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 6.
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71.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 7, 2005, 14:48
71.
Re: No subject Feb 7, 2005, 14:48
Feb 7, 2005, 14:48
 
People act like Steam sucking is something new. Steam has been sucking for quite some time. I still remember my first encounter with it. I installed HL1, and picked up CS. At that point, CS was hard to find without Steam. So not knowing much about Steam, I gave it a shot. Then, I went over to a friends place to play some LAN CS.

Of course, that didn't work, because you couldn't run Steam without a network connection. Night wasted. Oh well, so later on I'm away from home, so I figured I'd play some HL1 to pass the time. Nope, can't even play HL1 without a network connection.

Now you can blather on about the fact that they added the ability to use it offline, but the fact is, it was well past 6 months before that happened. So that's 6 months of a game I bought and paid for that I couldn't use without connecting to the internet first. And this is the company that you consider to be looking after consumer's best interests. BS.

There's no chance in hell I'm buying HL2 while Steam is a requirement.

70.
 
Re: Characters
Feb 7, 2005, 14:47
Bronco
 
70.
Re: Characters Feb 7, 2005, 14:47
Feb 7, 2005, 14:47
 Bronco
 
TheDude is too predictable these days.

Predictable can still be funny at times.

JosephBlowski is more of an enigma.

He earned enigma status the day he posted that he is married. Never saw that one coming...

This thread is heading towards hall of fame status - I can just feel it.


-TPFKAS2S
http://www.braglio.com
teh m4y0r ownz a GabeN b4ckp4k
http://www.azurebrigade.com
- WoW Guild / Board
-TPFKAS2S
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69.
 
No subject
Feb 7, 2005, 14:27
69.
No subject Feb 7, 2005, 14:27
Feb 7, 2005, 14:27
 
Is that my excuse?

HAHAHAHAHAHAH!! jesus, thats funny!

i didnt know robots made jokes!

______________________________________________
"They come as men, as graven images, as the White Stone, as a whirlwind and as a cloud;
it is a fire unfolding itself, the color amber; they are now in the Heavens looking over thee."
______________________________________________
"When the bomb drops it'll be a bank holiday
Everybody happy in their tents and caravans
Everybody happy in their ignorance and apathy
No one realizes until the television breaks down..."

- SUBHUMANS
68.
 
steam
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
Jim
68.
steam Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
Jim
 
Its a great service for content delivery, but I hate having to start the stupid thing everytime I want to play HL2 single player.

I hope a future steam update fixes this.

Jim
67.
 
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland..
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
67.
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland.. Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
 
A tumor in the gaming industry?

What?

Apparently being anti-valve is the new black.

66.
 
re
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
66.
re Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
Feb 7, 2005, 14:10
 
requiring sign in with steam was a stupid idea on valves part. I'm thrilled its blowing up in their faces!

65.
 
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland..
Feb 7, 2005, 14:06
B M
65.
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland.. Feb 7, 2005, 14:06
Feb 7, 2005, 14:06
B M
 
I hope Valve gets sued into oblivion. Valve is a tumor in the gaming industry and it must be cut off.
64.
 
Re: Pffff too much time on our hands
Feb 7, 2005, 13:58
64.
Re: Pffff too much time on our hands Feb 7, 2005, 13:58
Feb 7, 2005, 13:58
 
This is the time to stand up for Valve, not attack them.

Half-Life2 wasn't the best game in history, but it certainly wasn't the empty shell that was Doom3.

63.
 
Re: Pffff too much time on our hands
Feb 7, 2005, 13:43
63.
Re: Pffff too much time on our hands Feb 7, 2005, 13:43
Feb 7, 2005, 13:43
 
Man who gives a crap. Valve's been there right from 98 since HL1, giving the community modding tools and helping modders grow. I dont give a shit about steam. Ive had to use it since its release in 2003 fall/winter and i really never had ANY troubles with it. Malware? Spyware? I dont think so. It gives you that RARE ad or news update about stuff like teh recent HL2DM map contest once a month or less. Does that bother you? Do you feel your anus is being raped by this? Give me a break and stop bitching. If you dont have an internet connection in 2005 dont blame Valve for this. But seriously, you DO have the option of an offline mode and it works without much of a hassle. All they want is one activiation. I see no spyware at all, i dont get any unneeded u/d activity when i have steam running. If your system is clogging when running steam ,then maybe its time to upgrade or clean out your system.

You guys really need to stop bitching about useless things, there are better things to do then to slap Valve like theyre the evil empire or whatever. Without Valve's support early on after HL1's release, which they were never under any oblingation to do, you wouldnt have people being able to mod things so easily. If you cant afford to connect to the internet for a short period of time to activate HL2 then its not their problem cuz it says on the box you need an internet connection. And even if they did not state this clearly on the German retail boxes, just fk'n activate that shit elsewhere then play at home offline. For a country with so many gamers like Germany im suprised that people would buy this and not have the internet on their home computer.

