I finally get fed up after reading yet another entry on how game developers want to limit the consumer’s ability to resell a legally purchased game. We wouldn’t accept such limitations of cars or other physical products, why do we for digital ones? There still are game companies that allow the transfer of their games to new users and I applaud them.
I sent the following letter to my congressman. Feel free to reuse it to send it to yours or to improve upon it. Let’s not accept a limitation on the First Sale Doctrine for digital products any longer. It is BS. You can find your representative by zip code here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Dear <fill in name>:
I’m unsure of your stance on business rights vs. consumer rights, but with the move towards digital products the issue is even more important for the consumer than in the past. I firmly believe the First Sale Doctrine should apply to digital products, such as computer software and games, digital books (such as Kindle books), digital music, etc.
I strongly support prosecuting people who obtain digital products illegally by pirating the goods, just as a shoplifter should be prosecuted. It is absurd that companies should have the right to prevent the resale of their digital products just because there are mechanisms to do so. Distributors such as Amazon and Steam (steampowered.com) should be required to support the transfer of ownership for their digital products. If you sell an ebook or digital distribution of a computer game, there should be a mechanism to transfer the license or ownership to another customer.
Software companies should not be able to add mechanisms or include one time use codes to their software to prevent the transfer of ownership. There are already digital rights management (DRM) mechanisms that could be used to force the original owner to uninstall the product before transferring ownership to another person. This sufficiently protects the company from users freely distributing their product.
Pirates thwart pretty much every effort by companies to protect their digital products, but it is the honest consumers who are punished by not having the protection of the First Sale Doctrine. It would be absurd if consumers couldn’t transfer the ownership of their cars, books, or other physical products. Why should digital products be any different? Please help consumers get fair treatment on this issue.
<your name here>