European Courts Decide You Should Be Able To Trade Your Digital Games Too

In a ruling filed today by the European Union's Court of Justice (sounds like the Hall of Justice), the court decided in favor of consumers wishing to resell or trade their digital games.

Currently, if you buy a game on Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, Steam, or any other digital download service, there's no way for you to give the game to a friend or to resell it to another consumer. The EU Court wrote in its statement that:

Since the copyright holder cannot object to the resale of a copy of a computer program for which that rightholder's distribution right is exhausted under Article 4(2) of Directive 2009/24, it must be concluded that a second acquirer of that copy and any subsequent acquirer are 'lawful acquirers' of it within the meaning of Article 5(1) of Directive 2009/24.

Consequently, in the event of a resale of the copy of the computer program by the first acquirer, the new acquirer will be able, in accordance with Article 5(1) of Directive 2009/24, to download onto his computer the copy sold to him by the first acquirer. Such a download must be regarded as a reproduction of a computer program that is necessary to enable the new acquirer to use the program in accordance with its intended purpose.

So in other words, any "copying" you do in giving or selling the digital game to another consumer is "necessary" copying and not a strike against the copyright holder.

The truth of the matter is that the whole situation is too messy. The only platform holder out of the big three of digital distribution to do this would be Valve, and I'm not sure they want to drive any publishers to a different distribution platform right now (Origin).

The truth of the matter is that some EULA text will get edited to close the loophole. Cue the "wah-wah" trombones.