Buying and reselling any form of digital software is perfectly legal, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled. Software authors – or in the gaming world, publishers – can not stop customers from reselling their games, even if the publisher attaches an End User License Agreement prohibiting resale.
"The exclusive right of distribution of a copy of a computer program covered by such a licence is exhausted on its first sale," the court has found.
This ruling covers customers in European Union member states, and games bought through services such as Steam or Origin. The initial purchaser is now entitled to sell the license of a game and allow someone else to download it directly from the publisher's website. The tricky part now is selling the actual license, since there is no system in place for any such transaction. The initial buyer would need a code for a game's license and upon selling it, he would no longer be able to access that game on his account.
The ruling applies to the broader scope of software, covering items such as Windows and Adobe downloads. There is no word yet on whether game distributors will change policies or services to enable a license-selling process, but that would make Steam sales much
more interesting in the EU.