This comment was edited on Feb 7, 13:48.
62.
 
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland..
Feb 7, 2005, 13:43
62.
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland.. Feb 7, 2005, 13:43
Feb 7, 2005, 13:43
 
The DVD version is the Collectors Edition sold in North America. Even still, who is to say BicycleRepairMan lives in NA?

The NA and the European versions are different. Again, to my knowledge, all versions sold in Europe were on DVD only. And BRM certainly appeared to be quoting from a European box given the "," where NA uses ".".

They may have looked at it, but ultimately it is not the developers responsibilty to make sure the packaging and the EULA are correct.

I agree about the box, but not about the EULA. That is pretty much entirely the developer's responsibility.

The Steam EULA that you have to agree to before installing Steam and HL2

Yes, but is it available in German? I didn't see a link anywhere for it in German, but that's not to say it's not there.

Just venturing a guess here, but I dont think retail stores can prevent you from returning software if you state you do not agree to the legal agreement. At the very least you could return the game to Vivendi themselves. They cannot legally turn you away if you do not agree to their own EULA.

In the US, at least, this is true. The stores are not required to allow you to return the software, but the manufacturer (in this case, Vivendi) is. There have been issues with this before though -- it's often difficult to find information on where to return it, or the return address is no longer valid, etc., but that's not an issue being raised here anyway.

It might be a bit more interesting if you try to buy it via Steam and then decline the EULA after paying for it. You'd then have to "return" it to Valve, but there's nothing physical to return... wonder if they've even thought this one out (the smart thing would be to put all the EULAs up before the credit card is charged, but I bet they didn't do that -- it certainly wouldn't be the easy thing).

61.
 
Steamed?
Feb 7, 2005, 13:40
61.
Steamed? Feb 7, 2005, 13:40
Feb 7, 2005, 13:40
 
As much as I like online delivery, I do think Valve could put a little bit more thought behind the idea. Steam's issues become smaller when you have broadband and the login server is up, but I have had some issues with it on my dial-up:

  • Starting out, offline mode did not work.

  • Next, offline mode would work, but only if you selected it the very first time the "Could not connect to network...: box came up. If you originally hit cancel on that box, you could not play in offline mode until you let it go online and verify.

  • Only now is offline mode letting me play offline whenever I want.

  • Previously using dial-up, I wish that Valve would plan ahead and let people at least play the single-player game while the system is downloading updates in the background. I recall one point where I was downloading some new drivers for my system; I decided to load up HL2 while they were downloading. Being online, I decided to let it do its little authentication dealie and then play the game. Unfortunately, it had some 10MB+ or so update to be applied and I was effectively locked out of playing the game at all. Even canceling that, disconnecting from the internet (halting my driver download,) restarting my computer, and trying ti play HL2 single-player was pointless because the system files had already recorded that they had to be updated.

Effectively, I was locked out of playing the single-player game for about one and a half hours due to, well, Steam. Again, this is compounded by my limited bandwidth, but I sorely wished that Steam would, if this was a single-player patch, download the update in the background and save to install later or, if this was a mulit-player patch, just lock me from multi-player games and still let me play the single-player game.

Overall, nothing truly devastating, but certainly annoying. I think the downloading for later install or only locking the multi-player portion shoild be obvious components of Steam. Alternately, Steam should have a more robust in-Steam utility for saving downloaded data. This would make things much easier for the end user and save Valve quite a bit of bandwidth over the years.
nin still sucks for wanting to stay on dial-up!
Awaiting the next Half-Life,
Ray

Edit: Code fix. One hand typing sucks!
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I love you, mom.
This comment was edited on Feb 7, 13:46.
Everything is awesome!!!
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I love you, mom.
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60.
 
Re:
Feb 7, 2005, 13:38
60.
Re: Feb 7, 2005, 13:38
Feb 7, 2005, 13:38
 
I clicked and wanted to post, but the whole thought process vanished on me soon as this page loaded:(

However, this thread reminds me a lot of Roger Waters and that song Amused to Death......lol

59.
 
Characters
Feb 7, 2005, 13:28
59.
Characters Feb 7, 2005, 13:28
Feb 7, 2005, 13:28
 
I just want to say that this has been my favorite part so far:

You are giving Americans a bad name. As if the rest of the world doesn't already look at us as lying murderers, thieves and torturers who are all mentally disturbed homosexuals.

