Archive for April, 2010

Gamestop Sued: Accused of Deceptive Used Game Practices

Ron McCardle, DVD Hunt.com

GameStop Used Game Lawsuit [Mar 26, 2010, 11:42 am ET] – Share – Viewing Comments A lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of California against GameStop, citing deceptive practices relating to used game sales. IGN has details on the suit, which stems from a customer buying a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins with the belief that additional DLC was available for free based on the cover blurb. Of course this DLC is part of the new trend intended to impede used-game sales, which the customer learned when they tried to get the DLC, which set them back an additional $15.00, making their final purchase price for the used game $10.00 more than the cost of a brand-new copy (that sound you hear is EA execs exchanging high-fives).

This free content is obtained with a one-time-use download code, which is entered into a digital storefront such as Xbox Live. However, after that code is used by a games’ original owner, the code expires, and the content is only then available by paying an extra fee.

The problem is that GameStop allegedly deceives consumers by not making clear that the content is not included for free with a used game. “In short, as a result of GameStop’s deceptive and misleading practices, consumers who purchase used games from GameStop unknowingly find that they must pay an additional fee to access the full game they thought they purchased,” the complaint said.

 IGN has a copy of the complaint and an article on this on Gamasutra offers thoughts from an analyst saying that GameStop will probably be able to remedy this problem by affixing stickers to used games clarifying DLC availability.

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Ipodmeister: Exempt from the Law?

Mel Barrios, DVDhunt

I recently heard of a new website called Ipodmeister.  You simply pack up your old CDs and get a new iPad, iPhone, or hard drive.  They’ll even send you a DVD with all your music backed up.  I did more research and found the company has received positive press reviews in some respectable media outlets: The Consumerist, Cnet News, Dvice, and the New York Times.

It sounds interesting, but I have a few questions and so did commenters of these articles.

Legality of Keeping a digital backup– The biggest thought in my mind is that once you sell your CDs back to iPodMeister, it’s probably illegal for you to keep a copy for yourself or use their digitizing service (I use “probably” because I’m not a lawyer.)  If  it were legal to keep copies for yourselves, we’d just recycle CDs on Craigslist all day.  I’d pay $2 to get the used the CD and sell it back to someone else for what I paid after I copied it. The Right of First Sale was getting a lot of scrutiny in some states as far back two and a half years ago.

Is iPodMeister affiliated with Apple? – Lastly (and least importantly), does iPodMeister have an affiliation with Apple? I ask only because they give out Apple products and use a derivative of the trademarked Apple iPod name in their name.  Again, I’m no lawyer, just curious about these kinds of things.

The legality of the digitizing question is the big one for me. It just doesn’t seem right. Yet it seems that these media outlets are being irresponsible when they will interview Ipodmeister and not ask the question.  Interestingly though the question of legality is largely hammered out in the comments section among the readers.

They might be safe for a while. For one the RIAA’s main concerns appear to be online file sharing, bootlegging and downloading. Throughout, their overriding target has been distribution of “multiple copies” of a song or CD.  For two, they are doing a good job insulating themselves by basing their operation in Switzerland and just having an operations office in New York.  I wonder do they think paying people in Ipods instead of cash also insulates their legal exposure? Personally i would prefer an Android phone.

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