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Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits

Valve announces an updated Steam Subscriber Agreement, becoming the latest company to attempt to avoid potential class action lawsuits by prohibiting them as a term of service. Here is their explanation of this:

Weíre also introducing a new dispute resolution process that will benefit you and Valve. Recently, a number of companies have created similar provisions which have generated lots of discussion from customers and communities, and weíve been following these discussions closely. On Steam, whenever a customer is unhappy with any transaction, our first goal is to resolve things as quickly as possible through the normal customer support process. However in those instances in which we can't resolve a dispute, we've outlined a new required process whereby we agree to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute. In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount. Reimbursement by Valve is provided regardless of the arbitratorís decision, provided that the arbitrator does not determine the claim to be frivolous or the costs unreasonable.

Most significant to the new dispute resolution terms is that customers may now only bring individual claims, not class action claims. We considered this change very carefully. Itís clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. In far too many cases however, class actions donít provide any real benefit to users and instead impose unnecessary expense and delay, and are often designed to benefit the class action lawyers who craft and litigate these claims. Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities. We think this new dispute resolution process is faster and better for you and Valve while avoiding unnecessary costs, and that it will therefore benefit the community as a whole.

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152 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 5.
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72. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 02:06 ^Drag0n^
 
What I want to know is when did Gabe become "gaben"? I wasn't aware he had been elevated to johnc-level status...


^D^
 
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71. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 01:24 Wowbagger_TIP
 
I'd be fine with this as long as I get to pick the arbitrator. Since they are paying for it, if they get to pick the arbitrator, then that person is essentially on their payroll at their discretion. That's a serious conflict of interest IMO.

Class action suits are generally a load of crap anyway. The companies get off with a relative slap on the wrist, the lawyers get rich(er), and the customers get something akin to jack squat in return.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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70. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 01:22 El Pit
 
LOL. I still can't fathom how any government does allow companies to enforce something like signing an aggreement to not sue them if the fuck up. It's so ridiculous. Actually, the people should should start a class action lawsuit vs. their government.  
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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69. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 01:02 theyarecomingforyou
 
eunichron wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:38:
How did I know you were going to say that...

That is in case of arbitration, an entirely different clause of the EULA. I even took the liberty of taking a screenshot of it for you;

Here.
Actually, I just found that it doesn't matter as Valve has the same clause:

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU AND VALVE ARE GIVING UP THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND TO HAVE A TRIAL BEFORE A JUDGE OR JURY.

So my opinion was based upon inaccurate information. My point is not to defend Valve blindly and I disagree with this move. As I've said, I hold EA and Valve to the same standards and don't blindly worship Valve.

Unfortunately while the legal system supports such actions we'll continue to see such shitty moves.
 
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Star Citizen: Blue's News
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68. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:43 Sepharo
 
eunichron wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:09:
Sepharo wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:18:
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:12:
Icewind wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:26:
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:40:
Gonna grab my popcorn while the Valve/Gaben fanatics (they're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to spin this into a positive.
Gonna grab my popcorn while the I-Hate-Anything-Not-In-Retail-Box / I-Have-Unrealistic-Expectations-because-I'm-an-Entitled-gamer fanatics (They're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to make this seem like Valve is every bit as dirty as EA.
What's wrong with retail boxes?
Nothing. What's wrong with digital releases?
Nothing. I love digital releases.
Cool.
 
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67. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:38 eunichron
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:36:
eunichron wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:23:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:13:
The difference is that EA blocked class action lawsuits - as well as the ability to sue the company!

Actually, no. This is exactly what EA's EULA says;

By entering into this Agreement, you and EA expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.
No, you are mistaken. It said this:

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT BY THIS PROVISION, YOU AND EA ARE FOREGOING THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A JURY TRIAL.

How did I know you were going to say that...

That is in case of arbitration, an entirely different clause of the EULA. I even took the liberty of taking a screenshot of it for you;

Here.
 
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66. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:37 Jensen
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:34:
I just think they are also a greedy corporation that wants profit and that fucks consumers when they accept it and does altruistic things with financial goals in mind, same as any other corporation. It's the "Valve are a good company that cares about more than profit" mindset that drives me bonkers.

Thank you for pointing out that Valve is a Corporation, and that they attempt to make a profit... I was not aware of that. Does (corporation = 'wants profit' = greed)?
 
