Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library

The fact that we don't "own" digitally purchased content is a familiar topic, but a recent post on ResetEra brings up another interesting question about rights to digital goods. A Steam user asked Valve about transferring ownership of a Steam account in one's will. The answer (for now at least) is that you will not be allowed to pass along your game library for your descendants to finally clear up all those Steam Sale purchases. That tracks with the fact that Steam accounts and games likewise cannot be legally sold to another party. This is not to say anyone would know if you left your heirs your login details, but there is no way to officially transfer ownership of an account or games. There are a couple of possible loopholes still to be explored, and Ars Technica notes them, saying it's requested comment from Valve, so we may hear more about this. For now, here's the explanation of Valve's policy on bequeathing Steam accounts:
Unfortunately, Steam accounts and games are non-transferable. Steam can't provide someone else with access to the account or merge its contents with another account.

I regret to inform you that your Steam account cannot be transferred via a will.
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62 Replies. 4 pages. Viewing page 1.
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62.
 
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries
May 28, 2024, 10:09
Prez
 
62.
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries May 28, 2024, 10:09
May 28, 2024, 10:09
 Prez
 
chickenboo wrote on May 27, 2024, 16:50:
I'm fairly certain my future children will not be interested in my old game library, just as I'm not interested in playing old 5" floppy copies of Atari ST games. Outer Wilds, Tunic, Hades, Doom 2016, CP2077, Witcher 3 etc - classics for sure, but in 20 years? By then there'll be Tunic: 20th Anniversary Retrospective-Remaster, and my child will want to buy that for their Switch 4 or w/e.
I'll still be handing them my login and password, recovery email, and recovery key. Screw the EULA.

The difference being that under the tenets of basic consumer rights, that is your choice to make, not the job of someone else to make it for you.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
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61.
 
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries
May 27, 2024, 19:57
61.
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries May 27, 2024, 19:57
May 27, 2024, 19:57
 
chickenboo wrote on May 27, 2024, 16:50:
I'm fairly certain my future children will not be interested in my old game library, just as I'm not interested in playing old 5" floppy copies of Atari ST games.

Atari ST games came on 3.5" floppies, not 5.25". I know, I had several.

When corporations work to suborn and destroy consumer rights, piracy is an ethical option.
"Just take a look around you, what do you see? Pain, suffering, and misery." -Black Sabbath, Killing Yourself to Live.

“Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” -Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Avatar 21247
60.
 
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries
May 27, 2024, 16:50
60.
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries May 27, 2024, 16:50
May 27, 2024, 16:50
 
I'm fairly certain my future children will not be interested in my old game library, just as I'm not interested in playing old 5" floppy copies of Atari ST games. Outer Wilds, Tunic, Hades, Doom 2016, CP2077, Witcher 3 etc - classics for sure, but in 20 years? By then there'll be Tunic: 20th Anniversary Retrospective-Remaster, and my child will want to buy that for their Switch 4 or w/e.
I'll still be handing them my login and password, recovery email, and recovery key. Screw the EULA.
59.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 27, 2024, 12:49
Prez
 
59.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 27, 2024, 12:49
May 27, 2024, 12:49
 Prez
 
Right to resell is one of the basic rights of consumers, and it'll never change no matter what any corporate defender, TOS, or EULA says.

Quoted to highlight. Every basic consumer right is like this. Corporations benefit when the situation is made to look more complicated like as has happened - it's way easier to fool a judge and consumers. It's not complicated actually though.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
58.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 27, 2024, 04:32
58.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 27, 2024, 04:32
May 27, 2024, 04:32
 
Should be more worried about someone buying Valve and making it a subscription service to retain access to your library. #remindmein10years
57.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 27, 2024, 01:56
57.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 27, 2024, 01:56
May 27, 2024, 01:56
 
Cutter wrote on May 26, 2024, 21:34:
Razumen wrote on May 26, 2024, 21:12:
ChaosEngine wrote on May 26, 2024, 19:16:
Prez wrote on May 26, 2024, 08:39:
You agreed to the TOS, end of story.
LMAO! That's all it takes for people nowadays. Does anyone even think just a little before they type this shit?

