Bioware bans SW:TOR player over internet meme

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I'm not saying they're the same, I'm saying that the reason the rule exists applies to both the forum and the game both. It's not legal for them to allow someone that is 12 and under to register for a game account OR a forum account - why would they allow them to continue playing the game if they're going to ban someone for being underage on the forum?
Do you get banned from WoW if you post as underage on their forums? I don't know, I don't play MMO's.

It is still bullshit. If the law says someone can buy the game, and the law does not prevent them from playing the game (COPPA does not, it just means the companies have to keep a bit better records), then they should not ban people from playing the game for age related reasons UNLESS they clearly and prominintly display that on the box.

The forum and the game fall under the same legislation. EA/Bioware can't knowingly store underage information. Treating the forum/game differently would do nothing.
I think you need to read at least the wikipedia page on COPPA
try making a WoW account, and then telling a mod ingame that you are underage and don't have your parents permission.
They didn't even ask if he had his parents permission, which would make the whole thing moot as that is totally legal.
 
This thread went as expected.

I'm siding with the hate brigade, since I don't consider internet forums to be a legitimate way to determine someones age. They are an informal form of communicating, where people often insult, troll and flat out lie, among other things. The account banning was uncalled for.

EDIT: To expand, you make an official "I'm over 13" statement when you sign the agreement. That's the only thing that should matter to Bioware and EA.
 
Let me try a better analogy. You go to that club with your wife. The club needs people to be +18 to signup. You chitchat with someone in the club, and in the middle a conversation, an employee overhears it: "thank god they didn't check my wife's age. hahaha". It just pretended to be a joke due to how young his wife looks, but the employee takes her away and bans her membership.

That's TOTALLY OK. He said it, must be true.
The person I was responding to was latching onto the concept of it being 'stealing' the game back. I was pointing out that that wasn't a logical conclusion.

I still think that this ban is dumb.
 
For one, they should be taking just a little more time to investigate if there's an actual violation before issuing a game ban. That's both legally and ethically sound.

There is no Fed bogeyman waiting to swoop in and issue million dollar companies for failing to ban a guy who says "I'm 12 and what is this" on an internet forum. That's really not how the law will work, it's going to be a little more nuanced and sensible than that and the companies obviously know that.

Which is why feel free to post this exact text string on numerous other MMO forums and see how often their crack army of lawyers jumps in and gets you banned from the game right away in order to stave off million-dollar losses. You think if this sort of hair-trigger reaction was actually necessary, if their poor hands are so stringently tied, which some people seem to think is the case, then every major company would be putting way more effort into doing what Bioware just did. That's actually not how it works, and companies have obligations to consumers and contract law and ethical considerations as well, not just obligations to take reasonable efforts to comply with a certain federal law.

That's not to say that this action is legally unsound, but it is certainly not "the only option" and it is also rightfully a recipe for bad PR and consumer backlash.
Agree with all of this... except that the customer in question doesn't seem like he cares one way or another to fix the problem, thus a big PR backlash seems like overkill. Its a two way street.
 
The person I was responding to was latching onto the concept of it being 'stealing' the game back. I was pointing out that that wasn't a logical conclusion.

I still think that this ban is dumb.
I dont know how else to define it then. If the game isnt refused sale to people under age at the point of sale, then bioware or EA have no business in who is playing it or why. Parental consent is implied.

If they then ban that player from ever playing that copy of the game online (which is the only way it can be played) then it is morally equivalent to stealing. Stealing the game/stealing the money used to buy it/whatever.

At the very least, they owe him a full refund.
 
I dont know how else to define it then. If the game isnt refused sale to people under age at the point of sale, then bioware or EA have no business in who is playing it or why. Parental consent is implied.

If they then ban that player from ever playing that copy of the game online (which is the only way it can be played) then it is morally equivalent to stealing. Stealing the game/stealing the money used to buy it/whatever.

At the very least, they owe him a full refund.
If an item is confiscated from someone who is not permitted to own it, are they entitled to a refund?

(I think that they *should* be, actually. But that's not something that's enshrined in law, and I'm fairly sure there's numerous examples where no refund is required)
 
If an item is confiscated from someone who is not permitted to own it, are they entitled to a refund?

