A French court ruling on in a case brought by the French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir against Valve found that purchasers of video games on Valve’s digital platform, Steam, are permitted to resell them. This ruling contradicts established EU law and should be overturned on appeal, according to the IFSE, which represents the interests of the video games industry.
“This French ruling flies in the face of established EU law which recognises the need to protect digital downloads from the ease of reproduction allowed by the Internet,” contends Simon Little, CEO of ISFE. “Far from supporting gamers, this ruling, if it stands, would dramatically and negatively impact investment in the creation, production and publication of, not just video games, but of the entire output of the digital entertainment sector in Europe. If Europe’s creators cannot protect their investments and their intellectual property, the impact on both industry and consumers will be disastrous.”
“According to EU copyright law, when it comes to digital and streaming services, every use must be subject to the authorisation of the rightholder and copyright does not expire with their first sale, as it does with physical goods. Physical goods are subject to the ‘distribution right’ and to the ‘exhaustion doctrine’ which means that the purchaser has the right to resell the goods if they were first put on the market with the authorisation of the copyright owner. This is not the case with digital downloads which are subject to the ‘communication to the public right’, meaning that the purchaser does not have a right to sell them on, without the copyright owner’s permission.”