Judge Rules Lineage Lawsuit May Proceed

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They're effectively being sued for making a product he wants to play, and because he has an addictive personality. Fucking great.

Hey hold up...this is interesting...

EULA's CANNOT override the Participants legal rights?

That makes things VERY interesting, especially for Apple and Micro$oft.

Well I completely agree it's a ridiculous case, but at the same time, didn't something similar happen with tabacco companies? The release an addictive product with no warnings and got sued... I mean, to any normal person it seems pretty stupid and obvious (especially when it's a psychological addiction and not a physical one such as the body craving nicotine). It's not like I can sue Samsung for making a TV that I just HAVE to use every day! But yeah, I hope very little comes of this... That guy is a retard.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hey hold up...this is interesting...

EULA's CANNOT override the Participants legal rights?

That makes things VERY interesting, especially for Apple and Micro$oft.

According to my business law professor, no EULA/waiver/etc. can override your fundamental rights.

OT: For those who say that this case is ridiculous, yes it is, but think about this: Ever wonder why products sometimes have strange, outlandish warnings against usage that anyone with a fraction of common sense would never attempt? It's mainly because at some time since the product was available, someone, somewhere used the product (sometimes multiple times) in the way the warning advises against.

Wouldn't surprise me if MMOs started having an addiction warning label after this court case is finished.

Heh heh heh... His name is Smallwood

OT: This is just silly. You can't sue a bar for getting you addicted to alcohol, why should you be able to sue game developers?

The Amazing Tea Alligator:
Can alcholics sue the companies that make their alchohol of choice?

I think they've had enough time to close up any loopholes so probably not.

LunarCircle:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Hey hold up...this is interesting...

EULA's CANNOT override the Participants legal rights?

That makes things VERY interesting, especially for Apple and Micro$oft.

According to my business law professor, no EULA/waiver/etc. can override your fundamental rights.

Then I'd be very interested in Law cases that try to state these particular rules (all from the Windows EULA)

6. CONSENT TO USE OF DATA. You agree that Microsoft and its affiliates may collect and use technical information gathered as part of the product support services provided to you, if any, related to the Software. Microsoft may use this information solely to improve our products or to provide customized services or technologies to you and will not disclose this information in a form that personally identifies you.

- Breaching Data Protection Act

12. EXPORT RESTRICTIONS. You acknowledge that the Software is subject to U.S. export jurisdiction. You agree to comply with all applicable international and national laws that apply to the Software, including the U.S. Export Administration Regulations, as well as end-user, end-use, and destination restrictions issued by U.S. and other governments. For additional information see http://www.microsoft.com/exporting/.

- Breaches a whole host on non-US laws.

14. TERMINATION. Without prejudice to any other rights, Microsoft may terminate this EULA if you fail to comply with the terms and conditions of this EULA. In such event, you must destroy all copies of the Software and all of its component parts.

- Breach of Rights of Sale.

Except for any refund elected by Microsoft, YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANY DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, if the Software does not meet Microsoft's Limited Warranty, and, to the maximum extent allowed by applicable law, even if any remedy fails of its essential purpose. The terms of Section 17 ("Exclusion of Incidental, Consequential and Certain Other Damages") are also incorporated into this Limited Warranty. Some states /jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitation or exclusion may not apply to you. This Limited Warranty gives you specific legal rights. You may have other rights which vary from state/jurisdiction to state/jurisdiction. YOUR EXCLUSIVE REMEDY. Microsoft's and its suppliers' entire liability and your exclusive remedy for any breach of this Limited Warranty or for any other breach of this EULA or for any other liability relating to the Software shall be, at Microsoft's option from time to time exercised subject to applicable law, (a) return of the amount paid (if any) for the Software, or (b) repair or replacement of the Software, that does not meet this Limited Warranty and that is returned to Microsoft with a copy of your receipt. You will receive the remedy elected by Microsoft without charge, except that you are responsible for any expenses you may incur (e.g. cost of shipping the Software to Microsoft). This Limited Warranty is void if failure of the Software has resulted from accident, abuse, misapplication, abnormal use or a virus. Any replacement Software will be warranted for the remainder of the original warranty period or thirty (30) days, whichever is longer, and Microsoft will use commercially reasonable efforts to provide your remedy within a commercially reasonable time of your compliance with Microsoft's warranty remedy procedures. Outside the United States or Canada, neither these remedies nor any product support services offered by Microsoft are available without proof of purchase from an authorized international source. To exercise your remedy, contact: Microsoft, Attn. Microsoft Sales Information Center/One Microsoft Way/Redmond, WA 98052-6399, or the Microsoft subsidiary serving your country.

