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Banned Gamer Alleges Sony Violated Free Speech & Stole Money


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293w ago - A PlayStation 3 gamer has filed suit (PDF) in U.S. District Court in California, alleging that SCEA suppressed his free speech rights and caused him pain and suffering by banning his account on the PlayStation Network.

In a complaint filed on July 6th, Erik Estavillo of San Jose writes that he is disabled by a variety of disorders; among these are agoraphobia, a fear of crowds, to quote:

The pain and suffering was caused by the defendant, Sony, banning the plaintiff's account on the PlayStation 3 Network, in which the plaintiff relies on to socialize with other people, since it's the only way the plaintiff can truly socialize since he also suffers from Agoraphobia...

Estavillo's issues with SCEA apparently stem from his play of the PS3 hit Resistance: Fall of Man:

The ban is supposedly due to the behavior of the plaintiff when he plays the video game "Resistance: Fall of Man," which Sony owns and employs moderators for its online play. These moderators kick and ban players that they feel are deserving; though their biases to a player seem to be what determines the kick or ban...

The plaintiff was exercising his First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech in the game's public forum when he was banned from, not only [Resistance], but also banned from playing all other games online via the PlayStation Network...

Estavillo also claims that the PSN ban amounts to a theft of his pre-paid points:

The plaintiff... cannot access [his] money when a moderator from Resistance and Sony gives a player a arbitrary wide-range ban... which in essence, is stealing money from the player.

Estavillo also argues that the EULA for online play of Resistance is ineffective in blocking players under the game's recommended age of 17, although it's unclear how this fits into his claim.

In his request to the court, Estavillo, who appears to be unrepresented, asks that SCEA be enjoined from banning players. He also seeks $55,000 in punitive damages.

To date, SCEA has not filed a response with the Court.



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#11 - victorinox - 292w ago
victorinox's Avatar
there are other things that are MORE important to factor in...

back when i was cheating on Halo 2 *it was loads of fun* i would get banned, CONSTANTLY... but it never stoped me from making a new account, and it never perm banned me *it was usually 2 - 3 weeks i forget x.x* and it would usually list EVERY reason to be reported, though all i did was cheat...

now here is someone who just said some bad words... everyone ive heard of, thats a 1 month ban, so he has not lost any money, though he might have a claim with the cash, he doesnt have a point... simply because he can reobtain it, im sure sony will give back if requested, and the account is banned, etc

overall i see this being thrown out =\

#10 - Twilson93 - 292w ago
Twilson93's Avatar
Personally, I think this has been blown out of massive proportions... Who files a law suit when you playstation account gets banned?

Even if you do have aggrophobia or other disorders which make socialising harder - is playing on the "next generation" network really socialising?

It seems a massive fuss about nothing - to try and get $55,000 is completely ridiculous!

#9 - JeffJ - 293w ago
JeffJ's Avatar
Quote Originally Posted by semitope View Post
Whether he will win is another matter, but if he can prove that he was banned unfairly and that they did in fact "rob" him, then he has a chance i guess.

yes but you agree to conform to there rules in order to use a service they own.

when you rent a car you sing a contract stating blah blah blah. if you throw up in the car they take yours say... if you agree its a LEGALLY binding contract. same deal basically.

http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/E/EULA.html

#8 - semitope - 293w ago
semitope's Avatar
The EULA is NOT law and can be challenged.

http://www.xent.com/pipermail/fork/2001-November/006809.html

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2243185,00.asp

The tide may be turning. Earlier this year, a California appeals court struck down a mandatory arbitration clause in T-Mobile's EULA. In that case, Gatton v. T-Mobile, the court decided that, because the agreement was written by a party with superior bargaining strength and the customer was given no ability to negotiate—just a simple yes/no choice—the contract was unconscionable. To which I say: Well, duh—what took so long?


Another decision that should be of particular concern to PC Magazine readers was handed down recently in New York State. Blue Coat Systems had decided it could contractually forbid customers from criticizing its products. It did so by inserting an "antibenchmarking" clause into its EULA. Seems it didn't want any customers comparing its proxy servers with the competition's. The state attorney general's office filed suit, at which point Blue Coat quickly settled, paid a small fine, and removed the clause from its contracts. Amen.


An interesting thought: http://www.insanelymac.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t99339.html

Now comes the interesting part, you take the product home and try to install it on your computer and the EULA comes up and the product will not install until you agree to the EULA. Now remember, you already legally own the product, and because this action would be considered "Duress of Goods" (the software company will deprive you of the software unless you agree to the EULA), this additional contract is not legitimate for this reason.
---- most software is like this?

