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EU Court: digitally-distributed software, games can be resold as used


Bikerdude

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http://www.techspot.com/news/49263-eu-court-digitally-distributed-software-games-can-be-resold-as-used.html

 

Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that right holder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.

 

Oh this is indeed good news! Its not secret how I feel about Valve and more recently EA, but now they will have to capitulate to us the consumer on the issue of being able to sell second hand games!!!

 

All I can say, is about bloody time!

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It's not good news. It's going to encourage DRM (even hardware drm longterm) since that is the only way for a 'reseller' to legally 'sell' a digital game.

 

And think of the indies that usualy sell digital versions: now they have to keep records forever for when a customer wants to 'resell' a game - which means they'll be pushed towards platforms that have that like steam or not make the game available in europe at all since they don't have the resources to comply with the law.

 

What happens when a company goes belly up? Even if the game is 'unlocked'? The last guy holding the game is forbidden to sell it since there is no more DRM platform to assure single ownership?

 

who is supposed to keep the records of ownership? It's a burecratic nightmare, distributed version without hardware DRM. With it, it's just a nightmare, full stop.

 

This is if they don't stop 'selling' games altoghter and start 'subscribing'. After all, if they are going to keep databases, might as well do that anyway.

 

Artificial scarcity imposed from on high... good luck suckers

Edited by i30817
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It's going to encourage DRM (even hardware drm longterm) since that is the only way for a 'reseller' to legally 'sell' a digital game.

 

And think of the indies that usualy sell digital versions: now they have to keep records forever for when a customer wants to 'resell' a game - which means they'll be pushed towards platforms that have that like steam or not make the game available in europe at all since they don't have the resources to comply with the law.

 

What happens when a company goes belly up? Even if the game is 'unlocked'? The last guy holding the game is forbidden to sell it since there is no more DRM platform to assure single ownership?

 

who is supposed to keep the records of ownership? It's a burecratic nightmare, distributed version without hardware DRM. With it, it's just a nightmare, full stop.

 

This is if they don't stop 'selling' games altoghter and start 'subscribing'. After all, if they are going to keep databases, might as well do that anyway.

 

Pretty much this.

 

While I can understand that people would want to re-sell used games make digital copies behave the way physical copies do in general, the fact is that they aren't physical copies and it isn't easy make them behave that way.

 

While this ruling may have good intentions, good intentions don't always lead to good results.

 

I can easily see some pretty negative reprecussions coming out of this.

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It's not good news. It's going to encourage DRM (even hardware drm longterm) since that is the only way for a 'reseller' to legally 'sell' a digital game.

 

And think of the indies that usualy sell digital versions: now they have to keep records forever for when a customer wants to 'resell' a game - which means they'll be pushed towards platforms that have that like steam or not make the game available in europe at all since they don't have the resources to comply with the law.

 

What happens when a company goes belly up? Even if the game is 'unlocked'? The last guy holding the game is forbidden to sell it since there is no more DRM platform to assure single ownership?

 

who is supposed to keep the records of ownership? It's a burecratic nightmare, distributed version without hardware DRM. With it, it's just a nightmare, full stop.

 

This is if they don't stop 'selling' games altoghter and start 'subscribing'. After all, if they are going to keep databases, might as well do that anyway.

 

Artificial scarcity imposed from on high... good luck suckers

 

sorry, but how will that change with service like steam? it's already DRM full... and what happend if valve close? none of what you mention is new for the steam case. they already track who got what games, the only thing lacking is an option to unregister a product key to let someone else register it again from another acount...

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sorry, but how will that change with service like steam? it's already DRM full... and what happend if valve close? none of what you mention is new for the steam case. they already track who got what games, the only thing lacking is an option to unregister a product key to let someone else register it again from another acount...

 

You're missing the point. The problem isn't necessarily Steam. Steam already has the means to assure single ownership because of their DRM, meaning all they would need to do is add the ability to transfer games between accounts.

 

The problem could be for stuff that doesn't work like Steam.

 

How do indie developers who sell digital copies directly to their customers or DRM-free digital distribution sites like GOG.com assure single ownership for this ruling to work as intended?

 

The thing is, digital distribution copies of games do not naturally ensure single ownership the way physical copies do, that's something that would need to be enforced by other means if it is to be enforced at all. DRM-free digital distribution in some ways gives up the means to do this, and may run into problems with this ruling because of that.

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Indies will probably depend on the 'honor' system and not add (costly) DRM or get into steam or another publisher distributor.

I think the guilt if a guy copies but does not delete lies with the 'reseller' so they might not give a shit.

 

Pirates will pirate (as usual)

 

Maybe for indies the problem will not be so critical, since they tend to have a small captive audience if successful.

 

But the big publishers will overdrive in the push for DRM. Oh well, it was going to happen anyway. Hopefuly this cuts into their PR budgets as profits go down because most people buy their endless series 5 hours game and resell it down the river in the release-day after completing it and wait for the next one.

Edited by i30817
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it already happened, no?

I'm thinking of the actual hardware based DRM. The sort that turns things 'uncopyable' and is applyable to ten thousand things, not just games (and coincidently, doesn't use a server, except for the occasional key revocation)

Edited by i30817
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Hopefully this will cost those at the top a lot (in terms of money and manpower) to keep track of who a digital file "belongs to". The big publishers have been the ones to push hardest for digital distribution at the expense of the little guy, all so they can skimp on manufacturing costs while gaining more control over the user.

Where I live, you either pay $30 a month for a crappy 1.5 mb/s connection or $50 for a 20 mb/s connection and the prospect of paying near-retail prices for digital games that you then must download for over a day does not sit well with me. Nor do forced spyware installations or the publisher being able to yank my purchase back from me if they decide they have had a bad day.

