I know, this isn't the most insightful comment, but I can't see this NOT having a huge impact on the software industry.
I don't know why you focus on STEAM, this could touch iPhone / iPad / Android apps as well.
- The court has ruled that reselling doesn't violate copyright, but nothing prevents a software vendor from forbidding the reselling in it's license. The court didn't force vendors/service providers to permit reselling.
- The court has not demanded that vendors enable the reselling technically.
- The court has limited its ruling to computer programs, and excluded media like ebooks, video, music and the like.
So in effect, this will change: Software vendors will have to change their licenses to prevent reselling.
While I'm not a lawyer, it seems abundantly clear that the court considered taking money for a permanent licence to be a sale. That brings first sale rules into the picture, for example, "[t]he first sale in the Community of the original of a work or copies thereof by the rightholder or with his consent exhausts the right to control resale of that object in the Community."
Oracle's licence agreement did clearly say that the licence was non-transferrable, and they lost.
Therefore, even if the license agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.
As for Valve, they are moving strongly to the free-to-play-but-buy-hats model anyway, where you already can give away all your hats to someone else. Although, yes, it could impact other sellers on steam.
I sorta feel/hope such clear attempts to avoid the law by trying some sort of Jedi hand wave would not pass muster with the courts.
The software industry has been both ignorant of economics and too greedy, thinking they can make more money by killing the used market.
This will obviously change things but only in so far as it brings software closer to every other type of product.
Link to English press release of European Court of Justice: http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2012...
If I buy a bundle (Windows and Office installed OEM) can I split the products and resell without new hardware? I ask because if the license as written was to only be distributed with new hardware, then reseller channel pricing may go out the window.
Also, if I can ignore the license terms, what does that do to GPL?
The GPL is not an EULA-type licence. It's a copyright licence. It is not a contract that you must sign/click "I Agree" which goes above and beyond copyright law, it is only copyright law.
You can no more opt out of the GPL, than you can ignore copyright law.
I don't think it means anything for the GPL. If you really wanted to I suppose you could transfer your license to someone else, but since the GPL lets you relicense under the GPL anyways there really isn't any change.
I am not a big GPL/Open Source guy, but since Copyleft is derived from Copyright (from which software license arise) an attack on one is an attack on all...
My real issue is that while the EU court is going about invalidating licenses (regardless of their intent, and whether or not their intent is "good") unforeseen consequences may ensue.
Disclaimer: I am no legal expert.
No. GPL software is copyrighted. Law (ie not contracts, actual acts and laws) says you cannot distribute a copyrighted work unless you have permission of the copyright holder. In the case of the GPL, the copyright holder only gives you permission to distribute if you include the work under the GPL.
what license does that resold portion now fall under?
since Copyleft is derived from Copyright
In reality, copyleft is copyright. "Copyleft" is just a term to appear different. It is, legally, copyright, but giving people more than is commonly given (e.g. the permission to make derived works etc.)
A lot of confusion is from the mixing of copyright law and contract law. EULA-type "licences" are contract law, and you must agree to them, like a contract. The GPL, despite "licence" in it's name, is not a EULA-type licence, but merely a statement of what rights the copyright holder gives you. You do not have to click "I agree" to be bound by the GPL.
Sorta. A EULA is also a license from a copyright [license] holder.
Resale of an item does not obviate copyright law. The creator (or successor in title or licensee) still holds the IP rights - they have only exhausted their right to control the particular copy instance that was sold. Thus a license like the GPL is still a valid part of the license of use for the copyright work.
So for the GPL it means the same as it does for other lawful licenses applied by copyright holders, very little. You can resell a GPLed work but you can't modify it and strip the GPL from it or unilaterally alter the creator's license.
In the same way the lawful terms in a EULA will still apply. You can't sell a work on to a third party and buy it back in order to somehow nullify license terms.
I think a better way to think about this is that the court is saying that the non-transferable clauses in software licenses are unenforceable, but the rest of the terms can be enforced.
The court isn't going about invalidating licenses, they're regulating contracts, one of the fundamental roles of courts.
As far as the required permissive transferability of licenses goes, what parts of the license terms will the new purchaser have to meet? Since some software is sold at different prices (or has different features) to different organizations and locations through primary channels, what restrictions will apply?
Can educational copies only be resold to educational institutions? Can volume OEMs only resell to OEMs?
Since a license is a grant of use, it implies that a grant given to one can now be transferred to someone else as long as the original gives up the privileges, but without the grantor having a say. Since the license also usually spells out what the grantor grants, it forces the grantor into a new relationship.
It comes down to treating a license as a product, rather than a license; there will be impact, perhaps in how licenses are written in the future so as to have grantors disallow things, or require continuing payment for updates and support (my original contention on subscription software).
The license prohibits you from transferring those (the manufacturers pay much cheaper than retail)... but this ruling would indicate that you still can.
