EA Changes Origin Terms of Services, Forbids Class Action Lawsuits

Andy Chalk

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Nov 12, 2002
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EA Changes Origin Terms of Services, Forbids Class Action Lawsuits


Electronic Arts has modified the Origin terms of service to forbid its users from filing class action lawsuits against the company.

A couple of weeks ago, Sony recent decision [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/113063-Sony-Attempts-to-Block-All-Future-PSN-Class-Action-Lawsuits] by the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in a separate case that such conditions are enforceable.

Recognizing a good idea when it sees one, Electronic Arts has now made similar changes to the Origin terms of service. Under "Section 20: Dispute Resolution by Binding Arbitration [http://tos.ea.com/legalapp/WEBTERMS/US/en/PC/#section20]," the ToS now compels users to "expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action." Instead, all disputes that cannot be straightened out through "informal negotiations" will be "finally and exclusively resolved by binding arbitration."

In case that's not clear enough in itself, the document also states, in bold face and all caps, "You understand that by this provision, you and EA are foregoing the right to sue in court and have a trial by jury." Furthermore, "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." And not only that, but "unless both you and EA agree otherwise, the arbitrator may not consolidate more than one person's claims, and may not otherwise preside over any form of a representative or class proceeding."

Got that, slugger? There are some limitations; you're exempt from these restrictions if you happen to live in Quebec, Russia, Switzerland or the Member States of the European Union, which apparently take a dim view on allowing people to forfeit their legal rights with a blind click-through, and claims relating to EA's IP rights or allegations of "theft, piracy or unauthorized use" - in other words, stuff EA is more likely to sue you over than the other way around - can still be pursued through normal means.

From a practical perspective, this won't mean a thing for just about everyone who uses Origin. There's a reason people just click past user agreements without even giving them a second glance, after all. But as a matter of principle if nothing else, the idea of surrendering your right to legal redress is troublesome - and I bet we're probably going to see a lot more of it in the future.

via: Kotaku [http://kotaku.com/5843178/]


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Frostbite3789

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Jul 12, 2010
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People will get angry. But then continue not to read any ToS ever.

In fact how many people know iTunes ToS says that iTunes cannot be used to create chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. I for one was outraged by that! I'll use my music player to develop whatever weapons I want!
 

Kapol

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May 2, 2010
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And so it begins... before long, this will be considered standard, and people will not give a crap because it doesn't matter at the time. This pretty much seals it. I'm never using Origin again... not that I ever did before.
 

theblackmonk90

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Sep 28, 2010
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Quite frankly i'm disgusted that the Supreme Court has stated this kind of corporate bullsh*t is enforceable. Thank God I live in the UK.
 

Pipotchi

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Jan 17, 2008
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Two thumbs up for living in a Member State of the EU, this wont mean anything to 99% of its users but its a worrying precedent
 

Frostbite3789

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How many times have any of you gone "OH MY GOD I NEED TO GET IN ON THIS CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!"

Even after the PSN fiasco I had no such feelings. I've never felt such a need and I'd be willing to bet 99% of you haven't either.

Class action suits are usually by firms trying to make a quick buck after some kind of disaster.

It's sensationalist journalism on non-news, trying to get page-views.
 

Iglock

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Mar 23, 2009
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I suddenly feel inclinded to sign up with Origin.

Oh wait, no. No I don't.


Thanks for pointing this out though I suppose- I doubt anyone would ever notice it in the ToS.
 

Kapol

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May 2, 2010
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EverythingIncredible said:
Why is this legal?

No, seriously. Why is this legal?
Because the corporations have their hands on the controls of most government agencies and most consumer's don't care if the companies take away their every right as long as thing stay accessible to them? That seems to be the main reason to me.

I'm just waiting for EA to put something in the ToS for Origin saying that, if you use it, you are legally not allowed to use Steam.
 

Don quixote's mule

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Feb 28, 2011
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This is why.
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/21/tech/gaming-gadgets/sony-psn-terms/

It wasn't until recent, most of the time you can't make people sign away their rights. This is a really concerning precedent for the Supreme Court to set far and above simply the gaming implications.
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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theblackmonk90 said:
Quite frankly i'm disgusted that the Supreme Court has stated this kind of corporate bullsh*t is enforceable. Thank God I live in the UK.
Aye, for once the EU comes through for us!
 