(I think that they *should* be, actually. But that's not something that's enshrined in law, and I'm fairly sure there's numerous examples where no refund is required)
I think theres a case to be made if its shown the seller did not make sufficient attempts to ensure the person was able to buy it.

The obvious examples would be alcohol and tobacco, but since this is media we should probably consider more appropriate examples such as age-restricted movies. I think if you catch a kid buying an R rated film, you should not be able to confiscate it without parental consent. Parents can make that call for their child. And that's a close match for an online videogame, to be honest.

Of course, were the movie an X rated one, it should be seized, but I think that the harder questions should be asked of the retailer and they should get fined plus give the kid a refund since they didnt do their job. (That wasnt a pun, btw)
 
If an item is confiscated from someone who is not permitted to own it, are they entitled to a refund?

(I think that they *should* be, actually. But that's not something that's enshrined in law, and I'm fairly sure there's numerous examples where no refund is required)
However, they did not even bother to confirm if it was a typo. 2 is next to 3, he could've done a simple mistake and yet it received a permaban.

It's wrong, despite the humorous situation.
 
Do you get banned from WoW if you post as underage on their forums? I don't know, I don't play MMO's.

It is still bullshit. If the law says someone can buy the game, and the law does not prevent them from playing the game (COPPA does not, it just means the companies have to keep a bit better records), then they should not ban people from playing the game for age related reasons UNLESS they clearly and prominintly display that on the box.
With WoW, they allow for a player to get parental consent and attach that information to the account. With SWTOR, I'm pretty sure their stance (which I'm sure is in some retarded location on the packaging) is that you must be 13 years or older to access gameplay or create an account at all, so that they can comply with COPPA without filing for any of the additional paperwork.
 
Let me try a better analogy. You go to that club with your wife. The club needs people to be +18 to signup. You chitchat with someone in the club, and in the middle a conversation, an employee overhears it: "thank god they didn't check my wife's age. hahaha". It just pretended to be a joke due to how young his wife looks, but the employee takes her away and bans her membership.

That's TOTALLY OK. He said it, must be true.
That is legal and the wise thing to do. if the chick can't prove she is legal or in this case doesn't even try, what should the employee do? Risk losing their liquor license?

I think you need to read at least the wikipedia page on COPPA
You don't need Wikipedia to know a decade old law. It's common sense.

Do people never wonder why so many online sites and forums have that rule, including neogaf.
 
That is legal and the wise thing to do. if the chick can't prove she is legal or in this case doesn't even try, what should the employee do? Risk losing their liquor license?

You don't need Wikipedia to know a decade old law. It's common sense.

Do people never wonder why so many online sites and forums have that rule, including neogaf.
you think it's legal/ethic for an employee to remove a person the club and ban their membership (considering to apply she showed the info, so if anything it would be a mistake on their part) because he overheard a conversation, instead of questioning it before taking action?

It would have avoided this "shoot first, ask later" situation.

What i'm saying in fact is that they didn't even allow her to show her ID, they just removed her from the place and proceeded to ban her membership. This is what happened here. And to be honest it's one of those things that speak bad PR for the online masses.

The correct mail would've been something along the lines that they take rules strictly, and that he should validate his age in the next X days or his account will get cancelled. That would've been the polite way to do it.
 

JaseC

gave away the keys to the kingdom.
You don't need Wikipedia to know a decade old law. It's common sense.

Do people never wonder why so many online sites and forums have that rule, including neogaf.
Explain how being familiar with a US law is a universal example of common sense. Not every country has a law similar to COPPA.
 

DopeyFish

Not bitter, just unsweetened
Do you get banned from WoW if you post as underage on their forums? I don't know, I don't play MMO's.

It is still bullshit. If the law says someone can buy the game, and the law does not prevent them from playing the game (COPPA does not, it just means the companies have to keep a bit better records), then they should not ban people from playing the game for age related reasons UNLESS they clearly and prominintly display that on the box.


