French Court Declares That Steam Gamers Actually Do Own What They Bought

from the liberte! dept

Good news on the front for those of us that think we ought to own what we've actually bought. You may recall that way back in 2015, when the world made much more sense, French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir sued Valve over several different ways the company operates the Steam platform. Chief among those concerns were resale rights, with Steam arguing all along that its subscription based service does not afford customers the right to resell the games they bought, as they would physical copies of games. As we said all along, why the delivery method for a video game should alter the consumer rights for that product were anyone's guess, but that was the argument Valve made in response to the suit.

Fortunately, the French court didn't buy it. The High Court of Paris has instead ruled for UFC-Que Choisir, declaring that Steam must allow users to resell the games they buy on the platform and post messaging declaring this change to Steam directly.

According to the French gaming site Numerama, as well as UFC-Que Choisir itself, the High Court of Paris ruled in UFC-Que Choisir’s favor earlier this week. If Valve’s appeal fails, this ruling stands to have ramifications not just in France, but across the European Union. Specifically, the court didn’t find Valve’s defense that Steam is a subscription service compelling. As a result, the court declared that users should be allowed to resell Steam games.

The court ruled in favor of UFC-Que Choisir on other counts, too. In its original suit, the organization had also taken aim at the fact that, if a user leaves Steam, Valve would keep whatever currency was left in their Steam Wallet. The recent ruling states that the company will instead have to reimburse users who request it. Valve must now also accept responsibility when users say an item on Steam caused them harm, even if it’s in beta. Valve’s rights to users’ mods and community content will also be diminished, and the company will have to clarify the conditions under which users can lose access to Steam for poor behavior.

If Valve fails to comply, it can be fined up to 3,000 euros per day for six months. As Kotaku's post notes, this is much bigger than just a French problem for Steam. Because of the way the EU courts are supposed to apply rulings uniformly, there is the potential for this standard to be applied across the entire EU. That would represent a massive change to the consumer rights of Steam users throughout nearly all of Europe and you can bet that American consumer groups would immediately jump on the bandwagon this side of the pond as well.

This is all, however, pending an appeal by Valve.

Again, though, Valve, plans to appeal the ruling. “We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it,” a Valve representative told Kotaku in an email. “The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”

So, no changes for now, it appears. Still, there is the very real potential that at least in France, if not in the entire EU, gamers might actually own what they buy.

Filed Under: copyright, digital goods, france, ownership, resale rights, steam, video games
Companies: valve


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 23 Sep 2019 @ 1:07pm

    Resale

    Right of Resale is rather important. As much as I love my Steam account, it's about time a court stands up for Private rather than Corporate ownership.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 1:42pm

    Indie Dev Impact

    Resell them where and who makes money off of the resale? The indie devs are who this will mostly hurt if they can't keep churning out game after game and grow. If they make games that don't have much sense in being played over and over again then once someone is done they resell it for cheap and the devs make no money off that (one or many) resale of the game. Couple that with large influx of current games being resold for cheap, netting the indie publishers zero additional sales for a long time, and a new studio that just has one or two games out there and is doing okay with new sales might just go bust. I don't care much about the large studios but the little ones is where I see this having a negative impact if not done right.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Indie Dev Impact

      Not saying "won't someone think of the devs!!!!1" but I just see that there could possibly be some ways for this to be abused or taken advantage of to the determent of more indie devs and platforms especially if they have to start allowing resale as well and aren't going through Steam and can't afford or aren't able to make the proper infrastructure necessary in the short term to allow for this. I'm sure third party sale sites will crop up to fill the void but I don't know.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 1:54pm

      Re: Indie Dev Impacting to where the rest of us live

      Add the indie developers to the graves of all the dead and gone indie book publishers, entertainers, clothing designers and every other industry where you get paid exactly once for the work you do and aren’t making money for the rest of eternity.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:04pm

      Re: Indie Dev Impact

      Who make the money when cars, houses, clothes painting, photographs etc. are resold, it is certainly not the manufacturers.

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      • identicon
        Paul B, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:13pm

        Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

        Reselling a game is not like a car.

        1) Cars are priced given the resale market exists.
        2) Games have life cycles of sale -> support -> end of life. Resales create a longer support cycle for no additional money as 2-3 people play the game on the same license. You pay for your car support as its not included in the sale.
        3) Very short games could quickly be turned over in less then a day blocking sales from the Dev. This already is an issue with refunds and short games.
        4) Publishers do not tie DLC to the base game account, but instead create additional accounts that would also have to be sold or allow sales. This was of course created to block resales of physical game discs.

