EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

September 3, 2010 -

A judge’s ruling earlier last month that Craig Smallwood’s lawsuit against Lineage II maker NCsoft could continue (a suit in which Smallwood claimed he was addicted to the game), could have an impact on End User Licensing Agreements (EULA).

A lawyer at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy named Steven Roosa took to his blog (thanks Slashdot) to discuss the Smallwood case, using the headline “A Software License Agreement Takes it on the Chin.”

Roosa detailed NCsoft’s attempt to stop the lawsuit by using Section 12 of its User Agreement, which is entitled “Limitation of Liability.” The judge eventually only partially granted NCsoft’s motion to dismiss.

Roosa wrote:

The Court determined that the User Agreement contained a valid “choice of law” provision stating that Texas law would govern the interpretation of the contract. However, the Court then ruled that both Texas and Hawaii law did not permit people to waive in advance their ability to make gross negligence claims. The plaintiff's remaining negligence claims survived as well.

The claims based on gross negligence remained viable for the full range of tort damages, including punitive damages, whereas the straight-up negligence-based claims would be subject to the contractually agreed on limitation on damages.

This is significant, according to Roosa, because the gross negligence claim survived, but also because “having the right to sue for “gross negligence” is the functional equivalent of having the right to sue for straight-up negligence as well—thus radically broadening the scope of claims that (according to the court) cannot be waived in a User Agreement.”

The unfolding events in the Smallwood case caused Roosa to proclaim:

The Smallwood decision, if it stands, may achieve some lasting significance in the software license wars.

A Wall Street Journal article on the subject answered Roosa’s above proclamation with the response, “Let's hope not. Because a new opportunity for parasitic litigation isn't exactly the way to boost technological progress.”

If Smallwood’s lawsuit was eventually tossed, the WSJ author wrote:

And a good thing that would be, because discovering some newly elastic definition of injury, combined with an expanded concept of "gross negligence" would be just the stuff to spur a new tortious gold rush. Do we want the tech biz focused on innovation or litigation?

The Journal writer also took an unnecessary potshot at gamers. Smallwood’s claims of being “unable to function independently” and suffering from "distress and depression” caused the author write:

Mr. Smallwood did not specify how this differs from the condition of the average video-game aficionado.

Jerk.


Comments

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

Conflicted on this.  I don't think the developer should be held liable for his problem, but on the other hand I think EULA's frequently overreach and ask users to give up rights that they legally can't.

In a nutshell, I think the judge made the right call at THIS step in the case; that EULA was illegal -- but I still hope the case ultimately gets decided in NCsoft's favor.

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

Hehe, his last name is Smallwood...

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

"Mr. Smallwood did not specify how this differs from the condition of the average video-game aficionado."

If this is the case, then video games are in-fact addictive, and we should sue all developers and publishers of video games for addicting us to this terrible hobby.

Just indicating the flawed logic of the Wall Street Journal editor. Though I suppose this doesn't differ from the condition of the average newspaper editor.

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

You forgot sueing authors and book publishers because I'm addicted to reading. After all anything that brings pleasure is potentially addicting.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

I'm not sure how I feel about this news. While on one hand I think many EULAs are a bit... nuts, and should be limited, on the other hand I think this lawsuit is BS and I don't want it to make any progress at all.

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

Does NCSoft have to loose for this ruling to stand?

my vanity is justified

my vanity is justified

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

This was on a motion to dismiss the case outright, and the ruling means that the trial goes forward. NCSoft could very well win the resulting trial, but this ruling would still stand and can serve to establish precedent in other cases.

In fact, the only way the ruling would be challenged, is if NCSoft were to lose the resulting trial, and then challenge the motion to dismiss on appeal. If NCSoft prevails at trial, no one is going to care how they got there, and the motion ruling will therefore survive as a precedent.

So I'm kinda hoping NCSoft wins the resulting case. Besides, I don't want to see a legal ruling that says MMOs are addictive...

