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Lawsuits, Founders, and Legality


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This isn't a discussion thread regarding Excalibur Prime, reopening the Founder's program, or any such nonsense. I'll discuss what the thread actually is about in a moment, but I wanted to clarify this point so the topic isn't threadjacked in the first five posts. 

Start any topic on Founders packs or Excalibur Prime and one of the first comments is always bound to be "They'd get sued". I've always been a bit stymied by that seemingly ubiquitous statement, as I can't find anything to support the veracity of the claim, let alone support a class-action lawsuit. 

Admittedly, I am not a member of the Founder's program, so I obviously do not have full access to documentation regarding the transaction and any agreements or legally-binding contracts. However, what information I do have regarding ownership, access, and mediation (pulled from the EULA and ToS) seem to indicate two major things:

1. Digital Extremes retains complete ownership of all content in the game

2. Rights to pursue damages in the courts are waived in favor of third-party mediation/arbitration. 

Bottom line, this means that not only do you not technically own the content associated with the corresponding level of founders access you purchased, you've forfeited your right to argue that point in any judicial system.

This seems fairly damning in and of itself, and yet so many people still insist they have the right to sue. Why is that? Do you have any documentation that runs contrary to the EULA/ToS? Or is this just a kind of forum hivemind thing? I'm legitimately curious, and I'd appreciate any and all rational insight (ie, not  anything that starts with the words "well, they said"; I'm looking for documentation or other evidence, not hearsay). 

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Here's a link to the relevant Canadian law that I posted in one of the other current threads on this topic:

http://www.laws.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-34/page-17.html#h-24

I don't believe anyone has talked about a class-action lawsuit, so I'm a little confused as to why you mentioned that.

It makes no difference whether you own the property or not, the issue is misrepresentation of what was being sold.

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Mob Physcology, 'Emergent Norm Theory' is probably the best explanation as to why.

Someone potentially influential says that DE can get sued, people read that and believe it. That then becomes the 'norm'. They then go on to repeat this in other threads, where more people see it. When others see so many people saying it, it only reinforces the idea that what they are saying is correct.

5 minutes ago, ChuckMaverick said:

I don't believe anyone has talked about a class-action lawsuit, so I'm a little confused as to why you mentioned that.

50 percent of comments in an Excal Prime thread are ''Founders will sue''. Afaik that's a class action lawsuit, a group of people all suing the same company.

You may not have seen the comments, but many many people have brought it up, that's why OP mentions it.

I also see no punishments listed in that link (I may be going blind in my old young age), from what I've heard the worst that can happen is that DE will have to dish out refunds since the sold product isn't what was advertised. That's a far cry from a lawsuit.

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People actually threatened to sue DE? Geez, talk about entitled. This is exactly what the EULA is for:

9.     LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

DIGITAL EXTREMES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND ARISING OUT OF THE GAME OR ANY USE OF THE GAME, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF GOODWILL... DIGITAL EXTREMES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO... VIRTUAL GOODS...

 

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I forget the exacts to it. But as I recall its mainly with how they sold the Founders packs and how the contracts regarding it were originally set up.

I wish I had all the exacts myself to help people understand the issue better then just saying "Lawsuits would happen if they tried" but that is the most basic version regarding it. But there is a real reason. Its not that just some salty child would start screaming. Like when Blizzard started banning people hard for modding their game. Again I really wish I had the proper information for this.

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1 minute ago, Yonm said:

People actually threatened to sue DE? Geez, talk about entitled. This is exactly what the EULA is for:

9.     LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

DIGITAL EXTREMES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND ARISING OUT OF THE GAME OR ANY USE OF THE GAME, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF GOODWILL... DIGITAL EXTREMES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO... VIRTUAL GOODS...

 

It would be for false advertisement, not out of the game itself.  DE said in no uncertain terms "never to be available again".  In writing, on their own page.

 

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23 minutes ago, MadHatHacker said:

Start any topic on Founders packs or Excalibur Prime and one of the first comments is always bound to be "They'd get sued".

I think it is more about the fact that DE really needed the support to continue the game at that time.  Those who took a fairly big risk and bought Founder packs saved the project of Warframe and pushed it into fruition with their support.

There may or may not be a legal claim to the Founders and the packages, its more of a promise that DE made and it matters to them that they do not break it.  People just use the 'but they'd get sued' as the default goto response because it sounds better than "bu-but DE prooooomisssssed!!!!" ya know?

Either way, legal or not, DE has made it crystal clear they have no intention of bringing anything from Founder's packs back ever.  It is only the players who bring up the legal ramifications of doing so.  In every devstream where I've seen it mentioned, they stood by their decision because its a honor contract, not a legal one.   