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65. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:36 theyarecomingforyou
 
eunichron wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:23:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:13:
The difference is that EA blocked class action lawsuits - as well as the ability to sue the company!

Actually, no. This is exactly what EA's EULA says;

By entering into this Agreement, you and EA expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.
No, you are mistaken. It said this:

YOU UNDERSTAND THAT BY THIS PROVISION, YOU AND EA ARE FOREGOING THE RIGHT TO SUE IN COURT AND HAVE A JURY TRIAL.
 
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SteamID: theyarecomingforyou
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64. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:31 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Warskull wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:12:
It is a huge win for corporations because they can basically write lawsuit immunity into all their license agreements. In 20 years times this will seriously fuck everyone over.
Get consumer protection laws then. Canada has them, Europe has them. Kick your state legislators in the chops and get them to write laws to protect you from such things then. If you have to, "copy" laws from other provinces/states to do it. Ontario's is good, so is Quebec's, and so is Denmark and Germany's.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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63. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:23 eunichron
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 00:13:
The difference is that EA blocked class action lawsuits - as well as the ability to sue the company!

Actually, no. This is exactly what EA's EULA says;

By entering into this Agreement, you and EA expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.

So, in essence, by agreeing you waive the right to trial by jury, and the ability to participate in a class action lawsuit, but it does not waive the right to sue at all. This is in effect no different from what Valve just added, so your stance is not misrepresented at all, as long as your stance is, "EA bad, Valve good."
 
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62. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:13 theyarecomingforyou
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:24:
NewMaxx wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:14:
Hope you recall our discussion about this when Origin (EA) did the same, because I do. Plenty of quotes to go around...

http://tinyurl.com/cusgh37

Quite different language there compared to what he just wrote. This is the Valve Love Hypocrisy Effect at work, rarely seen in such perfect form.

From just 30 seconds of skimming we get classics like:

theyarecomingforyou wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 11:54:
EA and Sony are contributing to the legal and moral quagmire with the sole aim of limiting their exposure and protecting their profits. Nobody should support a business trying to bypass the legal system to protect their shareholders. And your assertion that it's to avoid "trivial lawsuits" implies is completely subjective, as who decides what is or is not trivial? The whole point is that the legal system decides that and this is an attempt to short-circuit that process to save money.
You can try to misrepresent me all you like but my previous post was consistent with my position here. I supported the move by Valve to implement arbitration, while I was critical of the move to block class action lawsuits. The difference is that EA blocked class action lawsuits - as well as the ability to sue the company! - as an independent move and in response to lawsuits against them, as did Sony; Valve blocked them in order to implement arbitration and did so pre-emptively. But again, I acknowledge that Valve is doing this to reduce its potential legal / financial liabilities and that it's a potential abuse of the legal system.

There was different intent between EA/Sony and Valve but yes, I don't support companies taking away legal protections and I question the validity to such agreements. The legal system needs reform or else companies will continue to absolve themselves of any responsibility. The difference here is that by accepting arbitration that Valve is improving their transparency and by accepting costs they are increasing their responsibility.
 
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61. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:12 Warskull
 
ASeven wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:32:
Disappointing, Valve. Very disappointing. I've always been neutral towards Steam though I don't like the idea of it having a monopoly over digital PC sales since monopolies are never good. I thought Gabe would be above this sort of tactics since he does have sensible points towards piracy and other issues. A shame really, would have thought Gabe would hold a sensible position over this as well.

A bit of a dick move on Valve's part, but this is way bigger than Valve. If Mandatory Binding Arbitration isn't made illegal when one of the two parties is a consumer literally every single contract ever will have this in it. Cell phones already have it, software companies are following suit, and some car dealerships use it.

It is a huge win for corporations because they can basically write lawsuit immunity into all their license agreements. In 20 years times this will seriously fuck everyone over.
 
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60. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:09 eunichron
 
Sepharo wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:18:
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:12:
Icewind wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 22:26:
eunichron wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 21:40:
Gonna grab my popcorn while the Valve/Gaben fanatics (they're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to spin this into a positive.

Gonna grab my popcorn while the I-Hate-Anything-Not-In-Retail-Box / I-Have-Unrealistic-Expectations-because-I'm-an-Entitled-gamer fanatics (They're not even fanboys at this point, they truly are fanatics) try to make this seem like Valve is every bit as dirty as EA.

What's wrong with retail boxes?

Nothing. What's wrong with digital releases?

