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Home / News / Valve sued by French group over right to resell Steam games

Valve sued by French group over right to resell Steam games

Should you be able to sell digital games like used discs? Some are fighting for the right

Digital games look like the wave of the future, and Steam has led the way on PC, becoming the primary source for many players’ new games. But with downloads, you lose the right of resale. Should you, though?

The French group known as UFC-Que Choisir, or the Federal Union of Consumers, believes you shouldn’t – and they filed a lawsuit against Steam operator Valve to try and force the issue. The suit, brought to the High Court of Paris, aims to provide buyers of digital software the right to then resell the game to other users.

According to the translated suit, via Ars Technica, the group calls the distinction between digital and physical game media “incomprehensible,” adding, “No court decision prohibits the resale on the second-hand market games bought online, and the European Court has even explicitly stated that it’s possible to resell software which, let’s remember, is an integral part of a video game.”

That decision, in which the European Court of Justice ruled against Oracle, determined that, "It makes no difference whether the copy of the computer program was made available by means of a download from the rightholder’s website or by means of a material medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD." Now the UFC-Que Choisir wants a similar ruling applied to downloadable video games purchased from Steam.

Do they have a chance? Well, despite the ruling against Oracle, there’s precedent here that says otherwise: last year, the Regional Court of Berlin stymied a similar challenge against Valve from a German group that wanted resale rights. Even if this new suit yields a positive verdict, it’s unlikely to have worldwide implications without several more local legal challenges.

UFC-Que Choisir also wants Valve to change its rules towards ownership of user-created content on the service, as well as accept liability when accounts are hacked or breached and allow users to refund money in their Steam Wallets when closing an account. Sounds like a lot of complaints – we’ll have to wait to see if they resonate with the Paris courts.

[Source: Ars Technica]

Profile image of Andrew Hayward Andrew Hayward Freelance Writer


Andrew writes features, news stories, reviews, and other pieces, often when the UK home team is off-duty or asleep. I'm based in Chicago with my lovely wife, amazing son, and silly cats, and my writing about games, gadgets, esports, apps, and plenty more has appeared in more than 75 publications since 2006.

Areas of expertise

Video games, gadgets, apps, smart home