PSN ban lawsuit tossed by judge

Banning people for thwarting user agreement in Resistance: Fall of Man not a violation of First Amendment rights, judge rules.


Ordinarily when a gamer gets banned from an online game or service, that's the end of the discussion. That wasn't the case earlier this year, when one California gamer filed suit against Sony Computer Entertainment following his ban from Resistance: Fall of Man, the PlayStation Network, and its message boards for what the electronics giant called "multiple, repeated, intentional violations" of the user agreement.

Watch your trash talk, kids.
Watch your trash talk, kids.

Claiming that his First Amendment right to free speech had been infringed upon, the banned player had been asking for pain and suffering damages, as well as an injunction preventing Sony from banning other players in the game. Last week, a district court judge dismissed the case, saying that with few exceptions, the First Amendment protects people only from having their right to free speech violated by the government, not from private companies.

The suit also alleged that Sony had in essence stolen from the banned gamer by freezing his PlayStation Network account, complete with funds in his PlayStation Wallet. For its part, Sony said the frozen funds in question were equivalent to about $10, and its offer to return the money in question had been declined. It also noted that its "Terms of Service and User Agreement specifically notes that certain types of behavior can lead to suspension or revocation of the user's Network access and that any such suspension or revocation will lead to the loss of any funds held on the Network."

The judge declined to rule on the second matter, saying with the First Amendment argument dismissed, the remaining allegations would be better argued in state court.

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