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PS3 Owner Sues Sony For Free Speech Violation

07/28/2009

In response to being banned from the PlayStation Network Erik Estavillo of San Jose Filed suit against Sony in the U.S. District Court in California alleging free speech violation. Details are not available as to what exactly transpired to cause the ban but this quote from gamepolitics.com has the most information available. “The plaintiff was exercising his First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech in the game’s public forum when he was banned from, not only [Resistance], but also banned from playing all other games online via the PlayStation Network” Estavillo claims to have agoraphobia (a fear of crowds) and says that the PSN is his only social outlet and is asking for $55,000 in damages.

I wanted to blog about this because it brings up an interesting point about how much control Sony has or should have over its servers and the content on them. Some people feel that they are online in a manufactured reality and they should be able to do and say what ever they want, while others believe that being polite and the “golden rule” are important even online. Sony has its Terms of Service (TOS was once called EULA) that define what it feels is acceptable on its servers. In my experience on the Home service I know of only one user who has received a permanent PSN ban and he was hacking the code. Language violations usually get one week to one month bans. I can’t even guess what Eric was doing on the forums to get a permanent ban.

So I put the question forth to you dear reader (I know there is at least one of you out there lol) where should Sony draw the line about what is acceptable? At what point are they supporting social standards and at what point is the jackboot coming down on our necks?

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One comment

  1. While I’m against censorship in general, we’re talking about a virtual space that Sony owns…they can do whatever the heck they want as long as they clearly spell it out to their users.

    Now, as far as where they should draw the line… That’s a tough one. I guess, since making money is their ulitimate goal that they should pander to the largest paying customer base they can. With the abundance of social content Sony intends, that audience is tweens, young adults, and families. Anytime kids enter the mix, the level of tolerance for crude, lewd, or rude behavior should be monitored closely, IMHO.

    If Eric violated a “stated” policy of Sony’s, he should be punished by whatever means Sony feels neccesary. If he did something that had “not” previously been forbidden, then he should be warned, the policy ammended, and everyone move on…there’s nothing to see, here.



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