EU citizens has the legal right to sell their used digital games!
Earlier this year, the Court of Justice of the European Union published its judgement on a dispute between business technology company Oracle and a firm named UsedSoft, which sells second-hand licenses for Oracle software without the corporation's permission.
Oracle took UsedSoft to court, the case was referred to the CJEU and the judgement came down in favor of UsedSoft.
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.
So if you download a piece of software, you can effectively re-sell it – as long as you delete the copy on your own hard drive.
Jas Purewal, a games and media lawyer at Osborne Clarke, blogged on the subject.
"The EU court held that it is legal for a legitimate purchaser of software to sell it to another person, whether that software is digital or physical," he says. Which sort of sounds clear. But wait.
"At the same time, the case has raised a series of questions about exactly how this actually should be implemented and what 'software' means."
Ah okay, so then this could actually be irrelevant to downloadable games? "No," responds Purewal. "The EU court said that you have to look at the reality, not the legal documentation.
"If the reality is that a developer or publisher is giving you ownership of a game for an unlimited period, then that is what you get – regardless of what the end user license agreement (EULA) might say, according to the court."
REGARDLESS of the EULA.
In short this judgement should spark a movement to make it legal for users to download titles from places like Steam, Xbox Live or the App Store and then sell those games on when they've finished playing them.
So will software providers be compelled by this ruling to actively facilitate the distribution of used digital goods. "It is probably going to be a little while before anything actually happens," says Purewal.
"The case has changed the legal landscape by forcing us to re-examine second hand sales from a legal perspective in the EU," says Purewal.
Let's hope that user feedback is enough to get companies to listen to our rights as citizens within the European Union!
For those who want to use a service TODAY that supports the reselling of digital games take a look at UK site Green Man Gaming. Let's hope Valve and the rest shapes up and gets on-board to!