        Of course all this could be solved, setting prices higher to account for the resale market from the start. But you have 30 years of games that were sold the old way blocking something like this from being easy.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          You have not shown any reason why games are different from cars, as selling price is based on costs , expected first sales, and market conditions.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

            Computer code doesn't depreciate like cars do.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 3:03pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

              Computer code depreciates. Not, true, in the same way that cars do: but every time I buy a new computer with a new version of Windows (or every time a new version of Android comes out and automatic software updates escape), one or more bits of software that I had purchased for good money suddenly becomes worthless to me -- because it won't run in the new environment. All the code I wrote professionally 10 or more years ago is worth nothing at all now--the mainframes for which it was designed have all been decommissioned.

              You could equally well have said, Cars don't depreciate like computer code does. That is, every three years the government doesn't tear up all the roads and build new ones with different lane widths. But ... depreciate still, they do.

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:03am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

                "every time I buy a new computer with a new version of Windows... one or more bits of software that I had purchased for good money suddenly becomes worthless to me"

                Because you're lazy...

                https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualization/hyper-v-on-windows/about/
                https://www.groovy post.com/howto/run-old-software-windows-10-compatibility-mode/
                https://www.dosbox.com/
                https://www.v irtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
                https://www.scummvm.org/

                "All the code I wrote professionally 10 or more years ago is worth nothing at all now"

                That's on you. I still fire up games that were created 30 years ago.

                "the mainframes for which it was designed have all been decommissioned."

                In other words, the code is fine, but the hardware is obsolete. Games are different - it doesn't matter how obsolete the ZX Spectrum hardware is, I can still fire up Atic Atac on my Xbox One because someone gave enough of shit about it to create an emulator.

                Code only deprecates if nobody can be bothered to maintain it. There may be good reasons for that, or code can last forever if someone wants it. Your mainframe code might be dead, but every line of Zork is still running somewhere.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:16am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

                  Is there not a comparison to cars there though? Yeah sure you can run a 56’ Mustang if you machine your own parts and put special additives in the gasoline. But why would you run a car that gets 4 MPG and will crumple like a tin can, in a crash when a newer car is cheaper and better in almost every way?

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 7:29am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

                    Well, there's a number of reasons why cars become obsolete, just as there is a lot of reasons for software becoming obsolete. But, some of them are the same - sure you're not going to use a car from the 40s as your vehicle for your daily commute, just as you're not going to use Photoshop v1 to do your daily image work. But, use that car for an occasional spin or keep maintained for collectability? Sure, just as I can put in a copy of the original SimCity as easily as I can a modern game thanks to things like GoG.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 8:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

              Oh, it doesn't? You've obviously never heard of bit rot.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          1) So what? Not my problem.

          2) Funny, I used to take my car to the dealership for “support” all the time.

          3) Most states have “lemon laws”, additionally you could buy and sell the same car in the same day.

          4) You can totally buy aftermarket “DLC” car parts.

          Tell me again why reselling a game isn’t like reselling a car?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2019 @ 3:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

            Customer calls in: "My Tesla won't start!"

            Support Rep: "Did you try plugging it in and unplugging it again?"

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 12:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          "1) Cars are priced given the resale market exists."

          Then, games should be priced accordingly as well?

          "2) Games have life cycles of sale -> support -> end of life."

          So does every product.

          "Resales create a longer support cycle for no additional money as 2-3 people play the game on the same license"

          Not at the same time, they don't. If this is problematic to you, offer content beyond the initial purchase that's worth paying for.

          "3) Very short games could quickly be turned over in less then a day blocking sales from the Dev"

          Then, design games that aren't disposable in such a way? Or, maybe offer games priced at a level that's worth paying for such a short game, rather than expecting people to pay the same as they would for a 20 hour game?

          "4) Publishers do not tie DLC to the base game account, but instead create additional accounts that would also have to be sold or allow sales"

          Then, change that if it's a problem with the reality of the marketplace?

          "This was of course created to block resales of physical game discs."

          Which was also bullshit.

          Face it, every argument you have is crap based on "we don't want to change" or "we don't want the first sale doctrine to exist, despite it having been good for consumers in every other industry"

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          But you have 30 years of games that were sold the old way blocking something like this from being easy.

          What? 30 years ago, the resale and rental markets for videogames were huge, there was no DLC, and there was little support.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 5:04am

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          "You pay for your car support as its not included in the sale."

          You pay a MECHANIC, yes. Last time i checked you don't give GM a single cent every time you have your tires changed or your oil refilled.

          "Cars are priced given the resale market exists. "

          THAT is, frankly, BS. Cars are priced the way everything else is - at a price the market will bear and the brand/reputation makes up for competitive pressure.

          "Resales create a longer support cycle for no additional money as 2-3 people play the game on the same license."

          Completely irrelevant. The only one who should make money out of selling their own property is the property owner. That it would be INCREDIBLY CONVENIENT for copyright holders to be paid in perpetuity for every copy re-sold on to a 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th party is ALSO completely irrelevant.