 

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

Seconded.  The idea that you can sue someone because you're mentally ill and as a result became addicted to their product (if we even assume video game addiction is valid at all) is scary.

"I was always feeling anxious but this tea calmed me down.  It got so I couldn't function without it.  I always had to have a mug in my hand.  I lost my life to that damned tea!"  (Agreed it's extreme, but that's kind of the point.)

===============

Chris Kimberley

===============

Chris Kimberley

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

I love that giant bullshit assumption by the WSJ that any time and money a business saves by not litigating will automatically be used to create more useful innovations consumers can use.  That's simply not how businesses operate in the real world.

my vanity is justified

my vanity is justified

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

It's the WSJ, what did you expect? Their editorial department was worthless even before the Bancrofts sold it to Rupert Murdoch. (Although, to be fair, the Bancroft-era WSJ was a hell of a lot better at keeping news and editorial seperate than anything with the Fox name on it.)

Re: EULAs Inability to Stop Lineage II Lawsuit

Any money the business saves goes into the pockets of the CEOs.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
Andrew EisenOkay, IP. That's what? The FORTH time you've pointed that out? Matt has made it plenty clear he's not interested in responding to that so stop belaboring the point. It's super annoying and makes the Shout box unpleasant.08/04/2015 - 12:26am
IronPatriotI see that Mattsworkname fails to discredit a single fact about TotalBiscuit's LIES posted on medium.com, so he tries to dicredit ALL of medium.com. Logical failure.08/04/2015 - 12:23am
benohawkAnyone else play Duck Game? I've dumped 7 hours into it in the last few weeks and could do with not needing to just join random lobbies08/04/2015 - 12:21am
MattsworknameAndrew: Im in arizona, were still jazzed about randy johnson making the hall of fame08/04/2015 - 12:20am
MattsworknameChris goes after Anita regarding fallout shelter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhYQBPFub5M08/04/2015 - 12:18am
Andrew EisenSo... how about those Dodgers, eh?08/04/2015 - 12:17am
MattsworknameIP: i'll take TB over you any day08/04/2015 - 12:09am
IronPatriotDocMelon, that sounds like a good thing that you now know about TotalBiscuits pro-Gamergate lies. That's no flaw, that takes strength of character to accepts facts over lies.08/04/2015 - 12:06am
MattsworknameDoc: And you wonder why SJW has different meaning to those who arent andd SJW.08/04/2015 - 12:06am
DocMelonheadIP: figure it out.08/04/2015 - 12:05am
IronPatriotDocMelon, I think it's a good thing that you now understand how much TotalBiscuit has lied to give aid and comfort to Gamergaters against their victims.08/04/2015 - 12:05am
DocMelonheadMWN: I said "civil" as in IP might encounter someone that fits his/her style of discussion; I already met two of them there, one of which a former gamergate supporter.08/04/2015 - 12:04am
IronPatriotDocMelon, I am not interested in what you call your "flaws." I just want to know if you actually mean the things you say or not.08/04/2015 - 12:03am
MattsworknameIm not sure why, but I find his arguments wierdly compelling08/04/2015 - 12:02am
IronPatriotDocMelon, you claim that harassment is defined as "pressure" "to admit their own flaws" I did no such thing. I just asked you if you meant what you said.08/04/2015 - 12:01am
DocMelonheadGod, your predictable IP: Good night.08/04/2015 - 12:01am
Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgbcBoBt-10 Chris ray gun discusses , or more specificly, counter points the New media on gamergate08/04/2015 - 12:01am
DocMelonheadBut you don’t give a damn IP: I even bet your comment will say:“LOL they failed to decredit any proof that Gamergate is a front to harass feminists and Social Justice Advocates, HILARIOUS!!!”08/04/2015 - 12:00am
MattsworknameDoc: What part of his actions makes you think IP wants CIVIL discourse08/04/2015 - 12:00am
DocMelonheadThis subreddit, despite its name, is a neutral ground in which gamergate supporters and denouncers argue in a "civil" debate on the legitimacy of the "movement"08/03/2015 - 11:56pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician