Steam ordered to allow digital game reselling in France

French court informs Valve that customers have the right to resell purchased Steam games

Valve must allow users to resell Steam games, French court rules

The French High Court has just ruled that Valve must make some drastic changes to their digital games storefront, Steam, stating that all French users must be allowed to resell their digital games.

How Steam will handle this ruling is unknown. Four years later, a French court has ruled in UFC-Que Choisir's favour. Predictably, Valve now prohibits the sale of games, and there's really no tangible way to do this besides selling an entire account tied to specific games. While folks have the right to resell games on discs, so far this hasn't applied to "dematerialised" products beamed down your datapipe without a physical object supporting them.

It's said that only the "interplay of contractual provisions" - the Steam subscription agreement, in this instance - stand in the way of Steam users being able to resell their games, and this is insufficient when as of 2012 European law has dictated that even rightful claimants (Valve) are "prohibited from opposing the resale of software". Valve's rights to users' mods and community content will also be diminished, and the company will have to clarify the conditions under which users can lose access to Steam for poor behaviour.

KitGuru Says: This is a tricky situation as there are benefits to the consumer here. If they can actually secure the decision against a store as big as Steam, that'd be a mighty strong precedent. Valve plans to appeal. I don't doubt other large stores and publishers would rally to oppose this too. Valve now has to reimburse French Steam users for any funds left in their Steam Wallets, should they request it. Valve also can't own any of the player-made modifications for games, eg those shared in Steam Workshops. For stores which aren't built upon that ideal, it's less attractive. Games, movies, trading cards and more are all included. Would Valve be breaching copyrights by allowing customers to resell unsellable products that have already been sold? Valve, not pleased with the ruling, has chose to appeal the decision, with a representative claiming, "We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance, and will appeal it".

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