          Copyright is insane to begin with. To have it completely overrule property ownership laws would make it that much worse.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:44pm

      Re: Indie Dev Impact

      Resell them where and who makes money off of the resale? The indie devs are who this will mostly hurt if they can't keep churning out game after game and grow.

      The person who purchased the game makes money off the resale. They bought it, they get to sell it.

      Indie devs won't be hurt if they are truly churning out game after game -- because the seller is selling precisely what they bought, not the newer updates and games that the dev is producing.

      Essentially, you get the game in whatever format it's in. You don't get guaranteed lifetime updates. You don't get new games or DLC.

      This is something game devs figured out years ago. It's why the money is now in DLCs and game spinoffs, and not in initial game sales. It's why game devs often give away the base game for free.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 3:06pm

        Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

        It's why the money is now in DLCs and game spinoffs

        If you consider microtransactions DLCs... those little piecemeal purchases, especially repeatable purchases of virtual currency, are the ones that typically make the biggest bucks for developers, more than the purchases that are significant updates or addons.

        I do feel that freemium models, where the base game is free but all the good stuff is behind multiple paywalls, will become much more commonplace if this stands. Right now, it's mainly restricted to MMOs and little social Facebook/Android/iPhone games.

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        • identicon
          urza9814, 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          How this applies to DLC seems like it will be interesting...

          I would assume that if the DLC is like a traditional expansion pack, it would still have resale rights just like the original game, and there would be little reason to hold to to it if you're selling the game. So that kind of DLC might increase the total cost of the game, but it won't do a thing about reselling.

          What will be interesting is one-time-use DLC. Can you resell consumable DLC? Presumably you ought to be able to sell those until they are redeemed...but how exactly do you define "one-time-use" or "redeemed"? Sure, "skip this level" probably can't be resold once you've used it...but if it's a skin for your character or a painting for their in-game apartment? Can that be limited to your account, or do they have to let you sell that skin? Can you sell the entire account? Can you sell a saved game file? Is selling DLC as a "character skin" different from selling DLC as an "in-game coupon which can be redeemed for a character skin"? And what about in-game objects that are permanent but don't have a transfer mechanism? You can easily sell WoW gold for cash, even if it wasn't "officially" allowed, because if you agree to trade the gold between your characters there's not much they can do about it. But if the game doesn't have a mechanism for transferring gold or objects or whatever, and you buy some as "DLC"...do you have a right to resell that? Steam, AFAIK, doesn't have a mechanism right now for selling games, I guess they may have to implement that, so the fact that it isn't implemented to be transferable as part of the game shouldn't necessarily matter. Perhaps it could even be the case where anything purchased with real money would be required to be transferable in order to protect resale rights...

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2019 @ 3:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          ...and Teslas.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 5:52pm

      Re: Indie Dev Impact

      If they're going to treat games like physical property when it comes to paralleling infringement with theft, they're going to have to deal with games being treated like physical property when it comes to resales.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:06am

        Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

        Yep, that's the real problem. If they're "losing sales" from piracy then it's the same as physical property. But, if someone wants to use the first sale doctrine right that's an inherent part of physical sales, then it's just a licence. They need to make up their minds.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 2:33am

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          Oh, it's no secret how most developers and similar copyright holders and content creators have made up their minds: anything that could result in less potential money scattered in their general direction is bad, bad, bad. This includes first sale doctrines, fair use, shipping a complete product that doesn't match the initial hype, etc.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 4:18am

          Re: Re: Re: Indie Dev Impact

          They already did so.

          You're purchasing a "license", but you're stealing their "money".

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 5:17am

      Re: Indie Dev Impact

      Physical copies were sold many times back in the day, and many small companies survived. I am aware that digital "transfer", if done right, doesn't degrade copies, but let's look at some points:
      |Not everyone wants to sell their game.
      |There are some people who desire to support the developer.
      |Thousands of people does not want to wait their turn for someone else to finish, "forcing" them to buy from the developer.
      |This is limited to internet, so internet is required. (This is one restriction exclusive to digital resale).
      |Even if someone sells their game, there is a huge chance that the "next person" won't want to get rid of it. Thus, stopping the "trading" path for that particular license.

      There is nothing wrong with caring about legal small companies. I just think the claim that it would "hurt" them seems very far from reality. Even if it does, it doesn't excuse violating the right to resell, though I don't mind finding a lawful way to solve to problem for legal small companies. If for example, the first sale for transferring isn't as important as the "RAM doctrine", perhaps maybe modding it to a limited time (maybe first year, can't resell) could be acceptable?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 4:55am

      Re: Indie Dev Impact

      "Resell them where and who makes money off of the resale?"

      The owner of the property to be sold, obviously?

      Whether this caters or does not cater to the business model of the original developer is completely irrelevant compared to your argument that a - by that time - unaffiliated 3rd party should benefit financially every time someone chooses to sell property they bought in good faith.

      Imagine how that flies if applied to ANY form of physical property?

