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News EU court rules second-hand sales of digital goods legal

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 4 Jul 2012.

  1. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    By "can't", do you mean technically or contractually? The ruling states that contractual measures prohibiting resale are invalid, but (so far as I understand) it does not prohibit DRM based techniques intended to limit resale at the technical level. Since the company in question WAS reselling licences, it is clear that, if there was any technical limitation, they had found a way to circumvent it.
     
  2. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

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    I also doubt we'll see it, but it would make sense. Currently games can be re-downloaded for free, but that's under the assumption that it'll only have one owner, they've likely recorded game download data, compared it with the cost of bandwidth and set the prices of their games accordingly with their profit margin allowing room for the average number of downloads.

    With players being able to sell games there's a potential for the average download rate to increase and use more bandwidth. Valve would then need to compensate for this increased cost. A re-download fee would do it, but I doubt that'd happen. They'll likely just take the increased cost of a game over its lifetime and incorporate it into their pricing scheme.

    EDIT: Also, before a mod gets to it, there's an edit button. Feel free to use it rather than triple posting!
     
  3. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    UK law is pretty flexible (I speak as a UK qualified lawyer - usual disclaimers etc. :)) - there is no legal principle against a perpetual but non-transferable licence. Of course if the ruling discussed in the article is adopted in UK law, all that will change.
     
  4. mclean007

    mclean007 Officious Bystander

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    I'm familiar with the edit button, having been a member here for 10 years, but I don't see any issue with triple posting when replying to multiple comments. I could multi quote, but it's a massive hassle on a phone and you end up with posts a screen long. I feel that multiple posts addressing each point in turn are more digestible.

    To address the on topic issue, I think you're probably right that Valve is unlikely to introduce a redownload charge. The bandwidth cost of even a large game must be trivially small compared to game prices, so I really doubt the small increase in bandwidth use that a resale mechanism would generate will move the needle enough for Valve to adjust pricing structures at all. But I do think if they implement a resale marketplace mechanism it would be very reasonable and indeed likely for them to expect a cut. My guess would be somewhere between 10-30% (NB not directly comparable but Apple takes a 30% slice of App Store sales, so there is a precedent)
     
  5. MSHunter

    MSHunter Minimodder

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    This will never apply to online passes as those are either rental agreements or subscriptions. You are literally paying for Online access and not for the game, i.e the ability to use the SERVICE that their servers provide.
     
  6. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    As some as are suggesting that you own the 1's and 0's that you download Steam et al could turn around and say that you have to sell your copy, there is no option to download from Steam again as that would be counted as a new purchase.

    I don't fancy having to upload 30GB of game to make a few pennies back!
     
  7. Pobatti

    Pobatti What's a Dremel?

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    There's a fundamental problem with this law. Whether it works for games or not is one can of worms which is being heavily discussed. As others have already pointed out however, this would cause huge problems for the sale of other digital product.

    Games and software are unique in that they work via interpreted code. If part of that code instructs the program to verify whether it is legally owned or not, it cannot be used without being either properly licensed or otherwise hacked or cracked. This is a reasonable safeguard, since the software companies could find a way to easily disable your original software once it has been sold and enabled elsewhere. While this is never 100% safe (as a person could back up their copy of the software and apply a patch/hack/crack/fix if one exists in order to retain the title after it is sold), distributors and creators of such patches/hacks/cracks themselves would face possible prosecution for making these illegal files available, and it's usually beyond the average person's ability to create such a fix themselves without online aid.

    The problem with audio, video and e-books is that the interpreter is 'you' and not some processor.

    Let's look at the most basic of these, the e-book. There's nothing stopping you manually copying the e-book word for word into a seperate Notepad window, that goes without saying if the e-book is pure text. Depending on the security, viewer application and DRM that is used, you may be able to print out a hard copy, take screen grabs with the PRINT SCREEN button.

    Audio is a similar situation, since anything that can be heard by human ears can be 'heard' by electronic ears too. If you're not too concerned over high quality (for example if you just want a copy on a mobile phone as a ring tone or something), no DRM in the world can detect whether a mobile phone's microphone is nearby and 'listening in'. Likewise, regardless of the protection and compression, the audio MUST be completely raw and unprotected by the time it hits your PC speakers or audio outputs or your speakers would just produce garbage. No DRM in the world can tell the difference between a pair of headphones and a wire linked up to the microphone socket of a recording device. Or your AUDIO-OUT being linked to an AUDIO-IN for that matter.

    And video... I'm not entirely sure how folks do this but I'm assuming for now that methods exist purely because folks are able to capture HD video output from their PC or games console and have been able to do so for a while. This tells me that there's a similar 'weak link' in those setups. Since the consoles lack any kind on inherent video recording ability, this means that the footage is captured live as it's decoded and displayed frame by frame on the television screen through external methods. Failing any other option, a person could still point a video camera at their television screen if they were determined enough.

