After GIC 2019

Yesterday evening I returned to Warsaw from the Game Industry Conference 2019 in Poznań. It was the first big event that I participated in under the banner of LegalPlay.

I had a blast socialising with many interesting people from the game development industry, participating in great lectures and panels and – of course – visiting the stunning display of video games variety at the Poznań Game Arena fair.

On Sunday I gave my presentation regarding remuneration models in game development contracts. I am very happy that it met with a warm reception and that people found it practical and useful. If you, too, are interested in seeing the slides from the presentation, drop me a line at and I will send them to you.

I returned from Poznań energised and inspired. Expect new posts on the blog and new initiatives of LegalPlay very soon!


Meet us at GIC 2019!

We are happy to inform that Krzysztof will be featured as a speaker at the Game Industry Conference (GIC) 2019 in Poznań, Poland (17-20 October 2019)!

Krzysztof will give a presentation on remuneration models in game development agreements.

If you are in Poznań and want to say hello, invite Krzysztof on GIC’s MeetToMatch or drop him a line at



Let’s go!

We are finally online! After long months of planning, preparation and hard conceptual and technical work, we officially give you LegalPlay!

LegalPlay is a specialised brand of the video game law practice of Kobylańska Lewoszewski Mednis, a new technologies law firm based in Warsaw, Poland. For quite some time we have been trying to come up with the perfect idea on how to reach a broader audience of video games and esports professionals, both in Poland and abroad. Our goal was to expand our portfolio of gaming industry clients, who – from our experience – always have exciting and challenging projects, so much fun to work on! We decided that the best solution will be to take off our cufflinks, roll up the sleeves, lose most of the legalese and start speaking like a normal person, like we do with our friends after hours.

LegalPlay is dedicated to video games developers, publishers, professional gamers and esports institutions from around the globe, doing business in Poland. We want to show you what we can help you with in your operations. We want to bring you the most important news (not only from Poland) and explain legal technicalities that impact your business. We want to grab your attention and keep it. This is why we decided to start a blog and write in English, so you have an accessible source of valuable legal information right under your thumb.

Welcome to LegalPlay! Feel free to drop us a line at to say hello, ask a question or share your thoughts about what we do. And remember to come back every once in a while to take a look at new updates on our blog!

Coming to Steam: second-hand game sales? A few words on the Valve ruling in France

A few days ago the European gaming community was electrified with a news story from France. On 17 September a French court issued a ruling, referred to as „monumental” or „landmark” by some commentators (including the plaintiff), in the case of a French consumer protection association UFC-Que Choisir brought against Valve, the operator of Steam.

According to the ruling, issued after almost 3 years of proceedings, the court stated that Steam is not allowed to prohibit its users, in their Terms and Conditions, from selling their digitally purchased games. In the court’s opinion, the reselling of digital entertainment licenses is not prohibited on any legal grounds. Therefore, it should be allowed, just as it is the case with physical copies of video games, due to the fact that “the author no longer has control over subsequent resales” once they’ve exhausted their right to the material by authorizing the initial sale.

The consequences of this ruling could potentially be significant for the whole digital video game retail market and expand from the French jurisdiction to the whole Europe, provided, of course, that the ruling is upheld by the court of appeal. Steam and other operators would have to remodel the functionalities of their platforms (not to mention their business models) to allow the players to rescind ownership of their digital licence and transfer it to the buyer.

But the impact and potential legal problems could be much more significant than that. Take for example skins, personalised weapons or armour and other in-game purchases or loot acquired from loot boxes. Would those items expire or get transferred to the buyer along with the game? If so, would the seller be entitled to claim a higher price for the extra content in the game? And if they would, how would that affect the legal qualification of loot boxes in various European jurisdictions, when they would gain monetary value?

The gamers’ community on Reddit (r/Games) quickly identified other possible consequences of adopting that approach:

  • move to subscription based models;
  • no more free content updates;
  • shutting down servers of re-sellable games;
  • no more seasonal sales or discounts, instead – frequent and steady price reductions;
  • fewer offline games and general increase in gameplay time;
  • EU becoming a separate market (like China), possibly some games not being available in the EU.

The experts agree, however, that it is much too soon to count your chickens and start pricing your virtual shelf. There is going to be an appeal, which may very well overturn the ruling. The idea of exhaustion of the publisher’s rights in the digital context (which would prevent the publisher from interfering with second-hand dealing with digital content and, therefore, allow players to re-sell their digital games) has been widely discussed for years, including, in particular, in the case of Oracle v UsedSoft (2012), where it was stated that the exhaustion takes place in relation to software. However, as video games are – quite obviously– much more than just software, the interpretation of the UFC-Que Choisir v Valve case may vary, especially because, to an extent, different laws will be taken into account.

The actual, not hypothetical, impact of the French court ruling remains to be seen. Some argue that in the ever-evolving digital entertainment market, seeing constant changes in the content consumption models, the core question of digital exhaustion may soon become irrelevant. Maybe in a few years, maybe even before the case is finally resolved, the actual possession of a copy of a game will be obsolete, due to common use of streaming? The law hardly ever keeps up the pace of technology, so this is, indeed, very probable. We must wait and see for ourselves.