Kapol

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May 2, 2010
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Frostbite3789 said:
How many times have any of you gone "OH MY GOD I NEED TO GET IN ON THIS CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT!"

Even after the PSN fiasco I had no such feelings. I've never felt such a need and I'd be willing to bet 99% of you haven't either.

Class action suits are usually by firms trying to make a quick buck after some kind of disaster.

It's sensationalist journalism on non-news, trying to get page-views.
It's not about that, it's about the fact that companies are able to take away our legal rights by using things that they can't prove that we're read, understood, or even actually agreed to so they can do whatever they want without actually having to own up if any issues do arise. Yea, Class action lawsuits aren't really the largest deal in the world, but it is a slippery slope that sets the precedent that it's fine for companies to do this sort of thing, which means that they can push it further and further in the future.
 

Shycte

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Jaredin said:
theblackmonk90 said:
Quite frankly i'm disgusted that the Supreme Court has stated this kind of corporate bullsh*t is enforceable. Thank God I live in the UK.
Aye, for once the EU comes through for us!
It might have costed us billions, but finaly someone who isn't a farmer can make use for EU. This is the happiest day of my life.
 

Baresark

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There is still the opportunity for a class action lawsuit against them as of now. For instance, if they prevent you from playing your games because you don't agree to their terms based on this. If you didn't agree, you could subjectively put a class action lawsuit together with others who did not agree but can no longer play their games they bought through Origin.

Edit: This is why I would never purchase a game through Origin. I bought a couple of games for cheap through Amazon digital distribution, then registered them to Origin. Fuck off EA!

And before anyone gets to be a wiseass and say that you don't need Origin to play the game: You need to be able to download the games you purchased through Origin, but they won't let you unless you agree with this.

From a strict economic perspective, you should be able to contractually sign away your rights, such as the right to sue in this case, as argued by Walter Block and others of the same thought pattern. The other interesting part is that they state they cannot sue either, which could turn interesting real fast.
 

Frostbite3789

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Kapol said:
If they do push it further and further, I'll jump on it. But for the time being, I don't see the need to get worked up over...nothing. This is like if dog food suddenly came with a label that said you are not allowed to feed it to your cat.

It doesn't matter. But people would still get worked up. If you're that bothered by something they do, you can take them to court, with a class action suit. And if whatever they're doing is that horrible, then the government would do something. Much like with PSN. The class action suits did nothing but bog things down, and cost money. Instead of doing something productive about the situation, they're having to deal with that nonsense.

This is just a byproduct of the world being run by lawyers. Companies having to cover their asses from stupidity like this, and the average man then blaming the company, not the sue happy society.
 

karamazovnew

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I've recently bought the Tiger Woods PGA 2012 game. When I saw "Origin" during installation, I clicked "DECLINE" and took the game back to the store. The ToS of the actual game differs from Origin's ToS. Having to use another service to play games I've bought in a store is annoying enough (Steam is different, since I buy the game through it), but having them changing the ToS of said service is... This is the first time I ever return a game to the store and I'll never touch an Origin title again.
 

Albino Boo

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Shycte said:
Jaredin said:
theblackmonk90 said:
Quite frankly i'm disgusted that the Supreme Court has stated this kind of corporate bullsh*t is enforceable. Thank God I live in the UK.
Aye, for once the EU comes through for us!
It might have costed us billions, but finaly someone who isn't a farmer can make use for EU. This is the happiest day of my life.
Small but important point. Class actions, as used in the US, are not legal in the EU anyway. Class actions and US and parts of Canada only. So the EU, which in now going to cost Trillions not billions, does absolutely nothing.
 

Frostbite3789

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karamazovnew said:
I've recently bought the Tiger Woods PGA 2012 game. When I saw "Origin" during installation, I clicked "DECLINE" and took the game back to the store. The ToS of the actual game differs from Origin's ToS. Having to use another service to play games I've bought in a store is annoying enough (Steam is different, since I buy the game through it), but having them changing the ToS of said service is... This is the first time I ever return a game to the store and I'll never touch an Origin title again.
Steam does this...all the time. In fact I had to struggle with Steam Support for days to play my storebought copy of Dead Island because of a CD key problem.

So...to praise Steam on the one hand then slam Origin for something Steam does too is ridiculous.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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Andy Chalk said:
you and EA are foregoing the right to sue in court and have a trial by jury."
So... does the seventh amendment of the US constitution just not count anymore or something?

Because the Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury, and I don't think EA is above the constitution.