Sorry, yes we are by the Sale of Goods Act.

17. EXCLUSION OF INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL AND CERTAIN OTHER DAMAGES. TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, IN NO EVENT SHALL MICROSOFT OR ITS SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WHATSOEVER (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS OR CONFIDENTIAL OR OTHER INFORMATION, FOR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, FOR PERSONAL INJURY, FOR LOSS OF PRIVACY, FOR FAILURE TO MEET ANY DUTY INCLUDING OF GOOD FAITH OR OF REASONABLE CARE, FOR NEGLIGENCE, AND FOR ANY OTHER PECUNIARY OR OTHER LOSS WHATSOEVER) ARISING OUT OF OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE SOFTWARE, THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SUPPORT OR OTHER SERVICES, INFORMATON, SOFTWARE, AND RELATED CONTENT THROUGH THE SOFTWARE OR OTHERWISE ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF THE SOFTWARE, OR OTHERWISE UNDER OR IN CONNECTION WITH ANY PROVISION OF THIS EULA, EVEN IN THE EVENT OF THE FAULT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), MISREPRESENTATION, STRICT LIABILITY, BREACH OF CONTRACT OR BREACH OF WARRANTY OF MICROSOFT OR ANY SUPPLIER, AND EVEN IF MICROSOFT OR ANY SUPPLIER HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

Sorry. Doesn't wash in Texas or Hawaii.

And that's before I start on Apple locking jailbreaks.

JimJamJahar:

OT: This is just silly. You can't sue a bar for getting you addicted to alcohol, why should you be able to sue game developers?

You can, however, sue a bar if their alcohol doesn't have visible warnings on the dangers of alcohol. In the same way that an Anaphylaxis sufferer could sue nut manufacturers for the use of groundnut or peanuts.

This was the right ruling!

The case will probably get thrown out eventually because the claim itself is so crazy it's funny, but this particular ruling was 100% correct. A software publisher's EULA cannot be used as a cure-all against any and all possible lawsuits. This is exactly what the courts have ruled again and again in other cases like this. An employer cannot, as a condition of employment, require you to sign a contract that waives your right to sue them if they don't pay you. This is true whether you signed the contract or not. The same thing in that a battery factory cannot hire you and, hidden in the employment contract, make you unable to sue if they cut safety corners and you end up splashed in the face with battery acid. There are some things contracts simply cannot do, rights that contracts cannot waive. This is a perfectly logical extension of that. This case should be thrown out because it has no merit, not because a EULA has the power to technically sign away your right to sue.

I wonder if this judge even realises what kind of legal precedent he has just allowed for? What this essentially means is that people will be allowed to blame companies for their addictions and seek legal damages for it, even though they should be responsible for their own actions. Chain smokers will be able to sue tobacco companies for causing them lung cancer, alcoholics will be able to sue manufacturers of alcoholic beverages for causing them cirrhosis, movie fanatics will be able to sue movie studios for causing their addiction with movies...you get the idea.

Even as a former MMO player myself, I find this lawsuit to be astoundingly insane and I cannot believe they are going to go through with this. I dare not think what is going to happen if the guy actually wins the case...

Pathetic. Simply pathetic.

This man's existence is proof that God has a wicked sense of humor.

