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Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the EU

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 1:36 am
by Fivelives
http://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/eu- ... eam-origin

Relevant summary quote:

The Court of Justice of the European Union declared on Tuesday that, just as someone can take the DVD or Blu-ray disc copy of a video game and sell that to someone else with no legal obligation to the game’s publisher or creator, the same goes for digital licenses to games.


So what do you think this will mean for Blizzard, with their zero tolerance policy on account transfers? Will it even have a chance to spill over into the US from the EU?

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:48 am
by Worldie
DVD copy of WoW != WoW account.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:58 am
by Sagara
I often read the term licence in that article - don't they imply licence as in the key we use? as opposed to our account?

If I were Blizz', that's how I'd sell it "Ok, so you're saying I must make it possible for someone to use someone's else key, as long as the previous owner doesn't use it?" and then transfer the right and the key from Bnet account to Bnet account.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:24 am
by Fetzie
From what I understand, this concerns the key that you use to add a game to your battle.net account (in the case of blizzard). This law would give you the right to be able to request that a license be removed from your account, and sell that to another person. Presumably this would then come with the characters created on that WoW license.

Apparently they are also going to hear a case on online DRM and the resale of digital licenses soon too.

In other news, ACTA has been rejected by the European Parliament.
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-18704192

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:03 am
by Fivelives
Worldie wrote:DVD copy of WoW != WoW account.


It's talking about the digital media, not the physical. It's always been legal to sell/trade/give away your wow install disks, but this ruling makes it legal to transfer the digital bit to someone else. Basically, you'll be able to sell used digital games.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:35 am
by Fridmarr
But that still isn't the same as the account. WoW is free to download for anyone as it is, so I don't see this having any affect at all on wow. That ruling also seems to provide an out for those using a subscription model because they aren't "granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period"

That said, I don't think it's ever been illegal to sell either the account or the software (EULAs aren't laws), just not easily doable for digital based distributions and the publisher can try to block it. This ruling does say that the author can not oppose such a transaction, though I don't know if that means they have to make it doable.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:31 am
by Fivelives
It ought to be interesting to see, either way. There's nothing in the ruling that would block it, and it could be argued that the game is part and parcel with the account. After all, you can download the game for free just fine, sure - but you can't play it without the account.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:26 pm
by Worldie
Tecnically you can, trial accounts are free.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:40 pm
by Fivelives
I don't think that'll hold water at all. I doubt anyone in their right mind would even try to argue that a demo version could ever compare to the full paid version of games.

So how about all the people who have Steam libraries chock full of games they bought and beat the living daylights out of? Why should we be restricted in digital media transfers when physical media is unrestricted? I've got a ton of games on Steam that I bought and beat nine ways from Sunday. Is it fair that I can take, say, my Xbox 360 version of Dragon Age II down to Gamestop and sell it for a couple bucks when I'm done with it, but I can't do the same thing if I'd bought the same exact game via digital distribution?

And what about the broader consequences? I'm pretty sure that more games are sold used than new, so how will this affect brick and mortar stores that rely on people coming in to sell games? With the price of gas, I personally would much prefer being able to buy/sell/trade used digital games than having to drive across town to my "local(ish)" Gamestop, considering it's a 15 mile round trip and the cost of gas is higher than I'd get for trade in value on any game I'd be willing to let go (for reference, a round trip from my apartment here to Gamestop costs me roughly $2.35, and most of the games I've beaten badly enough that I no longer play them are only worth maybe $2).

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:32 pm
by Epimer
Fivelives wrote:Is it fair that I can take, say, my Xbox 360 version of Dragon Age II down to Gamestop and sell it for a couple bucks when I'm done with it, but I can't do the same thing if I'd bought the same exact game via digital distribution?


Nope, not fair at all.

I've been having this discussion elsewhere about music media and ebooks today, but you've identified the crux of the issue: it is nonsensical to be allowed resale of a game stored on a physical medium but not a digital one (please excuse the crude distinction).

