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EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

This document (Adobe Acrobat format) outlines a legal ruing in the EU that seems to open the door for resale of digitally distributed software (thanks Joao). Here's a bit:

Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy tangible or intangible and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.

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80. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 22:47 Jerykk
The question should be if you have a used digital game market, will you like how the industry adjusts to maximize profits in that market? Or you would prefer that things stay the way they are? I can promise you, though, you switch to allowing a digital used game market and the industry will change.

This. One of the big reasons why publishers are supporting digital distribution is the lack of used sales. Every digital sale results in revenue given directly to them (with a cut taken by the distributor). When you allow used sales, this benefit is largely negated. Another likely consequence is that the huge sales we all love will likely be toned down. With players able to resell their games, publishers have less incentive to offer huge discounts because players will already have credit earned by selling their games.

As someone who doesn't buy or sell used games, I'm not liking the potential ramifications of this law.

What this means is that a healthy used market will tend to push publishers into developing either game's with episodic content or games with very high replay-ability, multiplayer or long, rewarding campaigns that the buyer wants to hold onto. Short games, even good ones, would suffer greatly.

Sadly, high replayability isn't going to hinder used sales. For example, RPGs have the most replayability of any single-player genre. Hell, just one playthrough usually takes at least 20 hours. However, the vast majority of consumers don't actually finish RPGs, letalone replay them.

Used sales convince publishers to do two things: cram multiplayer into games that don't need it and pump out lots of DLC. Making longer, deeper and more replayable single-player games? Not so much.

What is really the question here is will enough of the market withhold from buying a digital copy in order to wait for resale of a "used" version, and thus make the software companies wither out and die? I doubt it. History has yet to show that happening with DVDs, console games, or VHS tapes.

You're forgetting the convenience advantage of trading in digital products. With physical products, there are many variables to consider. The condition of the product, the quantity of the product, the size of the product, the weight of the product, etc. With digital products, you don't have to worry about any of those things. You click a couple of buttons and get credit instantly. Don't have to drive to GameStop, don't have to mail anything, don't have to advertise anything. Just a few clicks and you're done. People are much more likely to do something when it's convenient to do so and I have no doubt that used sales would be even more prevalent in the digital market than in the physical market. Publishers will recognize this and try to find other ways to maximize their profits, sacrificing many of the benefits that digital distribution once offered to consumers.

This comment was edited on Jul 3, 2012, 23:04.
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