Players of Pokemon Go are not only giving up their right to act like sane human beings in public, as they walk around, zombie-esque, reaching into the phones held in front of their faces, they are also likely to be waiving legal rights if they don’t take a very close look at Niantic Labs’ Terms of Service for the game.
As spotted earlier by The Consumerist, an arbitration notice states that Pokemon Go users automatically agree to waive their rights to any future trial by jury or class action lawsuit unless they opt out of a binding clause in the T&Cs…
ARBITRATION NOTICE: EXCEPT IF YOU OPT OUT AND EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF DISPUTES DESCRIBED IN THE “AGREEMENT TO ARBITRATE” SECTION BELOW, YOU AGREE THAT DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND NIANTIC WILL BE RESOLVED BY BINDING, INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION, AND YOU ARE WAIVING YOUR RIGHT TO A TRIAL BY JURY OR TO PARTICIPATE AS A PLAINTIFF OR CLASS MEMBER IN ANY PURPORTED CLASS ACTION OR REPRESENTATIVE PROCEEDING.
To opt out of the legal rights waiver, users need to email [email protected] or can send regular mail to 2 Bryant St., Ste. 220, San Francisco, CA 94105.
But the opt out process is only valid if exercised within 30 days following the date a user first accepted the T&Cs.
Having a short opt-out window for legal rights embedded within T&Cs which the vast majority of users won’t read before clicking ‘I agree’ and rushing into their neighbor’s garden to try to catch a pikachu is a very aggressive stance.
Binding arbitration means a private dispute resolution process, heard outside a courtroom, with individual users having to mount their own cases — rather than having the ability to band together in a class action, for example, if there is a data breach which affects multiple users in the same way.
Only individual actions brought to small claims courts and actions seeking injunctive or equitable relief pertaining to IP infringement rights are unaffected.
The rules under which any arbitration would take place are specified as those of the American Arbitration Association — “in accordance with the Commercial Arbitration Rules and the Supplementary Procedures for Consumer Related Disputes”, albeit with some Niantic specific modifications. Safe to say, private arbitration is a restrictive route for redress that clearly disadvantages consumers. – READ MORE