Yesterday I made passing comment on certain EULAs adding a bit so that gamers have no pursuit to class action lawsuits against the company whose services they use. Today, via Wonderland Blog, I came across this interesting site to opt out of these clauses; the idea seems to have originated on Reddit.
Appropriately named Gamers Opt Out, the thing is that in order to opt out of the particularly nagging issues surrounding the new PSN services or EA's new digital distribution software Origin, you must use this device called snail mail (perhaps they are in cohoots to shore up business for the US's flagging mail service?), which the site offers to make an easier process to find everything needed. In a world where signing Terms of Services or End User License Agreements is as simple as checking a box and signing something very few people read closely, this method does seem a bit bizarre and strange, though I am no legal scholar and cannot dive into the labyrinths that particular bit of bureaucracy navigates.
From the Redditors' own words:
Gamersoptout.com is a site that lets users easily opt-out of absurd license agreement clauses that require a physically mailed letter. These companies all know that most users either a) don't know that they can opt-out, or b) will never mail the letter, so they can afford the few letters they receive and process.
At Gamersoptout.com our plan is to make it easy for everyone to opt-out of clauses like these. At our site, you submit the required information to opt-out to us, and we mail your letter (along with others) to these companies for you.
The site is donation-driven, created by gamers who donated their own money to start it. However, we can't afford to send all these letters ourselves. The site won't be around for long unless the users help out. Please donate and support this great cause with what you can -- every little bit helps!
These forms do not require a signature, apparently, which was checked with lawyers. The information they require? Account name, name, and address. It also only seems open to US accounts.
However, I somewhat pause at providing such details. While I would like to believe LGBT persons can easily submit their address without repurcussions, that isn't the world in which I have been raised, and given the PSN hacks, and various other leaks of information this past year, it is worrying to have this in someone else's hands, regardless of whether you are in the LGBT community or not. However, it is an option for those not concerned with such--I cannot speak to your own feeling of safety.
Of course, part of this is awareness raising (sometimes dubious, but in this case, where awareness is not high concerning something few read, perhaps more useful). There are ways to opt out, and if you wish to take it in your hands, please do so.
The other end is questioning how legal these clauses are, with reports that various countries may not consider them legally binding. So, while you go about deciding what the best course of action is for yourself, I may well go spelunking into English legalese (and the apparent bevy of legal scholars and lawyers I know--is everyone in law school?) to find out exactly what all is happening here, what might not shake, and what may be in our future.
To the research mobile!