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For people commenting that EULA has been held up on court, it has for the most part, but it also has not been.
Check out this article: The reading is relevant to a point and also addresses issues similar.
It is on digital products purchased on Amazon Kindle, and Amazon's unilateral decision to delete according to its EULA.
Did a quick read and honestly what I got from it is that the case against Blizzard for altering an item is shaky, but it could also be valid.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seem as though the legality of the issue would be the classification of an item in Diablo 3. Do consumer rights hold true for a digital good? What laws is the digital good pursuant to?
"Courts in New York and California have taken the lead by recognizing various forms of digital property as convertible." (Quoted from the same article up top)
Fortunately, it seems as though consumer rights for the people residing in those states would fall under the consumer rights laws from tangible goods to digital goods.
One quote I enjoyed reading was this "Elaborating on the practical realities of virtual documents, the court also concluded that it is not a document’s or idea’s physical manifestation that determines its worth, but the value of its content. " (The value of a virtual good)
In RMAH scenario, the values of items on RMAH lost value or increased value overnight by the changes from 1.0.3. (eg. 1100 dps one-hander becoming an 850 dps-one hander)
There are some key points that seems substantial enough for litigation. Simple matter is that there is a real $ value associated to digital products (RMAH even recommends a selling price). Similarly to the Amazon Kindle case, RMAH consumers are buying licenses, instead of buying the whole product.
I'm studying for the LSAT, so I don't have any legal experience other than interning as a paralegal. Let me know what you all think.
Edited by Apokillypse#1504 on 6/19/2012 7:21 PM PDT
"Blizzard reserves the right to change, modify, suspend, terminate and/or otherwise discontinue Diablo and the Auction House (including, without limitation, any aspect, feature or functionality of the Auction House), and Blizzard shall have the right to enforce this Auction House TOU in its sole and absolute discretion."
Do you thing that the bold portion includes the items itself? If so, there's no case.
In the end no one will know unless someone does it and it goes up the chain of appeals. EULAs have been held up in court but at the same time some lady just won a case for Nutella turning her daughter fat because the mom didn't read the nutritional facts on the product.
Just because a company makes a ToS or ToU or EULA or whatever, does not make it legal. The problem is that digital goods are becoming more and more of a commodity, and the laws governing purchase and sale are not mature enough for digital commodities.
I dont know, but I'm pretty sure a simple case can be made, that if a good is reasonably what you paid for (the value, not the item), then all is good. But if you paid for an Ipad 2 with 16gb, and then an "update" later renders the Ipad 2 unable to utilize 16gb, but instead 10gb, it is not reasonably similar. In any case, if such an update is possible, burden falls on seller to make clear.
Having one line say that in the TOU might not be sufficient, hardly anyone reads that.
"TERMS OF SALE.
All Auction House sales are final, and no refunds are permitted except with respect to any statutory warranties or guaranties that cannot be excluded or limited by law. Please visit Blizzard’s Terms of Sale for additional terms and conditions applicable to the purchase of any Loot listed on the Auction Houses."
There, if you can dig something up for statutory warranties or guaranties, then you can probably make a strong case. I'd approach from here.
In anycase, such a lawsuit should be class action lawsuit by a certain consumer group. And really the point is not to win or get the refunds, but more to invoke bad publicity and to bring the playing field between !@#$ty companies and consumers more even.
The author is discussing a strategy for pursuing claims that involve digital goods. When people pursue traditional contract remedies against companies like Amazon or Blizzard they almost always lose (more on the Amazon Kindle case below), and contract remedies do not carry the same moral overtones as torts. She suggests that a more successful approach might be to treat these matters as questions of conversion, a common law tort that involves the misappropriation of someone else's property.
She says that some jurisdictions recognize digital property conversion, but the standards they use for determining the legitimacy of conversion to a particular kind of digital property are variable.
Judicial acceptance of digital chattels for conversion actions would likely provide meaningful results for consumers where other approaches have failed. Tort-based liability will also effectively incentivize providers to change their behavior and punish those who do not with potential punitive damages.
It is not really descriptive of a settled body of law then, so much as a call for more people to pursue this approach in an attempt to limit the power of service and content providers over consumers. It is not quite as simple as "I have a case against Blizzard if Diablo items count as the right kind of good."
As for the Amazon Kindle case, my limited understanding, based entirely on my quick reading of this piece, is that:
1. Amazon's EULA “grants [users] the non-exclusive right to keep a permanent copy of the applicable Digital Content and to view, use, and display such Digital content an unlimited number of times.” Additionally, the EULA did not state that Amazon could delete content off a user's Kindle or even alert consumers that Amazon had the capability to do so. Amazon's actions thus appear to be (a) totally lacking basis in the EULA and (b) in direct violation of the part of its own EULA quoted above.
Blizzard's EULA specifically says that they can do whatever they want with the game and that you have no permanent ownership of anything in the game.
2. Amazon deleted texts along with user notes that had potentially much more value than the texts themselves.
3. No court ever ruled against Amazon (at least not in the case she discusses in this article); they settled out of court.
It was an interesting article, but it does not change my feeling on the larger question of suing Blizzard. I still think it would be enormous waste of time.
Edited by Kakure#1495 on 6/20/2012 6:04 AM PDT
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