New “Undo” Law – an “out” for tribunal action?
Disclaimer: While I am a law student, I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.
California has recently passed a law that will allow minors to effectively “take back” statements they say online. The bill, which will go into effect starting January 1, 2015, will require
the operator of an Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application to permit a minor, who is a registered user of the operator’s Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application, to remove, or to request and obtain removal of, content or information posted on the operator’s Internet Web site, service, or application by the minor
Reading further into the bill, it is important to note that “remove” doesn’t require deletion – it does, however, require the service provider to restrict public access to the statement. California State Senators have called this an “eraser button” for minors, who may not fully understand the damage they could do to themselves by making spur-of-the-moment, off-the-cuff posts that they don’t mean. Many speculate this is a response to the Justin Carter case, to help protect hot-headed children and increase online privacy.
What does this mean for League of Legends? The biggest glaring possibility is that the California bill could give California minors an “out” to tribunal action. