July 3, 2012 · 0 Comments
Digital games are becoming increasingly prevalent, particularly on the PC where Steam has become the one and only place to purchase PC games for many. But what rights digital game owners have is a major source of complaints, as the way things currently stand, it is impossible to resell a downloaded game in the way you can a physical copy of a console or handheld game. A new European court ruling may lead to a dramatic change in that arrangement with a decidedly pro-consumer decision.
There is presently a distinction between the ability to resell software that is distributed via download and software distributed on physical media. Software company Oracle recently sued UsedSoft, a German company which resells Oracle software licenses, to prevent it from continuing to do so. End User License Agreements (EULAs, or those enormous legal documents you’re forced to agree to before installing software of any kind) typically seek to prohibit this sort of thing from happening, whether it be Oracle’s software or the latest Call of Duty. Essentially, consumers don’t own the software they are purchasing, but merely a license that limits what they can legally do with it. At least when it comes to physical copies of software, it has been established that “the first sale in the EU of a copy of a computer program by the copyright holder or with his consent exhausts the right of distribution of that copy in the EU.” In other words, a physical copy of a piece of software can be legally resold.