ECA Action Alert: How EULAs Affect You Under State Law

The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued an action alert asking ECA members and the general gaming public to contact their local representatives to find out if the terms of many End User License Agreements (EULA) are actually legal in their respective states. Find the Action Alert below:

"Recently, video game publishers have begun updating their End User License Agreements (EULAs) for operating their games and game systems with mandatory arbitration clauses. The EULA is that notice that requires you to click "I agree" before you can use the game, or continue using it.

They have also increasingly been adding restrictive digital rights management (DRM) software and technologies that may prevent you from renting or selling your games. In addition, they don't disclose that the EULA and DRM are present – so you'd have to buy the game and open the box before you'd know, and then you can't return the game to the store, as a result.

These changes are changing the deal. You may think that you're buying and owning a game, when, in fact, you're buying a license to just use it – and only in the ways that the publisher says.

Is all of this legal? Does anyone review these EULAs from the consumer's perspective? The answer is that it depends on your individual state's laws and regulations. We're asking you to write your state officials to find out how these changes affect you."

The ECA is offering a form letter that you can send to your state representative asking them the right questions. That sample letter can be found below:

End User License Agreements (EULAs)

Your Letter:

Recently, video game publishers have begun updating their End User License Agreements (EULAs) for operating their games, game consoles and systems with new mandatory arbitration clauses. Are there sources of information on what clauses are allowed in EULAs and what clauses are invalidated by our state's law?

Additionally, publishers have also been making use of EULAs to fundamentally alter the transaction without advising consumers prior to the sale. Including over-reaching Digital Rights Management software and systems, without disclosing the presence of them. Consumers only become aware after the purchase and after the packaging is opened – which makes returning the product impossible.

I appreciate that publishers are trying to protect themselves, but it seems wrong that an expensive electronics game or device can be rendered useless if you don't agree completely with the EULA after the fact, and which is completely one-sided. Where are the consumer protections in these things? Who reviews them? Can you please help me?

Thanks in advance for your assistance in this matter.



Find out more here.

[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]

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