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Old 09-18-2012, 12:56 AM   #1
D3xter
 
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German consumer protection agency warns Valve over recent EULA changes

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldu...b-1709509.html
http://www.vzbv.de/10293.htm

Google Translate:
http://translate.google.de/translate...b-1709509.html
http://translate.google.de/translate...de%2F10293.htm

Apparently some of the consumer complaints bore fruit and the VZBV has issued a warning to Valve in regards to the recent EULA changes.

Free-ish translation:
Quote:
"Not even game developers can unilaterally impose conditions on their users."
The company is forcing the users of its platform Steam to accept the new conditions if they still want to have access to their account.
Additionally users can not pass on or resell games specific to their individual account.

In early August Valve surprised many users of its platform Steam. When logging in they were presented a popup window prompting them to accept the changes in the Terms of Service and Valves updated Privacy Policy.
Alternatively players could choose the "Cancel" button, but couldn't access their user account when doing so.
In the opinion of the VZBV this especially disadvantaged the players that over the years bought countless software from Valve and only have a single account.

This is even more critical for games with registration and account coercion, which can only be used via Steam. If the users do not accept the new Terms of Service the games aren't usable Online anymore. The trend of binding games to specific Online platforms can be oberved for several years. Even with Valve many games are only useable through their Online-platform Steam.

No transfer of games possible

Even if a game can be sold or given away as a gift, the buyer or recipient can only use it in a limited capability or not at all, since the transfer of the Steam account to third persons is not allowed. Although the European Court Justice has ruled that games acquired via Digital Download may also be resold, but in the opinion of the VBZV their decision seems to be treading empty space if a game can be bound to an Online platform or limited through a one-use Activation key.
The VZBV sees a clear competitive violation in that fact, and is warning the provider therefor.

Valve has time till 26.September 2012 to submit the stipulated declaration to cease and desist.
There's also a link to another article regarding the recent court decision by the European Court Justice at the bottom of the page.
http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/d...cp120094en.pdf

As always, if you want similar decisions, don't forget to complain to your local customer protection agencies (that's what they are there for) or bodies like the EFF with the same goal in mind.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
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Lets hope Valve fights this blackmail attempt. Why people think they can just negate a legal contract people accepted for years I just don't understand.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:14 AM   #3
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Apparently it's been fine for the past ten years though.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
Lets hope Valve fights this blackmail attempt. Why people think they can just negate a legal contract people accepted for years I just don't understand.
This isnt a blackmail attempt, its like "react and give us a statement or we go to a court".
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
Lets hope Valve fights this blackmail attempt. Why people think they can just negate a legal contract people accepted for years I just don't understand.
It's quite impressive how the very consumers that get shafted by Valve fight against their own benefit. You are the very definition of "fan-boy". Valve is not above the law, don't be such a tool.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by paulcmnt View Post
It's quite impressive how the very consumers that get shafted by Valve fight against their own benefit. You are the very definition of "fan-boy". Valve is not above the law, don't be such a tool.
I don't just think of myself but also of other people. Their entire statement is completely hypocritical as they are forcing a retroactive change to contracts people have agreed to for years. They are giving the middle finger to companies like Valve, all the game publishers, all game developers, and all retail stores. Not to mention they may have never sold those games in the first place had they known the conditions they sold them under would be completely overturned.

Unfortunately, people such as yourself don't understand how damaging forcing this law retroactively will have on the gaming market. And no, it is the customers that are going to get shafted by this law as it will cause developers to out of business, thus depriving us the ability to play those games as they will not exist...all to allow some cheap people to basically legally pirate games by passing around the same copy from person to person.

Last edited by ChrisW: 09-18-2012 at 01:38 AM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:38 AM   #7
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The vzbv is a member of Consumers International, the global consumer rights group.Info in English here. And here's the Wikipedia entry on Consumers International.

Given the size and influence of Consumers International this should be seen as a major development. And of course it's consistent with similar developments in other places.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:39 AM   #8
D3xter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
I don't just think of myself but also of other people. Their entire statement is completely hypocritical as they are forcing a retroactive change to contracts people have agreed to for years. They are giving the middle finger to companies like Valve, all the game publishers, all game developers, and all retail stores. Not to mention they may have never sold those games in the first place had they known the conditions they sold them under would be completely overturned.

