him, but even worse for the game manufacturers than piracy, since the people buying are people who would have bought anyway, not like pirates, most of whom wouldn't have bought the game anyway.


Steam already has a mechanism for trading games. They would just have to allow open-ended game gifting of already-owned titles. No problem at all for Valve.

Origin does not currently have this. EA will be up a creek.
 
2012-07-03 08:55:38 PM

Caeldan: Saiga410: ProfessorOhki: Odds are you'd have to go online to sell it? Of course that just means the next EU battle will be over controlling resale channels.

I can do that on the wife's laptop while leaving my pc offline.

But you can do that already anyway with a friend's account.
Also you wouldn't ever be able to add any new games to the account without going online... and I believe Steam does require one online connection a month?

It's an awful lot of hassle to protect a game you probably only paid 20 bucks for (and would be easier likely to just sell it and grab a torrent to replace it).


It does not. My laptop goes months without setting Steam to go online. Never complains, and all of my offline games work.
 
2012-07-03 09:14:35 PM

Kuroshin: Slaxl: I don't see how anyone could resell a game bought through Steam. I've never used Origin, but I guess it'd be similar. Even if they do change to give you the option to download an actual exe, if you choose to resell it then who's to say you won't be just copying it? One person could buy a game, then resell it a million times for £10 under the original price, good for him, but even worse for the game manufacturers than piracy, since the people buying are people who would have bought anyway, not like pirates, most of whom wouldn't have bought the game anyway.

Steam already has a mechanism for trading games. They would just have to allow open-ended game gifting of already-owned titles. No problem at all for Valve.

Origin does not currently have this. EA will be up a creek.


It's not a problem of setting up their systems for trading, the problem is very few people will buy new games if they can buy a legal and cheap used version that is identical. So every game will be either F2P with a virtual item shop, or something "Elite" with a monthly fee.
 
2012-07-03 09:36:39 PM
 
2012-07-04 12:55:02 AM
Dead easy for steam actually.. all they have to do is give people the right to 'gift' their license to another steam account, thus losing it on theirs. That should cover them, and they will in the end sell even more games as their service gets ever more popular.
 
2012-07-04 10:22:04 AM

gaspode: Dead easy for steam actually.. all they have to do is give people the right to 'gift' their license to another steam account, thus losing it on theirs. That should cover them, and they will in the end sell even more games as their service gets ever more popular.


This will never happen, as it would cannibalize Steam's sales.

How can you compete with people reselling your own games on your own service at a cheaper price? Everyone would sell off their games because most of them lose all their value for you personally after you play once or twice and get bored with the game.

The judgement in this lawsuit might establish a precedent for the legality of reselling software licenses, but there is nothing that suggests the courts would ever force Steam to stop using DRM or stop linking purchased games to non-transferable individual accounts.
 
2012-07-04 05:27:22 PM

moviemarketing:
The judgement in this lawsuit might establish a precedent for the legality of reselling software licenses, but there is nothing that suggests the courts would ever force Steam to stop using DRM or stop linking purchased games to non-transferable individual accounts.


Those two things are the same thing. Steam sells you a software license.. they will not be allowed, in Europe, to do so and link it to a non-transferable individual account. If they could then the ruling would have no meaning whatsoever. Yes it will 'cannibalise' their sales, but it will also popularise their service, and I believe with smart marketing it can enhance their overall sales.

Remember they are not in any way required to provide a market or payment system, simply to allow people to sell. Most people are not going to get into the risks and complexities of buying and selling their stuff.
 
2012-07-04 09:27:55 PM

gaspode: moviemarketing:
The judgement in this lawsuit might establish a precedent for the legality of reselling software licenses, but there is nothing that suggests the courts would ever force Steam to stop using DRM or stop linking purchased games to non-transferable individual accounts.

Those two things are the same thing. Steam sells you a software license.. they will not be allowed, in Europe, to do so and link it to a non-transferable individual account. If they could then the ruling would have no meaning whatsoever. Yes it will 'cannibalise' their sales, but it will also popularise their service, and I believe with smart marketing it can enhance their overall sales.

Remember they are not in any way required to provide a market or payment system, simply to allow people to sell. Most people are not going to get into the risks and complexities of buying and selling their stuff.


It can be legal for someone to resell a certain kind of software license. And it can be legal for a company to make it technically impossible for their own licenses to be resold. These aren't mutually exclusive.

The ruling doesn't mean every software company must suddenly make it technically possible for all their licenses to be resold by all their customers, simply that in this particular case the company that was reselling the Oracle licenses was not in breach of its contract with Oracle.
 
2012-07-04 11:58:56 PM

moviemarketing: gaspode: Dead easy for steam actually.. all they have to do is give people the right to 'gift' their license to another steam account, thus losing it on theirs. That should cover them, and they will in the end sell even more games as their service gets ever more popular.

This will never happen, as it would cannibalize Steam's sales.

How can you compete with people reselling your own games on your own service at a cheaper price? Everyone would sell off their games because most of them lose all their value for you personally after you play once or twice and get bored with the game.


Steam does very steep discounts on games after a while though. You might be able to undercut them in the first few months, but pretty soon it's "all whatever game, 75% off" and anyone who was going to buy it has and you have no one left to sell to. Unless you have people buying on sale to sell to people who missed the sales, but by the time you're that far into the lifecycle, I'm not even sure it matters.
 
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