Gamer Says Sony Violated His 1st Amendment Rights By Banning Him

from the that's-not-how-it-works dept

It’s amazing how badly some people misunderstand the First Amendment. It only limits the government from passing laws that limit your free expression (with certain exceptions). It has nothing to do with what a private company or individual can do. In other words, it’s not a right to say whatever you want with no consequence. So, I doubt that the following lawsuit will get very far. Apparently a video gamer is suing Sony saying it violated his First Amendment rights by banning him from the PlayStation 3 game “Resistance” for something he apparently said while talking to other players (found via Digg). But, of course, as a private company and not the government, Sony has every right to ban whoever they want, for a wide variety of reasons. So, kids, remember, the First Amendment isn’t a right to say whatever you want without getting kicked off of a video game system for being annoying.

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Companies: sony

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Comments on “Gamer Says Sony Violated His 1st Amendment Rights By Banning Him”

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Shawn (profile) says:

Back when I was running a fairly popular Xbox based gaming ladder site I would get lots of indignant emails threatening to sue me for taking their Right to speak away. I even had one guy threatening to sue me because I allowed another team to use “HIS COPYRIGHT” on the team name … dont remember the details any more.

I always assumed that once they talked to a REAL lawyer that would be the end of it. I guess I was just lucky.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Other idiotic sayings

“Apparently a video gamer is suing Sony saying it violated his First Amendment rights by banning him from the PlayStation 3 game “Resistance” for something he apparently said while talking to other players”

This smack of all those times in my life when people have tried to explain away doing REALLY stupid and/or selfish things (refusing to get the hell out of the doorway on the subway, stopping for no apparent reason in the middle of the sidewalk in downtown Chicago, putting ketchup on a hot dog) by saying “Hey, it’s a free country.”

To which I usually respond, “Then watch me freely shove you out of the way and laugh at the ironic joke-name I.P. Freely as I urinate on your head, all in an effort to get to work on time so that I can check out Techdirt…and also so that ketchup, a condiment that belongs on fries and that’s about it, shall never touch another encased meat again”.

Christ, I’m going to end up with an ulser, I know it….

Eponymous Coward, AKA Doug (profile) says:

Re: Other idiotic sayings

“Encased meat”, eh? Sounds like a Hot Doug’s fan right there.

Free speech doesn’t really exist anywhere, because there are so many codicils and exceptions at this point that even the government has no problem telling you that you can’t say this or that. I’m not talking about the classic ‘shout fire in a crowded theatre’ scenario either, just being bitter in general while also being too lazy to cite specifics.

Anonymous Coward says:

The Actual Filing

I couldn’t believe that an actual lawyer would ask for damages for violating his first “amendment rights” here, and looking at the actual filing it looks like I was right. They are asking for damages only for “pain and suffering”. They also mention that Sony is refusing to refund or allow him access to his remaining funds in his account and likening that to a form of theft.

Matt says:

Reminds me of a song....

Quoted from – Trace Adkins – Fightin’ Words

Excuse me
First amendment?
Son, the first amendment protects you from the government
Not from me
You can say whatever you want to out there
You come within reach of me
I’ll exercise my right to give you a good ol’ country ass whoopin’
Is what I’ll do for you

Spectere (profile) says:

Gotta love it.

I used to administer a decently sized (20-30k members) web forum and I had people try to pull that first amendment crap on me. It feels great telling them that it doesn’t mean what they think it means.

However, I’ve never had anyone threaten to sue me over it. The fact that somebody is actually suing a company over something like that made me laugh. The fact that he was given several warnings — which he clearly ignored — before being banned makes it even better.

Anonymous Coward says:

who the hell are you to patronize little kids and give them a lesson about First Amendment Rights? what do you know about what types of speech are not protected by the First Amendment, what types of speech are less protected, whether gov’t can regulated content neutral v. content based speech, or which speakers are not protected? are you a con law professor all of a sudden, just because you looked some shit up on wikipedia? if the gov’t can regulated stupid speakers, mike idiot masnick would be the first they’d regulate.

jidus (profile) says:

So what – exactly – do these people think the “Terms of Service” agreement is for?

“If you accept this Agreement, you are subject to its terms and all other agreements that you have entered into in connection with PSN. You agree that you will not directly or indirectly use PSN (i) in any way for any commercial purpose, (ii) in any way that violates the law or the community code of conduct…” etc


You must adhere to the following rules of conduct, and also follow a reasonable, common-sense code of conduct. Users are required to take into consideration community standards and refrain from abusive or deceptive conduct, cheating, hacking, or other misuse of PSN. Rights of other players should be respected.”

A full list of the things that Playstation can punish you for can be found Here. Some of the punishable offenses may surprise you.

Bob Bunderfeld says:

Civil Rights NOT Constitutional Rights

It’s funny how many people fail to understand the difference of Civil Rights and Constitutional Rights.

Yes, the Constitution is clearly defining what the Government can or can’t do, how this guys Attorney failed to pick up on this is amazing, but, there is still something to be said about a person’s Civil Rights.

Now before you get stupid and come down screaming at me, no, this guys Civil Rights weren’t violated either, just pointing out that if he is suing, he should at least be suing for the right RIGHT.