Jiraiya72:
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Exactly, plus the avatar fits.

Seriously, what retard judge let this actually continue? And what college allowed him to have his licen...

oh yeah, forgot a few colleges will push up a students grades sometimes to get them a job... and this judge must of been a heavy D+...

Ok.. seriously? Hopefully this will be dismissed as soon as the judges stop playing silly buggers.

EULAs most definitely shouldn't be equated to the law of the land.

Doesn't matter if the suit is bullshit.

Jaredin:
...I still hope this gets thrown out - Its rediculous!

I hope the case gets tossed out too(else blizzerd is gona go bankruped with D2,WOW, and Starcraft 2 addits)

I am happy it cleared this hurdle though because it basically saying software/Hardware company sill have to be responsible to there consumer regardless of what the EULA states.

So people can sue apple if there jail broken I phone stops working because the last update was made to stop there phones(apple has been trying to shut off JB phones for a while now).

obisean:
It's gonna be hilarious when games read: "Available in the US except for Hawaii, and Texas." And the millions of pissed off people will have this guy to blame.

Won't just be Hawaii and Texas. The judge only pointed out those two because dude is in Hawaii and NCsoft is in Texas. Lots of other states have the same law.

Jiraiya72:
FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

For some reason your avatar goes along perfectly with your said statement.

But indeed, SCREW THAT SHIT. Where is the LOGIC in this world.

z3rostr1fe:
Haha!

The Amazing Tea Alligator:
Can alcholics sue the companies that make their alchohol of choice?

Or could a chain smoker sue the tobacco company for having lung cancer from cigarettes created by them? :P

I think the surgeon general's warning prevents that...

At this point, the judge's ruling is completely reasonable.

All he's saying is that EULAs don't mean you give up your rights. He's NOT saying that NCSoft was actually negligent.

Will there ever be a time when fun things don't give people with no self control the ability to sue someone? Will parents start suing the makers of playground equipment because their child is addicted to the swing?

oh god, please no, please let this useless human being not win. If he does everyone will start doing it. Hell maybe I'll sue all the mmorpg companies for not warning me they can ruin my life.

Way to fail, "Judge" Alan C Kay. Does he realize what he's done? If this man wins, then everyone who has had their lives ruined by MMOs is going to sue. Eventually, companies will stop making them because they probably just won't want to deal with the hassle (or the fines, if this man wins).
So what's next? Someone gets in a car accident that is completely their fault, then sues the company that made the car because the car didn't prevent them from breaking a leg? Joe gets arrested for DUI then sues Miller for making beer? This is utter crap. I hope this judge gets removed from the bench.

YAY !!! NO MORE MMO'S !! NO MORE MMO'S !! we had enough of the oppression !

being forced to accept the idea of Indefinite, Payable, MMO's instead of the good old formula of Singleplayer+Multiplayer game is a scam.

Sniper Team 4:
Basically said

The judge's decision wasn't unreasonable beacuse he didn't reject the case based on the EULA. His decision was unreasonable beacuse he didn't reject the case on the fact that the guy didn't really have a case.

That's not the question they asked him. Remember how people scream "JUDICIAL ACTIVISM!" when a judge 'fixes' an issue that wasn't really what they were asking him about? That's exactly what you're accusing him of not doing. He didn't throw out the case due to lack of merit because it hasn't gotten to that point yet. His okay isn't "Let's get this thing to trial" it's "Your EULA agreement isn't enough to stop a trial from happening." The question of "Does this guy's case have merit" can't be answered until someone asks a judge "Is this guy even allowed to sue based on the EULA he signed when he clicked 'I agree.'"

If the judge had thrown out the case when it was in front of him, it would have HAD to be because he decided a EULA is powerful enough to throw away your other rights. THAT would have been an extreme change, because then a software company could literally put anything into their EULA and force you to agree to it when you install their program. Instead of screaming about him not throwing out the case, you should be praising him for not doing the stupid thing and throwing it out when the issue he's deciding is whether people have the right to sue at all.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/7.230030.7998366

This is really bad for Smallwood. There is little chance of success and getting past this hurdle only means he is going to be spending more on lawyers.

