Should you be able to pass down your digital library accounts in a will?

A recent conversation with Steam seemingly indicates that trying to give a Steam library to a loved one through a will could face problems.

Steam says you can't pass down your account in a will as digital game collections are not inheritable since digital distribution limits ownership as users buy a license, not the product.

Digital distribution in general often carries the limitation that users aren't really buying the product, but rather buying a license to access it, which can potentially be removed at any time.

As digital libraries for games, movies, books, and other media continues to replace buying physical copies, how do you feel about the realization that you don't actually own any of what you've paid for?

Do you think you should be able to resell or transfer your digital licenses?

Do you think you should get a full refund at any time if a distributor revokes a license for any reason, such as when PlayStation was recently going to remove all Discovery TV shows from users' accounts?

  • It is anyone's guess if a refund is allowed.

  • Dang - that's crazy. I think you should be able to pass it down or share it with someone else...

    However, I am a bit old-school and like to purchase and own my own things.

    Physical books are awesome. But the library is pretty incredible too! 

    What do you think Richie?

  • Personally, I think you should be able to pass down your digital libraries in a will. Let's say a family has a big digital movie library and the account is in the father's name. It seems unfair that the family should lose all their movies if the father dies. And it's pretty unrealistic to expect each member of a family to own their own copy of a movie. A child couldn't even purchase their own digital copy of a movie since most accounts require a minimum age of 13.

  • Yes! Just like physical media, I believe that everyone should have the ability to pass down and own digital libraries. However, with digital assets, legality issues relating to copyright protections and licensing greatly limit what consumers can do with media, especially if it's not purchased outright by the owner. This makes it incredibly difficult for consumers to argue their case if a company doesn't implement solutions to include digital legacy and sharing options. Furthermore, with streaming platforms such as Steam, Spotify, and Netflix, one can't simply transfer collections, liked media, or preferences to another user unless streaming companies and media companies are willing to bend their backs to consumers.


    A child couldn't even purchase their own digital copy of a movie since most accounts require a minimum age of 13.

    I remember when entering into a contract with a minor was illegal.

    But... I guess if they're old enough to take amphetamines¹ and puberty blockers—they're old enough to read, understand, and agree to the terms of a EULA.

    Unless I'm mistaken, one of my 13-year-old cousins just sold her 1st house.  Technically, it was her parents' house.  Somehow, she obtained power of attorney.  And why not?  She's a woman, now.  There are plenty of witnesses.  But, I'm not one of them.

    Unfortunately, I missed her Bat Mitzvah. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Mazel tov!

     What are we doing?  Some people worry about the dangers of artificial intelligence.  And they should.  But, not for the reasons they think.

    Artificial Super Intelligence will destroy us?  How?  I think we'll beat them to it.  After all, most AI have been trained on natural stupidity.  And that's been destroying civilizations—all on its own—since civilization began.

    Want proof?  We can't even agree on the definition of the words "purchase" and "ownership".  "You'll own nothing.  And you'll be happy." - World Economic Forum (2016) smh

    (1) Adderall is a prescription medication which contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

    I hear it goes well with Nestlé Ovaltine.  And it goes great with Nestlé Quick. :-)

  • In theory you should be able to pass them on, but you are bound by the terms and conditions of the service that most of us, including myself, never read.   As far as digitization goes, that is why I am not a fan of digital currencies or cashless economies. I do not want my net worth erased with a keystroke.