Posted by druv (33 posts) -

Oracle got a major setback in the European Court of Justice in a lawsuit to a company reselling otherwise legally acquired software licences. The Court of Justice was asked by a German court for guidance, and their recommendations are usually followed (since it basically means that if the issue were to be taken higher, it would be the expected outcome).

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16069323,00.html

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that used software licenses may generally be resold by individuals or companies. The Luxembourg-based court thus sided with the German firm UsedSoft in a protracted legal battle with US software giant Oracle.

The ruling made it clear that trade in used software was permissible even if the software had not been shipped on a physical medium such as a CD or DVD, but had been digitally downloaded from the Internet.

The ruling, available here, also makes it clear that the original seller is obligated to offer a download of the software to the new owner.

An additional ZDNet article:

Oracle, which makes a vast proportion of its revenues from maintenance agreements as well, had tried to argue that it does not sell software as such, only licences. However, the court effectively backed up Bot's opinion that this was an "artificial distinction".

Whether this means that a storefront such as Steam are required to make it possible to deactivate a program and sell the product key is probably way too early to tell, but in effect, the "we sell licences" excuse should no longer work in Europe.

#1 Posted by druv (33 posts) -

Oracle got a major setback in the European Court of Justice in a lawsuit to a company reselling otherwise legally acquired software licences. The Court of Justice was asked by a German court for guidance, and their recommendations are usually followed (since it basically means that if the issue were to be taken higher, it would be the expected outcome).

http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16069323,00.html

The European Court of Justice on Tuesday ruled that used software licenses may generally be resold by individuals or companies. The Luxembourg-based court thus sided with the German firm UsedSoft in a protracted legal battle with US software giant Oracle.

The ruling made it clear that trade in used software was permissible even if the software had not been shipped on a physical medium such as a CD or DVD, but had been digitally downloaded from the Internet.

The ruling, available here, also makes it clear that the original seller is obligated to offer a download of the software to the new owner.

An additional ZDNet article:

Oracle, which makes a vast proportion of its revenues from maintenance agreements as well, had tried to argue that it does not sell software as such, only licences. However, the court effectively backed up Bot's opinion that this was an "artificial distinction".

Whether this means that a storefront such as Steam are required to make it possible to deactivate a program and sell the product key is probably way too early to tell, but in effect, the "we sell licences" excuse should no longer work in Europe.

#2 Posted by theodacourt (519 posts) -

This sounds like things might get craaaaaaazy soon. I really hope this doesn't increase restrictive DRM policies.

#3 Posted by Murdouken (709 posts) -

My lord I hope that is true. If Steam began to an offer a GreenManGaming-esque service where you can trade in your games for store credit I would get rid of so much shit that is on my Steam account.

#4 Posted by Kidavenger (3487 posts) -

This is absolutely mindblowing; while it seems like a good thing for consumers, we'll just end up paying for it in a different way.

The people that make the games and distribute them have to make money, if they have to start competing with used game sales I can't help but see the cost of new games going up and the big discount sales completely disappearing.

While Greenman gaming has been doing this for awhile, it's really just a trade in service with set prices aka Gamestop, having an open market free for all is insane.

#5 Posted by fox01313 (5061 posts) -

Wouldn't mind a way of releasing a game from my steam account for store credit or even just going through something similar to steamgifts to just gift it to someone who might want a game I'm either done with or realized after buying it that I didn't enjoy playing it (though I'd prefer just all or half the amount as credit on steam for getting something else).

#6 Posted by Panpipe (472 posts) -

As much as this sounds great in theory to consumers I can't help but feel this will be bad for us, at least in the short term.

The big companies like EA are really focused on these "licenses" to play multiplayer, etc. Riccitiello thinks that digital is the future. We'll see what he thinks about this.

#7 Posted by QuistisTrepe (628 posts) -

The problem with this is now software could get rebranded as a service rather than a product that is sold that would fall under Fair Use. Software could be even more locked down that it already is. Essentially, UbiSoft's online play only scheme could become the rule for all gaming. Oh, and kiss sites like gog.com goodbye.

#8 Posted by yoshisaur (2609 posts) -

We'll never see amazing Steam Sales again if we are able to "de-activate" a Steam game for resale. One of the sellers that pumps that kind of action into Steam is the idea that every purchase is a literal sale for the developer as well as the distributor. When it comes to retail stores, there is no guarantee (exactly the opposite) that the consumer will walk out with a copy that will be split amongst the original creators.

I really don't want this type of thing to happen because it will just allow the consumer to be as selfish as the current industry allows it. Somewhere along the line, people need to understand that not everything you spend money on - do you own. This is something I've learned with renting an apartment, playing an MMO/social game, and heck - anything else you do that you don't walk home with the product later on.

Inb4 the flaming that "developers get what they need," - fucking history has proved you differently. Stop living in your shell and understand the rest of the world needs to eat, not cater to your $10 off for a used game.

#9 Posted by MachoFantastico (4479 posts) -

All this depends heavily upon Valve, EA or other online download distributors offering the right tools to allow resale.  
 
I could see Valve doing something, as they have forms of game exchange anyway. But EA... NO CHANCE!!

#10 Posted by Scooper (7882 posts) -

I really hope this becomes an option on Steam. I'd love to sell all my old shit I don't play any more.

#11 Edited by Ares42 (2558 posts) -

I haven't read the whole ruling, but does it say specifically that they have to offer you the ability to resell ? It seems to only make a point to say that they can't deny you from reselling. To me the whole thing just seems to be about protecting the costumer from fraud charges etc, not necessarily to force the companies to open a resale market.

So basically I can make a deal with my buddy to give him my CD-key for a game I bought on Steam, and he should be able to download it by putting in the code (which at the same time should also deactivate my access to it). But Steam is not obliged to facilitate the sale in any way, even worse they could probably just remove any specific trace to the product making it very hard for consumers to actually sell something.

Online
#12 Edited by TehPickle (441 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

This is absolutely mindblowing; while it seems like a good thing for consumers, we'll just end up paying for it in a different way.

The people that make the games and distribute them have to make money, if they have to start competing with used game sales I can't help but see the cost of new games going up and the big discount sales completely disappearing.

While Greenman gaming has been doing this for awhile, it's really just a trade in service with set prices aka Gamestop, having an open market free for all is insane.

Games designers/publishers HAVE been competing with used sales since the beginning. The fact that this ruling / recommendation could now impact on their online distributions margins merely brings that whole domain onto the same playing field as physical sales. I cannot see how this could cause some form of price hike in any way. If any of the big publishers are fool enough to say "Oh this digital second hand copy shenanigans is forcing us to increase prices," gamers would be the bigger fools to actually believe it.

For my money, this decision is most certainly the right thing to do and I for one welcome it. I'll be interested to see where things go from here.

#13 Posted by TehPickle (441 posts) -

@TrueEnglishGent: Oh but wouldn't it marvellously ironic for another ruling to surface that forces these companies to give consumers the choice to re-sell?

It wouldn't surpirse me if Valve offer a used games store in next to no time, that just takes a % commission on every used game sold at crazy low prices.

#14 Posted by Kidavenger (3487 posts) -

@TehPickle said:

@Kidavenger said:

This is absolutely mindblowing; while it seems like a good thing for consumers, we'll just end up paying for it in a different way.

The people that make the games and distribute them have to make money, if they have to start competing with used game sales I can't help but see the cost of new games going up and the big discount sales completely disappearing.

While Greenman gaming has been doing this for awhile, it's really just a trade in service with set prices aka Gamestop, having an open market free for all is insane.

Games designers/publishers HAVE been competing with used sales since the beginning. The fact that this ruling / recommendation could now impact on their online distributions margins merely brings that whole domain onto the same playing field as physical sales. I cannot see how this could cause some form of price hike in any way. If any of the big publishers are fool enough to say "Oh this digital second hand copy shenanigans is forcing up to increase prices," gamers would be the bigger fools to actually believe it.

For my money, this decision is most certainly the right thing to do and I for one welcome it. I'll be interested to see where things go from here.

I put this real simple for you, there is no difference at all between a used or a new copy of a digital game, used games will be cheaper, used games will reduce the number of sales a new game gets, this hurts the developer.

In a climate where EA, THQ, Nintendo are losing money hand over fist, developers are shutting down, and investors are pulling out the games industry, the last thing these people need is this judgement.

I like video games, but seriously, fuck cheap ass gamers.

#15 Posted by Jay444111 (2441 posts) -

@TehPickle said:

@Kidavenger said:

This is absolutely mindblowing; while it seems like a good thing for consumers, we'll just end up paying for it in a different way.

The people that make the games and distribute them have to make money, if they have to start competing with used game sales I can't help but see the cost of new games going up and the big discount sales completely disappearing.

While Greenman gaming has been doing this for awhile, it's really just a trade in service with set prices aka Gamestop, having an open market free for all is insane.