Let me put this another way: remember when we bought games on DVD's? DVD literally means "DIGITAL video disc". Everyone speaking like a sage old system matter expert (you don't own anything anymore!!!! It's the DIGITAL age brah!!!) are not seeing the forest for the trees. The ONLY difference is where the 1's and 0's are stored. It's not complicated. Valve THINKS that because we live in a corporatocracy that they have an unimpeachable Killswitch option because... reasons. Not in my world.

Mate, I’m not talking about what you can do about it or whether it’s right or wrong, I’m simply stating the legal position.

This has already been tested, where people have tried to sell their steam accounts and Valve have simply disabled the account if they see it.

Are there ways around this? Of course.
And equally, you can’t just put anything you like in the TOS. But non-transferability of software licenses is a well established legal practice.
TOS isn't law, nor is there any law that says software licenses can't be transferred. Companies just want you to think that's the case, when in reality, a lot of their TOS are actually violating laws.

And in the EU, the right IS protected under law: ""EU court: Sale of used software licenses is just fine. "What this means is that, under EU law, software companies have no right to prevent users from selling their digital downloads to others; effectively, the software distributor's rights to control distribution are exhausted after the first sale."

Then you, like thousands of others before you, can hire a lawyer and prove us and the software industry wrong - even though not a single one of those people have ever won. That and 2 bucks will get you a cup of coffee. And what does the EU have to do with the price of tea in China. We're talking about NA, not the EU. You don't own software. Never have, never will. Change it or learn to cope with it already. Hi and welcome to life, which is unfair at best.

We're talking about the world. Steam exists worldwide. I know that's hard for USians to understand that the outside world exists sometimes, but it's true!

And you see, that's the beauty of it, I don't have to go to court to prove you wrong. All I have to do is sell the software that I've bought to another person, which I can, and go on with my life. Right to resell is one of the basic rights of consumers, and it'll never change no matter what any corporate defender, TOS, or EULA says.
56.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 23:06
Prez
 
56.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 23:06
May 26, 2024, 23:06
 Prez
 
Cutter I love you man but you're wrong on this one.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
55.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 21:34
55.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 21:34
May 26, 2024, 21:34
 
Razumen wrote on May 26, 2024, 21:12:
ChaosEngine wrote on May 26, 2024, 19:16:
Prez wrote on May 26, 2024, 08:39:
You agreed to the TOS, end of story.
LMAO! That's all it takes for people nowadays. Does anyone even think just a little before they type this shit?

Let me put this another way: remember when we bought games on DVD's? DVD literally means "DIGITAL video disc". Everyone speaking like a sage old system matter expert (you don't own anything anymore!!!! It's the DIGITAL age brah!!!) are not seeing the forest for the trees. The ONLY difference is where the 1's and 0's are stored. It's not complicated. Valve THINKS that because we live in a corporatocracy that they have an unimpeachable Killswitch option because... reasons. Not in my world.

Mate, I’m not talking about what you can do about it or whether it’s right or wrong, I’m simply stating the legal position.

This has already been tested, where people have tried to sell their steam accounts and Valve have simply disabled the account if they see it.

Are there ways around this? Of course.
And equally, you can’t just put anything you like in the TOS. But non-transferability of software licenses is a well established legal practice.
TOS isn't law, nor is there any law that says software licenses can't be transferred. Companies just want you to think that's the case, when in reality, a lot of their TOS are actually violating laws.

And in the EU, the right IS protected under law: ""EU court: Sale of used software licenses is just fine. "What this means is that, under EU law, software companies have no right to prevent users from selling their digital downloads to others; effectively, the software distributor's rights to control distribution are exhausted after the first sale."

Then you, like thousands of others before you, can hire a lawyer and prove us and the software industry wrong - even though not a single one of those people have ever won. That and 2 bucks will get you a cup of coffee. And what does the EU have to do with the price of tea in China. We're talking about NA, not the EU. You don't own software. Never have, never will. Change it or learn to cope with it already. Hi and welcome to life, which is unfair at best.

"Van Gogh painted alone and in despair and in madness and sold one picture in his entire life. Millions struggled alone, unrecognized, and struggled as heroically as any famous hero. Was it worthless? I knew it wasn't."
54.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 21:12
54.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 21:12
May 26, 2024, 21:12
 
ChaosEngine wrote on May 26, 2024, 19:16:
Prez wrote on May 26, 2024, 08:39:
You agreed to the TOS, end of story.
LMAO! That's all it takes for people nowadays. Does anyone even think just a little before they type this shit?

