Three years after a previous court decision in favor of second-hand dematerialized video games, the Paris Court of Appeal is finally repositioning itself against the resale of games outside of traditional physical media.
French justice could bury the idea of a second-hand market for dematerialized video games // Source: Sam Pak – Unsplash
Were you hopeful that one day it would be possible to resell games purchased in dematerialized version? Let’s say that it is now badly engaged. A judgment delivered on October 21 by the Paris Court of Appeal invalidates a favorable court decision, in 2019, for the emergence of a dematerialized second-hand market for video games. This new judgment comes in the context of a dispute between UFC-Que Choisir and Steam.
The French consumer defense association asked the courts to position themselves in favor of players, to allow them to resell games purchased in digital format, as they can do with titles purchased in physical form.
Copyright deemed more important than consumer freedom
In 2019, a first verdict had won the UFC. In the process, French justice then imposed on the Valve platform (and other dematerialized game distribution platforms) to offer players the possibility of reselling their games purchased in digital format.
“The holder of the rights concerned can no longer oppose the resale of this copy (or copy) even if the initial purchase is made by downloading. The software publisher (or his successors in title) can no longer oppose the resale of this copy or specimen, notwithstanding the existence of contractual provisions prohibiting a subsequent transfer”, then explained the judgment. A court decision for which the American giant had quickly decided to appeal – successfully three years later.
Source : Steam
The Paris Court of Appeal goes in fact to the exact opposite of this first decision, focusing for its part on the question of copyright, legitimate when we consider video games as works artistic, and no longer as simple computer software (for which the resale of licenses is legal). It is on this basis that the French justice finally gives reason to Valve, estimating that the opening of a second-hand market for dematerialized video games would harm the rights holders.
“The market for second-hand immaterial copies of video games is likely to affect the interests of copyright holders much more strongly than the market for second-hand computer programs,” it reads. As BFM Tech points out, the UFC-Que Choisir has not yet indicated whether an appeal in cassation is envisaged, but the chances of one day seeing a second-hand market for dematerialized games in France have just been reduced. .
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