Video Game Rentals Skirt Legality

rental

“Upon booting many contemporary video games, the screen floods with text which states your rights as a consumer. Buried in the wording is the language stripping ownership. In Bethesda’s Doom, the text reads, “You agree not to: Distribute, lease, license, sell, rent… without the express prior written consent of the Licensor.” In 2K’s Battleborn, the language is the same, adding additional restrictions for “Virtual Goods or Virtual Currency.”

Because the rental industry relies on rights granted by the First Sale Doctrine and Video Rental Amendments Act of 1990—rights being eroded by Vernor v Autodesk and the legalese agreed upon when booting a new game—are game rentals now illegal in certain circumstances? “Yes,” stated Rosenblatt. “Unless [the video store] obtained separate permission from the game company they are probably violating copyright or a contract. And if they do that, they’re taking a calculated risk.”

Read my full story on Playboy

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