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Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic 

General Discussion  » What exact legal reasons are there for not discussing a ban in public?

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43 posts found
  InFaVilla

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/10
Posts: 603

 
OP  1/01/12 6:32:16 AM#1

I've seen claims that a company (in this case EA/Bioware) shouldn't discuss any bans in public because they may get sued.  My question: what exact legal reasons are the basis for sueing in such cases and in which countries? It would be helpful if you have a law degree or can at least cite a source.  Would also be very useful if you could point to a similar case in which the company was found guilty in a court of law or had to settle for a high amount of money. 

 

I've always been under the impression that the main reason that companies do not comment bans publically in their forum is because it is simply not worth the effort to make a solid argumentation in the forums. It is easier to simply just press the ban-button and ignore all criticism rather  than to press it and then follow up any case with posts/letters with  logical and rational reasons for why they find the ban justifiable. Not enough people actually care about the "truth" and what is "justifiable" to make it is economically worth to actually follow up different ban cases and discuss them publically: the staff is used elsewhere instead.

  obii

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/17/04
Posts: 781

1/01/12 6:41:46 AM#2

Never heard of anyone sueing an mmo company for a ban.

And why should an mmo company talk about their policies on the boards?

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

1/01/12 6:44:35 AM#3

The first time they tell the truth, someone files a libel suit.

And it's insane to throw gasoline on a wildfire, of course.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  InFaVilla

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/10
Posts: 603

 
OP  1/01/12 6:44:37 AM#4
Originally posted by obii

Never heard of anyone sueing an mmo company for a ban.

And why should an mmo company talk about their policies on the boards?

 

They could include it as a part of their customer service. However, yes, I don't see any economic reason for why they should do it. Just wanted to bring clarity to the claims that they are not doing it due to fear of being sued.

  drbaltazar

Novice Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7937

1/01/12 6:45:40 AM#5

ea/bioware first rule:DONT FEED THE TROLL!it is the only reason!their view is this way why would they give amunition for futur possible suing! by not discussing anything with the community and pre-reersing each massage with proper channel prior to going live, they dont give amunition to anybody!

  kishe

Novice Member

Joined: 2/28/04
Posts: 1949

firefighter lvl90

1/01/12 6:45:45 AM#6

Its not illegal as per law, its just counterproductive and overexhaustive to point that only one mmo has ever disclosed bans (they crucified banned people on crosses and put them around game world)

 

fact is: 99% of people who get banned in a MMO are idiots, its never a good idea to argue with an idiot.

 

 

  User Deleted
1/01/12 6:47:16 AM#7

You're probably right, InfaVilla, it's just to expensive to discuss indiviual cases on boards, and there's not enough to gain from it. I doubt you'll find many legal cases as again, the costs involved far outweigh whatever they, or a client, could gain. And if someone does start on a legal path, it is likely cheaper to just refund and/or settle the issue quietly.

 

Otoh, keeping silent on ban cases could cause potential customers to stay away and they can wave with eula's all they want but if something feels unjustified or goes agianst ones sense of justice, legal arguments will convince nobody.

  shinkan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/05/07
Posts: 220

1/01/12 6:48:22 AM#8

As last poster said, why would they. its a lose lose situation for the company, no good can come from it (it basicly goes for any company, not just in gaming/mmo industy).

  InFaVilla

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/10
Posts: 603

 
OP  1/01/12 6:48:29 AM#9
Originally posted by Icewhite

The first time they tell the truth, someone files a libel suit.

And it's insane to throw gasoline on a wildfire, of course.

 

Could you elaborate on this "libel suit" and what the chances for the one sueing to actually win? Wouldn't the sueing party would be the one that is most likely to lose? In some countries the losing party is forced to pay the lawyer fees for both parties; that would be a tremendous risk for any private person.

  drbaltazar

Novice Member

Joined: 3/28/07
Posts: 7937

1/01/12 6:49:19 AM#10

ya they probably dont bother if a ban arise it is cheaper for them to just refund the culprit and say to him dont come back(like this will stop a player from coming back!i bet a lot of ban end up with private server!

