Valve is facing a lawsuit regarding their Steam service
(Mirror Daily, United States) – A French group demands the right to resell games on Steam, one feature that has been furiously fought over and neglected by the popular service. Anyone who plays games likely has a Steam account or heard of it. It’s now a major platform where you can purchase videogames you enjoy without actually going to the store.
Digital copies of games is where the future is heading. When environmental efforts mixed with the practicality take over, CDs and DVDs will become a thing of the past. It stands to reason that rights will be polished over digital property, and how far consumers can go when they’re officially tired of a game.
There is such a thing as gifts now on Steam. That means that a user may purchase a game and offer it for free to their friends. However, there is no way taking a game you have bought and selling it to another user for money. Whether you are bored of it, or simply need the funds back in your Steam Wallet, there is no way to be rid of a game for a refund. This particular issue has been tackled before.
Given the current situation, it’s rather clear that Valve, Steam’s owner, won each time.
However, a French consumer rights group, UFC Que Choisir, has filed a lawsuit against Valve which would tackle the right of the consumer to resell games from their Steam Library. According to the group, it may be agreed upon in the Steam User Agreement, but it’s in violation of the 2012 decision given by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
The case has been brought in front of the court in Paris for the purpose of offering users the right to resell their purchased games. The French consumer rights group stated that the terms and conditions of the User Agreement are “detrimental to consumer interests”. It should not be applied and be permissible by French law. One of their reference points is that it has a precedent.
In 2012, the CJEU ruled against software company, Oracle, by allowing its consumers to resell the software they had bought. The group calls to this case, by stating that the difference between digital and physical game copies is “incomprehensible”. Since the CJEU has once ruled in the favor of reselling software, and since software is “an integral part of a video game”, then Steam should allow their games to be sold second-hand.
There is another precedent that stands against them though. In 2014, the Regional Court of Berlin dismissed a similar complaint from a German consumer rights group. Even more importantly, in another case, the same CJEU has stated that games are not just “computer software” that the French group claims to be. They need to be considered under general copyright law. That would mean that reselling them without the developer’s permission would be illegal.
However, UFC Que Choisir has instigated the battle, and named numerous other complaints about Valve’s Steam. They targeted the user’s rights to intellectual property, meaning that any content created on Steam should belong to the user. This likely includes mods, skins, and multiple other types of user-created items.
Furthermore, the French group wants Valve to take responsibility for hacked accounts and accept liability. They are also requesting the right for Steam users to retrieve money from their Steam wallet when they wish to close their account or get banned. Neither of these are offered by Valve, but it remains to be seen if that will change.
For now, it seems like the decision will be made on a more national level. This means that while certain rights could be given to French Steam users, others, such as the U.S. will have to carry on their own battles under their own country’s laws.
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