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Author Topic: HL2 early release legal question  (Read 2059 times)
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Punisher
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« on: November 12, 2004, 03:07:26 PM »

I am curious if either Valve or the retailer selling HL2 early could be sued in a class action suit by the consumers.
I am not looking for a discussion on if someone should sue and I don't need any of the just wait for the release date stuff.
From a purely technical POV, if I bought something, I expect to be able to use it. I don't want to buy a new car then find out that the official release date for the new 2005 SuperDuper isn't until next week, so while I own the vehicle and have spent my money, I can't get the keys until later.
I am pretty sure that there is nothing on the retail box itself warning you about a release date. It just says Internet required (which I STILL think is VERY stupid, some people still don't have any form of Internet access and may want to play single player, yeah, they are SOL, but it doesn't make sense from a business perspective to prevent people from buying your product. I can see those people having someone pirate a copy for them.)
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Xmann
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« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2004, 03:14:35 PM »

Ya i'm really not sure how to technically answer your original question.  If you go to the steam forums there are a million threads about this type of topic so i'm sure there might be atleast 1 reasonable answer.
As far as needing an internet connection to play the single player, my argument is that if you have a computer with a $200-$400 video card in it you more than likely will have internet access.  However, i can see alot of uninformed folks buying it and after installing getting upset because they can't register it because they didn't read the box that says internet connection required.  I got a feeling alot of returns are in the works for this game with some unhappy folks.
To tell you the truth, i'm getting disgusted as the days go by about this release.  I've ordered from steam, but the way it's been handled all around is leaving a nasty taste in my mouth.
Sorry i couldnt answer the original question, i'm sure someone here will soon.   :lol:
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« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2004, 03:21:47 PM »

If the retailer is selling HL2 before it's release date I think they'd have to be the one who got sued.  Valve has no control over what retailers do beyond telling them not to sell the game before the 16th.  As for intenet activation, yeah, it's kind of stupid, but don't you have to activate Windows XP the same way, or did they change that?
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« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2004, 03:23:43 PM »

You can call MS toll-free to activate XP.
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Punisher
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2004, 03:26:45 PM »

1) Well I have looked into the steam forums and the ones I saw were mostly of the "stop whining and wait" variety. Since I am looking for intelligent conversation I came here. smile
2) While a $200+ video would certainly help, I don't believe that it is required. Also, there are many places without broadband and many parents who don't want Internet access at all. Some people don't want to pay monthly fees for anything.
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2004, 03:47:08 PM »

Quote from: "Punisher"

2) While a $200+ video would certainly help, I don't believe that it is required. Also, there are many places without broadband


Broadband isn't required for steam - especially if you buy the physical media. 56K is more than sufficient to authorize your copy.

Yes, there are going to be a few people who can't authorize their copy for whatever reason.  But it's a very small number - certainly not enough for Valve to worry about.
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Punisher
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2004, 04:08:07 PM »

Quote from: "Laner"
Quote from: "Punisher"

2) While a $200+ video would certainly help, I don't believe that it is required. Also, there are many places without broadband


Broadband isn't required for steam - especially if you buy the physical media. 56K is more than sufficient to authorize your copy.

Yes, there are going to be a few people who can't authorize their copy for whatever reason.  But it's a very small number - certainly not enough for Valve to worry about.


When I said "and many parents who don't want Internet access at all. Some people don't want to pay monthly fees for anything." I was indirectly referring to dial-up and anything that requires a monthly fee.

Plus the major point of the post is that right now, noone can authorize their copy. Even people who have a legal full retail version.
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Calvin
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2004, 05:45:31 PM »

Quote from: "Punisher"
I am curious if either Valve or the retailer selling HL2 early could be sued in a class action suit by the consumers.
I am not looking for a discussion on if someone should sue and I don't need any of the just wait for the release date stuff.
From a purely technical POV, if I bought something, I expect to be able to use it.

LOL..no. Sorry, I am not laughing at you, just the thought of such a class action lawsuit. When you purchased the game, whether you realize it or not, you agree to the terms of their licensing agreements. While there is still some debate about the binding nature of EULA's, I am fairly sure the Steam purchased notified the consumer the game would be unable to play until the 16th. Considering the information, including the key that unlocks the game and makes it playable is stored on their servers and is as of now unreleased-well, that key is in their domain and control-they have not transferred a temporary licenense for you to use it.

The correct analogy is that you bought a sports car for which the ignition was not yet complete. They will ship you the final starter peice and key on the 16th. Are you going to sue them for that?

So no,no class action lawsuit unless you want to waste thousands and thousands of dollars on attorneys only to get laughed out of court smile
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Jeff
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2004, 05:51:17 PM »

Quote from: "Punisher"
Plus the major point of the post is that right now, noone
can authorize their copy. Even people who have a legal full retail version.