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

1/01/12 6:49:47 AM#11

You have to remember that a game ban is completely covered by the TOS.  They have a right to terminate their contract with you at any time, for any reason.  It's a service, and they have no obligation to provide that service to customers that (in their opinion, not yours) are detrimental to their game.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  RefMinor

Novice Member

Joined: 7/16/11
Posts: 3541

Hipster

1/01/12 6:49:58 AM#12
Why should they, the ban is on an individual, why should they talk about it in public rather than privately to the individual concerned.
  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

1/01/12 6:52:57 AM#13
Originally posted by InFaVilla

Could you elaborate on this "libel suit" and what the chances for the one sueing to actually win? Wouldn't the sueing party would be the one that is most likely to lose? In some countries the losing partyis forced to pay the lawyer fees for both parties; that would be a tremendous risk for any private person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

Effectively zero chance for a customer to "win".  But corporations generally have no more desire to waste time and money in court than anyone else.  All it takes is one bitter customer with enough money and not enough sense, and a lawyer working on spec (hmm, scratch that, the lawyers know the case is going to get thrown out, they'll want their money up front).

Of course its risky for the customer, courts everywhere are getting far less tolerant of nuisance litigation.

OTOH, if the corporation does discuss your case in a public forum, they're violating their own contract--they've agreed not to. (Putting them in the Bad Guy spot).

 

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  InFaVilla

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/10
Posts: 603

 
OP  1/01/12 6:56:21 AM#14
Originally posted by drbaltazar

ya they probably dont bother if a ban arise it is cheaper for them to just refund the culprit and say to him dont come back(like this will stop a player from coming back!i bet a lot of ban end up with private server!

I do wonder that. Another approach is to play on the fear for the private person to lose a lot of their money due to expenses connected with sueing: if the private person doesn't win or doesn't get any settlement he stands to lose a lot depending on the law in the particular country. Not to mention, the case may be dismissed before trial with the motivation that the judge sees no ground for a sue.

  InFaVilla

Novice Member

Joined: 7/27/10
Posts: 603

 
OP  1/01/12 7:07:36 AM#15
Originally posted by Icewhite
Originally posted by InFaVilla

Could you elaborate on this "libel suit" and what the chances for the one sueing to actually win? Wouldn't the sueing party would be the one that is most likely to lose? In some countries the losing partyis forced to pay the lawyer fees for both parties; that would be a tremendous risk for any private person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

Effectively zero chance for a customer to "win".  But corporations generally have no more desire to waste time and money in court than anyone else.  All it takes is one bitter customer with enough money and not enough sense, and a lawyer working on spec.

Of course its risky for the customer, courts everywhere are getting far less tolerant of nuisance litigation.

OTOH, if the corporation does discuss your case in a public forum, they're violating their own contract--they've agreed not to. (Putting them in the Bad Guy spot).

 

 

That would make sense depending on what their analysts calculate the "expected value"  (mathematical probability term) of such "legal costs" to be annually.  However, if that number is extremely low in comparison with other numbers of interest (such as annual profit), which at least I don't know if it is, then it becomes a matter of just not bothering without any real economical reason behind it.  

On the other hand, it would be interesting if a company would actually go out and give a general statement that "we can't discuss bans in public due to too high potential legal costs in form of unjustified sueing". Maybe almost all players would see that as a positive sign of maturity and become more committed to the game, or maybe they wouldn't care at all.

  Icewhite

Made History

Joined: 7/11/11
Posts: 6495

Pink, it's like red but not quite.

1/01/12 7:09:53 AM#16
Originally posted by InFaVilla

That would make sense depending on what their analysts calculate the "expected value"  (mathematical probability term) of such "legal costs" to be annually.

Nope, Legal Teams work on the basis of Minimum Risk.  That's what they're paid for.

we can't discuss bans in public due to too high potential legal costs in form of unjustified sueing

And because it's a violation of our own contract--legal suicide.

Honestly, its a rather moot case.  MMO customers have big mouths, but never put the money where their mouth is.

Self-pity imprisons us in the walls of our own self-absorption. The whole world shrinks down to the size of our problem, and the more we dwell on it, the smaller we are and the larger the problem seems to grow.

  zymurgeist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 12/24/04
Posts: 5178

1/01/12 7:13:34 AM#17
Originally posted by Icewhite
Originally posted by InFaVilla

Could you elaborate on this "libel suit" and what the chances for the one sueing to actually win? Wouldn't the sueing party would be the one that is most likely to lose? In some countries the losing partyis forced to pay the lawyer fees for both parties; that would be a tremendous risk for any private person.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation

Effectively zero chance for a customer to "win".  But corporations generally have no more desire to waste time and money in court than anyone else.  All it takes is one bitter customer with enough money and not enough sense, and a lawyer working on spec (hmm, scratch that, the lawyers know the case is going to get thrown out, they'll want their money up front).

