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The Courts Games Your Rights Online

EA's New User Agreement Bans Lawsuits 273

Posted by timothy
from the what's-the-eula-equivalent-to-jury-nullification dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet: "Electronic Arts has updated its Terms of Service Agreement for the Origin platform. Following Sony's steps, and taking it even further, EA has added a new clause that prevents users from suing them in both class action and jury trial forms."
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EA's New User Agreement Bans Lawsuits

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 24, 2011 @08:38AM (#37500976)

    Quote from the EULA:

    This provision applies to all consumers to the fullest extent allowable by law, but expressly excludes residents of Quebec, Russia, Switzerland and the Member States of the European Union.

    Hence Europeans can feel safe.

  • by BlindMan101 (2454776) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @09:23AM (#37501252)
    Everyone is speaking of the Sony server hacks but the first thing that came to my mind was when Sony installed a rootkit on your PC with their music CD's a few years back. I can see EA doing all sorts of things along these lines or at least trying to.
  • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday September 24, 2011 @10:31AM (#37501614) Homepage Journal

    At some point, someone will challenge the legality of this practice of blocking legal recourse.

    It has been challenged, many times. Congress even weighed in with the Federal Arbitration Act -- passed in 1925, don't think this is a new thing by any means -- and specifically stated that arbitration clauses are legal and enforceable. Courts have found that there are some cases in which they aren't, for example if the arbitrator can be shown to be biased. But even there, the Supreme Court found in 1967 that you basically have to try arbitration first before you can appeal to the court system.

    Binding arbitration clauses in contracts are settled law and new challenges aren't likely to change that. In fact, they're not likely to survive summary judgment. I'm less sure about binding arbitration for class action suits; I think it could be argued that class action provides a form of remedy which isn't available through arbitration and therefore cannot be replaced by it.

  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus,slashdot&gmail,com> on Saturday September 24, 2011 @10:58AM (#37501764) Homepage Journal
    This is really just binding arbitration. And the clauses in it are actually pretty reasonable: the arbitration is under AAA rules (so EA doesn't get to pick an arbitrator), the arbitration is held at "any place convenient for you" (which is HUGE - they don't require you to fly cross-country), and if the arbitrator decides in your favor and the award is more than EA's last settlement offer, they'll pay 150% of the settlement plus your attorney's fees. Honestly, as far as arbitration clauses go, this is one of the most consumer-friendly.

    But if you really think it's so onerous, then you can simply not agree to the EULA. It's not like you'll die if you don't play the latest Madden release.

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