There is one point of contention that most of you have chosen not to discuss, and that’s the fact that he has money in his account and SONY isn’t letting him have it back or granting access to it. This IS a huge mistake on SONY’s part, and precedent has already been set for this with the Second Life lawsuit where the person was banned for a bannable offense, but money in the acct wasn’t returned or given access to. The Judge tossed the EULA covering SL and said they have to either grant him access to his acct or refund his money. I have a feeling that everything but the Money issue will be tossed, and as soon as that happens, SONY will refund this guys money and the Judge will then say “No Harm, No Foul”. I would LOVE to be in the Gallery when this first comes up though, to hear the Judge’s reaction to “Constitutional Rights Violation”; better yet, to hear the Judge tell the Attorney to go back to for a refresher course.

Rob (profile) says:

Excuse me
First amendment?
Son, the first amendment protects you from the government
Not from me
You can say whatever you want to out there
You come within reach of me
I’ll exercise my right to give you a good ol’ country ass whoopin’
Is what I’ll do for you

Umm… we have the right to assault people for saying things that we don’t like now? Funny, I always just thought that I had the right to, you know, not listen to things I don’t like. I hate this mentality, Trace Adkins should go back to the trailer park and stop spouting non-sense like this. Sure, he has the right, but that doesn’t make him any less of a backwoods, hillbilly, incestuous moron.

Oh, and the PS3 kid is a retard.

Gordon says:

Re: Re:

“Umm… we have the right to assault people for saying things that we don’t like now? Funny, I always just thought that I had the right to, you know, not listen to things I don’t like. I hate this mentality, Trace Adkins should go back to the trailer park and stop spouting non-sense like this.”

I have to believe that you were one of those kids growing up that that threatened their parents to call child abuse if their parents hit them. Panty wastes. Granted I don’t agree with actual child abuse. A good whoopin (as most call it in the south / actually from Boston myself) isn’t all that bad.

Now to your comment on the song….you’re a retard. If you spent the time actually listening to the song you’d understand what was being said and to whom. Father talking to his son about what he might expect for doing stupid crap. Or even talking back to him.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well then the song needs to be put into context. Not everyone likes country music and not everyone has heard this song. From the little clip that was given it sounds as if two people are in a bar and one took offense at what the other said.

This is the most common response most of us hear to the first amendment argument anyways. I got into that argument with a co-worker of mine. I said something about the first amendment and he responded with “The first amendment protects you from the government from stopping you but it doesn’t stop me from giving you an ass whoopin'”. His exact words. So it’s quite easy to mix that up without context.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Wait. You have no first amendment rights to sue Sony, but you do have first amendment rights to share the files you get from them?


Not really – constitutional rights are protections FROM GOVERNMENT (the State) – SONY though a very large corporation is NOT a government. Its a pretty clear and simple distinction?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Gamer files 1st amendment suit

“Obviously the gamer and his attorney are on a fishing trip. The attorney believes that Sony will abandon the suit, that is buy it off, because it is cheaper than defending.”

Then his attorney is even stupider then he is, no court will ever hear this case . . . SONY will never need to defend anything

Mikael (profile) says:

Only a month ban and his name isn't Erik Estavillo

I found the guy’s youtube account where he posted a video he recorded of a conversation with a sony rep about the ban. It’s only a month ban. He also gives his full name, phone number, and email address. By the way, his name isn’t Erik Estavillo like the reports are saying it is. He gives the rep a totally different name (unless that’s the fake which I doubt). His youtube account is littered with videos of him trash talking other players and harassing females in Home for PS3. It’s no wonder he got banned. DPMVincint19 on youtube by the way in case you want to see the douche in action.

Mikael (profile) says:

In one of his youtube videos where he’s showing his room, he talks about how he wants to be like The Joker from The Dark Knight movie….he even says he’ll probably become a serial killer and was serious about it. I don’t think he should even be playing a game like Resistance. He talks about some of the meds he on (though he mentions the same one twice using alternate names O_o) and someone on those meds is not stable. I was on one of them for a sleeping disorder, but if he has panic attacks and aggoraphobia, he’s on the meds for their main purpose. To control schzophrenia and bipolar mania.

ToySouljah (profile) says:

This guy has too much time on his hands.

Wow, the guy does seem like a a–hole after watching a few of his videos. By the time this goes before a judge (which I doubt it will) his account will be active again unless he gets himself banned again (which I highly don’t doubt). If he can be a little civil while playing, then he might not have to worry about Sony “like stealing” his money. Although, just to teach him a lesson, they should take it to court. After the judge and the attorneys present are done laughing at him, they can then hand him the bill for court and attorney’s fees. Oh, and I hope he puts that on YouTube lol

Jimmy the Geek says:

Companies are licensed by the state

So the state has a responsibility to yank their business license if they violate anyone’s rights.

Most of the freedom of speech and trespassing on public property charges I have been seeing lately is done by licensing out an area of control out to a private company and then letting them violate everyones rights.

Restricting speech online is the same as if your phone connection were to be cut off if you used a swear word. Everyone is for censoring phone speech right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Haha, this is a text for one of his videos, he is a douche

If you disable or delete this video, youtube, I’ll just upload it at every other video site and send this video to all the news networks I can.

Also, I’ll post this message on their message boards.

“I’ve only had my channel for 2 months now and it has 3,000+ views. In a year’s time, my channel will be one of the more popular ones. However, I’ve recently gotten a “strike” on my youtube account. I think there’s a bit of hypocrisy since you just featured a video: the “YouTube Time Capsule!” from a girl lacigreen. Her channel, if you hadn’t noticed, also involves videos of a raunchy nature; including a video about orgasms. I’m copying this letter to as many message boards as I can. Thank you and goodnight.”

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