Amazing scenes - you can now sell your downloaded games

horace We’re doing some big wow faces around here at some stuff that has just burped out of our news pipe. The Court Of Justice of the European Union has ruled that consumers should be able to resell downloaded games.

That’s going to be a massive kick in the teeth for the top nobs of the games industry, who are busily trying to eradicate physical products and the resale market itself. They won’t like this news.

The ruling states that: "An author of software cannot oppose the resale of his 'used' licences allowing the use of his programs downloaded from the internet." The Court said the exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by the license is "exhausted on its first sale".

All of which means that the games you buy online, in a non-physical form, such as from Steam, are yours to resell if you so desire, irrespective of what the EULA says.

There’s more. "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."

Here’s an important bit. If you resell a license to a game you have to make your copy "unusable at the time of resale" – in other words, delete your own copy once you’ve sold it on to your mate.

In short, this is going to be mayhem.


  • Goop
    I’d quite like to know how this going to be mayhem when it won’t even work. Surely the providers of these downloads will make it impossible for the games to be sold on, no? Why is this news? On what planet would EA for example allow the resale of their digital software? And don’t say this one!
  • Spencer
    I'm quite sure this will get overturned on appeal once the judges 'realize' their error
  • Jax
    @Goop The point of the judgement is that EA will have to allow the resale, unless I am missing something.
  • Chewbacca
    @ Spencer "I’m quite sure this will get overturned on appeal once the judges receive some brown envelopes with not unsubstantial amounts in them" Fixed
  • Samantha
    This is good news, but I think they really should have gone as far as to explicitly state that the company be required to provide a means for the consumer to freely transfer their license to another person. Also did they not extend this to include digital media, music, movies etc?
  • Filter P.
    @Samantha Hello. Are you real, or does rule 16 still apply?
  • Name
    Where can I download horace goes skiing? Epicness!
  • Gorgeous G.
  • Deepz
    What about music? Surely it should be covered under the same umbrella?
  • Filter P.
  • Skymarshall
  • Mad H.
    eh, eh, eh
  • goop
    This doesn't actually mention that the publishers are forced to make it available, presumably they will have the option if they so choose to use it. Failing that, they will most likely make the resell value of the games so pathetically small that it won't be worth selling them.
  • Zleet
    I've been saying for a while, once the likes of Apple and Google get into the home server/storage game and bring out a central unit all these mobile devices (and pc's) connect to, we will move towards a download only system. And with a central system for all our media they (media companies) will need to bring out transferable 'licences' built into the file that can be sold on if they wish to prevent piracy.
  • Wonkey H.
    Hungry Horace Goes Skiing was a pile of shite compared to Stonkers.
  • Numpty D.
    It wasnt called Hungry Horace goes Skiing just Horace goes Skiing. Looooooser! Looooser! Oh, hang on a minute..
  • Gav
    It was Horace Goes Skiing. Hungry Horace was the first game - a PacMan clone. Both were great games :p
  • Dick
    Don't foget that classic Horace and the Spiders.

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