Half-Life 2 EULA Legal Issues?

Is the Half-Life 2 EULA illegal? on the Inquirer (thanks Ant) describes possible legal issues surrounding the End-User License Agreement for Half-Life 2 and the Steam service. Here are a couple of hefty excerpts:
...The German Consumer Association has recently found that the packaging on Half-Life 2 is misleading. In a report made following complaints from the public, they said that the mere listing of an internet connection under the 'other' category in system requirements did not accurately describe the true extent of the internet tie-in with the game, and ordered Vivendi to amend the packaging and untie Steam from HL2 or face a hefty fine. See this page. How far other consumer associations will agree with the Germans is yet to be seen, but it seems a no-brainer that Steam should be mentioned on the retail pack.

The return of software has traditionally been a bugbear for gamers. Most shops, at least in the UK, have a policy not to allow the return of opened software because of piracy risks. However, most consumers are not aware that, in some cases at least, this is in breach of their statutory legal rights, which cannot be infringed. This page at the UK's Office of Fair Trading conveniently notes an example of when goods can be returned as faulty:...

It is quite conceivable that any gamer not being able to connect to Half-Life 2 is entitled to a legal refund in the UK. The case would hinge around whether or not the inability to play the game without persistent net connection, or the previous hacking of the CD Key rendering it unplayable, makes the game unfit for the purpose described on the box. This could well be a winner.

The last issue is the most interesting and relates to a number of other cases that have come up over the last couple of years. According to US and UK law, under the principle known in the US as 'First Sale', a consumer buying a game takes absolute title to it; that is, they own it. ...

But, arguably, you can't transfer the CD Key without paying the $10 Steam charge, because otherwise it's still registered to you at Valve, meaning you haven't truly transferred ownership to the buyer.

However, here's something else. No mention of the Steam software is made in the EULA for Half-Life 2. This means that the terms of the Steam EULA that you agree to when installing that software are almost certainly not incorporated into the contract you agree to when installing Half-Life 2. Consequently, the $10 transfer fee would not be enforceable because it isn't in the HL2 contract, and Valve would be acting illegally in blocking any sale of the game from one person to another.
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171 Replies. 9 pages. Viewing page 2.
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151.
 
Re: steam
Feb 8, 2005, 11:59
Re: steam Feb 8, 2005, 11:59
Feb 8, 2005, 11:59
 
Apologists. Heh.

Glad I never installed this shit. Never will. Up yours, Valve! Neat game, too bad you borked it with Steam.

150.
 
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting
Feb 8, 2005, 10:43
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting Feb 8, 2005, 10:43
Feb 8, 2005, 10:43
 
Where do I get to choose what files, maps and models I have?

You don't. And that's the point.

If I wanted to make all my models bright pink so they would easier for me to see everyone else while I'm playing or make all the textures see-through so I would know where everyone was, it wouldn't be very fair for everyone else playing online, now would it?



--
Tigger
"It's not the years, it's the mileage" ~Indiana Jones
--
Tigger
Vic Fontaine for President
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149.
 
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting
Feb 8, 2005, 10:22
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting Feb 8, 2005, 10:22
Feb 8, 2005, 10:22
 
Steam is all about giving Valve total control over their game on your machine. They have the power to update it, lock it, delete it, fuck it up completely, make their files grow until you run out of disk space and if it's your system disk you may end up screwed because your machine won't reboot.

And

If Steam doesn't die the horrible death it deserves then I think more and more people will switch to consoles for gaming. I use my computer for more than just games and I value my security and don't trust any software house enough to give them a back door onto 'MY' computer.

And you are posting from what OS? Windows?




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"It's not the years, it's the mileage" ~Indiana Jones
This comment was edited on Feb 8, 10:57.
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148.
 
Re: First Sale Applies to Software
Feb 8, 2005, 10:03
Re: First Sale Applies to Software Feb 8, 2005, 10:03
Feb 8, 2005, 10:03
 
You can read a very good description of what it is and why it applies despite any EULA agreement at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine . Make sure that you read the case of Softman v. Adobe from 2001 which upheld the principle of first sale in relation to computer software.