The principle being upheld by this ruling is exhaustion of rights, which to my knowledge is broadly equivalent to the doctrine of first sale in the US. The EU are generally pretty big on upholding that principle and it's good to see it being applied here despite the potential headache around tangible/intangible products.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 4:29 pm
by Fridmarr
Fivelives wrote:It ought to be interesting to see, either way. There's nothing in the ruling that would block it, and it could be argued that the game is part and parcel with the account. After all, you can download the game for free just fine, sure - but you can't play it without the account.
That ruling simply doesn't apply to accounts. Your account is not your property its blizzards. You are essentially subscribing to a service just like you do to cable TV.

Selling your account, that is selling your access to the game, is perfectly legal today and will continue to be. But if blizzard catches you can they can ban the account. Frankly because they own the account they can it ban at any time for any reason. It's not really any different than other subscription based services.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:45 pm
by rodos
Pyrea wrote:From what I understand, this concerns the key that you use to add a game to your battle.net account (in the case of blizzard). This law would give you the right to be able to request that a license be removed from your account, and sell that to another person. Presumably this would then come with the characters created on that WoW license.

Why would you presume that? If I sell you my copy of Photoshop it doesn't come with access to every file I created using it. If I sold you my copy of Microsoft Outlook you wouldn't expect access to my email accounts. Your characters are not part of the WoW software, they're data generated by the software (in conjunction with the server software, which you never had a license to).

So, what this law would require is that I can sell you my WoW key, I lose access to all my toons, and you can open a new, blank account using that key.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:30 am
by Shoju
I've never understood the idea of selling accounts. I may not ever come back to WoW.

BUT

That doesn't mean I want someone else traipsing around the game on any of my characters either. Because even though it is all "technically" still Blizzard's stuff/property, that's really how I look at those collections of pixels. They are mine. And I don't want someone else using them.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:03 pm
by Koatanga
Shoju wrote:I've never understood the idea of selling accounts. I may not ever come back to WoW.

BUT

That doesn't mean I want someone else traipsing around the game on any of my characters either. Because even though it is all "technically" still Blizzard's stuff/property, that's really how I look at those collections of pixels. They are mine. And I don't want someone else using them.


I felt that way about my old DragonRealms account. I still have the old serial numbers of the toons for possible restoration. However, I haven't logged into the game since I quit playing - not even a trial account - and I could have sold the characters for some decent cash since I had some very rare and even unique items.

I understand where you're coming from, but if you are truly never going to go back, it doesn't really matter if your toons continue to live on past your departure. If you never look back, you'll never see what became of them.

In the mean time, you can recoup some value for the vast quantity of time you put in. Maybe even as much as 1c per hour! It's like getting paid to play...

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:40 pm
by Shoju
Koatanga wrote:
Shoju wrote:I've never understood the idea of selling accounts. I may not ever come back to WoW.

BUT

That doesn't mean I want someone else traipsing around the game on any of my characters either. Because even though it is all "technically" still Blizzard's stuff/property, that's really how I look at those collections of pixels. They are mine. And I don't want someone else using them.


I felt that way about my old DragonRealms account. I still have the old serial numbers of the toons for possible restoration. However, I haven't logged into the game since I quit playing - not even a trial account - and I could have sold the characters for some decent cash since I had some very rare and even unique items.

I understand where you're coming from, but if you are truly never going to go back, it doesn't really matter if your toons continue to live on past your departure. If you never look back, you'll never see what became of them.

In the mean time, you can recoup some value for the vast quantity of time you put in. Maybe even as much as 1c per hour! It's like getting paid to play...



I'm not terribly desperate for money, and as a somewhat not so famous as theck, but with a weird creepy cult following of 10 people all to myself, type internet person, I would rather the character just disappear in the manner I choose.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:24 pm
by Teranoid
Accounts, at least from what I've noticed over the past year or so, are next to worthless unless you've got a boatload of achievements,mounts,pvp stuff. I mean unless you want like 60 bucks for 7 years worth of time invested or want to take your chances on those sites that scam you.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 4:10 am
by Fetzie
I'd rather not sell at all than value my account at under 1000 dollars.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:25 am
by Shoju
And that's really the thing.

