Gamers with a substantial catalogue of digital games may welcome the news that publishers cannot stop you from selling on downloaded games. This ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union
supersedes any terms and conditions accepted as part of an End User License Agreement
(EULA). According to the ruling, once a company receives money for a product they part with their claim in that product. This means that users within the European Union have the right to resell digital titles when they are done with them.
The only condition attached to this ruling is that if you do resell software, you must deactivate your own copy. Otherwise, you are infringing on the copyright holder's exclusive right of reproduction, which remains unaffected by the initial sale. Platforms such as Steam
do not currently allow for the reselling of digital titles and it is unclear at this point in time if they plan to implement a facility to do so.
The announcement was made during a software ruling between Oracle
, who were locked in a court battle over UsedSoft reselling Oracle licences. However, it looks likely to have repercussions for anyone utilising software, games and digital licenses. Gamers will finally be able to exercise the right to resell their product as they do with physical titles, platforms such as Steam and Origin may have to provide facilities for such transfers, but may also revaluate the idea of massive sales, while developers now have another area of 2nd hand games to worry about.
For now, some of the repercussions are simply speculative. All it takes is for one user to take action over this ruling for it to become much more real though. Then we will see the various impacts over the short-, medium-, and long-term.