Way to partially represent the facts!

The court case of Softman v Adobe only applies to the Central District of California. Legally it has no impact outside that court's jurisdiction (it may be referred to outside of it, but other districts don't have to follow it... see below). The same is true for the unmentioned Texas case.

And then there's the more recent case in the Eastern District of Missouri which largely (but not totally) contradicts the Softman v Adobe case -- in fact, it disagrees with the point that Right of First Sale is retained regardless of the EULA because the user did agree to the EULA.

I'd much rather see the Softman v Adobe case ruling win out if it ever goes to a higher Federal court, but until then you cannot claim that one or the other is the law of the land -- unless you happen to be in one of the small districts affected by the suits in question.

147.
 
Off topic a bit, but...
Feb 8, 2005, 07:04
Off topic a bit, but... Feb 8, 2005, 07:04
Feb 8, 2005, 07:04
 
check this Steam Forum thread out...

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?s=2eba876685050d4007b87a2c15d2b31b&threadid=141849

This kid posted a screen shot of his desktop displaying a virus scan that came up with results that he believed were the cause of his VAC ban....

..however...

...the screenshot also shows the folders for 3 different cheat 'utilities' on his desktop.

lol

146.
 
Re: I'm glad
Feb 8, 2005, 06:39
Re: I'm glad Feb 8, 2005, 06:39
Feb 8, 2005, 06:39
 
Creston said: "Funny how the ACLU has remained ominously quiet on this whole issue. I guess there's not enough mindless bitching for them to do. "

Yeah, shit, the ACLU should really take on COMPUTER GAMES when the Second Bush Reich is nipping at our heels, detaining Americans left and right. Good call, Creston, you Ralph Nader, you.

145.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 8, 2005, 06:11
Re: No subject Feb 8, 2005, 06:11
Feb 8, 2005, 06:11
 
Actually they said they would be releasing more info on TF2 after HL2 came out...

'course, said info is as equally absent as the game.

Sincerely,
Jeremy Dunn

144.
 
No subject
Feb 8, 2005, 05:50
No subject Feb 8, 2005, 05:50
Feb 8, 2005, 05:50
 
Valve lied again, they stated in pre HL2 interview that Team Fortress 2 will be released shortly after HL2 release and what TF2 is ******* vaporware. kthx. gg. Good thing I never bought any Valve crap. Now, I will never have to.

This comment was edited on Feb 8, 05:51.
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143.
 
Re: I'm glad
Feb 8, 2005, 05:49
Re: I'm glad Feb 8, 2005, 05:49
Feb 8, 2005, 05:49
 
a customer organization is finally acting on these fucking EULAs. Maybe this will lead in a return to the day when if I bought something, it was actually MINE to do with as I please.

It's not yours. You're just licensing it. Don't like it? Don't buy it. It's like saying you lease a car and its YOURS to do with as you please.

Funny how the ACLU has remained ominously quiet on this whole issue.

And what the fuck does software from a private company have to do with your civil rights? No one is forcing you to use it. Did Gabe Newell come to your house, put a gun to your head and say, 'Install it and accept the EULA or die motherfucker!'?

I guess there's not enough mindless bitching for them to do.

No, you right-wing morons have that covered just fine. Your stupidity never ceases to amaze me.


"Martin Luther was a German fellow who pinned a note on a church door that said, 'Hang on a minute!' Actually, he was German so it said, 'Ein minuten bitte!'"
- Eddie Izzard
"And then, suddenly and without warning, it turned into a real-life case of hungry, hungry hippos."
- Stephen Colbert
142.
 
