For the second time in a matter of weeks, Valve is planning on appealing an EU ruling. At the end of August, the company behind Steam signaled its intent to fight an antitrust charge on geoblocking game codes, and now it’s set to challenge the verdict of a French court in a separate case.
French website Numerama reports that that the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris – the city’s high court – has ruled that users of Steam should be free to resell previously purchased digital games as if they were physical DVD-based releases.
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The court concluded that blocking this was contrary to the EU’s founding principles of “the free movement of goods within the Union”, which means that all products can be resold without the permission of the person or persons that made it.
Valve’s defence was reportedly that Steam is a subscription service, so not bound by the rules – but the court disagreed, noting that games on the platform are sold in perpetuity, making them not subscription based.
The ruling gives Valve three months to update its terms of service, but that process will likely be delayed thanks to a lengthy appeals process – something the Half Life maker has already signaled its intent to utilise. “We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it,” a Valve spokesperson told Polygon. “The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”
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It’s also likely to have no impact on the UK, assuming the country ever does leave the EU as planned. This is, after all, a ruling based on the principles of the single market – something Britain has expressed a desire to leave. Unless it’s more trouble than it’s worth to keep the British version of Steam separate, therefore, it would be surprising if Brits get the right to sell their used Steam games any time soon.
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