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  • identicon
    HunterZ, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:00pm

    Thoughts

    Thought #1: That fine adds up to peanuts to Valve: 550,000 euros. If I were Valve, I'd just pay the fine up-front and continue going about my business.

    Thought #2: How would resale even work? Does this mean I could effectively transfer games between accounts by paying myself a virtual penny, or would you have to post the game for sale on an open market run by Valve? Can Valve take a cut on resales?

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    • identicon
      Qwertygiy, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:06pm

      I think that it means, legally, they have to allow you to resell it in whatever ways you want, the same as if you owned a physical copy of the game.

      I would imagine there's nothing preventing them from opening a resale auction site a la eBay, or even outright selling it back to them for a lower value a la GameStop; but the right to resale, to my understanding, means that they can't have complete control over how you resell it.

      If you want to trade with your pal, you can. If you want to put it on Craigslist, you can. And if Steam makes an aftermarket game store where they get a percentage of the funds, you can put it there, too. It just can't be your only choice.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 5:12am

        Re:

        "I think that it means, legally, they have to allow you to resell it in whatever ways you want, the same as if you owned a physical copy of the game."

        I can see a potential headache coming valve's way. Sure, Steam DRM is cracked in umpteen ways by now but for a legitimate sale as per your post that'd mean valve might have to find a way to migrate the steam DRM engine and keys to whatever 3rd party is handling the sale...or strip the DRM completely.

        Of course if the sale is locked to steam it gets vastly easier, but that might now open valve to an antitrust suit...

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    • identicon
      MathFox, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:30pm

      Re: Thoughts

      Thought #1: That fine adds up to peanuts to Valve: 550,000 euros. If I were Valve, I'd just pay the fine up-front and continue going about my business.
      I've seen reruns of lawsuits where one party scoffed the verdict; with the result that a new penalty was awarded, at least a factor 10 higher than the previous one. (Technically the court awarded a penalty for non-compliance, not a fine. In EU law those penalties are awarded to encourage a party to comply smoothly.) With very stubborn parties judges even can set a penalty of imprisonment for 'contempt of court'

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:07am

        Re: Re: Thoughts

        Also, if the law prevents them from applying harsher penalties due to the way it's written, there's nothing to stop them rewriting the law to address those who flout it so openly.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 10:18pm

      Re: Thoughts

      Thought #2: How would resale even work? Does this mean I could effectively transfer games between accounts by paying myself a virtual penny, or would you have to post the game for sale on an open market run by Valve? Can Valve take a cut on resales?

      It's worth looking at how the audio plug-in market has adapted to this. About half the industry doesn't allow plugin license transfers, and about half of plug-in manufacturers allow resale of plug-ins for virtual instruments, effects etc with a small fee on top. Some manufacturers don't charge (iZotope, Embertone) others charge a flat fee per license (Eventide via iLok, Chris Hein), while others offer a capped or scaling pricing system (Plugin Alliance). I imagine these models could apply very easily to Steam, with Steam potentially sharing the fee with developers which might be the best compromise for Steam, devs and consumers alike. Either that or the UFC will start chasing plug-in developers too, who knows?

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  • icon
    crade (profile), 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:32pm

    "Valve must now also accept responsibility when users say an item on Steam caused them harm, even if it’s in beta"

    What is "an item on steam"? Is this something Valve actually has some influence over like a steam feature or are they talking about making Valve pay for bugs in third party games people bought on steam?

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    • identicon
      MathFox, 23 Sep 2019 @ 2:38pm

      Harm

      In EUrope resellers have liability for the products they sell. If such a product damages goods or persons the reseller or the manufacturer will have to pay. Steam better does some QA on the games to prevent distribution of (and liability for) malware.

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      • icon
        crade (profile), 23 Sep 2019 @ 3:09pm

        Re: Harm

        So what happens if some drink or candy vendor or something screws up and makes people sick? Every drug store, convenience store etc in Europe gets sued?

        Valve won't have the ability to do any sort of useful Q.A. for other people's software without having access to the source. All it takes is a "if date = 2022" and you won't see it without the source

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        • identicon
          MathFox, 24 Sep 2019 @ 12:41am

          Re: Re: Harm

          In most cases the manufacturer steps in and has its insurer pick up the bills. (Without expensive court involvement.) I don't know what contracts Valve has with game developers, but I would not be surprised if there's a guarantee that the developer provides its software without viruses or other malware and will fix security holes.

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        • icon
          Eldakka (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:18am

          Re: Re: Harm

          So what happens if some drink or candy vendor or something screws up and makes people sick? Every drug store, convenience store etc in Europe gets sued?

          Yes.

          The seller is responsible to the purchaser of the product. Therefore the final leg in the chain (retailer) is responsible to the consumer for the product.

          When I go into a store to buy a product, I am not giving my money to some far off manufacturer. I am not being advised/receiving representations from the manufacturer on the product in the store. The in-store advertising and/or store staff are the ones making representations to me about the product, and they are the ones taking my money for the product.

          However, this also means that the (in the traditional product distribution model) wholesaler is responsible to the retailer, and the distributor is responsible to the wholesaler, and the manufacturer is responsible to the distributor:

          consumer <- retailer <- wholesaler <- distributor <- (any other parties in the chain, e.g. maybe an importer) <- manufacturer.

          So in this case, a consumer would get compensation from the retailer, who would then get compensation from the wholesaler and so on up the chain.

          Retailer(s) are in a much better position, both financially and knowledge-wise, to seek recompense from the wholesaler than I am as a consumer. And likewise, wholesalers are in a better position than the retailer to go back to the distributor, and so on at each level.

          If a distributor who does $100m of business with a manufacturer complains about a product, it is in a better position relative to me, a consumer who bought a $10 item from a store (who paid $5 to the wholesaler, who paid $4 to the distributor, who paid $3 to the manufacturer). Of course, this is one of the reasons class-action lawsuits came into being, to help remedy this imbalance of power.

          But the thing is, if you have the accountability chain, consumer <- retailer <- wholesaler etc., then you don't need a class action lawsuit against a manufacturer by consumers to get their money back. The consumer can go into the retail outlet they purchased the item from and demand from them the refund, who then get theirs from the wholesaler, again up through the chain.

          In these models, Steam is the retailer, or Amazon, or Newegg etc.

          And, if it is a wide-ranging customer safety issue, as in your example of medication that is making people sick, or faulty safety equipment in cars (e.g. tata airbag recalls), then this is where the government steps in and takes legal action on everyone's behalf against the manufacturer, forcing the manufacturer to 'pre-emptively' deal with the issues, to force it from the top down before the distributors sue them, before they get sued by the wholesalers before they get sued by the retailers who had to handle customers product refund complaints.

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          • icon
            crade (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 6:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Harm

            Wow, glad I'm not trying to do business there.

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            • identicon
              ryuugami, 24 Sep 2019 @ 7:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

              Wow, glad I'm not trying to do business there.

              Because you'd be held accountable for things you sell? I'm also glad you're not trying to do business here...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 1:33pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

                Because you are "held accountable" for things you don't have any influence over.

                I don't even think I would be able to have a garage sale there.

                It would be like an constant axe hanging over you and your business and you have no power over whether it falls or not, you just have to accept it can fall any time.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Eldakka (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 5:33pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

                  The retailer does, absolutely, have influence over what they sell.

                  They don't have to sell that cheap Chinese charger that is likely to explode. They choose to sell that cheap Chinese charger. By the retailer then claiming (via the text description on the side of the box) that it is a USB 2.1A 5V charger, and since by law the store cannot lie (i.e. false advertising is illegal), I accepted that the store was following the law - advertising the correct capabilities of the product - so purchased that item that the law says must meet merchantability requirements and perform as advertised.

                  They have a duty of care to their customer (the consumer) to ensure that what they are selling is fit for the purpose that the retailer claims it is fit for. Just like the wholesaler has the same duty of care to the retailer, and the distributor to the wholesaler, and the manufacturer to the distributor.

                  Take this example.

                  Say a manufacturer makes range of bolts. The manufacturer doesn't know what a consumer 3 sales levels removed from it is going to do with it. So the only guarantee they can make is a general "this bolt meets these specifications (size, strength, rust resistance, etc.)."

                  That manufacturers range of bolts makes its way down to the retailer, a hardware store. A customer goes into the hardware store and says "I'm making a cubby house/fort for the kids out of some overlapping corrugated iron, that is in an outdoor weather-exposed position, what bolts should I use to fix the corrugated iron together". The staff in the hardware store advise the customer on what screw is suitable that:
                  1) is strong enough (assuming a certain density of attachment points, every 5cm vs 50cm would call for different strengths);
                  2) won't react chemically with the materials involved,weakening the attachment points;
                  3) won't rust (at least not within a couple decades) when exposed to rain and salty air since we are in a coastal region.

                  Therefore the customer of the retailer, the hardware store, is buying the product based on the retailers recommendation for something that will fit their needs. Is it really reasonable to hold the manufacturer of the bolt to account if it actually rusts in 18 months, causing the fort to fall apart, possibly injuring someone, because what the retailer sold the customer wasn't the outdoor rust-resistant bolt from the manufacturers bolt line but the indoor-only rust-prone-if-exposed (e.g. for mounting an indoor TV to an indoor wall-bracket) bolt?

                  The same is true for all products. Whether I ask a salesperson for an opinion, or rely on the representations made in store - i.e. posted advertising on the walls, the demo video playing on TV, or the product description/specifications written on the side of the box (or on the product description on the webpage if buying online).

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    crade (profile), 25 Sep 2019 @ 7:46am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

                    They have influence over what types of things they sell, not over what they sell specifically. The retailer has influence over whether they sell a samsung galaxy 8 or an iphone X, but whether they sell you a working iphone X or a broken one or one that will explode in your pocket is decided by someone else (manufacturer). Yes, the retailer can choose what sort of things to sell, they can choose not to sell cheap stuff just as the consumer can choose what sort of things to buy but we are not talking about being held accountable for their product selection here we are talking about being held accountable for manufacturer's failures to deliver what the manufacturer has promised regardless of what product it is, regardless of whether it is a cheap product or an expensive one.

                    The manufacturer is claiming that they have done their job to meet certain standards, but the retailer is only claiming that they are selling you what the manufacturer made. It would be dishonest for them to make any further claims than that because they have no way to know any better than you do if this particular iphone works properly or not. If you bought two of the same product, one from retailer Y and one from retailer Z, and the one from retailer Z blows up, that has nothing to do with retailer Z being better then retailer Y. It's just luck of the draw.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 5:17am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

                  "Because you are "held accountable" for things you don't have any influence over. "

                  Not quite. There's a whole lot of mitigating circumstances. The problem crops up when a retailer agrees to carry a line of products broken by design - exploding USB chargers come to mind.

                  At that point you just follow the line of whoever made the guarantees and safety warranties in the first place. In most cases that means the state attorneys go directly after the OEM and skip charging the middlemen.

                  The retailer will be the one to initially fork over damages, of course (and can then claim those from the OEM), but that's much the same as it is in the US.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    crade (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 9:00am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

                    Well yes obviously the retailer has their own responsibilities as well punishing retailers for things they have control over like for selling things that they have reason to believe are defective (or even selling things from manufacturers with poor reputations or anything else the retailer has the ability to comply with) is a whole different story. Retailers are held accountable for their own actions and decisions in most places, but they are saying here that retailers are punished for selling products that end up having manufacturers defects regardless of whether they could have done anything about it or not. That retailers are somehow responsible for ensuring there are no manufacturers defects in the products they sell.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Sep 2019 @ 2:02am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Harm

                      "...but they are saying here that retailers are punished for selling products that end up having manufacturers defects regardless of whether they could have done anything about it or not. That retailers are somehow responsible for ensuring there are no manufacturers defects in the products they sell."

                      That's how common consumer law works, yes. When you have built an entire business model around selling, in bulk, certain products, then yes, you will be held responsible for what you sell.

                      If what you sell was faulty from manufacture then you can pass the fines and legal accountability on to the manufacturer, meaning you get off the hook. And on top of it you can sue the manufacturer for damages or harm caused by the shoddy product.

                      Under NORMAL circumstances this forces the retailer to buy from a credible manufacturer with a reliable brand, in which case there is rarely any issue - looking at Samsung here for the odd exception, or alternatively to investigate the cheaper product they intend to carry.

                      The alternative to legislation of this kind means retailers would be free to buy a large chunk of dirt cheap products from a set-up-on-the-fly manufacturer with the ability to simply fold, relocate, and dodge any and all responsibility, ensuring that the customer could be hoodwinked at will without any ability to seek redress.

                      If you want to give consumers any ability to avoid being cheated and/or harmed by purchases made in good faith then the accountability chain MUST be present at all levels.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 3:44pm

    I am surprise the digital music sellers aren't in here raising cain about this ruling or even offering to help with the appeal. While we're talking software here, digital music that has drm more resembles software than music. Were that not the case, the drm would not function to prevent playback.

    If you own the digital game copy you bought, with rights to resale, so to should you own your digital music copy, with the same rights. I suspect there will be a serious fight over this once the sellers of digital music, software, and major music labels, wake up to the fact, they are in the same boat by the same ruling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Blue Balls, 23 Sep 2019 @ 4:28pm

      Re:

      You don’t have a Right to music or Games you filthy Pirate.

      Those belong to the Corporations by Right of Common Law look it up!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 9:06pm

        Re: Re:

        As usual you assume things you know nothing of. Wonder why so many of your post disappear? It's because of the same drivel as you post here.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 24 Sep 2019 @ 11:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          That's not Blue, it's just some pathetic person parodying them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 6:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I'll say it's pathetic; blue's not even a quarter as honest as the parody!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Sep 2019 @ 3:20am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "That's not Blue, it's just some pathetic person parodying them."

            You would think that by now most sane posters would be aware of Poe's Law. Trying to parody a clown only means you emulate the clown.

            No matter how insane the demented parody rant you try to pull odds are it'll just end up being something that Blue/Bobmail/Baghdad Bob has actually said himself on multiple occasions.