It's been a few years since I last looked at this, but here's a story from 2009:
meaning "Permanent usage rights granted at the point of sale are not exclusive to original and may be transferred to a second buyer..."
I'm guessing soon we will only be able to "buy" non permanent usage rights for stuff we buy on steam/random other online distribution platforms.
Or maybe demos can be canned because people can just try and then sell it again if they don't like the game (as there's no using effect which would reduce the software's value)?
There'll be endless angst from the games industry if it comes to pass though.
I mean, without them, how can you resell a license?
Then again, the EU has anti-circumvention rules similar to those in the DMCA.
Oh? Didn't know that. Got a source/details/explaination/more information?
Strictly the DRM doesn't prevent resale it prevents use. From the little I've seen I think they've erred away from suggesting their is any onus on the creator to enable the resale or indeed the reuse.
I only skimmed it but doesn't it merely allow you to complain; the SoS won't necessarily take any action.
Do you know what this section is directed towards? It appears to be something like forcing a company to hand over data necessary to allow a researcher to work with the companies copyright materials??
Note there's a bulletin, http://www.share-the-vision.org.uk/bulletins/bulletin_70.doc, from Aug 2010 where it says that section has never been applied (see also page 2 of http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file51998.pdf).
I doubt it. People who don't care about ethics already pirate game. People who care won't cheat, they'll just sell games after they had finished them.
There are already game publishers, that sell games over internet (digital copies) without DRM (gog.com for example). They are doing OK.
Also - in my country selling used software (including games) was always considered fair use, regardless of EULAs. Just like with books.
The publishers in the US hate the retail used games market with a fiery passion (and it's not hard to understand why). And by and large I think very few people make use of that, most people -- I'm extrapolating from myself here -- are going to be too lazy to carry their games to GameStop for a couple of bucks, and most buyers are going to be too wary of complications with a used game to save a few bucks.
A digital download used games market would be way more convenient for both sellers and buyers. It would also be much cheaper to both start up and operate for a middleman, who could get by with much a lower cut than GameStop.
Possibility to easily sell used game may make perceived value smaller (there's cheaper legal way to get a copy). But it also may make the perceived value bigger - if I can sell game after finishing it - I can get back some of the costs, so I can justify buying more expansive game in the first place. I know kid that routinely buy legal games, play them, and sell them at Polish equivalent of e-bay. If it wasn't possible, he would buy much less games, cause parents only give him so much money for games.
I don't know which way the perceived value will go, I'd guess it's self balancing - the easier and more popular selling used games is, the more perceived value of games will rise, making it possible to rise the prices, but also making used games more popular.
Anyway IMHO the entire information market (games, apps, music, movies, ebooks, etc) is going to be mostly honour-based in the future, at least for things that can't be made into services. The only thing that makes people pay you for your content is their feeling that they owe you something. Make them angry at you, and that feeling disappears. One great way to make your clients angry at you is to use law to enforce "unjust" conditions on them. And I don't see why selling used licences is ethicaly different from selling used books, so it may be hard for publishers to persuade people it's actually Evil.
You can't force a license on someone that reduces their legal rights in this way, it's not lawful. It appears they'll be able to apply technical means to make it difficult (as impossible as they're able) but they won't be able to use a legal remedy to inhibit lawful resale.
Mark games you didn't 100% need to have around all the time as sellable, so they'd go into the 'cloud' of buyable games. Whenever you wanted to play a game, if you still owned it fine, if you didn't it would attempt to buy it for you. Every game is traded for $1 automatically. To bypass credit card pain you could either put money into your account in one go (add $20 for 20 games at one time) or just use your current steam account-- if you have 100 games that $100 right there.
I have hundreds of games gotten cheap off steam sales, and games I never play anymore. I imagine at any one time there would be 1 or 2 games that I would mark as "don't sell this", but the rest would be fine.
*I say 'addon', Steam obviously wouldn't want it, so it would have to be another frontend to your steam library that managed the whole process.
This could lead to rulings on what a "sale" is.
http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&... gives a summary thus:
>It follows from the foregoing that the answer to Questions 1 and 3 is that Articles 4(2) and 5(1) of Directive 2009/24 must be interpreted as meaning that, in the event of the resale of a user licence entailing the resale of a copy of a computer program downloaded from the copyright holder’s website, that licence having originally been granted by that rightholder to the first acquirer for an unlimited period in return for payment of a fee intended to enable the rightholder to obtain a remuneration corresponding to the economic value of that copy of his work, the second acquirer of the licence, as well as any subsequent acquirer of it, will be able to rely on the exhaustion of the distribution right under Article 4(2) of that directive, and hence be regarded as lawful acquirers of a copy of a computer program within the meaning of Article 5(1) of that directive and benefit from the right of reproduction provided for in that provision. //