Xbox Live bans prompt class action lawsuit

By on November 20, 2009, 11:15 AM
Looks like the recent wave of Xbox Live bans -- in which as many as one million users were cut off from the service -- is ready to evolve into a into a full on legal showdown. A Texas-based law firm by the name of AbingtonIP is reportedly organizing a class-action suit claiming Microsoft timed the bans to extract the maximum amount of money out of customers.

According to AbingtonIP, this "convenient" timing may have resulted in more Xbox Live subscription revenues for Microsoft than it would have if the console bans had taken place at some point before the release of Halo 3: ODST and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The company is also said to have earned plenty of game sales revenue from these two titles before dropping the axe on infringing users.

Microsoft for its part says the bans were made to combat piracy and support safer and more secure gameplay, though the law firm contends that it also locked out users who had modified their Xboxes for reasons other than piracy -- which they admit is "arguably" against the terms of service.

AbingtonIP is recruiting plaintiffs through its website and looking for people who have had their Xbox banned from Xbox Live without a refund for their remaining subscription. What's your take on the issue, do they make a convincing case, or is this just a shady attempt to profit at Microsoft's expense?




User Comments: 57

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Guest said:

They definitely have a case. M$ could have banned all these so-called cheats long ago if they wanted to. They(M$) are business savvy people hence the perfected (banned) timing with the release of these high rated and anticipated games. They ought to be sued... they are no less a cheat than the said people they banned.

Guest said:

The lawyers will gain the most out of these lawsuits not the people they represent.

Guest said:

They have every right to do it though, it says so in their terms of service.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

They don't have a chance in hell of winning against MS. Users signed the agreement when they registered for Xbox Live which specifically prohibits box modification. It's MS's prerogative to enforce that agreement at any time they wish.

If they get any money out of this at all, it'll be some small settlement from MS just so they don't have to bother with putting a legal team together to fight it.

This is just a money-grab intent - has nothing to do with "right a perceived wrong."

paynetrain007 said:

Retarded lawyers.... If you laid all the money hungry lawyers end to end around the equator...... we'd all be better off.

RealXboxMaster said:

U stupid a.. These people who got bannned deserve every bit of it. Microsoft is protecting their investment and making sure people who pay for thier services can enjoy a hacker free online experience. This has NOTHING to do with the pre relese of COD MW2 or Halo 3

RealXboxMaster said:

U stupid a.. These people who got bannned deserve every bit of it. Microsoft is protecting their investment and making sure people who pay for thier services can enjoy a hacker free online experience. This has NOTHING to do with the pre relese of COD MW2 or Halo 3

I 110% agree with TomSEA.

RealXboxMaster said:

AbingtonIP is just looking a ways to cash in from MS. I don't think so..

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If part of the basis is the ridiculous claims that this generated more Xbox Live revenues, there is no way in hell these ambulance chasers will win. From everything I read, the console was banned, not the account. So, new unmodded LEGAL Xbox, no problem. Nothing to do with the subscriptions accounts. Unless, of course, what I was reading in previous discussions about these bans was incorrect. And even if that is correct, so what? Live is a service, and as such Microsoft reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, for any reason they so choose. It just so happens they chose a completely legally defensible position in which the modders invalidated the EULA for the Live service.

The only ones who will win are the lawyers. The class action lawsuit will fail, and MS will get more bad PR.

gobbybobby said:

I hate that u cannot back up game disks. I hate that, I lose, scratch or have my Xbox destroy many of my games. I have given up and not renewed my Xbox live Subs. I ahve concidered backing all my games up. (LEGAL IN THIS COUNTRY) and just burning new didks when one breaks. Byt No M$ Stupid Ts and Cs say. no u cannot do that. And for the people that have done it, for the LEGAL reason of backing games up, they are treated as if they are law breakers. Well I hope M$ get sued a shit loads and are forced to re-connect each and every console modified to play legal game backups.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

For the cost of a replacement disc you're argument is invalid. If you are unhappy with a product, discontinue using it, they're are alternatives. I'm sure Sony would love to have your business.

As to the topic the ban only disallows them on xbox live, other than that the console are still fully functional. A user can purchase an new/ unmod the console and the account will be playable again. You have to agree to the terms of use when you sign up to xbox live and if you break it they are within their legal right to terminate your service.

gobbybobby said:

tekkaraiden said:

I'm sure Sony would love to have your business.

Yea. They would. And they have! But I will be playing on my 360 again when they do thsi free gold week. maybe I will buy a new subscription so I can play Halo 3 and Gears 2 again, I also wanna use the Sky player. I still think there should be a backup option for all consoles. Wii, PS3, Xbox. But Xbox especially. ive never brokn a PS3 game, but my xbox games seem to always be broken, as for my Wii games, well I only use them 1 or 2 times a month so...

