Valve can restrict resale of digital games in Germany, court rules

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Valve can restrict resale of digital games in Germany, court rules
​The Regional Court of Berlin has dismissed a lawsuit from the German consumer organization VZBV against Valve, for now granting Valve the authority to prevent Steam users from reselling their libraries of digital games. Business as usual, that is.

In September 2012, VZBV brought a desist letter against Valve, asking that the company (among other things), allow users to resell their "used" digital game accounts, in accordance with a Court of Justice of the European Union ruling made in July 2012 preventing authors from opposing resale of their digital software. Valve had until October 10, 2012, to respond to the desist letter, or the VZBV would bring about a lawsuit – Valve didn't change its policies, and the lawsuit moved forward.

The VZBV argues digital games fall under the doctrine of exhaustion, which dictates that copyright owners have limited ability to control individual copies of their products once those items have been distributed.

"A second case dealing with the precise copyright status of video games (coming, incidentally, from Germany) is currently still before the European judges, so the case law on this issue must be considered in flux," legal team Osborne Clarke writes. "But at least for the moment, it looks like digitally distributed video games are not subject to exhaustion in Europe."

This was the VZBV's second lawsuit against Valve and its digital resale restrictions. The first lawsuit made it to Germany's highest civil court, the Federal Court of Justice, but was dismissed in 2010.
[Image: Valve]
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