Court sides with Valve in argument about trading downloaded games

The Regional Court of Berlin dismisses lawsuit from consumer group arguing that consumers should be allowed to resell their digital titles.

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A German court has once again ruled in Valve's favour as part on an ongoing dispute about whether consumers should be allowed to resell their digital games on Steam.

German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband had previously attempted to take Valve to court in 2010, and said back in July 2013 that they intended for their second lawsuit to go ahead before 2014.

Now, however, a Berlin court has taken Valve's side. "The Regional Court of Berlin has dismissed the lawsuit of German consumer watchdog group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband ("VZBV") against Valve Inc. over the provisions in company's terms of service that prohibit the sale or transfer of user accounts on the Steam digital distribution platform," said legal eagles Osborne Clark in a statement (spotted by Eurogamer).

The reasons behind this decision have not been made public, and VZBV may now have the right to appeal.

VZBW's main argument is that consumers being unable to resell their Steam accounts goes against the German version of the first-sale doctrine--the doctrine that enables consumers to resell copyrighted products. The Court of Justice in the European Union ruled in 2012 that this doctrine, also known as exhaustion, applied to digital software, which might explain why VZBW felt it right to take a second crack at Valve.

"Even so, the ruling touches on hot issues of European copyright law and may have ramifications for the games industry and the used games market across all EU jurisdictions," concludes Osborne Clark.

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