reply to FBGuy
Re: So... It appears you're correct and the First Sale Doctrine does not cover this :/
Application to digital copies
Application of first sale doctrine to digital copies of copyrighted works poses difficult policy questions. In today's world, copies of copyrighted works, music, movies, and software, are increasingly bought by downloading through the Internet. For example, can a lawful purchaser of a song in MP3 format from the iTunes store be allowed, consistent with the first sale doctrine, to resell or distribute that copy to others? Digital copies of copyrighted works do not comfortably fit within the constraints of the first sale doctrine. Unlike transactions where a tangible copy changes hands, a digital transfer results in a reproduction of the work through the electronic transmission of a new copy of the work to its recipient. In other words, transferor retains the source copy unless deleted from the hard disk manually or through some special technology. By sending a copy to the transferee, the transferor infringes both the reproduction and distribution rights, but the first sale doctrine provides no defense to the infringement of the reproduction right. For example, this exact issue is playing out in the ongoing litigation against ReDigi, an online marketplace for pre-owned digital music.
The question is whether the first sale doctrine should be retooled to reflect the realities of the digital age. Physical copies degrade over time, whereas digital information does not. Works in digital format can be reproduced without any flaws and can be disseminated worldwide without much difficulty. Thus, applying the first sale doctrine to digital copies affect the market for the original to a greater degree than transfers of physical copies. The Copyright Office took the position that the doctrine should not apply to digital copies by stating that "[t]he tangible nature of a copy is a defining element of the first sale doctrine and critical to its rationale."
However, on July 3, 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled that it is indeed permissible to resell software licenses even if the digital good has been downloaded directly from the Internet, and that the first sale doctrine applied whenever software was originally sold to a customer for an unlimited amount of time, as such sale involves a transfer of ownership, thus prohibiting any software maker from preventing the resale of their software by any of their legitimate owners. The court requires that the previous owner must no longer be able to use the licensed software after the resale, but finds that the practical difficulties in enforcing this clause should not be an obstacle to authorizing resale, as they are also present for software which can be installed from physical supports, where the first sale doctrine is in force. The ruling applies to the European Union, but could find indirectly its way to North America; moreover the situation could entice publishers to offer platforms for a secondary market.
At least not in the USA, effing corporate capitalism....
However I still think a class action should be brought forth on this issue, because I still think it should be illegal to block access to licensed content even though you're only paying for the use of the license against the software, in which you fully get to use said software. Either way, I will be uninstalling Steam from my computer when I get home, even if I lose the licenses/access to content for all the 30 + games I have I won't care, Steam/Valve has already screwed me over, and I haven't played those games in years now.....
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