French consumer group sues for right to resell Steam games

(credit: Kyle Orland)

A French consumer group has brought a lawsuit against Valve, saying the Steam and its required terms of service infringe on a number of European legal rights, including the right to legally resell purchased software.

The 64-year-old UFC-Que Choisir (the "federal union of consumers") argues that Valve must provide the capability for Steam users to resell their legally purchased digital games whenever they want. While noting that many online stores have similar resale restrictions, the group argues that the difference between being able to resell a physical game disc and not being able to resell a digitally purchased game is "incomprehensible... 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."

The group is referring to a 2012 decision from the European Court of Justice that focused on the resale of downloadable enterprise software licensed from Oracle. "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," the court ruled.

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