Valve prevails in cyber-café rights case

Judge rules that VU Games is "not authorized" to distribute Valve games in cyber-cafés; other claims, amount of damages remain at issue.

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This afternoon, Valve distributed a release stating that its legal complaint alleging copyright infringement against Vivendi Universal Games had been resolved in its favor.

"The Federal District Court in Seattle granted [our] motion for summary judgment on the matters of Cyber Café Rights and Contractual Limitation of Liability in [the] copyright infringement suit with Sierra/Vivendi Universal Games," the statement read. The ruling was handed down on November 22.

Valve founder Gabe Newell said, "We're happy the court has affirmed the meaning of our publishing contract. This is good news for Valve and its cyber café partners around the world."

On August 14, 2002, Valve served its then-publisher Sierra On-Line (now Sierra Entertainment, a Vivendi Universal Games brand) with a lawsuit in US District Court claiming that Sierra had illegally placed Valve games in Internet cafés in the US and abroad.

The original complaint read in part, "Sierra has in the past and continues to reproduce, use, distribute, and/or license one or more of the Valve Games with regard to 'cyber cafés.' Sierra's activities are outside the scope of Sierra's limited license...and therefore constitute copyright infringement in violation of the Copyright Act of 1976."

Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Condition Zero, Half-Life 2, and Counter-Strike: Source are all covered by today's judgment, according to Valve.

While today's milestone does not put an end to the case, a Valve spokesperson called it "a significant ruling."

The spokesperson elaborated, saying, "Valve is still pursuing its breach of contract claims for, among other things, Vivendi refusing to pay us royalties owed and delaying Condition Zero [for] the 2003 holiday season. Additionally, the court still has to determine the amount of damages attributable to Vivendi's distribution of Valve games to cyber cafés."

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