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Bethesda Blocks Used Game Sale

Polygon reports that Bethesda Softworks has intervened to prevent a seller on Amazon's Marketplace from selling a used copy of The Evil Within 2 which had never been opened. It is noted that this has disturbing implications, and they dig into the story to highlight aspects that are odd or troubling:

Hupp complied with the demand, but in a reply to Vorys, he pointed out that the resale of used copyrighted goods — such as books, video games, DVDs — is protected in U.S. law through the First Sale Doctrine. This allows consumers to sell a used game, so long as it’s not significantly altered from its original form.

Bethesda’s letter claims that Hupp’s sale is not protected by the First Sale Doctrine, because he is not selling the game in its original form, which would include a warranty. The letter says this lack of warranty renders the game “materially different from genuine products” that are sold through official channels. In theory, this argument could be used against anyone who sells a used game without specific permission from Bethesda. If taken to its logical conclusion, Bethesda’s legal move could spell the end of users selling used games — or even brand-new unopened games — via online sites like eBay and Amazon Marketplace.

“Unless you remove all Bethesda products, from your storefront, stop selling any and all Bethesda products immediately and identify all sources of Bethesda products you are selling, we intend to file a lawsuit against you,” the letter reads. It goes on to state that a lawsuit would seek “disgorgement of profits, compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and investigative and other costs.”

It’s also not clear why Hupp’s specific listing was targeted. Amazon still list dozens of used and new copies of The Evil Within 2 from Marketplace sellers.

When contacted by Polygon, Bethesda declined to comment on this story. We also asked for clarification on how the company’s warranties work on used goods sold through official channels. GameStop, for example, offers a blanket 30-day warranty on used games that do not work, so long as the game has not been broken by the buyers. Bethesda did not reply.

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