Re: steam
Feb 8, 2005, 05:12
Re: steam Feb 8, 2005, 05:12
Feb 8, 2005, 05:12
 
I don't know why people keep relying on the arguement that "VAC is just around the corner, cheaters beware"

none of you honestly think that any victory that VAC achieves will be only a temporary one once someone discovers a crack/workaround for it? as quickly as they got a cracked version of HL2 as soon as soon as it was released?

but again, really, don't really care what Valve does with multiplayer, if they want to require that steam manages multiplayer gaming, fine. They could end all this controversy with one simple move: making Steam a completely separate product, so that people who want just the Single player game won't have any complaints whatsoever.

that's what most everyone's chief complaint is really, cuz really, Steam is just completely unnecessary when it comes to SP. But see, thats the crux of the issue isn't it, Valve knows that you would never use Steam if it were the least bit optional, so Gabe pulled a Microsoft and bundled it. They know the drooling idiot fanboys wanted HL2 at all costs, no matter what the state of it was (sad state of consumer intelligence that we're in) so they rammed Steam up your ass, knowing that consumers would hate it, but that they'd take it in order to play HL2, no matter how much it didn't live up to the hype.

And of course, the idiot fanboys that were ultimately disappointed at how HL2 didn't fufil all their geek-wet dreams, feel the need to justify their purchase in order to feel good about themselves, cuz got forbid people actually admit they wish they hadn't bought something, so they defend steam.

but alluding back to what a previous poster had already mentioned, its funny how things have changed now that some organization has issues with steam even if it is just the Germans, Just comparing this thread to the previous Steam-related threads out there, there seem to be a lot more people standing up and admitting that they can't stand steam now that they have an organization with some lawyers to stand behind.

dunno how much proof you need that ultimately, most people are just simple cowards that won't speak up if they don't like something. EULAs would be a comical footnote in history if more people would just say something and not tolerate companies trying to do stuff like this.

141.
 
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting
Feb 8, 2005, 04:56
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting Feb 8, 2005, 04:56
Feb 8, 2005, 04:56
 
The biggest victom in all this is the hard drive used to store this thread on.

What about the hard drive that steam writes to?
Where do I get to choose what files, maps and models I have?
Most games directories become quite big and as I download extra content and custom maps. When I get bored with them I save then to CD and delete them.
Steam locks everything down inside it's own virtual harddrives ( those massive files in the steam game directory ). You have no idea what is where and have no control over their size or location. You can't safely delete one because you don't know if it holds a file that's needed by something else.

Steam is all about giving Valve total control over their game on your machine. They have the power to update it, lock it, delete it, fuck it up completely, make their files grow until you run out of disk space and if it's your system disk you may end up screwed because your machine won't reboot.

You steam fans bent over and said 'take me, I'm yours' when you clicked next on that EULA. Valve has no responsibility over what they download to your machine or the effect of that download.

Steam is so close to Spyware there is no point discussing it.
http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&oi=defmore&q=define:Spyware

And as for calling it MalWare, it could be, if steam is ever hacked ( Valve don't have a good record on security ) then all you suckers sucking on valves steam pipe will find out exactly what malware can do.

Steam is a back door to your computer and you're all trusting Valve with the key. I pity you for being so naive, and for wanting this as the future for gaming on the PC I damn you.

If Steam doesn't die the horrible death it deserves then I think more and more people will switch to consoles for gaming. I use my computer for more than just games and I value my security and don't trust any software house enough to give them a back door onto 'MY' computer.

140.
 
Re: steam
Feb 8, 2005, 04:31
Re: steam Feb 8, 2005, 04:31
Feb 8, 2005, 04:31
 
I'm guessing they are already tracking cheaters and will do a large ban the day VAC goes live.

Should be a fun day over at the Steam forums the day that happens. lol.

I recall one kid's "argument" over his banned ID. He needed his Steam account activated so that he could get in touch with his cousin. Apparently, all other forms of communication weren't an option and he had to tell his cousin about a relative that had taken a turn for the worse. All within 15 minutes, his "relative" went from being diagnosed with some fatal disease to passing away. He even went as far as to say that it was Valve's fault for her death. Funny stuff....and quite a story.

See?!?! Steam kills.

139.
 
Re: steam
Feb 8, 2005, 02:38
Re: steam Feb 8, 2005, 02:38
Feb 8, 2005, 02:38
 
50 thousand were nuked for using a pirate copy of HL2, there is no anti-cheat for HL2 yet, cheaters rejoice. I hope they quietly enable anti-cheat without telling anyone and compile a list of cheaters then permanently ban them.