Games designers/publishers HAVE been competing with used sales since the beginning. The fact that this ruling / recommendation could now impact on their online distributions margins merely brings that whole domain onto the same playing field as physical sales. I cannot see how this could cause some form of price hike in any way. If any of the big publishers are fool enough to say "Oh this digital second hand copy shenanigans is forcing us to increase prices," gamers would be the bigger fools to actually believe it.

For my money, this decision is most certainly the right thing to do and I for one welcome it. I'll be interested to see where things go from here.

Agreed. I would love to be able to sell some Xbox live arcade games myself. I hate some of them I bought and would like some money back. People who aren't in support of this are pretty much against consumer rights actually. There is no getting around that.

#16 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@TrueEnglishGent said:

All this depends heavily upon Valve, EA or other online download distributors offering the right tools to allow resale. I could see Valve doing something, as they have forms of game exchange anyway. But EA... NO CHANCE!!

Exactly. Valve could probably rejigger Steam to actually benefit from this new hiccup but EA would probably try to sue the entire EU for damaging its "business" model.

@Jay444111 said:

Agreed. I would love to be able to sell some Xbox live arcade games myself. I hate some of them I bought and would like some money back. People who aren't in support of this are pretty much against consumer rights actually. There is no getting around that.

Do you have a Masters in Hyperbole or something? I'm all for free speech and anonymity on the internet, but you're making us all look bad with this sort of thing, duder.

#17 Posted by TehPickle (441 posts) -

@Kidavenger said:

@TehPickle said:

@Kidavenger said:

This is absolutely mindblowing; while it seems like a good thing for consumers, we'll just end up paying for it in a different way.

The people that make the games and distribute them have to make money, if they have to start competing with used game sales I can't help but see the cost of new games going up and the big discount sales completely disappearing.

While Greenman gaming has been doing this for awhile, it's really just a trade in service with set prices aka Gamestop, having an open market free for all is insane.

Games designers/publishers HAVE been competing with used sales since the beginning. The fact that this ruling / recommendation could now impact on their online distributions margins merely brings that whole domain onto the same playing field as physical sales. I cannot see how this could cause some form of price hike in any way. If any of the big publishers are fool enough to say "Oh this digital second hand copy shenanigans is forcing up to increase prices," gamers would be the bigger fools to actually believe it.

For my money, this decision is most certainly the right thing to do and I for one welcome it. I'll be interested to see where things go from here.

I put this real simple for you, there is no difference at all between a used or a new copy of a digital game, used games will be cheaper, used games will reduce the number of sales a new game gets, this hurts the developer.

In a climate where EA, THQ, Nintendo are losing money hand over fist, developers are shutting down, and investors are pulling out the games industry, the last thing these people need is this judgement.

I like video games, but seriously, fuck cheap ass gamers.

I'm not sure why you feel the need to be so agressive about it, especially with such an elitist I'm Mr Moneybags So Screw Everyone That Can't Afford attitude.

There is no difference between a new and used digital game, true. But that's taking only the physical condition of the product into the account. Of course, there is no physical condition subject to wear and tear, so by this rule the prices would be the same? Logically yes, but from a more humanistic angle, the original purchaser originally paid "asking price" for the product, so it's reasonable for the next purchaser of that product to want to pay less than the original price, irrespective of it's condition.

I guess the difference in our opinions - which are both correct depending on how you chose to percieve the physicality of a string of zeros and ones - is wether digital and physical games are the same thing. They're not, of course, but that doesn't stop companies like the ones you named (EA in particular) trying to sell "new" digital games for the same price (or more in many cases) than their physical counterparts. I'm merely following a bartering ruleset that these companies themselves have established. If they want me to pay those prices, then I expect alternatives.

In this respect, I take off my hat to Valve. They have absolutely nailed it.

Full digital distribution is coming, and there's no avoiding it. On an idealisic level, these rules HAVE to be established globally, lest game companies have us by the balls forevermore.

If EA see fit to spend all the money making games that need to sell unrealistic numbers to turn even so much as turn a profit, then that's their problem. They're doing bad business, and they need to address that internally, rather than blaming their own consumers.

On a final note, this has nothing to do with "cheap ass gamers" as you so eloquently put it. I rather foolhardily spend about 25% of my monthly salary on (new) games, so "expecting something for nothing" is not the angle I'm coming from. It's this: When the day comes that everyone buys digitally, the notion of a free market has the potential to go out of the window without these sorts of rulings, and the games industry stands only to damage itself in the process.

#18 Posted by h0lgr (908 posts) -

This seems like something that nobody will remember in a little while.

#19 Posted by konig_kei (595 posts) -
@h0lgr
This seems like something that nobody will remember in a little while.
It is Europe after all.