Of course its risky for the customer, courts everywhere are getting far less tolerant of nuisance litigation.

OTOH, if the corporation does discuss your case in a public forum, they're violating their own contract--they've agreed not to. (Putting them in the Bad Guy spot).

 

 Oh it's possible for a customer to win if a representative of a company says something really really stupid. People have sued for defamation in small claims courts where there's a lower standard of proof and less cost involved. You don't even need a lawyer. It's an unlikely event but the best way to avoid it is still to not talk about bans.

"Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause" ~Victor Hugo

  TheNitewolf

Novice Member

Joined: 6/06/08
Posts: 104

1/01/12 7:16:55 AM#18
Originally posted by Icewhite

You have to remember that a game ban is completely covered by the TOS.  They have a right to terminate their contract with you at any time, for any reason.  It's a service, and they have no obligation to provide that service to customers that (in their opinion, not yours) are detrimental to their game.

While that might be the case in NA and other parts of the world, in the EU they in fact can not simply terminate the contract for no reason. If you (for example) have three months left on your sub and they would ban you and thereby terminate the contract without a good reason you can sue them for contract violation. Just because something is written in the TOS doesn't mean it'll stick in court.

If they go out of business or you act like an ass they of course do have a valid cause for an early contract termination.

My Signature

  User Deleted
1/01/12 7:29:07 AM#19
Originally posted by TheNitewolf
Originally posted by Icewhite

You have to remember that a game ban is completely covered by the TOS.  They have a right to terminate their contract with you at any time, for any reason.  It's a service, and they have no obligation to provide that service to customers that (in their opinion, not yours) are detrimental to their game.

While that might be the case in NA and other parts of the world, in the EU they in fact can not simply terminate the contract for no reason. If you (for example) have three months left on your sub and they would ban you and thereby terminate the contract without a good reason you can sue them for contract violation. Just because something is written in the TOS doesn't mean it'll stick in court.

If they go out of business or you act like an ass they of course do have a valid cause for an early contract termination.

 

Well that's the thing.   No MMO company is banning people for anything but valid reasons.   Unless its a privately owned company with no share holders to answer to....

 

All of these companies are out to make money.   All of them can only create these games with other peoples money (investors).   Every investory wants a return on their investment and you don't get that by banning income (customers) for non valid reasons.

 

To the thread in general...  usually companies mention privacy concerns when they explain not talking about bans.   That is the general reason given as to why they will only talk to the individual that was banned.

 

I would say in almost all cases where an individual decides to make their ban public... you are not going to get the actual reason they were banned.   Sometimes you do... like the guy who found out how to do a paticular dupe in EQ2.   He wrote an article about it afterwards and in that case you got the reason he was banned.

 

Anytime you see "I was banned for no reason" that is bs... 

 

As to the idea of a lawsuit..

 

That would be interesting.   Simply because a great number of bans involve the use of some type of 3rd party software.   Blizzard won a lawsuit against someone that created a program.   I don't remember what it did exactly.. but I do remember what the federal judge ruled...

 

He said that not only was the creation of such a program violation of copyright... but so was the use of it.

 

So one might get quite the suprise if they decided to file a lawsuit they have no chance to win... and were slapped with a violation of copyright lawsuit they will definitely lose.   That of course is just my opinion...

 

Yet I've been playing MMO's since 1997 and never been banned... EA for example owned Ultima Online and eventually DAoC and WAR... I've played all of those (most all MMO's that ever had north american servers).   Yet somehow while all these "no reason" bans were going on... I never got one.

 

I did once get an email from Mythic... saying a character I'd never heard of was getting a 3 day ban for a pathing exploit on Mordred server (I never played the dreds).   When I logged in a CSR immediantly messaged me... and I told them I had no characters on that server and never had.   About 5 minutes later he came back and said their had been a typo with the account name...

 

So mistakes do happen and in my case were corrected... but I don't really believe the "no reason" ban story.   Which goes to the main reason not to discuss bans and it was already mentioned here...  don't feed the trolls.

  User Deleted
1/01/12 7:32:42 AM#20

Not to mention that I've yet to see a legal TOS on any game.

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