EA and Sony have become recipients of yet another slew of criticism for the addition of some unsavory legal clauses in their Terms of Service (ToS). When you agree upon these clauses (whenever the user clicks on the I agree to the terms and conditions’ checkbox), you are essentially waiving your rights to sue the company over any legal issue with the use of its products. This is obviously completely unacceptable!
In the age of technology and considering that the products in question are digital distribution platforms, it seems completely cranky that the only way to get yourself released from these binding clauses is by sending snail mail with your dissent to the clause to the company’s headquarters! I mean, think about it, you buy the game online, download it from the net over wireless and you have to go out into the wild urban areas populated by terrifying cars and motorbikes just to send a piece of data to the company!
A bunch of gamers from Chicago have made their website called Gamers Opt-Out that allows you to send the opt-out letter online, for free. Indeed, it will not cost you a penny to send the letters to the respective companies. Just fill up the online form and the good folks at Gamers Opt-Out will send the mail for you. The site primarily functions via the donations received by other gamers that help send the snail mail (it actually costs money! How strange!)
Jokes apart, I think the people here have shown the world that concerned gamers do exist. Mad props to them! (If you can, please donate to them!)
In all honesty, Sony’s lawsuit prevention clause in its PlayStation Network Terms of Service (ToS) is quite fancy. If you agree to section 15 of its new ToS, you are essentially waiving your right to a class-action lawsuit against Sony Network Entertainment International, LLC (SNEI) and in effect you are giving the gaming giant free reign to do whatever it wishes to do with your account and registered games.
Electronic Arts (EA), the gargantuan beast of gaming decided that Sony’s ToS change is pioneering and went about copying that to its own End User License Agreement (EULA) for the Origin digital distribution store that it operates. If you accept these terms of service, you will be denied the right to sue and bring the company to trial by jury. Only individual cases will be considered against the giant.
By accepting these terms, you and EA expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.
YOU UNDERSTAND THAT BY THIS PROVISION, YOU AND EA ARE FOREGOING THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A JURY TRIAL.
YOU AND EA AGREE THAT EACH MAY BRING CLAIMS AGAINST THE OTHER ONLY IN YOUR OR ITS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, AND NOT AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING.
One can opt out of both of these binders by submitting a written application to the company, but why is that even necessary when these clauses can be done away with entirely?
It is rather sad to see that these pinnacles of the industry put forth these gags against the civil voice instead of making sure that the service they provide is hassle-free and fair for both the users as well as the developers.