Origin Adds Anti-Lawsuit Language to TOS

Electronic Arts has amended it's Terms of Service to include anti-lawsuit language, following a Supreme Court ruling that prompted a similar move by Sony. Kotaku outlines the new language:
"By accepting these terms, you and EA expressly waive the right to a trial by jury or to participate in a class action.

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

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."
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Re: Origin Adds Anti-Lawsuit Language to TOS
Sep 24, 2011, 14:29
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Re: Origin Adds Anti-Lawsuit Language to TOS Sep 24, 2011, 14:29
Sep 24, 2011, 14:29
 
NewMaxx wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 12:33:
One of my degrees is in business administration with two years of contract law. One of the major areas the curriculum covered was the fulcrum point of the law in both the US system and in the EU (which, btw, was created by the US through the Marshall Plan after WW2, much like we rebuilt Japan's government). For the former, it is the customer, for the latter, it is the business; it's as simple as that. I only used the phrase to simplify that fact - it implies that companies in the US must work harder to protect their interests because there is inherently more brutal competition than in the government-regulated EU.
I think you have to look at how each respective system works in practice. The US failed to address the anti-competitive behaviour of companies like Microsoft and Intel, whereas the EU took a very strong stance in favour of the consumer. It was similar with regards to telcoms and roaming charges. You also see much greater scrutiny over large mergers in the EU, where the US tends to have much lower requirements.

NewMaxx wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 12:33:
However, I do agree with you that the phrase "trivial lawsuits" is subjective. That's why the legal system in the US is so terrible today, since everybody sues over everything and litigation takes years and tens of thousands of dollars because it is backlogged so far; we in essence have a liberal justice system that encourages that even the most "trivial" matter have its day in court. The idea that money tends to make a lot of that go away is true, but not inherently evil in purpose; in fact, most people start lawsuits specifically to force settlement payouts.
I agree completely and I find it very disappointing how the UK so closely models the US lawsuit culture, as we're usually only 3-5yrs behind. The trouble is a legal system that rewards ridiculous claims.

NewMaxx wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 12:33:
Companies are treated as individuals in this society and thus are entitled to proactive protection as much as you are, hence this provision.
That's simply not true. Companies have a distinct legal identity that protects them from liability, which is why the owners and shareholders of a company cannot be held personally responsible for injuries or fatalities that occur within the business. They are still financially responsible where determined in court, yet that is a separate issue. Companies are made of individuals and businesses should not be allowed to use their collective power to restrict the rights of consumers, as is the case with EA and Sony.

Wikidd wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 12:41:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Sep 24, 2011, 12:16:
1) When a consumer buys a software product they do not have access to the EULA beforehand.
[...]
4) Even if you do disagree, there is a policy on opened software that prevents you from returning it for a refund.

That's a problem between you and the retailer who sells you the box. Given the circumstances, you could probably win in small claims if you returned a box containing a EULA you disagreed with.

Obviously that doesn't apply to PSN or Origin if you buy games direct from them as you can see the EULA on their site.

In the USA they have. There's also a law over there called the Federal Arbitration Act that means if you agree to arbitration, you have to use it.
My understanding is that there have been conflicting rulings by courts of different levels regarding different aspects of licence agreements but that EULAs as a whole have not been ruled to be legally binding. This is what I read before making my post.

The rest of your points about how EULAs are complicated and most people don't read them don't matter. Most people don't read their employment contracts, their insurance documents or any other legal thing that uses hard words. Complexity and length are only relevant if you're trying to argue the contract was misrepresented to you, e.g. someone sells you free cake for life but hidden in the small print there's a term that limits it to 6 months.
The obvious point I would make relates to financial services. Here in the UK banks are required to inform you of the details of the contract, as well as providing you with a written copy. Any questions have to be answered and the customer is left fully informed of their rights. EULAs are long, complicated and your rights as a consumer aren't explained in lay-English.

The issue here is that the law should offer protection to prevent the restriction of the right of consumers. If it isn't explained clearly and directly that you are sacrificing your legal rights then obvious that should be a non-starter and there should be rights which you cannot give up. That is the case with a lot of laws here in the UK regarding consumer protection, especially relating to distance selling and cooling periods.

I do not care for how the system currently operates. A business should not be able to take away legal rights by burying a retarded clause in a EULA that nobody reads. Full stop. Common sense should surely apply here?
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
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