German Consumer Rights group takes Valve to court

German Consumer Rights group takes Valve to court
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

February 1st 2013 at 6:05AM

VZBV claims Steam end-user license agreement is in violation of European law

A German consumer agency has filed against Steam owner Valve over what it calls an overly restrictive EULA.

The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V, or VZBV, first threatened to take Valve to court back in September of 2012, claiming the Steam end user license agreement was a violation of European law.

Specifically at issue is the fact that a customer of the digital distribution service must sign all new license agreements with the company or lose access to their purchased games.

In addition, the group cites a European court decision stating that a software manufacturer loses exclusive distribution rights for digital and physical medium at the moment of sale, and cannot prohibit the resale of that copy by the user.

It is unclear if this decision applies to digital sales platforms as well as developers and publishers, but if so it could have interesting repercussions in any court case.

Valve sent a response to the company in October, but exactly what was said has been guarded closely by both parties.

Now Cinema Blend reports it has heard from the VZBV's Eva Hoffschulte, who says the organization has filed a complaint against Valve in the Berlin District Court.

The VZBV says it is willing to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Valve modified its EULA on Jan 31, but the agency expects this is too little, too late.

Any ruling will be crucial to the future of digital distribution, which has been a lifesaver for developers worried by the loss of profits due to the resale of physical copies of used games.