And so the magic ‘bubble’ bursts!

Lambda Legal, a “national organization committed to acheiving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, tansgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work” has written an official letter to Blizzard, stating that

  • “Although Blizzard is well within its rights to insist that players avoid referring to other gamers in an “insulting manner”, Blizzard cannot issue a blanket ban on any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity. There is nothing “insulting” about identifying oneself as gay, lesbian or transgender, nor does the announcement of a guild for LGBT gamers constitute “harassment” in any sense of the word. If other players react insultingly to the mere presene of LGBT gamers, then Blizzard should discipline the harassers, not attempt preemptively to silence the potential victims of harassement”
– Stolen from Kotaku

They further go on to list up a bunch of laws and suits that justify the letter. And these kinda worry me! I suppose it’s more the wording that worries me. Now, I really wish the Matrix technology existed for me to just download a law degree, but here’s what my painfully ordinary mind thinks. They keep referring to ‘reallife’ laws such as employment laws, for example “Insisting that LGBT persons not discuss their sexual orientation or gender identity can constitute discrimination under California law. Erdmann v. Tranquility Inc., 155 F.Supp.2d 1152 (N.D.Cal. 2001) [sorry about this guys](in which an employee who experienced a hostile environment at his workplace, including being instructed by a supervisor to “keep [his homosexuality] in the closet while he [was] at work,” stated a cause of action for employment discrimination)”.
I suppose I’m wondering if this is a true threat! I’m sure Blizzard would win any legal battle based on these employment laws (but ofcourse never will as it would be a public relations suicide) because these are players who have agreed to EULAs making Blizzard God – and well, the paying customers players within a dictatorial regime of game and chat forums, definately not employees with rights! Although…I suppose it is my contention that they actually do have these rights, it’s just not proven yet, so there’s no legislature to back them up (if I’m wrong here…please let me know!).
And then there’s my favourite nutcracker:

  • Online environments are public accomodations, subject to regulation as such. Butler v. Adoption Media, L.L.C., 2005 WL 1513142 (N.D.Cal.)

And you know I was foolish enough to try to investigate this one further, because I seriously don’t have anything better to do!! But jeez…sometimes Googling just isn’t enought! The most explanatory thing I found was an article in the SFGate. Apperantly a gay couple (The Butlers) were unlawfully regected by Adoption.com, which lists the profiles of hundreds of birth mothers as well as qualified persons wanting to adopt. What I think is interesting here is that Adoption.com is an Arizona based company…and The Butlers had been approved by the state of California (why?..I just thought it was an intersting dilemma). But I haven’t been able to find the ruling (at least not for free) so I’m presuming that they won and found that “Online environments are public accomodations, subject to regulation as such”. Well…I sure as hell didn’t know this!! I mean…World of Warcraft has to fall under the definition of an online environment – it’s just too big a definition not to include WoW! But what do they mean by ‘public accomodations’? I’m asuming that it means everyone has access and rights, but isn’t that really strange wording?

  • So I guess what I’m trying to ask in an EXTREMELY confusing way…does this little sentence or reference to Butler v. Adoption Media mean that all Blizzard forums and the game itself are ‘public accomodations’? If so…surely anti-discriminatory laws can’t be the only one’s they’re liable to. And then again…if Blizzard is liable aren’t the players as well?

That would be interesting! For lets face it…this whole yooha started with leet speak! It’s generally accepted when people utter the words “That’s so gay!” og “You fag!”. I honestly don’t think people saying these things are doing it to tick of homosexuals – they’re just not considering the possibility that it may be offensive to some (which makes me think about something I read about empathy and internet communities…hmmm…I’ll get back to that). Which I have a feeling has been the general attitude all along…but these people wanted to get away from such speak…and understandably so! Instead of whining and complaining to Blizzard…they took initiative to advertise their GLBT friendly guild. But what if…with this wording above…that anyone in WoW could complain and sue because they are offended by the typical leet language? What if that’s the way we’re going? Cause I think we are! And I think companies like Blizzard should take initiativ and do something before the law is about to impose on the magic circle (I know I don’t believe in it….it’s just a useful word right now, ok?!)! Seriously!

Oh dear! I’m so sorry for this complete and utter mess! I’ll see if I can clean it up tomorrow – my mind has just been all over the place today and I just wanted to get this out of my mind!

By the by! There’s soooo many bizarre responses to this case! It’s just mindblowing! The comments section of Kotaku’s post was particularly sad and hillarious at times! I mean…one of the guys posted a link to a Final Fantasy dispute which had me ‘almost’ rolling on the floor in hysterics! Someone made a death threat towards all North Americans! And not everyone takes it that well! While we’re talking Final Fantasy XI – yeah! There is a lot of problems between Asian, Americans and Europeans – but according to a State of Play III conference I saw, they’ve found out it doesn’t have much to do with race at all – it’s more about the Japanese were there a few months before….then the noobs came in (the Americans or Europeans…I really can’t remember the order). Which is…you know…just an interesting tid bit of information as this post drifts away to the cosmic universe of ‘neverending blah blah’!



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