June 14, 2024

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You can inherit a deceased relative’s GOG account — if you have a court order

You can inherit a deceased relative’s GOG account — if you have a court order

Fallout: New Vegas To distract him from mourning…”/>

Zoom in / At least my son will be able to use my copy of Fallout: New Vegas To distract him from sadness.

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A few weeks ago, we drew attention to the legal difficulty of passing on your digital Steam game library after your death. While Valve did not respond to a request for comment on the matter, PC gaming platform GOG tells Ars that it is ready and willing to help users transfer their accounts in the event of their death.

As long as they come with a court order, that is.

“In general, your GOG Account and GOG Content are non-transferable,” GOG spokesperson Zuzana Rybacka told Ars. “However, if you can obtain a copy of a court order granting someone access to your personal GOG account, and associated digital content, subject to the end user license agreements for certain games within it, and which specifically refers to your GOG username You or at least the email address used to create such an account, we will do our best to make this happen.”

Legal minefield

Absent a binding court order, there are certain factors that GOG says make it difficult for them to transfer an account at the request of a user (or that user’s last will and testament). Fundamentally, it’s the fact that GOG accounts and their content are subject to limited, personal, non-transferable licenses — “that’s the standard for digital services and goods,” Rybacka points out. In addition, “each game distributed on GOG may be subject to a separate End User License Agreement (EULA) which can separately outline the scope of rights granted to the user of the game,” Rebaca said.

Beyond that, there’s the issue of ensuring beyond a reasonable doubt that a particular account belongs to a particular person. “As you know, GOG does not collect sufficient information to identify a specific person (such as name and surname), his or her family, or marital status,” Rebaca said. “For this reason, we cannot prove that someone is associated with a specific user or that a specific user has died.”

Even a sworn statement from the executor of a user’s estate stating his or her wishes would not be enough to fully legally cover the platform, GOG said. “Because this is a particularly complex and sensitive matter, we will need to be provided with a legal basis for the executor’s actions that specifically relate to the GOG Account and that establish that the GOG Account and possibly content associated with this are part of this estate,” Gouge said.

GOG told Ars that it wants to tread carefully in these situations because it is “a particularly sensitive matter with little to no legal guidance.” Policies surrounding the transfer of digital ownership.”[have] “It is not comprehensively regulated by any specific laws and for this reason, we are bound by common law in this regard.”

However, GOG said it was aware of “some current court decisions in which some people have been allowed to inherit an online account.” This refers to a court order as “a possible option, with our willingness to address such situations, consistent with our gaming preservation mission,” the platform said.

“We are prepared to handle such a situation and preserve your GOG library – but currently we can only do so with the help of the judicial system.”

All your games, and your relatives' games too, if you play your cards right...
Zoom in / All your games, and your relatives’ games too, if you play your cards right…

Gog

While convincing a judge that your deceased relative wants you to have access to his or her GOG library may not always be the simplest process, a court order at least provides a viable path to extricating such an account from the legal oblivion that typically blocks your digital goods after death. And it’s nice to hear that GOG is proactively interested in helping out with this type of situation, even if it currently needs some strong legal cover to do so.

Aside from the account delivery itself, GOG’s long-standing policy of offering downloadable games without any DRM protection makes the delivery process GOG games themselves In a relatively simple matter. “GOG game versions are DRM-free and offline installers are included with every purchase,” Rebaca said. “This way, if someone wants to save their offline games, for example, to an external hard drive, they will be preserved regardless of account ownership.”

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