jdreyer wrote on May 2, 2014, 23:20:
Panickd wrote on May 2, 2014, 22:34:
Seems somewhat strange. How hard could it have been to have weird ass playing cards printed up?
And what, exactly, will this end up costing the Washington taxpayer? More than the $25,000 that was taken? Oh yes, it's an election year. Silly me. I thought this was about the consumers getting fleeced.
It's this kind of attitude that allowed patent trolls to flourish for so long. Companies decided it was cheaper to pay them off than litigate. You go to court to show not only that you won't be bent over the table, but also to ward off others from doing the same, even if it's more expensive and difficult in the short term.
(A long-ish post for a huge topic, imo)...
Panickd has the right of it, and Panickd has exactly the right attitude, because it isn't a question of attitude. It's a very real question of getting blood from a stone/turnip
...;) The original Kickstarter personnel named in the suit didn't get away with millions of dollars, remember: only ~$25k or so seems to have been raised, years ago, and has surely been long gone for quite sometime. That's--what?--*minimum wage* for 18-months or so? It's peanuts and it will be completely uncollectible.
No doubt the individual named by the state of Washington is completely broke (if he isn't in jail, dead, deported, or an invalid) so that any judgment Washington gets will be ostentatiously symbolic and won't help any of the so-called "victims,"--who won't get a dime even if the state wins its case by default simply because the defendant can't afford an attorney. By default, of course, is the only way Washington has a prayer of winning such a civil suit. Because...
If you study the terms of service for any and all Kickstarter projects, both Kickstarter and the people who run the Kickstarter projects are well indemnified against fraud and/or other criminal complaints & charges (exactly why the state of Washington is conducting a civil suit as opposed to a criminal complaint.) The Kickstarter TOS fine print (and otherwise) clearly spells out to all contributors that they are being guaranteed nothing in absolute terms, they are not "pre-ordering", and they are putting every dime of their money at risk. It's all there in black & white. There's no "safety net" for contributors--no "guarantee" of anything, let alone a game, a deck of cards, a T-shirt--anything.
So why would the state of Washington express interest in a public Kickstarter civil suit? IMO, because the state feels the probability is extremely high--they most likely made sure of this before they launched the suit--that this individual cannot defend himself in court because he has no money and they will win by default as a result. The real goal of the lawsuit, again imo, is to bring positive publicity to the personnel inhabiting the Washington state AG's Office--especially those personnel running for election, if indeed Panickd is correct in his hypothesis.
It could also be that a number of current political incumbents not themselves directly employed by the AG's Office (but serving in the state legislature, for instance), and who are up for election, are also interested in milking the filing of the suit for whatever publicity value they can squeeze out of it. They want to be seen as Crusading Defenders of the Public Good
in the state of Washington, when the reality is that this suit won't defend anyone's "good" except maybe their own at election time..;) And, just like Panickd says, they'll use Washington state taxpayers' money to do it all. I would say this was positively brilliant if it weren't for the fact that this kind of thing is so horribly common in politics all across the nation.
The fact is, that for reasons already mentioned, even if you thought
Edward J. Polchlepek III was promising you a slice of the London Bridge because you thought he promised it
in return for your $50 Kickstarter contribution, the Kickstarter *legally binding* terms of service specifically state otherwise and exist to *protect* the people smart enough to read them *before* they start dinging their credit cards.
Kickstarter is very similar
to the lottery or to gambling casinos: you're often told about how wonderful it would be if you win the Powerball, told that unless you play in the casino or buy a lottery ticket you have *no chance* of winning the Rolls, the mansion, the butler, the servants, and so on--and yet, should you fly to 'Vegas and throw away your life's savings at the crap tables in two hours--you cannot say you were defrauded because they told you that you had *a chance* of winning the "big one"...! Because they told you the truth. They never told you that you were going to get the big payout. They said you might get it. World of difference.
And the reason you cannot sue *them* for "fraud", either, is because in the case of the Powerball you are told on the back of the ticket in exceedingly small print that your actual "chance" of "winning the big one" is like one chance in 85,000,000 to 100,000,000--always depending on how many tickets are sold. And they don't tell you what that means, either--that you have a greater chance of being struck and killed by lightning coming out of a clear blue sky than you do of winning the "big one." That part they never quite explain to their prospective suckers.
Casinos, too, are infested with signs everywhere telling you to "game responsibly" and that "the odds are always in favor of the house." Those signs also protect them from charges of fraud and so on. Can you imagine calling someone gambling with his life-savings a "gamer"? Bwa-ha-ha...;) No, in a "game" the losses are never *real* and the consequences never permanent. Monopoly & Boardwalk. Skyrim. Gambling is not "gaming," no matter what they say.
Sure, backing a Kickstarter isn't *exactly* like "gaming" at a casino or buying a lottery ticket--it's not exactly
the same thing at all. But in the case of backing a Kickstarter, just like in the case of gambling, your money legally guarantees you *nothing*
, and it simply doesn't matter what it was that you understood the particular Kickstarter project to be giving you *in return* for your money. In that case, you understood wrong
. The fine print says it all. Learning how to read is the first step towards a long and happy life, imo...;)
Last, I think Kickstarter is great
and I personally love the whole idea. But Kickstarter is not pre-ordering, either legally or conceptually. Kickstarter is your chance to "invest" in a project with *no* guarantee
that your "investment" will ever net you so much as a worthless stock certificate--let alone anything else like a game, a refund, a T-shirt or a hamburger. As long as people clearly understand this there won't be any more foolishness about "fraud" and all of that. Kickstarter and its project owners have that all sewn up legally. Caveat Emptor
It is well known that I cannot err--and so, if you should happen across an error in anything I have written you can be absolutely sure that *I* did not write it!...;)