The Federal Consumer Union defends the right to resell Steam games in court
French consumers also call for stricter liability for data leakage
The French Consumers Union of France sued Valve, claiming that Steam and the user’s service agreement violate a number of legal rights of EU citizens, including the right to legally resell acquired software.
Members of the UFC Que-Choisir, which has existed for 64 years (hereinafter referred to as the “Federal Consumers Union”), insist that Valve is obliged to provide Steam users with the opportunity to resell legally acquired digital games if they wish. Noting that many online stores have certain restrictions on reselling products, the Federal Consumers Union claims that it is very difficult to understand why reselling physical discs with games is possible, and there is a ban on digital games. court ruling prohibiting the resale of purchased games on online flea markets.Moreover, I recall that representatives of the European Court made it clear that reselling software that is an integral part of a video game is allowed.
The Federal Consumer Union appeals to a 2012 European Court decision regarding the resale of downloadable software licensed by Oracle. The resolution reads: “It does not matter whether a copy of the computer program was made by downloading from the copyright holder’s website or using tangible media such as a CD-ROM or DVD.”
According to the judgment of the European Court: “From an economic point of view, selling a computer program on a CD-ROM or DVD and selling the program through downloading from the Internet are similar. The transfer of information online serves as the functional equivalent of the delivery of goods from tangible media. ” But in 2014, in a lawsuit filed by the German consumer union regarding the right to resell products, the Berlin Regional Court ruled in favor of Valve.
In the United States, legislation regarding these aspects provides for a different procedure. Here, courts have repeatedly reaffirmed the broad rights of companies to prohibit reselling programs as enshrined in end-user license agreements, even in the case of physical copies of the software. There is some contradiction in the “first sale doctrine”, which gives the first buyer very broad rights when using the purchased product. Software makers insisted - and successfully, as was the case in Vernor v. Autodesk - that the software was licensed, not purchased, and therefore the doctrine of the first sale was not valid in this case.
In addition to the complaint regarding the right to resell products, the Federal Consumers Union requires Valve to explain what it claims to be to the customer’s right to reuse content created on Steam by other members of the community. This wording “contradicts ... the principle of respect for the rights of users / developers of intellectual property”, emphasize members of the Federal Consumers Union. In addition, in their opinion, Valve is obligated to share responsibility in the event that during the operation of the company's servers there is a leak of personal data of users, in particular, the plaintiff refers to Valve reports, according to which about 77,000 Steam accounts are cyber-attacked every month.
The Federal Consumers Union has tabled a procedure for returning funds to Steam users from linked electronic wallets (Steam Wallets) in the event of account termination, which Valve is also required to approve. And finally, the plaintiff does not agree with the application of the Luxembourg law for any complaints against the company coming from European Union citizens. “Yes, we have a common monetary system, but for some reason the rights are different!”, Representatives of the Federal Consumers Union are indignant.
They also report that, “despite Valve’s resistance,” they filed a complaint with the Supreme Court of Paris, having previously notified the company’s management.