    I've gone on way longer than I'd expected, but I can't see how it's possible to 'transfer' ownership of digital medium to another person, since 'transfer' involves the original owner giving up his rights and ability to use or access the digital medium which would be simply impossible to prove in many cases. The way I see it, it's way too easy to retain a copy, meaning that such a law-change is likely to get mainly abused by those who see the obvious pirate potential.

    Pirating is a problem. It's costing us all. It's not the end of the world situation some might claim, but it's bad enough how it is at the moment. What you have to consider is that currently, the only people who actively pirate are those who are brave (or stupid) enough to risk the consequences, or those who believe they can outwit the system by concealing themselves through network protocols. The brave and stupid ones have only gotten away with it so far because or pure luck, the ones who use onion routers and proxies may one day wake up to find their technology has been compromised and the FBI at their front door.

    What happens when something can be easily obtained legitimately, secretly copied in private easily, and then either sent back for a full refund, traded in or resold for a (slightly) cheaper price?

    Think back to the 80's. VHS videos, audio cassettes and Spectrum games. How many people know folks who rented videos and copied them simply by hooking one VCR into another and recording the output? Folks who copied audio cassettes by using a dual-cassette recorder and 'taping' one to the other? Folks who did this exact same thing with Spectrum games?

    Those things I described were all illegal. They were what was 'pirating' of the 80's - yet how many people got prosecuted? The problem was, it was totally unpolicable. Without any kind of evidence that a crime was being committed, folks were free to duplicate to their heart's content. Entire neighbourhoods would share without any real deterrent. While internet piracy is indeed rampant - the act of (for example) downloading from a torrent site is a much more public activity that leaves tracks and evidence all over the internet to be pieced together if the authorities decided. The prospect that they 'may' be prosecuted is a piracy deterrent for many.

    Now I see some comments around the net about this not really being a problem, as each copy is initially paid for so the publisher always gets paid for the initial purchase regardless - but there is a huge problem. Think of it this way: Person A buys an MP3 album, copies it and sells it on for just under full price. Person B buys the MP3 album off Person A, the money basically serves to refund Person A who now not only still retains a copy of the album but has also gotten his money back. Person A then uses this money to buy a different MP3 album, which he copies and then sells on...

    Looking at this situation closer, for each album that is bought, copied and sold, Person B becomes the 'true' owner. It is almost as if that person bought the album and then loaned it to a friend who promptly copied it and then gave it back. Not only that, but Person A happens to know every person in the neighbourhood and they each let him copy one of their albums. We're back to the 80's and audio cassettes, only 'loaning' from strangers rather than close friends and family.

    It was unpolicable then, it will be unpolicable now. While it's the nature of the beast that there will always be pirates, it's definitely no good thing if people suddenly develop a taste for piracy due to the temptation of being able to conduct it in the privacy of your own home without leaving evidence or tracks on the internet like the days of old.

    With these medium especially, it will be impossible to even begin to guess how much this additional pirating will be taking place and so there's only two possible solutions from the publishers: a hefty estimate of losses resulting from both legitimate and illegitimate uses of the legislation and a massive price hike as a result, or, finally, a return to a physical medium using a proprietary disc format as the main distribution format.
     
  8. Pobatti

    Pobatti What's a Dremel?

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    I believe, to comply with the legislation such a feature would have to be provided somehow. Don't forget, it's your right to use the software that would be sold, not the software itself. Companies also wouldn't enjoy people selling 'faulty', 'modded' or 'infected' software that would damage their reputation. If they're going to make second hand sales available, as advertising for their company if nothing less they will need to control the process themselves.
     
  9. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    This whole post is wrong but might be funny or interesting to read so I'll leave it.

    This whole post is wrong but might be funny or interesting to read so I'll leave it. :D

    Whole lot of good points there Pobatti & I have a solution, not perfect but it never could be really even with the current model without 2nd hand coming back to PC.

    Here's my take on this silly law.


    Why just EU & not the whole world? plus I thought up a better idea than whatever nat brain made this one up since seeing this weird news.

    I'd prefer if a 30% cash back as a credit note wallet that isn't giftable in any way & requires an extra security measure that has to be used every time you use it to cash in your unwanted games in case you get hacked & some dude thinks it's funny to clear out your awesome collection, & same for movies, tv shows & music & you can only spend at the place you bought from & at the price you bought them for so you don't get people who bought a £30 game in a sale for £2 & get £7 more back than what they paid lol.

    Could be done for professional applications also but if going that way you get no support other than updates, fair deal IMO.

