The case of a gamer who sued Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) over being banned from the PlayStation Network has been tossed out of court.
After being banned for “multiple violations” on PSN, the Resistance: Fall of Man player Erik Estavillo had sued SCEA for violating his First Amendment rights (for the PSN ban) and for money he had invested into the PSN Wallet Fund. He sought $55,000 and an injunction that would limit SCEA from banning any players in any form on the network.
Northern District of California District Judge Ronald M Whyte ruled that there was no plausible First Amendment claim for relief stated and dismissed the case.
The Technology & Marketing Law Blog (via Gamasutra) zeroed in on one specific comment of Whyte’s, that “Sony's Network is not similar to a company town.” Blogger Eric Goldman wrote:
…this opinion emphatically rejects a meme that has become pretty popular among virtual world exceptionalists. Some exceptionalists have favored the company town analogy because it enable virtual world customers to reduce an operator's ability to run its business capriciously.
A PDF version of the Order Granting Defendant's Motion To Dismiss is also available on the aforementioned blog.