Nothing. I love digital releases.
 
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59. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 1, 2012, 00:01 ledhead1969
 
Need to pay for the talent!

http://i.imgur.com/WXHO4.jpg
 
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58. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:56 Mashiki Amiketo
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:52:
Wow, way to go Kotaku... http://kotaku.com/5930705/now-valve-is-trying-to-stop-people-suing-them-too
Classy there Kotaku. The only thing missing was some WWII propaganda theme music from Germany.
 
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"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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57. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:55 Dades
 
Cutter wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:48:
And as for the EA comparisons some people are making...wake me when Steam has a few decades behind them of shitting all over customers, competitors, and employees. EA voted worst company of the year. Steam not even in the running. For anyone who doesn't understand why that is you shouldn't even be taking part in this conversation.

I don't think Steam is wondersauce but it's impossible to make a case against it when they give genuinely good value to the consumer and most companies are awful by comparison.
 
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56. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:53 Crustacean Soup
 
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:44:
Class actions ramp up damages to an obscene amount over what are often trivial offenses that many customers aren't even aware happened. Our civil courts should not be tied up with a bunch of trivial offenses that could be dealt with in other ways.

So again, we're back at

corporations should just be able to get away with shit with no punishment whatsoever, as long as they spread the damage around enough?

and my more important point,

Since I can't/won't afford to waste my time taking them to trial or arbitration over such a piddling amount, what's discouraging them from stealing my $10 in the future?

If they dealt with something 'in different ways', there wouldn't be any basis for a class action and it would fail. The fact that so many don't is an indication that not all corps are so benevolent.
 
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55. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:52 StingingVelvet
 
Wow, way to go Kotaku... http://kotaku.com/5930705/now-valve-is-trying-to-stop-people-suing-them-too  
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54. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:49 Closed Betas
 
What would stop these ridiculous policy stuffs is proactive attack on the following clause.. For steam policy its 13.. ironically 12 is the part on the arbitration bs..


13. MISCELLANEOUS

In the event that any provision of this Agreement shall be held by a court or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction to be unenforceable, such provision will be enforced to the maximum extent permissible and the remaining portions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect. This Agreement constitutes and contains the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes any prior oral or written agreements. You agree that this Agreement is not intended to confer and does not confer any rights or remedies upon any person other than the parties to this Agreement.


In the old days, if you found a part of a policy unbinding legally, the whole policy is dismissed, they think this paragraph protects that, when they stuff it with a bunch of non legal mumbo jumbo..

See they cleverly state that if any of their policy is not legal in your jurisdiction, then it don'y apply to you.. So basically some state somewhere is paid off, this AAA infested nonsense... So they get by with allowing this kind of law....
Then they disclaim it.. Now they clause it so if not legal, they are still safe with their other statements.

One new simple law fixes all this nonsense..
THE ABILITY TO KILL THE ENTIRE POLICY IF INDEED ONE FACT IS PROVED TO BE LEGALALLY UNBINDING. This would put at end to what all this is.. a joke of a paper that just wants to limit damage to oneself and nothing to do with an "agreement"
 
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53. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Jul 31, 2012, 23:48 Cutter
 
NKD wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:37:
Crustacean Soup wrote on Jul 31, 2012, 23:33:
You're not getting my point. It's not about the $10 I might get from Valve if I sue them (vs. the $0.25 class action settlement). I couldn't care less about that. Since I can't/won't afford to waste my time taking them to trial or arbitration over such a piddling amount, what's discouraging them from stealing my $10 in the future? A couple dozen people bothering to bring them to small claims doesn't do that. A class action representing a couple dozen hundred thousand people would. That's the whole reason that the class action even exists.

If someone can't be bothered to even enter arbitration or small-claims , then they don't deserve remedies. You should have to participate in the legal system if you expect to benefit from it. And conversely, if the wronged "class" can't even be bothered to fire off a few emails on their own behalf, maybe the company in question doesn't deserve to be punished. This attitude of "Click here to admonish a company and get a free coupon!" is the laziest perversion of a tort system I can think of.

Incredibly well said.

And as for the EA comparisons some people are making...wake me when Steam has a few decades behind them of shitting all over customers, competitors, and employees. EA voted worst company of the year. Steam not even in the running. For anyone who doesn't understand why that is you shouldn't even be taking part in this conversation.
 
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152 Replies. 8 pages. Viewing page 5.
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