Let me put this another way: remember when we bought games on DVD's? DVD literally means "DIGITAL video disc". Everyone speaking like a sage old system matter expert (you don't own anything anymore!!!! It's the DIGITAL age brah!!!) are not seeing the forest for the trees. The ONLY difference is where the 1's and 0's are stored. It's not complicated. Valve THINKS that because we live in a corporatocracy that they have an unimpeachable Killswitch option because... reasons. Not in my world.

Mate, I’m not talking about what you can do about it or whether it’s right or wrong, I’m simply stating the legal position.

This has already been tested, where people have tried to sell their steam accounts and Valve have simply disabled the account if they see it.

Are there ways around this? Of course.
And equally, you can’t just put anything you like in the TOS. But non-transferability of software licenses is a well established legal practice.
TOS isn't law, nor is there any law that says software licenses can't be transferred. Companies just want you to think that's the case, when in reality, a lot of their TOS are actually violating laws.

And in the EU, the right IS protected under law: ""EU court: Sale of used software licenses is just fine. "What this means is that, under EU law, software companies have no right to prevent users from selling their digital downloads to others; effectively, the software distributor's rights to control distribution are exhausted after the first sale."
53.
 
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries
May 26, 2024, 20:15
53.
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries May 26, 2024, 20:15
May 26, 2024, 20:15
 
thats there choice because of the laws however this is not true everywhere in the EU for instants you steam games you bought cant be traded or given away
52.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 19:38
Prez
 
52.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 19:38
May 26, 2024, 19:38
 Prez
 
Fair enough. I apologize if I sounded overly argumentative. I am just disgusted because getting away with an action is not the same as it being decided legal by a court. Valve (and many other corporate monoliths) have infinitely more resources than anyone who might want to challenge them in court, making it a dicey proposition for anyone to even try. I do know that in several civil cases or reviews by EU governing bodies Valve does tend to lose, calling into question the actual legality of some of the things they do. Obviously, in a broken legal system like we have in the USA, winning in court basically amounts to having a ridiculous amount of money and just showing up most of the time. A distressingly small amount of questionable tactics that Valve and other corporations partake in ever actually get tested in an actual court, and even then it's a crapshoot when 'money makes right' for corporations who are vastly more powerful than any judicial body.

This comment was edited on May 26, 2024, 20:04.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
51.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 19:16
51.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 19:16
May 26, 2024, 19:16
 
Prez wrote on May 26, 2024, 08:39:
You agreed to the TOS, end of story.
LMAO! That's all it takes for people nowadays. Does anyone even think just a little before they type this shit?

Let me put this another way: remember when we bought games on DVD's? DVD literally means "DIGITAL video disc". Everyone speaking like a sage old system matter expert (you don't own anything anymore!!!! It's the DIGITAL age brah!!!) are not seeing the forest for the trees. The ONLY difference is where the 1's and 0's are stored. It's not complicated. Valve THINKS that because we live in a corporatocracy that they have an unimpeachable Killswitch option because... reasons. Not in my world.

Mate, I’m not talking about what you can do about it or whether it’s right or wrong, I’m simply stating the legal position.

This has already been tested, where people have tried to sell their steam accounts and Valve have simply disabled the account if they see it.

Are there ways around this? Of course.
And equally, you can’t just put anything you like in the TOS. But non-transferability of software licenses is a well established legal practice.
50.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 18:15
50.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 18:15
May 26, 2024, 18:15
 
Prez wrote on May 26, 2024, 10:55:
Razumen wrote on May 26, 2024, 10:41:
Cutter wrote on May 25, 2024, 22:39:
Software licenses have always been n awwon-nontransferable.
Absolutely not true. Software is a product like any other, and transferable as such.
I applaud the effort but this myth is so widely accepted as a weird, basic truth it makes no realistic sense to even argue about anymore. You and I know that it's not true, but I find the effort fruitless myself.
Do I think software should be "owned". Yes. Should it be transferable? Yes. Is such a thing possible? Yes. Does the law support this line of thinking? For the most part, no. So, the "truth" of whether or software is transferable or not is a matter of semantics and the law.
“Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.” -- Carl Sagan
49.
 