 

We should return to the days where I buy a disk, the disk belongs to me, and there is actual competition by way of multiple local shops competing to offer it at the lowest price (new or used), rather than the current trend where a publisher sells a digital copy of a poorly received game from a decade ago for 10 bucks.

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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Hopefully this will cost those at the top a lot (in terms of money and manpower) to keep track of who a digital file "belongs to". The big publishers have been the ones to push hardest for digital distribution at the expense of the little guy, all so they can skimp on manufacturing costs while gaining more control over the user.

Where I live, you either pay $30 a month for a crappy 1.5 mb/s connection or $50 for a 20 mb/s connection and the prospect of paying near-retail prices for digital games that you then must download for over a day does not sit well with me. Nor do forced spyware installations or the publisher being able to yank my purchase back from me if they decide they have had a bad day.

 

We should return to the days where I buy a disk, the disk belongs to me, and there is actual competition by way of multiple local shops competing to offer it at the lowest price (new or used), rather than the current trend where a publisher sells a digital copy of a poorly received game from a decade ago for 10 bucks.

 

That doesn't make much sense. Big publishers and digital distribution services like already use some form of DRM to keep track of who a copy belongs to and would only need to allow users to sell and transfer copies between accounts to comply with this ruling. Unless the ruling has some pretty unusual requirements mentioned in there somewhere it wouldn't cost them much more than they are already spending.

 

Heck, this might actually hurt the "little guys" more than the big publishers.

This could potentially hurt digital distibution services that are DRM-free (services like GOG and certain developers who choose to sell digital copies directly through their own sites). These services cannot ensure single ownership as well as Steam because they've chosen to not use DRM, and thus have more limited control over the digital copies they sell once they've been downloaded by the user.

Ironically, this could hurt services that try to give power back to the consumer.

 

You also seem to ignore that there are many games released nowadays that would not be practical with purely physical distribution.

These developers may be forced into using services like Steam rather than more consumer-friendly methods because they wouldn't have enough control over sold copies to reasonably ensure single ownership otherwise.

Edited by Professor Paul1290
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Paul, I see your point, however it has always been on the honor system. You have to trust your customers to some extent. It is getting to a point where a big company can compile a database of every game I play, who I am, etc. That scares me. We consumers should retain our ability to buy things anonymously. If the price for a digital game is low enough and the game is good enough, we won't want to resell it anyway.

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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If you're selling DRM free then you can't ensure single ownership anyway. Hell DRM has zilch success at ensuring single ownership. Enough people still seem to buy stuff to make it worthwhile.

 

ps - my avatar pic is for sale.

Edited by jay pettitt
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There is DRM that is so arcane to break it is almost unbeatable. Think ps3 hardware DRM.

 

This is already happening! Next windows version (or indeed ANY OS) will be digitally signed and some new hardware will not allow a OS to be installed unless it is signed with a secret private key (the master being the microsoft key obviously).

 

I'm going to love to watch the people that 'don't upgrade' because 'the last version is better anyway' when in reality no one can crack windows so as to defeat the hardware DRM without soldering irons and a lot of genius.

 

(actually it's not so bad yet, because they are taking baby steps - you can add your own public keys in the bios and so can 'sign' a cracked windows if you can find it - obviously if you use this method to install pirated software, it's not portable - also, obviously places where security is paramount will not have this bios feature).

Edited by i30817
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Yes, I've seen that. They're claiming it is only for "user safety", but you don't really think they would put all those AV companies out of business do you? :) I am going to laugh my butt off if that secure boot turns into a huge nightmare. Eventually they'll build anti-features into the CPU. Why? "We'll do anything for a few more bucks".

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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My laptop already has that hardware Trusted platform stuff. You can't read the data on my hard-drive on any other machine. That has some implications (I have to back-up, because if I drop my lappy I'm stuffed) but it also means that I have a degree of data security. So swings and roundabouts.

 

But the data protection on my hard drive doesn't have any impact on the the video games I may chose to buy.

 

The situation as is is that it's (apparently) easy to avoid paying for commercially sold software - but enough people do anyway (and that's your market size). I don't see the EU ruling changing that. It'll irritate Sony, but that's Sony's fault for being so goddamn stupid in the first place.

Edited by jay pettitt
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You mentioned that DRM can't assure single owner ship. For legitimate buyers it certainly can.

 

Pirates will pirate - whenever there is a way to run unsigned executable or to add your own public key, the digital products will have their signature stripped or the executable signed with the corresponding private key.

 

But they will certainly not pirate on the next generation consoles (and some 'secured' PCs) - barring bugs - those will all have TCB and will only run digitally signed software and no other. Adding public keys will be a heroic task, requiring soldering and specialized timing software. Deriving the private key from the public keys will be impossible (it was done for one the the layered keys in the PS3 but that was because Sony fucked up).

Edited by i30817
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Legitimate buyers ensure single ownership by way of being legitimate buyers. DRM is redundant in that scenario. Small, Indie, DRM free outfits clearly consider legitimate buyers to be their market audience. The EU ruling is not restricting legitimate buyers, it's protecting and enabling them.

Edited by jay pettitt
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That's not the point - without some form of DRM the paranoid publishers have no way to figure out if the 're-sales' that will occur are not actualy just copies. While you may think that people selling could had just as well pirated, i think you'll be amazed at the amount of 'law abiding persons' who wouldn't see anything wrong in making a copy but don't use bittorrent.

 

Anyway, their probable work around for now is the become rentiers in masse. And kill pc gaming some more i suspect.

Edited by i30817
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