The Union fédérale des consommateurs (Federal Union of Consumers or UFC Que Choisir), a French consumer group, has been pursuing litigation against Valve over several clauses in the Steam Subscriber Agreement to determine if purchasing games on the platform means users should be allowed to resell those games under EU law. Yesterday, the District Court of Paris passed down a ruling in favor of the consumer group.
According to a report from the French website Next Inpact, Valve’s argument that purchasing games on Steam was actually the purchase of a subscription to use products or services on the platform did not hold up to legal scrutiny. The court found that purchasing games on Steam is more like purchasing a digital license. This means these games can be resold by Steam users under EU law, which allows for “the free movement of goods within the Union” without requiring the permission of the person who originally sold them.
Valve had also asserted multiple rights in regard to Steam, such as the right not to reimburse Steam Wallet funds if users left the platform and the right to avoid responsibility if users incurred harm on the platform, but the court ruled against all of those claims. In total, fourteen of Valve’s clauses were struck down by the court.
The win ends a years-long fight from the UFC Que Choisir against Valve and could also set a precedent ruling for other EU member nations to follow, though Valve has already stated its intention to keep fighting. “We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it,” reads an emailed statement sent to Polygon. “The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”
This is not the first time that Steam has lost a legal case outside of the US. Readers will note that Valve had to cough up fines to France in September of 2018 as well as pay fines to Australia in April of that same year.