Not once have I ever heard DE say or imply "well, we'd totally bring it back but ya know, legal issues."  They simply and clearly say 'No, we aren't doing that.'

So in the end it matters little what the legal reasons are, they just aren't gonna do it.

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There is documentation of the Founder items never coming back after the pack was discontinued, which I think could be a basis for a lawsuit. I do think saying "they'd get sued" is just wishful thinking, though. I believe DE, in their current position, could afford to take that hit, in the unlikely event they even lost said lawsuit to begin with. It wouldn't faze them.

The hit they probably can't afford to take, however, is the one to their reputation. Going back on their word like that would tarnish their reputation with the players, Founders and non-Founders alike, and one of their biggest strengths with the community is this notion that they're the "good guys", so to speak, whereas some other game companies (EA, Ubisoft, Activision) are the so-called "bad guys", the companies that F*** you sideways day in day out and you're so used to it you don't even care anymore. But if DE lost this goodwill with the players, I think a lot of people would leave, and many of the ones that didn't could deem DE "unworthy" of their money. That's a much bigger hit to take than a silly lawsuit.

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8 minutes ago, Yonm said:

People actually threatened to sue DE? Geez, talk about entitled. This is exactly what the EULA is for:

9.     LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

DIGITAL EXTREMES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND ARISING OUT OF THE GAME OR ANY USE OF THE GAME, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF GOODWILL... DIGITAL EXTREMES SHALL NOT BE LIABLE IN ANY WAY FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO... VIRTUAL GOODS...

 

It makes absolutely no difference what a company puts in their EULA, it can't override the law.

And as has already been stated, the issue is not about ownership of digital property, but false advertising and misrepresentation of goods and services.

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4 minutes ago, Gelkor said:

I don't care if they sell it again or add it to drop tables. But I'd like to get my founders beanie, I didn't have a mailing address tied to my account and never got it .

We didn't get a beanie just a headband and a tshirt.

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Here's how I look at it :

DE would have to spend money on legal fee's just to find out what there position was and  what impact it might have on them.

Why spend the money ? I don't see how DE makes any money out of this so what's the point ? No Profit = No Point.

 

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36 minutes ago, HerpDerpy said:

DE basically made a promise that the founders stuff would be exclusive and never resold again. Im sure they could resell it if they wanted to but it doesn't make it any less of a S#&$ty thing to do.

 

This, essentially.

 

Unless there's a legally binding document that says something can't be sold again... Then DE could do whatever they damn well please.

 

But the Founders literally saved their company. They threw down money when nobody else thought Warframe would be as successful as it is today. The Founders all deserve what they have.

Spoiler

Even if I really want a Lato Prime :P

 

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Understanding how Founders could sue goes a long way.

You can skip 3rd party arbitration easily by doing individual lawsuits from multiple individuals(founders) on different locations, and most importantly, by not trying to obtain monetary compensation.

DE burns through money, Founders make their point = the rest of us lose financial support that could be used to improve game (without unnecessary delay) instead of legal trolling.

So, as a player, whats more important to you, the game itself or such items that were out of your reach but you continue to pursue while you had no interest on it?

So really, Founders can still sue if they choose to, assuming DE breaks their promise.

 

Edited by Souldend78
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I see people talking about any lawsuits being over false advertising but can that claim be made for something that not only isn't being sold currently but was sold years ago?

 

Certainly there must be some kind of time stipulation on such claims, no?

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3 hours ago, Mcl_BlueMadness said:

The hit they probably can't afford to take, however, is the one to their reputation.

3 hours ago, Mcl_BlueMadness said:

Going back on their word like that would tarnish their reputation with the players, Founders and non-Founders alike

3 hours ago, Mcl_BlueMadness said:

ut if DE lost this goodwill with the players, I think a lot of people would leave, and many of the ones that didn't could deem DE "unworthy" of their money. That's a much bigger hit to take than a silly lawsuit.

 

All this.

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Bottom line, it looks like there really isn't a way to sue. You could possibly push for a class-action under laws pertaining to false advertisement/bait-and-switch, but from what others have said and what my research indicates, it's extremely far-fetched and most likely the only result would be a refund, as opposed to punitive damages or something more severe. 

Guess that wraps it up; mods, will you please lock the thread so it doesn't derail and remains concise for future reference?

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2 minutes ago, MadHatHacker said:

Bottom line, it looks like there really isn't a way to sue.

 

11 minutes ago, Souldend78 said:

You can skip 3rd party arbitration easily by doing individual lawsuits from multiple individuals(founders) on different locations, and most importantly, by not trying to obtain monetary compensation.

 

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