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Steam EU Legal Conflict

German consumer organization Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband outlines objections to changes to the Steam end-user license agreement, complaining that declining the agreement causes users to lose access to previously purchased games, and also runs afoul of a recent legal ruling in the EU that requires the ability to resell games purchased through digital distribution. According to a translation of this article this requires Valve to issue a "required declaration of failure" by next week, which Blend Games describes a response to a cease and desist order.

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16. Re: Steam EU Legal Conflict Sep 21, 2012, 12:57 Bet
 
Further, the privileges created by the first sale principle do not "extend to any person who has acquired possession of the copy or phonorecord from the copyright owner, by rental, lease, loan, or otherwise, without acquiring ownership of it." See 17 U.S.C. 109(d). Most computer software is distributed through the use of licensing agreements. Under this distribution system, the copyright holder remains the "owner" of all distributed copies. For this reason, alleged infringers should not be able to establish that any copies of these works have been the subject of a first sale.

Steam is between a rock and a hard place. Everyone knows we don't 'own' the games due to all previous EULAs we've agreed to. People here would be the first to state that we effectively 'rent' the games on Steam.

The stickier issue is that until the Supreme Court weighs in on the most recent case, the only games on Steam that could be resold in Germany, are games made in Germany (Gothic, Risen, etc). The rest are barred from being resold without violating copyright by any standard.

Very problematic situation brewing here.

There was also a Texas court that passed a completely opposite judgment than the one passed in Germany, about a week after. So at this point it's a US copyright attitude (which goes all the way up both political party ladders to the highest people in our government), vs sensible EU judicial judgement. We've got ourselves an international trade dispute.

Steam executives must be having migraines over this.
 
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