I think you need to read at least the wikipedia page on COPPA

They didn't even ask if he had his parents permission, which would make the whole thing moot as that is totally legal.
http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm

They didn't ask for the parents permission because they were not aiming for kids under 13

The Old Republic is strictly an online game which means they -do- fall under COPPA

Considering a subscription is required, collecting information of the user in unavoidable
 
http://www.coppa.org/comply.htm

They didn't ask for the parents permission because they were not aiming for kids under 13

The Old Republic is strictly an online game which means they -do- fall under COPPA

Considering a subscription is required, collecting information of the user in unavoidable
Of course they have to comply. When you product is sold to people under 13 you need to have mechanisms in place to ensure you comply.
 
you think it's legal/ethic for an employee to remove a person the club and ban their membership (considering to apply she showed the info, so if anything it would be a mistake on their part) because he overheard a conversation, instead of questioning it before taking action?
I don't think it's legal. i know it's legal. The user clearly broke the TOS by stating "I am 12". EA/Bioware have a protocol and they followed it, at the same time giving the user the ability to dispute the claim. Apparently he hasn't tried.


It would have avoided this "shoot first, ask later" situation.
Pretty sure the guy who shot first is the person who broke the TOS. Also if the moderator assumed this person was a 12 year old kid, like logic demands than the kid has already lied when creating the game and forum account.

What i'm saying in fact is that they didn't even allow her to show her ID, they just removed her from the place and proceeded to ban her membership. This is what happened here. And to be honest it's one of those things that speak bad PR for the online masses.

The correct mail would've been something along the lines that they take rules strictly, and that he should validate his age in the next X days or his account will get cancelled. That would've been the polite way to do it.
So break federal law in order to be polite? Awesome. it's only bad PR for people who don't understand the various privacy laws and regulations around, oh and people who just want something to bitch about.

I wish GAF had that logic

"hey Remnant, yeah this is Evilore. Hope you see the P.M. I got a complaint that you created a thread with a bunch of links to piracy sites and child porn, and that is obviously bad for us being against federal law and all so if you could clean that up in a day or two that would be awesome. kthanxbye
 
Pretty sure the guy who shot first is the person who broke the TOS. Also if the moderator assumed this person was a 12 year old kid, like logic demands than the kid has already lied when creating the game and forum account.
If he isnt 12 (and he isnt, it was a joke) then he broke no TOS at all.
 
^ should've been the first post. Nice summary.
He didn't defend himself because... it was a notification, not something you can defend. Also, the moderator should be able to at least question him somehow. Does a person deserve to be banned for an innocent joke/typo? In the eyes of some people: yes.

Btw, don't these games say "never tell your real data to other players?". Quite the doublemoral here. We tell you to never give away real details, but we'll assume you do share them and count them as real.
 
He didn't defend himself because... it was a notification, not something you can defend. Also, the moderator should be able to at least question him somehow. Does a person deserve to be banned for an innocent joke/typo? In the eyes of some people: yes.

Btw, don't these games say "never tell your real data to other players?". Quite the doublemoral here. We tell you to never give away real details, but we'll assume you do share them and count them as real.
Looks like he had an avenue to defend himself here


People have been banned on this forum before for what they see as innocent jokes. This is not an innocent joke. This is something that could put them directly in trouble with the law.

There is no doublemoral here. Yes they tell you not to divulge private information. That isn't a reason to believe everything a person says is a lie.
 
But not to take it as legit either. Thing is, a warning requiring some kind of validation would've been enough. Imo, the ban without question is the bad action here. It's the surrealism of the situation what makes it funny and depressing at the same time. With enough caution from EA forum side, it wouldn't have looked so bad. I heard before that wow, you better not enter those forums (like being locked out of your purchased content and stuff). This particular case confirms it for me as a place I will never use (although the first reason would be that I barely buy EA games, so no reason to visit them).
 
Pretty sure the guy who shot first is the person who broke the TOS. Also if the moderator assumed this person was a 12 year old kid, like logic demands than the kid has already lied when creating the game and forum account.
He didn't break ToS, because he is not 12 years old! What other person on this page said is true - forums are an informal way to communicate, by signing for TOR, forum account, etc. you state you are over 13. That is the law, this is legal, this is what Bioware should keep a track of.

Instead they banned the user based on interpretation of what he said by a CS representative, and that is wrong. That is why the best legal acts are the most precise, not open to interpretation.