Unfortunately, people such as yourself don't understand how damaging forcing this law retroactively will have on the gaming market.
Wasn't Valve the party forcing retroactive changes to contracts people have agreed to for years? Isn't that what the entire issue was all about? "Agree to our new terms or give up/lose all your games!"

Digital Distribution services, Online games and the likes have been operating in a legal vacuum making up their own rules without abiding by laws or court decisions for far too long if you ask me and it's about time for some regulation and consumer protection.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
Lets hope Valve fights this blackmail attempt. Why people think they can just negate a legal contract people accepted for years I just don't understand.
Legal contracts are voided if they violate the law of a country.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D3xter View Post
Wasn't Valve the party forcing retroactive changes to contracts people have agreed to for years? Isn't that what the entire issue was all about? "Agree to our new terms or give up/lose all your games!"
They have done that several times over the years without complaint, along with everyone else. I just received a new license agreement yesterday from another company that said the same thing, so there is nothing new here. At least they are giving you a choice to agree or disagee, which is way more than they are giving Valve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cslayer211 View Post
Legal contracts are voided if they violate the law of a country.
Yes, but they did not violate the law until they changed the law, just now. That was not the law that existed when people made their purchases.

Last edited by ChrisW: 09-18-2012 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:54 AM   #11
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In the USA there is a major class action suit going on right now against Spirit Airlines. For many years consumers "agreed" to let airlines like Spirit charge all sort of hidden fees, and the law didn't prevent them from doing it. But a recent Appellate Court decision changed that and found that they did have to disclose their fees.Now Spirit is being sued for 40 million dollars.

The EULA changes we are discussing here only apply in the USA. They reflect a major distinction between these types of agreements in the USA and the rest of the world. But the state of consumer law is changing even there and you have to wonder how long American consumer law can remain out of step with that of so many other countries.

Last edited by dxmc: 09-18-2012 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 01:58 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dxmc View Post
In the USA there is a major class action suit going on right now against Spirit Airlines. For many years consumers "agreed" to let airlines like Spirit charge all sort of hidden fees, and the law didn't prevent them from doing it. But a recent Appellate Court changed that and found that they did have to disclose their fees.Now Spirit is being sued for 40 million dollars.

The EULA changes we are discussing here only apply in the USA. They reflect a major distinction between these types of agreements in the USA and the rest of the world. But the state of consumer law is changing even there and you have to wonder how long American consumer law can remain out of step with that of so many other countries.
Yes, I am well aware of the giant problem we have with frivolous lawsuits, designed to made a few lawyers rich while doing nothing for the consumer, which you are apparently unaware.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:09 AM   #13
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Yes, I am well aware of the giant problem we have with frivolous lawsuits, designed to made a few lawyers rich while doing nothing for the consumer, which you are apparently unaware.
You are just repeating what you said in the EULA thread,where you made 46 posts, including this one.There is no need to have this exact same argument over again.
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ChrisW View Post
Yes, I am well aware of the giant problem we have with frivolous lawsuits, designed to made a few lawyers rich while doing nothing for the consumer, which you are apparently unaware.
Certainly you're not saying every lawsuit related to violations of consumer rights is a frivolous one...
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Old 09-18-2012, 02:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dxmc View Post
You are just repeating what you said in the EULA thread,where you made 46 posts, including this one.There is no need to have this exact same argument over again.
Then why bring it up? You quoted a lawsuit about something that is not illegal that has a 100% chance of resulting in a few rich lawyers, nothing for the supposed customers affected except larger ticket prices to pay for the settlement going to the lawyers, and zero changes in the law. Just what is it that you want changed in the law? Do you really want it to be illegal to charge fees to purchase tickets on the internet? Nobody should ever be able to charge a service fee for online transactions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cslayer211 View Post
Certainly you're not saying every lawsuit related to violations of consumer rights is a frivolous one...
No, but you would be hard pressed to find one. What benefit does the consumer have when the case is settled out of court, there is no admission of wrongdoing, all the money goes to the lawyers, etc.

Show me a lawsuit involving something actual illegal where the members insist on going to trial to make things right and I will support the suit.

Last edited by ChrisW: 09-18-2012 at 02:24 AM.
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