            In this particular case it's actually recognizable as a parody because it's less deranged than what Baghdad Bob usually comes up with...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 4:02pm

    My Steam Account

    When I die, I am giving my login details for my steam account and my email for recovery to one of my children. The other will have to wait for my wife to pass on to get access to her steam library. They have each already gained secondary steam accounts that we had created before we had children. Now my hundreds of games will survive my death to live on for however long my kids last. Provided that Steam is still valid and continues to keep their servers going.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 23 Sep 2019 @ 6:26pm

    So how would this ruling affect retail releases of Steam-crippled games? Yes, I know they're rare, but they do exist. As it is now, you buy a used retail copy of Half-Life II and you find out that since it's already been registered to someone else's account, you'll have to "buy" a digital copy to get a valid key for it.

    Since the physical package and media can already be resold, would this ruling also force them to allow the license for that copy to be transferred to the new owner of the used copy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Sep 2019 @ 3:23am

      Re:

      "So how would this ruling affect retail releases of Steam-crippled games?"

      Badly.

      "Since the physical package and media can already be resold, would this ruling also force them to allow the license for that copy to be transferred to the new owner of the used copy?"

      If it stands, yes. Problem is, though, that in some cases the registration might not actually be held by valve.

      It's somehow a typical french ruling - right result but all the backing arguments are wrong.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 8:54pm

    Steam should ask if they should allow resale of movies as well. Then they can use what ever excuses the movie companies come up with to defend games with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 23 Sep 2019 @ 10:00pm

      Re:

      That defense is "Copyright." You don't own games anymore than you can own movies or books.

      Steam claims a limited-use contract. You don't purchase a game, you purchase a non-transferable license to use a game within the restrictions laid down by the IP owner. You can't transfer or sell a game for the same reason you can't re-sell your iTunes music.

      This decision, if upheld, would mean you own your games, your music, your movies,and even the DLC you purchased. You could sell that neat dance move you bought for Fortnite.

      So obviously it will overturned. Aside from what Steam wants, this runs counter to what Hollywood wats.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2019 @ 11:09pm

        Re: Re:

        I personally think it will be overturned as well because if it wasn't, huge damage will be done to the status quo in the online marketplace. That said courts has done stupid things before so you never know what might happen. Also i actually want to own the things i buy, who doesn't.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 5:00am

    If this law applys to games ,then surely it will apply to video,s , film,s
    ,tv shows bought on itunes or other digital services ,
    including software .
    One of the reasons games are so cheap is digital download,s
    by pass the cost of physical disc,s , cd,s , packaging ,transport,
    etc
    Game publishers could also insert extra drm,
    this game only works for joe,blogg,s ,for instance a game launcher could check who is the account holder,
    if joe bloggs sells the game , the game launcher, eg epic, or ea,
    could stop the game from being played on another pc,
    Or limit the game to off line use only .
    Only the original buyer will be able to play the game online or play against other players on the epic game store .
    i can buy certain games on dvd like an mmo,
    those disc,s are of no use to me since i have no user account with ea or blizzard in order for me to log in and play wow or other online games .
    Yes in theory i could buy a game from someone but there,s no point in
    doing so if the drm stops me playing the game when i,m connected to the
    internet.

    there,s no legal way at the moment for an iphone user to sell films or music they bought to another user with an iphone.
    This case is important in that most purchase,s of music , games are now
    made online using digital download.
    The revenue of itunes and other digital store,s depends on drm
    in that the user cannot sell the media or transfer it to another user,
    It can only be used on the device,s the store allows usually after the owner of the device has logged in to the device.
    This law would be bad for users in that if it go,s into force
    steam may raise price,s in order to make up for lost revenue .
    IF someone buys a game on steam they will sell it for half price to
    other users after they finish playing it ,
    Some users may open a steam account and simply use it to buy games from other user,s .
    Steam provides, a great service , if you wait a few months ,there,s a sale , most pc games end up selling for 10 dollars or less on a steam sale.
    I think the court which made this choice, doe,s not understand
    how a digital store work,s ,its expensive to run a service with millions
    of users .
    Some publishers will simply not release games on steam as this
    rule will decrease the market value of a game if any random user
    can sell a game for a few dollars , days after they buy it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 7:09am

    My reply isn't going to be well liked by Gamers, but I'm siding with Steam on this one because Steam doesn't own the games either.

    The problem with the French ruling is that it's treating the software as a product, and that's never been true under any law of most countries which have copyright laws.

    Software is not tangible. To make it so requires artificial application of distribution containers, such as tapes, disks, flash drives, or other physical object.

    When a store sells a game, the product (containing the software) is removed from inventory.

    For digital distribution, this is not possible. Anyone who thinks Steam sells games is misinformed.

    Steam sells access to its platform, which allows users to play the games stored locally to their drives.

    Users have never bought games on Steam.

    There are two things which I believe allowed the French court to make this mistake:
    1) Digital stores display the words "Purchase", "Buy", or "Own", causing customer confusion. I've remarked for many years this will come back to bite distributors if they didn't clearly mark the buttons as "Lease", "Rent", or "Download".

