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Banned Gamer Alleges Sony Violated Free Speech & Stole Money

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283w ago - A PlayStation 3 gamer has [Register or Login to view links] (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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Comments 11 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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#11 - victorinox - 283w 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 - 283w 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 - 283w 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.

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#8 - semitope - 283w ago
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The EULA is NOT law and can be challenged.

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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: [Register or Login to view links]

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 - 283w 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.


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