US court rules being muted doesn’t violate civil rights27th January 2020
A US court has ruled being muted in an online game does not count as a violation of civil rights.
Few take offence to being muted, especially by someone they have never met or spoken to before. Yet one disgruntled Runescape gamer was left feeling rather irked when a developer decided they didn’t want to hear their voice.
Pennsylvania resident Amro Elansari took a Jagex dev to court, claiming he had the right to free speech. Elansari felt he was discriminated against and decided to settle the matter in court.
Over the past 18 months, it is understood Mr Elansari has brought nine other cases to the courts.
One case was against dating app Tinder after he claimed all of the people who had ‘matched’ with him were fake. The claim was unsuccessful.
He also attempted to sue Altaria – the parent company of various tobacco companies – for polluting his town with cigarette smoke.
For the ‘muting’ case, he claimed the fourteenth amendment had been violated. However, judges clarified that such claims can only be brought if the defending party is ‘a state actor’.
Jagex is a UK-based company and the other defendant named was Shanghai Fukong Interactive Entertainment – a China-based firm bought by the developer in 2016.
“Elansari insists that developer Jagex should be liable for ‘unequal treatment’ because Elansari’s account was muted compared to all other players who are not muted,” it was ruled.
“Even generously construing Elansari’s complaint to raise a claim of public accommodations discrimination and assuming that Elansari can bring such a claim in this context, at no point either in the District Court or on appeal has Elansari alleged losing access to Jagex’s online game due to discrimination.
“For the reasons above, Elansari has shown no error in the District Court’s dismissal of the complaint.”
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