Anyway, they should unban him, remind him of over 13-rule, etc.

Also, I find it disgusting how the whole Customer Support/Protocol Droid bullshit is not listing a specific person handling your case by name. This is ridiculous, you are paying for a product, you should demand people to identify themselves.
 

Skilotonn

xbot xbot xbot xbot xbot
Never heard of the line myself, won't bother to read up on it either.

But it's silly to ban the guy like that without investigating for something you pay for like that so quickly.
 
He didn't defend himself because... it was a notification, not something you can defend.
It was a mistake right? So this guy should've contacted Customer Support to lift the ban/remove the infraction whatever. If customer support didn't respond, or responded with "Too bad kid, we have your money, bwahahahaa!" then I'd understand a backlash.

But none of this has happened.

In an alternate universe this guy did confront and clear the issue up with Customer Support and maybe even got the support team to review their policy of using forum statements or being too quick on the banhammer. Maybe in this alternate universe the topic of backlash would be purely about games tying forum accounts to game access (which seems like heaping loads of bullshit to me).

But that's not the universe we're in.
 
It was a mistake right? So this guy should've contacted Customer Support to lift the ban/remove the infraction whatever. If customer support didn't respond, or responded with "Too bad kid, we have your money, bwahahahaa!" then I'd understand a backlash.

But none of this has happened.

In an alternate universe this guy did confront and clear the issue up with Customer Support and maybe even got the support team to review their policy of using forum statements or being too quick on the banhammer. Maybe in this alternate universe the topic of backlash would be purely about games tying forum accounts to game access (which seems like heaping loads of bullshit to me).

But that's not the universe we're in.
I know I know. I just mentioned that they could've been more cautious. Nothing beyond that.
 
But...they were being cautious. It's not their business to consider idiots from 4chan trying to be an internet comedian. They don't want a massive fine from the government.
You recently made a post that implies you're breaking the TOS. Please validate your age in the next 3 days of we will have to issue a permanent suspension of the service.

I think that would've been the appropiate and cautious action imo. And they would comply with the law aswell.
 
You recently made a post that implies you're breaking the TOS. Please validate your age in the next 3 days of we will have to issue a permanent suspension of the service.

I think that would've been the appropiate and cautious action imo. And they would comply with the law aswell.
Actually no, that doesn't comply with the law as well. If someone says there's a bomb on a plane, they don't give him 3 days to say "lol j/k". COPPA is serious business and there's no grace period.
 
Actually no, that doesn't comply with the law as well. If someone says there's a bomb on a plane, they don't give him 3 days to say "lol j/k". COPPA is serious business and there's no grace period.
But the end-user already said "i'm over 13 years old", so a vague chat does not equal the importance of the check in the ToS agreement. But that's my opinion, just that.
 
At this point I feel like there should be a big warning sign when you try to log in to the forums:

"If you say something we don't like on these forums we will permanently ban you from playing the game you paid for. Really, you probably just shouldn't use these forums at all."
 
I know this meme, but that is irrelevant. How can these guys ban people's paid accounts without doing any real investigation? This guy should be compensated and that community manager punished accordingly.


Also, I don't know this meme and still would not take it as a serious statement of one's age. Wth? Hahaha :-D

Looks like he had an avenue to defend himself here


People have been banned on this forum before for what they see as innocent jokes. This is not an innocent joke. This is something that could put them directly in trouble with the law.

There is no doublemoral here. Yes they tell you not to divulge private information. That isn't a reason to believe everything a person says is a lie.
Okay, point taken.
 
You recently made a post that implies you're breaking the TOS. Please validate your age in the next 3 days of we will have to issue a permanent suspension of the service.

I think that would've been the appropiate and cautious action imo. And they would comply with the law aswell.
So they have to be internet nannies? Ban was justified. People need to learn they are responsible for what they say even on the internet.
 
People have been banned on this forum before for what they see as innocent jokes. This is not an innocent joke. This is something that could put them directly in trouble with the law.

There is no doublemoral here. Yes they tell you not to divulge private information. That isn't a reason to believe everything a person says is a lie.
Oh c'mon, you're exaggerating this. The user can quickly dispute he/she's not 12, rather than permanently banning them.
 
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