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries
May 26, 2024, 15:18
49.
Re: No Bequeathing Steam Libraries May 26, 2024, 15:18
May 26, 2024, 15:18
 
Nah they can just hack your account via a link, without you ever knowing, and steal all your shit instantly, and all the money you spent on, say, DOTA2, is just gone, and somebody else has all your items. When you tell Valve, they tell you to go fuck yourself, so that's fine with Valve, but not giving your stuff away of your own volition. So fuck Valve, and fuck Steam. I will never be back.
Avatar 55267
48.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 13:51
48.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 13:51
May 26, 2024, 13:51
 
rist3903 wrote on May 26, 2024, 12:11:
Jivaro wrote on May 25, 2024, 12:53:
Unless Valve gets a copy of every death certificate in the world as they are produced...how in the world would they ever know? Am I forgetting when they fingerprinted me? If I die and leave my account to a friend or family member, I am pretty sure all they need is my login/password, my birthdate, and access to the email account associated to the Steam account. This seems like an unenforceable rule.

Of course, making it so they don't 'owe' the account operator anything after the original buyer dies does cover some bases for Valve. I can see why they make the rule and draw the line there as far as their "obligations". It's just clearly not something they can enforce all that well until the account reaches a stupid age.

Valve doesn't need access to death certificates. They just need an actuarial table. Add the longest life anyone has lived to the inception of any steam account and then deactivate that account. Done.

I wish they had a system like that for AO games. I have a day 1 Steam account and 20 years of service and can I buy AO games? Nope. Not available in your region, my ass. And the reason they are giving is a missing AVS in Steam.

Well, guess what, Valve. Since you guys explicitly prohibit bequeathing Steam accounts, it can logically and legally only be ME who made that account 20 years ago, right? So, what do y'all think? Did I create my account at age -2 when I did not even exist in liquid form? Not very likely. So, how about lifting the AO limitations for accounts that have at least 18 years of service? Hm? How about that motherfuckers?
-=Threadcrappeur Extraordinaire=-
47.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 13:43
Prez
 
47.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 13:43
May 26, 2024, 13:43
 Prez
 
Jim wrote on May 26, 2024, 13:35:
actually valve already has a solution for this. It’s called family sharing. Just put your entire family for sharing and done.

Are you certain that means that if the primary account holder dies that anyone on your family plan retains access? That's great if true, but I was under the impression that Valve's position is that the account should be locked upon the verified death of the owner.

Again, I've seen to it that the issue of how shitty Valve is to their paying customers is moot, but I was curious.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
- Mahatma Gandhi
Avatar 17185
46.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 13:35
Jim
46.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 13:35
May 26, 2024, 13:35
Jim
 
actually valve already has a solution for this. It’s called family sharing. Just put your entire family for sharing and done.
45.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 13:12
45.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 13:12
May 26, 2024, 13:12
 
it becomes a case of transferable licenses then. This is already legal in the EU. Someone will challenge in the eu courts (as willis wife did in US) and will win, because case law on transferable licenses.....
Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
44.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 12:54
44.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 12:54
May 26, 2024, 12:54
 
wrlwnd wrote on May 26, 2024, 00:08:
People are free to buy

That's the crux of the matter, if you can't transfer, give it away or resell, you don't own it. And if you don't own it, you never bought it. And if you never bought it, why are they pretending they sold it to us?

If the FTC had some teeth, some sense and some balls, they'd be all over this fraud/false advertising/scummy practices.
43.
 
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library
May 26, 2024, 12:11
43.
Re: Valve: You Can't Bequeath Your Steam Library May 26, 2024, 12:11
May 26, 2024, 12:11
 
Jivaro wrote on May 25, 2024, 12:53:
Unless Valve gets a copy of every death certificate in the world as they are produced...how in the world would they ever know? Am I forgetting when they fingerprinted me? If I die and leave my account to a friend or family member, I am pretty sure all they need is my login/password, my birthdate, and access to the email account associated to the Steam account. This seems like an unenforceable rule.

Of course, making it so they don't 'owe' the account operator anything after the original buyer dies does cover some bases for Valve. I can see why they make the rule and draw the line there as far as their "obligations". It's just clearly not something they can enforce all that well until the account reaches a stupid age.

Valve doesn't need access to death certificates. They just need an actuarial table. Add the longest life anyone has lived to the inception of any steam account and then deactivate that account. Done.

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