1.  an internet connection is required, and it's been said that the requirement is listed on the game box.

2.  People can't authorize their copy till the 16th, but they're not supposed to even have a copy until the 16th. As someone has already stated, this isn't valve's fault, and so they aren't liable.

I'm sure valve has a team of attorneys that have already been over all of this smile
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Punisher
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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2004, 07:15:55 PM »

Quote from: "Rage"

LOL..no. Sorry, I am not laughing at you, just the thought of such a class action lawsuit. When you purchased the game, whether you realize it or not, you agree to the terms of their licensing agreements. While there is still some debate about the binding nature of EULA's, I am fairly sure the Steam purchased notified the consumer the game would be unable to play until the 16th.

1) I am not a lawyer, but I play one on PC....but I am very sure that purchasing a retail copy does imply agreeing to ANYTHING other then paying money for the game.
2) I believe I read somewhere that EULA are NOT enforceable.
3) I don't remember ever being notified by Steam that the game was not playable until the 16th. It "may" have said unavailable, but Valve also said it would be available Sept 30th 2003.
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Calvin
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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2004, 07:45:03 PM »

Quote from: "Punisher"
Quote from: "Rage"

1) I am not a lawyer, but I play one on PC....but I am very sure that purchasing a retail copy does imply agreeing to ANYTHING other then paying money for the game.
2) I believe I read somewhere that EULA are NOT enforceable.
3) I don't remember ever being notified by Steam that the game was not playable until the 16th. It "may" have said unavailable, but Valve also said it would be available Sept 30th 2003.


1. I am not a lawyer, but I will be in about 6 months.

1a. You are incorrect. When purchasing software you purchase the temporary license to use that software on your own computer-presumably for whatever purpose you want. You do not purchase the code, the IP, nor do you reserve the right to make any changes to it anywhere except on your own system. Now, obviously, most of these provisions no one cares about nor cares enough to enforce, but everytime someone smacks down a mod creator, this is part of the reason why. So, while you are agreeing to pay money for the game, you are also agreeing to abide by copyright and IP laws, not to mention any restrictions that the publisher has placed on distributing, modifying, etc.

2. You may have read somewhere that EULA's are not always enforceable, and I am fairly sure in my post I indicated that there was no consensus of judicial opinions that indicates one way or the other if this is true or not, but absent any real controlling law to the contrary, a wise man would presume that following EULA's, especially specific parts of the EULA that might not require your willfull consent to contract with the publisher to enforce, was the best course of action.

3. Valve wholly owns and operates their software and IP. You have not purchased HL2 in a store, have you? You purchased it online, Valve granted you a temporary license to download and have the software ready to be installed once the game was complete, and they released the keys. Were you to  say, email them and claim breach of contract for refusing to unlock the game once you had paid for it, they would immediately refund your money, you would delete the game files, and life would go on. You pay money to a car dealer to reserve the new Corvette. If the Vette is delayed, you dont get to drive a half completed car, nor do you have some nebulous and utterly impractical right to use software that has been delayed. The fact that Valve said it would be available Sept30th is completely and utterly irrelevant. Valve only allowed for the purchase of Steam packages after they had indicated a firm release date. If they break that date, perhaps we will have something to talk about. Until then, Valve has generously allowed you to hold a temporary license of some of their software to facillitate the installation and "playing" of the game once it is released-they are not granting you carte blanche to try to break the encryption and play the game simply because the files are stored locally and you have paid for the game. When you paid for it, it said you would be able to play the game on the 16th. If you are not able to do so, then perhaps there is something more to talk about.
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Caine
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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2004, 08:16:01 PM »

isn't your question related primarily to the retail being sold early?

Quote from: "Punisher"
I am curious if either Valve or the retailer selling HL2 early could be sued in a class action suit by the consumers.

I am pretty sure that there is nothing on the retail box itself warning you about a release date.


i didn't buy my copy via Steam, so i can't comment on how the agreement is written regarding the unlock, but if someone was able to get a boxed copy early, then i could definately see some irritation about not being able to play it until next week.  i don't think anyone would go as far to sue the companies involved over it though.  it's not a long wait until the 16th, and most people would still want the game enough to wait.  of course, this country is litigation happy, so a few disgruntled people just might think of doing it.  

OT for a sec.  hey rage, what kind of law are you going to specialize in?  it sounds like you might be involved in IP law.
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Calvin
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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2004, 08:18:12 PM »

Err... I dont want to hold myself out as something I am not. I am NOT going into IP law. I know a bit about it, having taken IP law classes and having an uncle who is a very successful California IP attorney, but I am interested in working for a litigation firm if I choose to practice (which is still up in the air, although you would think I would know, as I have one freaking semester left).

Anyways, I might simply be misunderstanding Punishers question as well.
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Punisher
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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2004, 09:20:31 PM »

Just to clarify, my post is specifically for the "leaked/early release" RETAIL purchase that some people have made.
IE: Some people have gone to a B&M store and purchased the full final version of HL2 today. They have then gone home, installed it, and now they cannot play it at all such Valve will not unlock the game. (Again, to clarify, even the retail game needs to be unlocked/authorized).

It is in this case that I am referring to the EULA not being enforceable, since there is no EULA when purchasing the game, only during install or after you open it.
Also, since most stores nowadays do not allow opened returns of software in general, Person A has spent their money on a game they cannot use nor return. Person A is out of their money. It is gone. Regardless of the amount of Inetnet knowledge that the game won't be released until the 16th, you cannot prove that someone who went to the B&M knew this. he game box only has the Internet connection as a requirement. It does not say an Internet Connection after the 16th.
If anything Valve or  VU can sue the B&M store, but they should not make a legitimate customer suffer by not unlocking the game for them.
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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2004, 09:42:47 PM »

Quote from: "Punisher"
It is in this case that I am referring to the EULA not being enforceable, since there is no EULA when purchasing the game, only during install or after you open it. Also, since most stores nowadays do not allow opened returns of software in general, Person A has spent their money on a game they cannot use nor return. Person A is out of their money. It is gone. Regardless of the amount of Inetnet knowledge that the game won't be released until the 16th, you cannot prove that someone who went to the B&M knew this. he game box only has the Internet connection as a requirement. It does not say an Internet Connection after the 16th.
If anything Valve or  VU can sue the B&M store, but they should not make a legitimate customer suffer by not unlocking the game for them.


suffer?  god forbid someone has to wait 4 more days to play a game...especially one that has been in development for six years :roll:
these people haven't lost their money on anything...they'll get to play the game on the 16th just like everyone else.  Valve/VU set the release date for the 16th, and they have every right to enforce that date.
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Punisher
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« Reply #15 on: November 12, 2004, 09:45:08 PM »

Also, I think if/when EULA enforcement goes to trial it will be found invalid.
Some reasons:
1) Prove that I agreed to it. What if someone else installed it for me? What if I took it to CompUSA and they installed it for me?
2) Have your kids or neighbors kids install it. People under 18 cannot "agree" to anything legally.
3) As above, you are given the EULA AFTER you have purchased it. This may be similiar to paying for a new car that's non-returnable, THEN being told to sign a paper saying you MUST use Brand X for gas. The main problem with EULA's is that you have to agree AFTER you purchase.
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« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2004, 02:37:41 AM »

If you took the Pc and game to Comp USA and had them install it, then by default of telling them to install it you agreed to the EULA.

If you had your kids install it, its the same, while they can't agree to the EULA if under 18, because you told them to install it, you agreed to it by default.

If Your kids Used your credit card to purchase it, becuase it is your credit card, You are liable and responsible for it.

If you have someone else's kids install it then you with spoken consent 'Telling them to install it, makes you once again agree to the EULA by default..

Even if say a friend of your kids get the game, then give it to your kids, and they install the game on your PC without your knowledge. You immediatly become repsonsible for it being on your computer.

While it is true that it is not possible to make you responsible for agreeing to the EULA upon purchasing the game, 'Unless the EULA is printed out and attached to the outside of the game availible to read before purchase.' Once you start the Installation Process and click 'YES' or 'I Agree' you become liable and responsible for anything it does to your Pc or happens to your PC due to the installation of the game or lack therof. If on the other hand you read the EULA, decide you don't agree, you can simply click 'No' or 'I do not agree' Box up the game, then call the company's customer support for mailing instructions to mail the copy back for a full refund. Most companies will refund you promptly when they are told that you don't agree to the EULA.

Some Companies might try delay tactics telling you to send it back to the place of purchase. If so simple get a writen note, signed by at least 2 witness's 'Noterized if possible' from the manager of the store refusing to give a refund for the game. Make a copy of the Note that has been signed by at least 2 witness's and Notorized if possible. Send the copy to the company, with the game in question, this should fix any hesitance on thier part to refund you your cash.

If for some reason they refuse, then they have stated by action that they do not recognize thier own EULA. Then it might be possible for a court action of some sort where they could be found lacking or liable.
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« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2004, 07:04:49 PM »

Although I am not a legal expert, it would seem to me that since the retailer sold the game before they were supposed to, they are responsible if the game will not work yet, not Valve or Vivendi.
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