Good ruling, I don't think a lot of people are getting what this actually did.

As the article points out, this has nothing to do with the case itself, but basically castrates the EULA a bit more by making it clear that software producers can't absolve themselves of all responsibility by including an in-game disclaimer.

Right or wrong, the guy is basically accusing them of criminal negligence. The specific case might be ridiculous, but other cases down the road might not be, this will ensure that those cases go to court like they should.

I notice a lot of people here on The Escapist tend to not see the big picture. A lot of people reading this will probably remember numerous, heated EULA arguements, which tie into various DRM, Piracy, and Intellectual Property discussions. Questions like "wait, can the company say I don't own my game but am leasing it despite having paid them for it?". A paticularly valid one because you don't "agree" to the EULA until after you've paid for something you cannot easily return, and you can't use the game or software without agreeing to it. What's more the very long, and confusing EULAs basically amount to shotgun "we are bulletproof, and can come after you for sneezing in a way we don't like with this product". A lot of people argue that it's a legally binding contract, however cases like this make it abundantly clear that this is not the case because those EULA agreements include things that are not legally possible. As much as businessmen hate it, there are rights a person cannot be made to sign away, and the laws were created specifically to prevent things like EULAs from forcing people to give up legal protection whenever they wanted to do anything. Trust me, if it wasn't that way the issue would be bigger than software and video games, since everyone would make you sign a contract before doing anything.

I'll be honest, I don't believe in dismissing cases "because they are too expensive" principles exist for a reason. It remains to be seen if this guy will actually win the case (I doubt it) but I do feel going to court is one of his rights.

This is not 'facepalm' worthy because this arguement is no more absurd than some of the battles waged against Tobacco over the years, there was a time when people thought the idea of addiction and damage was just as ridiculous with that.

I hope he loses though because if he wins this case, it will open the door for the goverment to make rulings on what reasonable precautions for these kinds of games should be. Developers will have to program around those requirements, and the games themselves will suffer. Perhaps leading to crazy things like goverment mandated play limits where say a game has to shut someone out after three or four hours of play, or auto-shuts down for 15 minutes out of every hours to comply with something I believe one of our Surgeon Generals mentioned was a good rule of thumb. This would mean no more long quests, grinding, raids, dungeons, or other things that people want to do with these games.

Understand that when it comes to health issues the goverment can do a lot of things it can't when it comes to free speech. Especially on the state level. In some states it's apparently illegal to sell unfiltered cigarettes for example. Requiring a game to enforce time limits would be the equivilent of a filter, however the nature of the MMORPG product means that they aren't going to be able to succeed by cutting out entire states full of customers, that means that due to the US being the primary market all games will come with those features.

I also believe some Asian countries have instituted internet curfews (or tried) and made playing online games beyond a certain time illegal. How it worked out is beyond me, but again in the US precedent from something like this can have a truely massive effect.

He should get his day in court, but from our perspective he NEEDS to lose, though anything that weakens the game industry and it's EULA attempts along the way is good.

At the same time, consider that with all the politics involving video games right now, this is a case where you have to keep an eye on the possibility of political interferance. Politicians pressuring the judge(s) with money, threats, promises, etc... and/or doing the same to Jury members and the like.

If you were Barack Obama for example and were making a position out of video games being responsible for a lot of our health issues, especially for children, here is a place to apply some pressure covertly and then spin the results in your re-election bid (I
m not kidding, he's made a position on this). That's bigger than this is likely to get, even behind the scenes, but all obstacles to prevent this kind of thing from happening, only a fool believes courts are not influanced by politics and politicians. If Barak Obama called up the Judge on his lunch break, or had some of his people stop by to have a "word" with some of the lawyers involved, or wanted to stack the Jury or whatever, three guesses what would happen... and it doesn't even take a President to make a mess like that, a Governor, state selectman, Senator, Congressman, or others can be just as bad and all have played roles in big issues before when they shouldn't have.