Whether he will win is another matter, but if he can prove that he was banned unfairly and that they did in fact "rob" him, then he has a chance i guess.

#7 - JeffJ - 293w ago
JeffJ's Avatar
you guys know that thing that you have to accept that no one reads? its called a ToS and EULA, and it clearly states in it that if your banned because sony staff see fit. thats it game over flock off and go cry in a corner. If i recall correctly any and all network points and games purchased also become property of Sony Computer Entertainment. he doesn't ave a leg to stand on.

#6 - CyanCaze - 293w ago
CyanCaze's Avatar
All I have to say is read the "Terms of Use". Sony clearly states that they can terminate your account with no warning to you, and do so without giving you your money back. On top of that, when you sign up through your internet provider they are required by law to make you agree that should you either A:Threaten other people, or :B Do any act that is against the law. They can disable your internet service.

However if this guy wants to know what true suffering is, then he should have been raised by my parents. I'm sure he would love to be locked up for 2 weeks in a room without anything in it (Besides a blanket).

My point being.... I am tired of people claiming that they suffered because they have a mental disorder or something to that effect. I have OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and when it is bad I can't have anything out of place or it bugs me, Should I file suit because burger king doesn't clean their machines very well? No... no I shouldn't. because unlike this Bozo I know that the world doesn't revolve around me, and I have to take chances.

Also note that I used my self as a example because if I picked the worst possible situation I can think of (What I tend to do when trying to get a point like this across) I am likely to make some people sick, which is not what I am trying to do.

#5 - JesusFMA - 293w ago
JesusFMA's Avatar
In these situations the companies say "Thanks EULA". Besides, if he got banned is because, very likely, he deserved it. And the money issue, well, I think he will only get his money back and that's it.

(I know a lot of people at HOME who should get banned too )

#4 - semitope - 293w ago
semitope's Avatar
Quote Originally Posted by D3M0N2009 View Post
I'm sure that Sony have set down Terms and conditions about this sort of thing, Terms that you agree to when you sign up, its no way the same as coming up to a teller and swearing at them and losing $1000 to them, that would be blatant stealing. Their has to be a reason for the ban and we do not know what it is, the forum is a public place anything you say or do can be read by anyone, its the same as running out in public and letting people know your views, im sure someone will call the police and you will be forced to leave the area.


I am not so sure you are right. Its the same thing that was talked about in the thread where home managers threatened ppl who aren't following their eula. Banning someone from your service might be in your right but keeping their money i would think should be illegal regardless of whatever eula u signed. Police can remove you from a public area? more like ask you to keep it down if you are being noisy

MS should have a worse time at it with their ridiculous bans. Banning a whole console, banning for names etc.

#3 - D3M0N2009 - 293w ago
D3M0N2009's Avatar
Quote Originally Posted by Kraken View Post
This is a far from a frivolous lawsuit. In fact I had been wondering when this issue would come up. If you have $1,000 in a bank and you swear at a teller, they can't steal your $1000. Yet, if M$ or Sony doesn't like you, they can ban you from Live/PSN and keep $1000 in points. That is very clearly illegal and if he gets proper representation, I could see this turning into a class action lawsuit very quickly.

Then again, maybe M$ and Sony return your unused points with a phone call. I don't keep balances in either account and haven't been banned either.

I'm sure that Sony have set down Terms and conditions about this sort of thing, Terms that you agree to when you sign up, its no way the same as coming up to a teller and swearing at them and losing $1000 to them, that would be blatant stealing. Their has to be a reason for the ban and we do not know what it is, the forum is a public place anything you say or do can be read by anyone, its the same as running out in public and letting people know your views, im sure someone will call the police and you will be forced to leave the area.

#2 - Kraken - 293w ago
Kraken's Avatar
Estavillo also claims that the PSN ban amounts to a theft of his pre-paid points:

The plaintiff... cannot access [his] money when a moderator from Resistance and Sony gives a player a arbitrary wide-range ban... which in essence, is stealing money from the player.


This is a far from a frivolous lawsuit. In fact I had been wondering when this issue would come up. If you have $1,000 in a bank and you swear at a teller, they can't steal your $1000. Yet, if M$ or Sony doesn't like you, they can ban you from Live/PSN and keep $1000 in points. That is very clearly illegal and if he gets proper representation, I could see this turning into a class action lawsuit very quickly.

Then again, maybe M$ and Sony return your unused points with a phone call. I don't keep balances in either account and haven't been banned either.

 

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