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Comment Re:There is a bigger problem with Steam (Score 1) 384

The license agreement say that Steam can change it whenever they want for whatever they want and if we refuse the new license agreement, then the only option is to close the account and lose all the games we "bought". No refund.

Check your local consumer protection legislation. Here in the UK, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations apply (which is an implementation of an EU directive, so other EU countries should have very similar regulations), and state that the following categories of contract term are unfair and therefore cannot be enforced:

* Terms which have the object or effect of [...] making an agreement binding on the consumer whereas provision of services by the seller or supplier is subject to a condition whose realisation depends on his own will alone
* Terms which have the object or effect of [...] permitting the seller or supplier to retain sums paid by the consumer where the latter decides not to conclude or perform the contract, without providing for the consumer to receive compensation of an equivalent amount from the seller or supplier where the latter is the party cancelling the contract
* Terms which have the object or effect of [...] enabling the seller or supplier to alter the terms of the contract unilaterally without a valid reason which is specified in the contract;

AFAICT, any one of these would prevent Valve from behaving as you fear.

Comment Re:Digital Licenses are not physical media (Score 1) 384

So the ECJ (I guess Europe's equivalent of the US Supreme Court, correct me if wrong)

Not entirely. Like the US, the EU has two parallel legal systems (equivalent to federal and local laws). ECJ has the responsibility for final determination on the meaning of the equivalents to federal laws, but has no say over interpretation of local laws. The way it typically works (and I believe did in this case, although I haven't read the documents so am not certain) is that a local court realises that their case depends on interpretation of a 'federal' law, and refers a question of how to interpret that law to the ECJ, who send them back a response saying how it applies in their specific case. There is also a right of appeal directly to the ECJ if you feel a local court has misapplied the law.

Comment Re:Valve should read EU law before operating here (Score 1) 384

... and, as a previous court opinion held:

It makes no difference, in a situation such as that at issue in [Oracle vs UsedSoft], whether the copy of the computer program was made available to the customer by the rightholder concerned by means of a download from the rightholder’s website or by means of a material medium such as a CD-ROM or DVD. Even if, in the latter case too, the rightholder formally separates the customer’s right to use the copy of the program supplied from the operation of transferring the copy of the program to the customer on a material medium, the operation of downloading from that medium a copy of the computer program and that of concluding a licence agreement remain inseparable from the point of view of the acquirer.

i.e., the distinction between licensing and selling a copy is a distinction without a difference.

Comment Valve should read EU law before operating here (Score 1) 384

Taken from DIRECTIVE 2009/24/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 23 April 2009 on the legal protection of computer programs. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:111:0016:0022:EN:PDF

2. The first sale in the Community of a copy of a program by the rightholder or with his consent shall exhaust the distribution right within the Community of that copy, with the exception of the right to control further rental of the program or a copy thereof

Comment Re:Fee on selling? (Score 1) 384

If users can sell or give away games as they see fit, that would put a lot of stress on the steam servers. Would it be possible for valve to take out a fee to cover expenses?

I don't think it would, no. The problem is that EU law's equivalent of the US first sale doctrine applies here, meaning purchasers of Steam games have a legal right to transfer them to others. The law makes no mention of applying charges for the transfer, so it would appear as though Valve has a legal obligation to honour such transfers with no charge.

Comment Re:Digital Licenses are not physical media (Score 1) 384

The software is not being sold. It is being licensed. The doctrine of first sale only applies when something is sold.

[citation needed]

A license is a piece of virtual property that may be bought and sold. Why would doctrine of first sale (or, rather, the principle of exhaustion, which is the name used for the equivalent concept in european law) not apply to them?

See, specifically, the analysis here.

Comment Re:Valve, or the publishers? (Score 1) 384

if you use Steam with DRM for online distribution (a good idea) then they disallow you from having a physical copy without Steam (bad idea) or from using alternate online distribution means.

That's not true. Let's pick a semi-recent release, FTL. Development was funded through Kickstarter, and the game is available from three digital distributors. You can get it on Steam, GoG, or direct from the developers.

Read the post you're replying to. "if you use Steam with DRM [...]". FTL is marketed as a DRM-free game, so is clearly not using Steam with DRM, so the rest of the post doesn't apply to it.

Comment Re:The worst kind of corporatism (Score 1) 384

The No True Scotsman fallacy to the rescue, again!

Not really, no. For an argument to be a No True Scotsman fallacy, you have to shift your definitions in order to exclude the item(s) under argument. In this case, however, communism was quite adequately defined a long time before the USSR/PRC came into being, and it is quite clear that neither of them match the original definition.

Comment Re:Trade-offs (Score 1) 384

Valve has always said that if they were to go out of business, or shutdown their Steam service, they would release patches to all the games to make them playable without requiring Steam.

They may have said that, but unless it's actually part of their terms and conditions they may find themselves unable to actually do it. When a company reaches the point where its officers realise that it is likely to enter bankruptcy, it becomes illegal to dispose of company assets in a way that does not provide an adequate return for either investors or creditors. If Valve faced bankruptcy, they would legally be required to keep Steam in a position where it could be sold off to a competitor until after they were no longer in control of it.

Comment Re:Bad summary (Score 1) 272

Something like this?
http://tsdr.uspto.gov/documentviewer?caseId=sn85194406&docId=DRW20101213072755

That's Microsoft's store layout trademark they registered in 2011.

Samething, minus the glass out front.

No, it isn't. MS's layout has curved tables along the sides of the store, and lacks both the table and video screens on the rear wall. Also, their lighting appears to protrude from the ceiling while Apple's is integrated into the ceiling. There's also an additional middle row of tables that would possibly prevent it from being infringing even by itself.

Comment Re:Snowballs chance in Australia? 1 of many probs (Score 1) 626

I'm all for living within our current energy means in a reasonable way (and I abhor the pollution from mining and burning coal and oil), but she cites a calculation that projects exponential growth on Earth forward a few hundred years, calculates we will need to cover the whole Earth in solar panels (and then the Galaxy), and then concludes from that somehow that we should stay the way we are.

Not just that -- that calculation explicitly states this: "The purpose of this exploration is to point out the absurdity that results from the assumption that we can continue growing our use of energy." She then goes on to use it as a basis of saying that because our energy use is going to carry on growing, we can't use solar power... she basically missed the entire point of the article. Yes, solar power can't continue providing for growing energy use at the current rate for more than a couple of hundred years. But neither can any other technology -- within 400 years, those same calculations and the assumption of using a 100%-thermodynamically efficient process to produce power from some stored energy reserve put the temperature of the Earth's surface at a level that would wipe humanity out (i.e., average surface temperature exceeds 60C).

Comment Re:Inaccurate Summary (Score 2) 272

that may be true but can you explain to me how this windows store would not infringe

pricture of a windows store

regards

John Jones

From the textual description of the mark:

The store features a clear glass storefront surrounded by a paneled facade consisting of large, rectangular horizontal panels over the top of the glass front, and two narrower panels stacked on either side of the storefront

The picture you link to shows a store whose storefront has the horizontal panel but AFAICT is lacking the narrower side panels described. Also, without being able to see inside the store, it is impossible to tell if the arrangement of lighting, tables, seating, shelves and video panels all conform to the description provided. It is quite likely that they do not, as Apple's description is very specific in certain details. Note that all of the details would need to match for the store to be considered infringing.

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