    As far as I'm concerned places like steam working with the publishers have been really generous on the sales & then you get some fool who doesn't understand the system make up a stupid law like this which who knows what that might cause in the long run, can't see good coming from it, I really can't, an option to leave your steam collection or the like in a will perhaps yes, that does make sense.

    I also think it's very fair to say things like nat brain, idiot & fool about this decision. :)

    Retail games registered on the service not allowed, multipack games not allowed unless getting rid of the whole collection included in the multipack at that time as they have ones added each time usually & same rule of 30% of what you paid which wouldn't be an option to many if they already had a few games from the collection which is a common thing.

    2nd hand games are as damaging as piracy really because the creators & publishers don't see a penny of those sales so does hurt the industry & makes unrelated ones profit like vultures, the PC had something special when the 2nd hand market died out, if or when this badly thought through 2nd hand system takes effect it won't be good for PC gamers, especially the ones who support good games while they are full price who are really keen gamers, without those there would be no PC gaming anymore, something for the hardcore sale seeker to realise.

    I see less reason for developers to support PC with a stupid law like this coming back, wasn't law before but publishers came up with a good idea to end the 2nd hand games market, just like EA introduced a fee if you want the multiplayer part on their console games for compensation of the loss of a sale, I'm not an EA fan but that really is a good move IMHO, without deterrents things fall apart fast.

    That thing of having a multiplayer part in a game is what would have made a lot of great single player games feel the need to have a multiplayer part which is a waste of funds for a great single player game that could have gone into more story of the game. :waah:

    With not being financially well off I should be feeling like this is totally awesome news but I'm not feeling that at all about this news, I believe in supporting the companies & awesome talent who make this entertainment in an otherwise kinda dull world, especially in cities, nature is & always has been awesome but cities, m'eh & I mean that.


    Posted picture evidence isn't on topic, unrelated to 2nd hand sales lol it's even dated July 2011. :hehe: Not only that but the messages on that picture are precisely the same as it's always been when refunds are done on steam other than the member doing the request adds some UK law that doesn't get acknowledged by the steam op & no a refund wasn't acknowledgement because I've seen the same thing many times but without the UK law bit. :D
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2012
  10. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    Waynio, you see only one side of 2nd hand market. But you completely miss the other side of the 2nd hand market... You bought a brand new game for the typical new game price of €50. Now, half year later the game is usually sold let's say for 30€. To be able to sell your used game, you will sell it for 15-20€. Sure, the publisher "lost" 30€ sale now, half year later after the game release. Except most times what will you do with the money you got from 2nd hand sale ? Sure, it is not 100% that he will use the money for that, but he will now have part of the money for another brand new game. Without it, he will not buy the brand new game, because he has no money for it, but thanks to the 2nd hand sale, he can.
     
    Waynio likes this.
  11. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    faugustin, guess I had a bit to say :D you are right about me seeing half, must have been the influence of the heavy piracy note from the new poster I seen. :hehe: probably one of those smart jedi mind trick lawyer moves we've heard about. :lol:

    Good swift argument & I see both sides clear now, case closed really, thanks for that extra point. :)

    I take that back about any insults of nitwits, idiots or fools & stick them on myself & feel dirty & scrub them off so I'm clean again. :thumb::hehe:

    I added that in there for whatever it is you pay at the time including sales & I missed adding price drops on purpose, think it would be good for a 30% as a loyalty thing for the ones who make games a success initially because without those the whole system would fall hard & there wouldn't be good enough reason to make big budget games anymore & it would be back to oldschool games like the rise of the indy devs which are very often very awesome but yeah we don't buy nice GPU's for those. :hehe:

    2nd hand could hurt PC gaming a bit still though but not as bad as I pictured, my solution is if I can't afford it or I haven't got time to play it at release I pick it up in a sale to play when I can.

    Got used to if I buy a game I don't like then that's that, can't even remove them from my list for free. :lol:

    I say it again though so it's clear.

    I take that back about any insults of nitwits, idiots or fools & stick them on myself & feel dirty & scrub them off so I'm clean again. :thumb::hehe:

    I can now do a big cheer for the new law coming. :clap:


    1 more point, EU first it seems, the world next. :rock:
     
    Last edited: 8 Jul 2012
  12. Waynio

    Waynio Relaxing

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    How rude of me, that deserves rep faugustin for helping to complete both half's. :D
     
  13. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    Just a note, 2nd hand digital market is not specific to PC; Playstation Store or XBOX Games Marketplace are affected by this ruling as well.
     
  14. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    As is every form of digital sale,

    itunes ( music + films + games + books ect )
    Amazon ( same as above )
    google play site

    basically anything that distributes electronic content.
     
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