EU's Court of Justice has ruled that content creators can't prohibit post-purchase redistribution of work, no matter what the end-user licence agreements say.
Will EU citizens be allowed to turn unwanted Steam games into euros?
Have a kilometre-long Steam games list and a paper-thin wallet? If you're a European citizen, you may soon be in luck, as software producers can no longer prevent users from reselling software licenses, according to a ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union .
The case between hardware and software producer Oracle and German company usedSoft, which made a business of buying and reselling software licenses from consumers, was decided in favour of usedSoft. The court's judgment stated that a software author's exclusive licence to distribute a given copy of its product is exhausted with its initial distribution, allowing the owner to then distribute said copy.
The judgment applies both to future end-user licence agreements and pre-existing ones. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits further transfer, the right-holder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.
The EU Court of Justice is the union's highest court. Its ruling stipulated that the piece of software must be made in-operable for the reseller, and that it does not affect the author's exclusive right to duplicate the software for anything other than its intended purpose. This ruling applies to both physical and fully digital purchases made in EU member states.
The ruling's impact on digital distribution services active in the EU, such as Steam, is not currently known, though GameSpot has reached out to Valve, as well as Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, for a response.