PCIGamer said:

Xbox live console bannings aside, which i agree is absurd and MS will wipe the floor with them....what , they, - the law firm - *really* should be going after is the fact that once you are banned MS cripple your hard-drive/memory cards rendering them effectively useless.

PCIGamer said:

For the cost of a replacement disc you're argument is invalid. If you are unhappy with a product, discontinue using it, they're are alternatives. I'm sure Sony would love to have your business.

As to the topic the ban only disallows them on xbox live, other than that the console are still fully functional. A user can purchase an new/ unmod the console and the account will be playable again. You have to agree to the terms of use when you sign up to xbox live and if you break it they are within their legal right to terminate your service.

Terminating your service is one thing but after a console is banned the xbox is not fully functional at all. Any hard drives/memory cards you used on a banned console is crippled.

So scenario is, Johnny plays Xbox live on his modded console. Gets banned, learns his lesson, buys a new console, connects his HDD from his banned console over to the new console, his profile will appear corrupted. No choice but to format the HDD and start over, losing saves, any DLC he purchased, videos

The law firm is clueless - this is what they should go after, IMO they have a case if they go after this. Going after upset people banned from Xbox Live is absurd

Guest said:

PCIGamer:

"So scenario is, Johnny plays Xbox live on his modded console. Gets banned, learns his lesson, buys a new console, connects his HDD from his banned console over to the new console, his profile will appear corrupted. No choice but to format the HDD and start over, losing saves, any DLC he purchased, videos"

Not true, apart from the game saves everything else will be available to download again for FREE from xbox live. The modders have no case and they know it, they are just pi$$ed off they got caught. Like everyone on xbox live they agreed to legally binding terms and conditions and now MS want to enforce they all moan.

What a joke, lmfao!!

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

Once you motified your Xbox360 for any reason, you broke there terms of service. You can't argue anything, you broke the law. The system still works so there is no lawsuit, you just can't go on xbox live. Consider yourself lucky thief. I don't own a xbox 360 it is to cheap, I own a ps3 and I pay alot for games, the part were your getting them free is enough for me not to piety you.

tonylukac said:

Why are all these terms of service the word of God? I don't believe in God either.

paynetrain007 said:

even someone who only takes moderate amount of care of their discs should get a long life out of them. I was 10 years old once and all my old discs still work for the most part. As for the HD's and what not getting crippled ya thats unfortunate and it would be nice for Microsoft to remedy that, but they don't have to and theirs no legal argument against it. And the only thing you would really loose are saved games. Your account can be recovered on a new console and the DLC re-downloaded.

paynetrain007 said:

tonylukac said:

Why are all these terms of service the word of God? I don't believe in God either.

Wow?? do way to be incredibly off topic.

Guest said:

The machine gets banned and the customer is still being charged for a service they no longer have any use for, since they have nothing to access it with. At that point MS is charging for a service that they know is of no use to that customer. I would say they are guilty of illegal enrichment. MS is smart say 1,000,000 customers x 50cents a day until they cancel their accounts. Do the math not to bad a take for providing nothing and knowing that fact. MS should have notified these accounts of the impending ban, that way the choice would have been available to the customer to end their account to avoid paying for a service they no longer needed. This is about the public enforcing Ethical behavior on a not so ethical corporation. Its not about making money from lawsuits or getting over on the poor misunderstood company. It's every citizens duty to help keep our businesses in line.

PCIGamer said:

their account is not banned, the console is. They can sign in to Xbox Live from another console. What is the problem?

Guest said:

PCIGamer. Please read an TRY to understand what is written before you you make ***** statments.I you have a problem with that please contact an adult to explain. "their account is not banned, the console is. They can sign in to Xbox Live from another console. What is the problem?"

Their are no stupid questions, just a lot of inquisitive ******

Guest said:

There is nothing illegal about microsoft making money. People should be happy they were able to play as long as they did. As crappy as microsoft is, they aren't stupid when it comes to making money. Of course they would maximize profits before banning. the live accounts are still active so why would they offer refund for remaining time. All ya got to do is get another xbox and don't modify it.

Guest said:

No one should have to buy a new console just to use xbox live. that just means more money for microsoft. they should refund all the money they stolen from people 2 wrongs don't make a right thats an old saying and microsoft should know that. i don;t feel bad for them 60.00 for a game is highway robbery and almost 90% of the games out there are terrible anyways

Guest said:

My xbox is all chrome, a case mod. Nothing about the software was modded, So does that violate a contract? Even though i dont have xbox live

glenoman glenoman said:

they should sue the crap out of microsoft they should not be allowed to charge people to access the internet if you already pay for internet access from local ISP's.

bill gates and microsoft have made billions off people, if you ask me it should be against the law.

as for getting caught with a modded box. welllll you got caught....ooooops

but did they set people up so that they could make millions ??????

