The above sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Why would Game Sales become illegal?
Although the sale of used games has always been an issue (especially now, with Sony taking PSP games off of the shelves in preparation for the Playstation Vita), people have always had the right to sell their games. After all, once you purchase goods they become your goods, legally, with which to do what you want – you could sell them, give them away to someone else for free, or throw them in the street and run over them with a car. It’s because of this property of buying items that used game sales can take place, regardless of the companies’ intentions or wishes for their product. They only earn money from the very first purchase, and they are not allowed to collect money on anything afterwards.
That applies to music as well, and I’m sure many of you are familiar with the “by checking this box you agree that you have permission to use this music clip/sound bite/etc.” statement. It’s even on Tumblr.
Apparently, that right may soon be at risk.
What makes this situation sad is that the court case determining the scope of “first sale” law hasnothing to do with games. It’s a very obscure case concerning imported text books, in which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the “first sale” law does not apply to games that were made overseas. In order to sell an item, even if you’ve already paid for it, you would have to get permission from all parties involved in manufacturing the products.
This includes every developer, any company that has a copyrighted physics engine, any entity that may even have a character design copyrighted in their name. The music, the art, everything. In some cases many of these elements (or at least, a lot of them) are owned or are being contracted underneath the a main developer.
But I pose a question: How many games do you think are made completely in the U.S. without any overseas help or technology?