As I said, keep an eye on it. Ridiculous case, but the very fact that he should lose, and arguably gamers need him to lose to maintain the status quo, is also why this is a battle that might see interferance.

Lord_Beric:

Sniper Team 4:
Basically said

The judge's decision wasn't unreasonable beacuse he didn't reject the case based on the EULA. His decision was unreasonable beacuse he didn't reject the case on the fact that the guy didn't really have a case.

That's not the question they asked him. Remember how people scream "JUDICIAL ACTIVISM!" when a judge 'fixes' an issue that wasn't really what they were asking him about? That's exactly what you're accusing him of not doing. He didn't throw out the case due to lack of merit because it hasn't gotten to that point yet. His okay isn't "Let's get this thing to trial" it's "Your EULA agreement isn't enough to stop a trial from happening." The question of "Does this guy's case have merit" can't be answered until someone asks a judge "Is this guy even allowed to sue based on the EULA he signed when he clicked 'I agree.'"

If the judge had thrown out the case when it was in front of him, it would have HAD to be because he decided a EULA is powerful enough to throw away your other rights. THAT would have been an extreme change, because then a software company could literally put anything into their EULA and force you to agree to it when you install their program. Instead of screaming about him not throwing out the case, you should be praising him for not doing the stupid thing and throwing it out when the issue he's deciding is whether people have the right to sue at all.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/jump/7.230030.7998366

After rereading all the facts carefully, I must admit that I have prematurely jumped to conclusions. I thought that the pre-trial proceedings have concluded and that the case was allowed to go on trial, but I was mistaken. My apologies. In light of this fact, I have to agree that the judge has acted correctly so far.

Nevertheless, it is scary to think what kind of precedent this case will start if it is allowed to go on trial. We can only hope it will not come to that.

BlueHighwind:
I'm going to sue God for designing me so that I have to masturbate at least weekly. I never signed on for that!

Yeah, about that.

Someone tried. It got thrown out because they couldn't find him.

obisean:

Because lawyers exist.

...Imagine a world without lawyers

Oh yes...i went there.

TerribleAssassin:
This get's through?

What has seriously happened here?

It's not the devs fault this man didn't get outside, they shouldn't be taking the wrap..

Yes, it gets through. Why wouldn't it?

I fail to see how the state of that guy's social life is in any way NCsoft's responsibility. He made a conscious choice to play the game. NCsoft is not going to tell him to stop playing, just as McDonald's or Burger King aren't going to stop selling you burgers when they think you've had too many. Managing your personal health and social welfare is your responsibility, not NCsoft's.
It's shit like this that truly degrades and destroys society.

"What do you do after you've sunk 20,000 hours of your life into an MMO and rendered yourself a useless, non-functioning piece of garbage"

Exactly what i think of mmo players, or atlest the ones that spand 3 hrs a day doing the same thing over and over

Infernai:

obisean:

Because lawyers exist.

...Imagine a world without lawyers

Oh yes...i went there.

I hope you know MMO RPGs are created to give the user as little contant for the amount of money spent, overall if i could i would crush all MMOs its funny how we all think inside the box why dont we look at MMO like smokes? or crack i have seen people with mental illness die player these games i seen people acquire mental illness sitting in front of these games if it was up to me MMOs would be 18+

ionveau:

Infernai:

obisean:

Because lawyers exist.

...Imagine a world without lawyers

Oh yes...i went there.

I hope you know MMO RPGs are created to give the user as little contant for the amount of money spent, overall if i could i would crush all MMOs its funny how we all think inside the box why dont we look at MMO like smokes? or crack i have seen people with mental illness die player these games i seen people acquire mental illness sitting in front of these games if it was up to me MMOs would be 18+

While thats an interesting comment, and i also don't mean to sound rude in any capacity but....what has that got to do with the fact i said "Imagine a world without lawyers".

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