German court rejects calls to enforce Steam game trading

Valve's PC platform does not need to follow certain EU conventions on ownership

A German consumer advocacy group's plan to legally enforce second-hand-trading on Valve's Steam platform has been dismissed in the Regional Court of Berlin.

National consumer watchdog group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV) took their issue to court after suggesting there was a legal precedent which gave consumers the right to resell their games on Valve's PC platform.

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As detailed by law firm Osborne Clarke, the 'Doctrine of Exhaustion' is an active statutory principal that restricts copyright owners (such as games companies) from meddling with the individual's right to control their purchased products.

VZBV argued that such a convention should therefore enforce Valve to unlock second-hand trading on Steam. However, the courts dismissed the claims, stating they do not consider the 'Doctrine of Exhaustion' to be applicable to digitally distributed computer games.

The verdict marks the second time VZBV has had cause to reject enforcing game trading on Steam.

In July 2012, the Court of Justice of the European Union declared that the doctrine of exhaustion applied to digitally distributed computer software. That verdict prompted VZBV to push again, though the courts distinguish "computer software" and "interactive computer entertainment" differently.

VZBV may have the right to appeal, Osborne Clark notes.


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