How would I value my account? It's probably a ~100 bucks on that market after the B.net Achieve/mount merger.

115 mounts
100+ pets
~10k achievements,
Feats of Strength for two legendaries that aren't "That hard" to get.
Feats of Strength for things that you can't do anymore (reps, mounts that aren't in game anymore)

Personally, if I were even to entertain an offer, I would be in the $1500 range more so than the $100 range.

And that's just not realistic.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 5:10 pm
by Skye1013
My thoughts on this:

Paying subscriptions for your account would be the equivalent to paying for a gym membership. With that gym membership, you aren't allowed to sell off the equipment that you're using, or sell the membership to another person (at least not as far as I'm aware.) So why would it be okay to sell your WoW account/characters?

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:11 pm
by halabar
Skye1013 wrote:My thoughts on this:

Paying subscriptions for your account would be the equivalent to paying for a gym membership. With that gym membership, you aren't allowed to sell off the equipment that you're using, or sell the membership to another person (at least not as far as I'm aware.) So why would it be okay to sell your WoW account/characters?


Not the same. What you are suggesting would be the same as claiming ownership on a part of the servers.

There are three parts here, and each has it's own legality in selling.

1) Goods that can be transferred between players (gold, gear commodities) - these likely will become sellable at some point, as with D3.

2) Goods that are bound to the character/account - a little more iffy here. Easy for Blizz to say these can't be transferred.

3) Characters - much easier for Blizz to say these can't be transferred.

However, if the EU lawmakers push it, all this may change. I suspect we'll see #1 first.

Ironic that this is happening at the same time that Asian lawmakers are trying to ban the sale of virtual goods in one way or another.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:15 pm
by Fridmarr
Well the gym membership is a decent analogy, though you lost me when you moved to the gym equipment. I guess the wow equivalent would be selling their servers? That's kind of silly.

All you are selling is your access in either case. Admittedly, selling a gym membership is probably a little odd unless you had some great membership package that isn't available anymore or something. Otherwise, someone would just get their own membership and have the exact same experience without the headaches of a transfer.

Wow is the same thing, you are simply selling your access to the game. However with wow, the characters used to access the game make a difference. That said, both of those are almost certainly legal, but neither have to be allowed by the vendor. If they catch you they can cancel the membership. Some gyms do allow transfers of memberships, some don't. Blizzard has said that they don't allow account selling, but I think some games do.

The legality of it isn't really in question, you aren't going to go to jail or fined for selling it, but that doesn't mean the vendor has to honor it.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:26 pm
by Skye1013
I was equating gym equipment to characters/items, but perhaps that part of the analogy falls through. And I wasn't questioning the legality, so much as Blizzard's "right" to disallow it.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:14 am
by Fivelives
I imagine Blizz will get around it by the forum selection clause in the EULA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forum_selection_clause

So unless the same thing happens in the US, it'll probably be a moot point.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:26 am
by Shoju
Selling accounts is pretty close to a gym membership in the new fitness shops opening around here. If you are part of the wave, you get special "lifetime" benefits based on the wave, even with a break in services. Most of them have 3-4 "waves" of membership periods when they open up.

The first wave (the intro wave) gets the best membership package, at the cheapest rate available, (bottom tier price) forever.
The second wave (2-3 months after they opened) got a discounted rate as well, but it's "one tier up"
The Third Wave (6+ months, when membership and use is dwindling) get ~10% off

And so on and so forth, until the gym runs out of members, closes, and sells off its equipment to the next guy.

This type of membership tier is pretty easy to analogize to WoW, and these companies have a specific "no you can't sell your membership" type thing, just like Blizz has a "No you can't sell your account" type thing.

What is the point of selling the account really? I guess I just don't see how a few bucks is going to be worth it.

Re: Selling accounts may soon be legal - already is in the E

PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:30 am
by Fridmarr
No different than anything else really, a few dollars for something you'll never use is certainly worth it logically. I get that there might be a sentimental value, but that's not something that everyone will have in the same way. So for some even a few dollars is worth it.