Saturday, June 9, 2007

Linden Labs' Terms of Service "unconscionable"...

... in part because the Eastern District relied on EMPLOYMENT and FRANCHISEE CASES! I kid you not: read for yourself: Bragg v. Linden.

Linden Labs' the folks that bring you Second Life lost it's motion to compel arbitration because the court found the Terms of Service both procedurally and substantively unconscionable.

When discussing the TOS' procedural aspect, the court points to two California employment agreements about "take-it-or-leave-it" employment contracts. Anyone could figure out that the policies in those cases would be considerably different than the policies underlying a service agreement. This sounds like "clear error" and Linden Labs ought to win on appeal.

The court also stated that there are no market alternatives because no other online world offers "its participants property rights in virtual land." I'm not sure which way this argument should cut. Might the fact that they alone offer this feature be reason that the terms should be given more weight? To what other relevant market participant is the court comparing unconscionability's "shock the conscious?"

I will agree with the court with respect to one argument: PUT YOUR ARBITRATION CLAUSE IN A CONSPICUOUS PLACE. Linden Labs did not.

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