Guest said:

I know xbox games are a little over priced, well, a lot over priced and Microsoft should do something about that. And the timing for the bans was a little to good to be anything other than planned. But, I don't think they should be on the end of legal action (for a change). They have warned users this will happen on many occasions and banned lots of people for modding the console. The people that got banned knew it could (and at some point, would) happen and that they are breaking the law using copied games. So it's just tough s**t for them. I find myself, for the first time ever, siding with Microsoft over this one.

Next thieves will be taking legal action against the police for arresting them.... For a while at least people with modded xbox's won't be able to use all the gadgets and stuff around to cheat online & the servers wont be as crowed so online gaming will be smother. I'm happy with the timing of this set of bans.

Guest said:

they should sue the crap out of microsoft they should not be allowed to charge people to access the internet if you already pay for internet access from local ISP's.

bill gates and microsoft have made billions off people, if you ask me it should be against the law.

as for getting caught with a modded box. welllll you got caught....ooooops

but did they set people up so that they could make millions ??????

Microsoft aren't charging for internet access, they are charging for access to the xbox live game servers... And lets face it at the moment they are a lot better than most of the games servers run by the games developers. EA probably wouldn't have spent all that money upgrading the game servers hosting battelfield: Modern Combat if it wasn't for Microsoft moaning at them because we were moaning to Microsoft about online gameplay in those games.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

In reference to backing up games...perhaps this would not be an issue if we utilized a storage media which wasn't so vulnerable. I don't see why game dvds couldn't have a case over them at all times, like a large version of the minidisc.(obviously we couldn't just switch to it right now, but you get the idea)

siiix siiix said:

does not matter is payback time

Guest said:

Its nice that Microsoft is Judge and Jury and declares all guilty without representation!!

I don't care about cheating but why did they also stop all the external usb memory units for your saved games to stop working??

I feel they had no right to also stick it to everyone to get at the few cheaters. From a conversation with Microsoft - They said they want to stop all 3rd party manufacturers (competition like Datel, memory max, etc.), and that only Microsoft products will work.

I see lawsuits that, like AMD did againts Intel, will start to finally put Microsoft in its place. Microsoft again is trying to stop competition with a lame "lets blame it on cheaters" to get at everyone and get rid of competition.

Guest said:

Yes the Xbox's still have offline functionality, however less than 10 percent of the games created to be played on the Xbox have NO online content. That being said the bans take away some of the largest aspects of the system.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

tonylukac said:

Why are all these terms of service the word of God? I don't believe in God either.

Your personal theological views aside, EULAs aren't the word of God, but they ARE a legal contract that you, the user, agree to abide by. In this case, you are agreeing to follow your end of the EULA in order to be allowed to use specific features of Microsoft's property, including the entire Live network. You break the EULA by doing something like, say, illegally modifying your console, you have forfeited all rights to those features and properties that Microsoft was providing to you. YOU broke the contract, not Microsoft. At that point, MS has every right to refuse service to any individual who does not respect their contractual obligations.

Again, not the word of any deity, just a basic law. Common sense would usually dictate that those who broke their contracts have no legal recourse. But, unfortunately, greedy (or attention starved) lawyers, and the modders who feel they should be able to do whatever they want whenever they want with absolutely no consequences, they just seem to be in short supply of that common sense.

Guest said:

I think the peoplewho modd their consoles just to play pirated games should be banned. I pay for games that I buy and it is unfair for some jerk to go online and not only play the game early but to play it for free. If Microsoft is just doing this to make more Xbox 360 console sales due to the fact that if someones console is banned this forces them to go out and buy another console then I am against that. That would be poor business ethics and pure greed.

Guest said:

Yall do know every type of business with terms of service do the same thing, Blizzard bans your account even if you have a half a year left on it with no refund, YOU AGREE TO THE TOS. It sucks and MS is getting money out of it, but that's how it goes, maybe you shouldn't mod?

RealXboxMaster said:

Reply to gobbybobby

Ur just one of them... if ur sooo concerned about ur games getting scratch, then start taking care of ur sht.. You said "But Xbox especially. ive never brokn a PS3 game, but my xbox games seem to always be broken, as for my Wii games, well I only use them 1 or 2 times a month so...It seem to me you HATE MS soo bad and giving them a bad rep. If you think they are that bad, Please do me the favor stop buying thier products and go play wit ur shitty SLOW PS3 and Wii. get a fkin life dude, people like u make me sick with stupid comments. You have no idea how much time, money, investment goes into making one of the BEST console and online experience MS has put together. ur shitty PS3 can't even match the quality of what MS has to offer besides the Blu-Gay player. So stop ur wining and look at the whole picture.

