The District Court of Paris has ruled that, under EU law, it is permissible for Steam users in France to resell games on Valve’s PC game distribution platform.
A report by French website – translated by RockPaperShotgun, – detailed the ruling, which Valve is contesting and will appeal. The lawsuit was brought about by a French consumer group called UFC Que Choisir, which has pursued Valve since 2015 regarding a number of Steam Subscriber Agreement clauses which it sees as contrary to French consumer rights. Chief among those is Valve’s contention that users must agree that they aren’t actually buying products on Steam, but are paying for subscriptions to access and use content and services.
The District Court of Paris, however, ruled that what takes place on Steam amounts to digital sales, rather than subscriptions, so therefore, according to EU law, it must be possible for Steam users to resell games they have bought. That’s because EU law states: “All goods sold within the EU must be able to be resold without permission from the person who originally sold them.”
Among the other Steam Subscriber Agreement clauses which UFC Que Choisir intends to challenge in the French courts are those which state that Valve can keep Steam Wallet funds when customers close their accounts, and that Valve absolves itself of responsibility when users are harmed by Steam or something appearing on Steam, even if it is marked as a beta. UFC Que Choisir added that it intends to take its consumer-championing fight to: “More platforms and products,” suggesting it might widen its court action to include the likes of the Epic Game Store.
Valve said to Kotaku: “We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it. The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”
We’ll keep you abreast of Valve’s appeal in the French courts and bring you more news on the subject as it breaks. Meanwhile, you might also want to Watch Valve’s website.