Wish I knew where to find the thread, but one of the Valve guys posted a couple weeks ago on the Steam forums that VAC was coming soon and cheaters are going to be in for a shock when that day comes. I'm guessing they are already tracking cheaters and will do a large ban the day VAC goes live.

----------------------------------------------------
Zero Tolerance Games Counter-Strike: Source server.
http://www.ztgames.com
138.
 
No subject
Feb 8, 2005, 02:25
No subject Feb 8, 2005, 02:25
Feb 8, 2005, 02:25
137.
 
Re: Dingo Characters
Feb 8, 2005, 02:13
Re: Dingo Characters Feb 8, 2005, 02:13
Feb 8, 2005, 02:13
 
A GabeNewell ate my baby!

136.
 
Re: Characters
Feb 8, 2005, 01:26
Re: Characters Feb 8, 2005, 01:26
Feb 8, 2005, 01:26
 
Oh wait. Someone already convinced ya'll of that didn't they?

So, Steam is all George W. Bush's fault? How very predictable of you lying liberal Democrats. It's blatantly obvious that the terrorists in Counter-Strike are modeled after key Republican figures. Next I bet you'll try to convince us that Gabe Newell was backed by Saudi Arabian businessmen, or a cabal of prominent gay rights activists.

You don't fool me, you know.

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135.
 
Steam: The big picture
Feb 8, 2005, 00:51
Steam: The big picture Feb 8, 2005, 00:51
Feb 8, 2005, 00:51
 
For all you folks heralding the merits of Steam, here's something I don't think many of you may have considered:

Steam itself wasn't an especially big problem for me. I have an always-on broadband connection, and I really could care less if someone knows when and how much I use thier product. I even see the benefit to developers in being able to bypass the publisher and keep a larger share of the profits for themselves.

The problem comes down the road, when a hundred different developers each want me to install thier own versions of Steam in order to use thier product, each with a slightly different take on what is acceptable in terms of quality, performance, privacy etc. etc.
---
Chris.
134.
 
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting
Feb 8, 2005, 00:26
Re: Common Sense Award for Posting Feb 8, 2005, 00:26
Feb 8, 2005, 00:26
 
The biggest victom in all this is the hard drive used to store this thread on.


133.
 
Common Sense Award for Posting
Feb 7, 2005, 23:58
Common Sense Award for Posting Feb 7, 2005, 23:58
Feb 7, 2005, 23:58
 
I used to hate Steam; it was problematic to get going in the beginning and I didn't like the idea of Valve knowing when I play games.

That was until 2 things happened:

1) Steam started working right.
2) I realized that even games that check for updates when they load can basically be changed to do the same thing.

I have EZ-Pass, for crying out loud! The state government knows I pass the tollbooth every day at 8am at 20MPH on my way to work and 5:35pm at 25MPH on my way home after work. Some people here are bitching about how Steam is 'watching them'. Hello?! Are you forgetting that just about everything we do today has a paper trail of some kind? The arguement is pointless.

If you use a cell phone, send e-mail, or use Reward Zone points at Best Buy, someone somewhere is watching you.



Steam is spyware.... that's just funny.

Here's the truth for me & 99% of all Valve customers:
Steam doesn't give me any problems.

The truth for the other 1%:
We're going to bitch so loud, we'll appear to be the 99%.

This comment was edited on Feb 7, 23:59.
132.
 
I'm glad
Feb 7, 2005, 23:30
I'm glad Feb 7, 2005, 23:30
Feb 7, 2005, 23:30
 
a customer organization is finally acting on these fucking EULAs. Maybe this will lead in a return to the day when if I bought something, it was actually MINE to do with as I please.

I'm pretty certain that if taken to the highest levels of the judiciary process, no EULA would be held up. All that's waiting is some organization actually willing to act on it.

Funny how the ACLU has remained ominously quiet on this whole issue. I guess there's not enough mindless bitching for them to do.

Creston


Avatar 15604
171 Replies. 9 pages. Viewing page 2.
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