+1 for Digital Consumer Rights in the EU


Ethan Gach

I write about comics, video games and American politics. I fear death above all things. Just below that is waking up in the morning to go to work. You can follow me on Twitter at @ethangach or at my blog, gamingvulture.tumblr.com. And though my opinions aren’t for hire, my virtue is.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

    Meaning that you cannot use digital rights management to prevent the resale of used software?

    I expect this will have interesting consequences.Report

    • Avatar Plinko says:

      That’s how I read the blurb, too. I can’t even imagine how that would go over in the U.S. other than with a massive shock to everyone involved distributing any sort of software and media.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

      As I read it, this only means that transferring your license does not constitute an infringement on the copyright holder’s rights. Unless I’m greatly misunderstanding this, software vendors are still free to impose technological barriers to the resale of software.

      Also, this explicitly applies only to software sold on a physical medium. I don’t know why, but the obvious solution is for vendors to stop selling software on physical media.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg says:

        Also, the software-as-a-service model has the potential to render this moot, if it becomes more widely adopted.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Well, it’s a step in the right direction. SAAS is in its early stages but it has its precursors in the old time-share operations of the 1970s. Teams of programmers and support staff supported multiple firms on the same stack.

          The next step in SAAS will probably look more like Heroku. As businesses become more interconnected and the technology stack gets more reliable, the old risk/reward equations of the server room are changing.

          There’s just too much to do. As you correctly note, physical media is just getting in the way of progress. If the software’s any good, the best business model for the vendor is to provide a service, not ship boxes.Report

      • Avatar E.C. Gach says:

        This decision applies to all software. The case in question dealt with downloads.Report

  2. Avatar Ethan Gach says:

    Basically, you can resell “used” software as long as the first buyer no longer has it installed, and as long as you’re selling the entire thing (i.e. you can’t sell off parts of the software to different people).

    It sounds like for Europe it’s just extending they way they treat software that’s bought on physical discs to the way they treat downloads.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan says:

      Which is fine, in and of itself, but the entire gaming industry and all the DLC pushers are now having collective apoplexy.Report

      • Avatar Ethan Gach says:

        It seems easy enough to avoid, at first blush, simply by not allowing users to uninstall their content, and/or not giving them a key that goes along with it.

        If I have no way to transfer the content, it seems moot.

        But perhaps this opens up room for copying and deleting? E.g. I make a copy of my content, give it to you, destroy what I duplicated the content from, and then go about my business.Report

  3. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    Wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I’ve always thought Bill Gates ruined the software industry.

    Back in the day, (insert old man noises) IBM used to lease its operating systems. This supported the upgrading and maintenance of our toolkits. It was unthinkable to sell software, one might as well try selling each others brains. IBM would bring us in for a code swap dinner: each shop would bring in a short 6250 tape with our latest goodies and utilities. While we ate a good dinner and swapped stories and met clever people, IBM would copy off our tapes and give us each a full size tape containing everyone’s goodies. Thus we improved each others’ code.

    I wrote a utility which would copy all our old JCL punch card decks and put them into proper files in a disk directory. Thus we could simply copy an existing job, replace a few lines and hey presto, a new job control file. Parts of it would go on to become Panvalet.

    Later, when the PC came around, I wrote a small chat client which allowed me to communicate with a blind coder in Toronto, making tiny clicking noises in real time each time a key was pressed and some audio cues for end-of-statement, so he could scan his screen and “read” the message. IBM picked this up and distributed it for free.

    IBM has contributed much to the Eclipse project: now a de-facto standard. IBM has contributed to Linux in a big way, porting it to its gargantuan mainframes. Kids who’ve never seen a mainframe in native mode can easily interact with the galaxy of virtual Linux boxes hosted inside it.

    There’s an ocean of work to do out there, writing software. The best software, perversely, is free. Oh, there are some benefits to Oracle and DB2 and Teradata in the corporate database world, but most coders won’t interact with them directly. Linux has become the reference platform, precisely because it’s open and anyone can see what’s going on internally.

    Coders would like nothing better than to go back to the old model, where the pros were solving the ongoing issues surrounding the corporations they served. The pay-software market has not done good things for my profession. It’s led to bad, bloated, insecure code which nobody can maintain, not even the people who wrote it.Report

  4. Avatar Stillwater says:

    Is it only a matter of time till this mentality crosses the Atlantic, or will this only work to ruin software innovation in the old country?

    Dude, I LOVE the subtle fomenting of an ideological flame war.Report