TheDude is too predictable these days. JosephBlowski is more of an enigma. That said, The Dude's comment about HL2 being "built on the Steam API" was a nice touch.

~Steve

My music: http://mywebpages.comcast.net/imjediluke/
58.
 
Never bought it and will never buy it
Feb 7, 2005, 13:27
B M
58.
Never bought it and will never buy it Feb 7, 2005, 13:27
Feb 7, 2005, 13:27
B M
 
The EULA specifically states that there is no restrictions to the info that Steam can collect and send to Valve.
57.
 
In other news...
Feb 7, 2005, 13:26
57.
In other news... Feb 7, 2005, 13:26
Feb 7, 2005, 13:26
 
...meanwhile HL2 has reached record sales. We can complain all day long. As long as they get they dough, and they are cutting losses by having Steam, nothing will change. The only thing we could do is not buy HL3 if it also requires Steam now that we all fell victim to this crap. But if all start know, mentally preparing ourselves not to purchase that golden HL3 we see there on the shelf, to control our natural impulses, then, and only then, can we show the man what is right!

56.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 7, 2005, 13:23
56.
Re: No subject Feb 7, 2005, 13:23
Feb 7, 2005, 13:23
 
there are some things money cant buy - a brain is one of them

Is that your excuse?

----------------------------------------------------
Zero Tolerance Games Counter-Strike: Source server.
http://www.ztgames.com
55.
 
No subject
Feb 7, 2005, 13:18
55.
No subject Feb 7, 2005, 13:18
Feb 7, 2005, 13:18
 
siding with multi-billion dollar corporations over issues of personal freedom...

priceless

there are some things money cant buy - a brain is one of them

______________________________________________
"They come as men, as graven images, as the White Stone, as a whirlwind and as a cloud;
it is a fire unfolding itself, the color amber; they are now in the Heavens looking over thee."
______________________________________________
"When the bomb drops it'll be a bank holiday
Everybody happy in their tents and caravans
Everybody happy in their ignorance and apathy
No one realizes until the television breaks down..."

- SUBHUMANS
54.
 
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland..
Feb 7, 2005, 13:15
54.
Re: Let's hear it for Deustchland.. Feb 7, 2005, 13:15
Feb 7, 2005, 13:15
 
Which is exactly what he said. Read the precursor sentence where he said "if it required...".

He edited another section of his post that makes his post more clear. I'll adjust my post.

AFAIK, it was only sold on DVD in Europe.

The DVD version is the Collectors Edition sold in North America. Even still, who is to say BicycleRepairMan lives in NA?

I'm pretty sure that Valve was involved in the packaging design to some extent.

They may have looked at it, but ultimately it is not the developers responsibilty to make sure the packaging and the EULA are correct. The responsibility falls on the publisher, and in this case that would be Vivendi.

BTW...The Steam EULA that you have to agree to before installing Steam and HL2. http://www.steampowered.com/index.php?area=subscriber_agreement

Just venturing a guess here, but I dont think retail stores can prevent you from returning software if you state you do not agree to the legal agreement. At the very least you could return the game to Vivendi themselves. They cannot legally turn you away if you do not agree to their own EULA.

----------------------------------------------------
Zero Tolerance Games Counter-Strike: Source server.
http://www.ztgames.com
53.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 7, 2005, 13:14
53.
Re: No subject Feb 7, 2005, 13:14
Feb 7, 2005, 13:14
 
Glad to see someone is telling steam how the real world works.

I don't even have this POS installed anymore as I just hated F-n steam. Made my blood boil. Short of an Industry Changing Mod being released I don't see any reason to install it again.

After finishing this game and giving DM a few days try I was done for good. It's nice to see so many mods are out but dealing with this games security features really spoil any fun there is to have. Plus the story they came up with, (4+ years of work) was awful. It started out good but just turned into mindless shooting. I don't care if counter strike is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I didn't want it and still don't.

I had more fun playing BF1942 with DC final. ALOT more fun.

And BF2 is on its way! (AND IT LOOKS GOOOOODDD) emphasis on "looks"....

If there isn't any reason to keep HL2 by the time BF2 comes out I'll be ebaying my HL2 + HL1 steam account for sure.

52.
 
Re: No subject
Feb 7, 2005, 13:08
52.
Re: No subject Feb 7, 2005, 13:08
Feb 7, 2005, 13:08
 
Bloody hell, something is illegal in Germany???

That makes a change.

Nazi symbology illegal in Germany?

Check.

Blood/Gore mode in many popular software titles?

Check.

Working at the weekend?

Check.


and now Steam. Whoop-di-do

PMB
http://www.beyondunreal.com
PMB / Shodan
http://futilez.com
Avatar 4537
171 Replies. 9 pages. Viewing page 6.
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