There is one good reason why I have always preferred a physical disc to any game that I own – simply because it feels far more tangible than a downloaded copy that is stashed away on my hard drive, never mind if I have to wait for a few more days longer compared to an instant download. Not only that, selling physical copies of a game seem to offer a greater sense of satisfaction, but today, a Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in favor of gamers – you can now resell your downloaded game – and publishers are basically unable to do anything about it to stop you. You are able to read the in depth ruling after the jump.
Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy – tangible or intangible – and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.
A condition is in place though – if you resell a license to a game, you are required to render your copy “unusable at the time of resale”. The thing is, will the long arm of the law be able to figure out just whose conscience is clean enough to do so, and who are the naughty ones whom Santa has blacklisted when Christmas rolls around? The Court explained, “If he continued to use it, he would infringe the copyright holder’s exclusive right of reproduction of his computer program. In contrast to the exclusive right of distribution, the exclusive right of reproduction is not exhausted by the first sale.”
Another question is this, will it set a precedent for the court to eventually make it compulsory for app stores to enable such resales? Interesting times are ahead of us.