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Valve could face charges in Europe over Steam's user agreement
Valve could face charges in Europe over Steam's user agreement
September 24, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

September 24, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Valve Software could soon be facing legal charges in Europe, as a German consumer advocacy group has taken issue with some recent changes in Steam's end-user license agreement.

Last month, Valve sparked a bit of controversy when it updated Steam's user agreement to protect itself from class-action lawsuits, as users who declined this update found themselves locked out of their Steam accounts. The Federation of German Consumer Organizations believes that Valve coerced its users into signing the new agreement, and has set out to protect those consumers.

According to CinemaBlend, The Federation claims that Valve's new terms unfairly "disadvantaged" a number of legitimate Steam users, and the group has declared that Valve has until October 10 to respond to these charges. If Valve does not meet the deadline, the Federation says it plans to "resolve the dispute in court."

On top of these charges, the Federation wants to ensure that Valve's new user agreement meets the requirements of a recent European court ruling that says that game publishers cannot block European customers from reselling downloadable games.

At the moment, no online game distributors allow users to resell digital content, but with this new ruling, companies cannot put any systems in place that would block their European users from doing so. Companies like GameStop have already expressed interest in used digital game sales, and the Federation wants to verify that Valve isn't doing anything to preemptively block used game sales on Steam.

Like Valve, Sony has also updated its user agreements to prevent users from filing class action lawsuits. The company added a new clause to its PSN agreement one year ago that prohibited such legal action, though users had option to send a written letter to Sony to opt-out of the clause.

Gamasutra has contacted Valve for comment, but has not heard back as of press time.

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