German consumer group targets Valve over new EULA

No opt out and lack of resale options put developer under scrutiny

An umbrella group representing a number of German consumer organisations has challenged Valve over updates made to its EULA last August which it says don't meet the standards of local law.

The group has given the publisher until Wednesday September 26 to reply to the charges, after which it is likely to pursue them in court, CinemaBlend reports.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations, or VZBV, is a non-governmental organisation which lobbies and campaigns on behalf of a number of German groups, both locally and in the European courts. Valve, the VZBV says, is acting unfairly by requiring customers to sign a the new EULA to secure continued access to content already purchased, as well as by restricting the methods of resale available to customers.

Currently, Steam users who refuse to agree to the EULA's terms will find themselves unable to play games already purchased under previous agreements. There is no way for customers to opt out of the new arrangement.

Secondly, the VZBV argues that the new EULA does not meet the requirements stipulated by a recent European ruling which dictated that "an author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet," essentially meaning that all games purchased digitally, via Steam or otherwise, must come with a mechanism which allows their resale by the purchaser.

Valve have yet to respond to the accusations publicly, but with legal action looming it seems unlikely that the Steam owner would be willing to abandon the world's largest PC market without a fight.

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Latest comments (6)

James Benn Studying Computer Science, University of Portsmouth5 years ago
As good as Steam is, it's clear that consumer rights play second fiddle to that of the publisher - so imho it's a good thing someones willing to challenge them on this.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by James Benn on 24th September 2012 1:30pm

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Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd5 years ago
This is not what the ruling says at all, Dan. The ruling means that if there is a way to resell a digital software license available to the consumer, that it is within that consumer's rights. There's nothing that says a service provider MUST offer a way to resell a license. Both you and this consumer advocacy group are sadly mistaken, and this is something Valve will take to court if they have to... and easily win.
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Tamir Ibrahim Programmer, Splash Damage5 years ago
Unfortunately I'm with Nicholas on this one, the ruling does not mean that all software must come with a way to resell, despite what the internet seems to have reported.
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Show all comments (6)
Michail Mavronas 3D artist 5 years ago
an author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences ...

well I don't understand how this works legally but wouldn't the lack of a resale mechanism on the sales platform , imply the "prohibition" of re sales?

Its none the less an interesting topic. I wonder what would the implications be if steam users can resale their games within steam...
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James Prendergast Research Chemist 5 years ago
If anything I think it would prohibit the no resale of your steam account... but individual games? I wouldn't think so.
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 5 years ago
The phrase, [em]"....essentially meaning that all games purchased digitally, via Steam or otherwise, must come with a mechanism which allows their resale by the purchaser"[/em] really needs to be sourced. Who said that? What grounds do they have to believe this?

Please tell me it isn't editorial quietly inserted by into what is ostensibly a news piece.
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