RealXboxMaster said:

tekkaraiden, I totally 100% gree wit u.

RealXboxMaster said:

Who cares what the law firm should go after, they have no case.... MS CLEARLY stated in thier agreement, in any way if you mod your system, your service will be "TERMINATED" end of story...People who got banned are crying like little beeyaches.

RealXboxMaster said:

FYI, I wouldnt say that if I were you. Saying that the 360 is CHEAP.. Do your homework carefully before posting comments like this. Let me give you an example what the word CHEAP means. Take a PS3 wireless controller in one hand, then take a 360 wireless in your other hand feel the weight difference? Also, feel the way the analog sticks are on the PS3? They feel CHEAP hhaaaa... I thought soo. Now feel the analog stick on the 360 they feel SOLID. To this day, I'm still playing with the original 360 wireless controller and never failed on me yet. I know people who own BOTH systems and their PS3 controllers failed on them after 4months of abuse.

Guest said:

Remember kids... Class Action Lawsuit is lawyer talk for "sign this sheet, and help us get an absurd amount of money."

RealXboxMaster said:

LMAO...LOL Nice one Guest

RealXboxMaster said:

NO.......Your modding your "EYE CANDY" exterior not the inside of the machine. Totally different.....LOL.......Nice try though.

RealXboxMaster said:

I'm sorry but you need to go back to school an re educate your self by saying such stupid sht.. MS and ISP are 2 different services u dumb a..

RealXboxMaster said:

Nice post Guest.... I gree with you 100%

RealXboxMaster said:

To anwser your question... You remember "Rainbow 6" for the original XBOX? U recall a device name "Action Replay" Datel made a cheat code for that game where you throw flaming bottles at your enemy. They called it "Flamin coctails" There was nothing you cant do to save your a.. So you tell me, is that fun to play online when you know someone on the other end is CHEATING?? So theres your anwser.

RealXboxMaster said:

Excellent point. I gree

Guest said:

MS has every right to ban those with "backup games" from the Live system.

Money hungry lawyers will just have their baseless case thrown out.

RealXboxMaster said:

To ALL of those who got banned and whining or a MS hater....Read this first...before making bad judgement on MS

Microsoft Reacts to Possible Class-Action Lawsuit over Bans

>> From financialpost.com:

Microsoft Corp. has responded to a possible class-action lawsuit over banning up to one million Xbox 360 consoles from accessing its online gaming service, arguing the company is well within its rights to ban users from Xbox Live.

A spokesperson from Microsoft reacted to the possible lawsuit on Friday. "Piracy is illegal and modifying an Xbox 360 is a violation of the Xbox Live Terms of Use. Microsoft is well within its legal rights to ban these users from Xbox Live."

Full Story: financialpost.com

Discuss this news item on our forums: forums.xbox-scene.com

Spread News: (PermaLink) - (Digg) - (Netscape) - (del.icio.us) - (Slashdot) - (Technorati)

(Friday 20 November 2009 20:21 EST) - (Category: Xbox360) - (Posted by:: XanTium)

Microsoft's Xbox Live chief on bans: not 1 Million

>> From venturebeat.com:

We sat down this week with Marc Whitten, the general manager of Xbox Live, to catch up on the latest with the service at the Streaming Media West show.

* VB: There were stories that talked about how Microsoft knocked out a lot of modders from Xbox Live. I recall that early on there were maybe 1 or 2 percent of the people who were using modded machines. Why would there be such a large number now? One report said it was a million modders knocked out.

* MW: It's a cat and mouse game. These were people that were pirating software. We try to keep sanctity of life from a safety and anti-cheating perspective and we protect our partners. We didn't release the number. I cannot explain to you why people would think it was a million people. It wasn't a million people. Check the veracity of that claim. It was one news source. I think we do a really good job understanding what people are doing on the system. That applies to intellectual property (piracy) and how we treat the community in terms of harassment. We are committed to making it better and better.

Guest said:

I love the timing of the ban. Sure, I hate M$, but this is hilarious. M$ has a set of rules you agree to follow when you subscribe. If you break the rules there are a predefined set of penalties that they describe will occur. I believe the timing is more a slap in the face to those who pirate and/or mod games and is well deserved. I have 0 sympathy for a pirate or modder; you were warned beforehand. The only thing I will gripe about is the fact that M$ is really snotty when it comes to helping people who didn't deserve a blow from the ban hammer but that is a different matter all together. Your loss is definately a true gamer's gain.

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