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Game dev revokes buyer's Steam key after negative review of their game

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14 hours ago, Ben Quigley said:

That all depends on what terms are in the licensing agreement tbf...

No, it doesn't. First sale doctrine even applies to game codes. Any entity attempting to take back or bar you from a game (unless you're cheating or attempting to infringe on copyright) that you paid for is seizure and should either come with a refund. You don't own THE CODE, but you do own the GAME KEY and its use. 

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Reminder: if you need connecting to anyone else's server (be it devs, publishers, Steam, whatever) to play, you are not buying, you are renting at best.


(applies to things other than games as well:


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56 minutes ago, EPENEX said:

Don't use DRM.

Yep I'll just not use Steam, Origin, Battlenet, Bethesda's new launcher, uPlay, or play any game at all with online connectivity. Sounds like a reasonable plan

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So, the same person posting in the gamingonlinux article discussion who previously asked me, "Question: How are then OpenSource licenses supposed to work, e.g. GPLv3?:", responded to my answer to them in a manner that revealed they weren't genuinely asking me for information, but were seeking to set up some snarky gotcha follow-up that they hoped would shut-down what I'd said about people being entitled to modify their digital items, and about digital licenses being filled with bogus and non-enforceable claims.


But, they fell flat on their face in their attempt by posting a link that, despite them assuming it was proof that I was wrong, actually brought confirmation that what I'd said about people being legally entitled to modify GPL software despite what a GPL license term might claim is very much correct.


Here's there attempted 'gotcha' comment:



Let's quickly wrap up this off-topic discussion: The GPLv2/v3 are in conformance with the law in the EU & the USA. They have undergone legal scrutiny in courts (GPL Enforcement Cases) and the rights can also be revoked (e.g. Busybox vs Best Buy + 13 other companies (2009-2012)).



And here's what I responded to it with:



Wow, arrogance overload! But, you're wrong and your own link proves what I said.


The cases shown on that page demonstrate that non-licensed distribution is protected against, which I said is the case in my long post:




An Intellectual Property is an intangible property, and so is a license granted to make use of an IP via a non-reproduceable instance (such as software) of it - but they are distinct intangible properties. While a publisher hands out the right to use their IP when it grants a license, they don't hand away the IP itself and so the right to reproduce copies of their IP for distribution remains with the IP holder.


So, the GPLv3 wording sounds valid when it says "Any attempt otherwise to propagate... it is void".


However, the only case I see that regards modifying GPL-licensed software is the Welte in AVM vs Cybits case, and that case ended with the court ruling that, contrary to the GPL licenser's claim, the defendant was in-fact entitled to modify the GPL software and people were entitled to use the software after it had been modified:



What was the result: The Court firstly closed the preliminary case, confirming the position of Mr Welte as long as the modified software doesn't return incorrect values. In its next decision on November 8th in the principal proceedings, the Court denied that Cybits had infringed AVM's copyright: Cybit had the right to download the GPL parts of the AVM firmware in order to modify them.


So, it looks as though things are precisely as I previously said I thought they would be:




... However, the claim of "Any attempt otherwise to... modify it is void" doesn't sound like it is true, to me. And, I wonder how the part that says "... and will automatically terminate your rights under this License" regarding a modified personal instance could be enforced. I don't think it could be.


The GPLv3 wording seems redundant and unrefined to me and, like any claim, is ignorable to the extent that it is invalid before law. And, I think that the parts beyond claiming that people may not distribute duplicates of the digital item are fluff.




So, the only shown legal case alleging violation due to modifying the software was decided in the favour of the party that was modifying the software, ruling against the claim that the software may not be modified and distributed.


What Cybits (the company modifying GPL software) was doing was providing a paid service where they'd download the GPL firmware that is used on particular routers, then modify it by adding an internet filtering capability, and then flash it to the routers to replace the stock GPL firmware that was on them.


The court said that Cybits was entitled to download, modify, and flash the GPL firmware to the GPL firmware-containing routers.

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1 hour ago, Eaglerino said:

Yep I'll just not use Steam, Origin, Battlenet, Bethesda's new launcher, uPlay, or play any game at all with online connectivity. Sounds like a reasonable plan

That still leaves plenty of fun games to play.

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So, I was a bit mistaken in my previous post in that the Welte in AVM vs Cybits case actually involved the GPL licenser defending the right of Cybits to modify and distribute the GPL firmware, while AVM was trying to claim they could not because the GPL firmware was a part of a commercial product. The court ruled that Cybits was entitled to modify the GPL firmware and replace the stock firmware in commercial routers with the modified version.


However, that means that 0 of the cases on the webpage presented by the person who took issue with what I said demonstrate a rebuttal of what I said, which is:


"However, the claim of "Any attempt otherwise to... modify it is void" doesn't sound like it is true, to me. And, I wonder how the part that says "... and will automatically terminate your rights under this License" regarding a modified personal instance could be enforced. I don't think it could be."




The "Busybox vs Best Buy + 13 other companies" case that the poster brought up as alleged proof against what I said didn't actually involve an accusation of modifying GPL software.


The violation was having "distributed firmware... in a manner that does not comply with the License." The GPL license was for "personal, non-commercial purposes only" while Best Buy and 13 other companies distributed the GPL firmware commercially.


Full accusation: "Bestbuy and others, have distributed firmware – embedded in electronic products or by itself – that contains BusyBox or a derivative work of BusyBox «in a manner that does not comply with the License»."


The "or a derivative work of BusyBox" part was only relevant in the case to establish whether GPL software was being used in a violating commercial manner because of what I previously said: "a distributed modified copy still counts as a distributed copy of the original work in copyright law."


And also: "The GPLv3 wording sounds to me like it's trying to prevent people from duplicating a licensed work and also from trying to get around that restriction by modifying it and distributing it then as their own work."



The court's decision in the case:


"The court also entered a permanent injunction prohibiting distribution of HDTV products with the BusyBox software and further ordered all infringing HDTVs to be forfeited to the plaintiff" (before an out-of-court settlement took place)... 


... was because the companies were distributing GPL software as part of a commercial venture which violated the "personal, non-commercial purposes only" condition of the license. The court nor the case argued that there was a violation pertaining to modifying GPL software.







It looks like I misread the description of the BusyBox vs Best Buy case and attributed the “personal, non-commercial purposes only" claim to the plaintiff instead of the defendant, but a more thorough look at the case reveals that it still has nothing to do with what the poster claimed it to. The case didn't involve an accusation of modifying GPL software, but of not providing the source code according to the GPLv2 license: "SFLC/SFC, took the position that the failure to provide source code as required by GPLv2 (a) automatically terminated the licensees’ right to distribute GPLv2 code".

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