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German group sues Valve

Federation of German Consumer Organizations claims Steam users own the games they purchase and should be able to re-sell them.


The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) has filed suit against Half-Life maker Valve, claiming users should be able to resell the games they own.

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As reported by PCAdvisor, VZBV project manager Carola Elbrecht said Steam users should have the means to sell their digital wares, much in the same way that gamers can sell boxed products at their discretion.

"If I pay the full price for a game, then why am I not allowed to do with it what I want," Elbrecht said.

The VZBV reportedly warned Valve about potential legal action in September, but the company did not amend its practices to comply with the group's demands. Thus, the VZBV sued Valve in the District Court of Berlin this week.

A Valve representative told GameSpot that it has yet to see a formal complaint from the VZBV.

"We are aware of the press release about the lawsuit filed by the VZBV, but we have not yet seen the actual complaint," the company said. "That said, we understand the complaint is somehow regarding the transferability of Steam accounts, despite the fact that this issue has already been ruled upon favorably to Valve in a prior case between Valve and the VZBV by the German supreme court. For now, we are continuing to extend the Steam services to gamers in Germany and around the world."

The VZBV's prior legal entanglement with Valve went all the way to the German Federal Court of Justice. A judge ruled in 2010 that Valve's prohibition of user account transfers did not violate German law.

A European court ruled last summer that content creators can't prohibit post-purchase redistribution of work, no matter what end-user license agreement says.

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