    2) Publishers use downloads to represent sales.

    Both are byproducts of the old physical market, but replace the words with "Leases", and nothing changes.

    Copyright prevents people from owning the code. That's a fact.

    However, code on a physical medium can be sold, traded, or given away because the code itself is not being copied. It's part of the physical media.

    Steam provides a copy of the software, but users do not actually have access to it unless they connect through the service.

    Most games are designed with Steam's platform, and are not stand alone products.

    I'm on board supporting laws allowing owners of digital goods to buy, trade, or sell them, even as a software developer myself.

    But the law is crystal clear: I own the rights. You don't. You cannot sell or distribute my code without my consent, which is what software is. Even if I waive those rights, the law still states the code is mine.

    The French court's ruling is wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 24 Sep 2019 @ 7:58am

      Re:

      Users have never bought games on Steam.

      Bull-fucking-shit.

      1) Digital stores display the words "Purchase", "Buy", or "Own", causing customer confusion. I've remarked for many years this will come back to bite distributors if they didn't clearly mark the buttons as "Lease", "Rent", or "Download".

      Sure. So either users have bought games, or Steam (and others) should be prosecuted for the largest case of fraud in history. Which is it going to be?

      I'm on board supporting laws allowing owners of digital goods to buy, trade, or sell them, even as a software developer myself.

      Your entire rant says otherwise.

      The French court's ruling is wrong.

      Not nearly as wrong as you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 6:24am

        Re: Re:

        "Sure. So either users have bought games, or Steam (and others) should be prosecuted for the largest case of fraud in history. Which is it going to be?"

        Unfortunately he is correct. What users have, in reality, done, is to lease licenses. That is the whole justification for software vendor platforms being able to recall and uninstall software you legally bought from your computer.

        Steam (and everyone else pursuing this business model) is relying on the interpretation that what they sell is a license - not the software.

        Personally i think this is indeed fraudulent behavior and platforms should be forced to include, in large 24-font letters, words like "WE'RE ONLY LEASING YOU THIS SHIT AND MAY AT NO NOTICE QUIETLY UNINSTALL WHATEVER YOU 'BOUGHT' HERE!".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 6:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Correction:

          "What users have, in reality, done, is to buy licenses."

          Mea Maxima Culpa.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rekrul, 26 Sep 2019 @ 11:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Unfortunately he is correct. What users have, in reality, done, is to lease licenses. That is the whole justification for software vendor platforms being able to recall and uninstall software you legally bought from your computer.

          That shouldn't be allowed either. Once you pay money for something, nobody should be allowed to take it from you. And if they want that right, they should be forced to issue you a full refund of the "purchase" price because they are depriving you of something that you paid money for.

          Can you imagine if you bought a car and then after a year, the dealer came and took it back?

          Personally i think this is indeed fraudulent behavior and platforms should be forced to include, in large 24-font letters, words like "WE'RE ONLY LEASING YOU THIS SHIT AND MAY AT NO NOTICE QUIETLY UNINSTALL WHATEVER YOU 'BOUGHT' HERE!".

          I agree. The same thing should also apply to platforms that let you "buy" movies and TV shows, like Amazon.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Sep 2019 @ 3:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "That shouldn't be allowed either. Once you pay money for something, nobody should be allowed to take it from you."

            For what it's worth, i agree completely...but welcome to copyright law.

            There's a reason i feel absolutely no twinges of conscience when i self-identify as a pirate. Information control is a horrible concept whether it's in governmental or private hands.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Sep 2019 @ 3:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "I agree. The same thing should also apply to platforms that let you "buy" movies and TV shows, like Amazon."

            Ramen.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 8:55am

      Re:

      I've remarked for many years this will come back to bite distributors if they didn't clearly mark the buttons as "Lease", "Rent", or "Download".

      And let's say they did.

      In which case you can have fun watching all your numbers collapse into nothing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Sep 2019 @ 6:49pm

      Re:

      I'm on board supporting laws allowing owners of digital goods to buy, trade, or sell them, even as a software developer myself.

      Which is why you went ahead and followed up with this whopper of a statement:

      The French court's ruling is wrong.

      "Yeah, I don't really like it when porn companies sue blind grandmothers because it makes us copyright advocates look bad, but Otis Wright was wrong to punish John Steele!"

      Pull the other one, unlike yours, it doesn't have self-inflicted gunshot wounds!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Sep 2019 @ 6:29am

        Re: Re:

        "The French court's ruling is wrong."

        It's likely that it is, unfortunately.

        Copyright is insane, and has been locked down by large hordes of unscrupulous lawyers who all knew full well any judge with an inkling of common sense would try to take an axe to it.

        Hence I doubt they'll overturn the business model of online software retailers by way of a single court judgment.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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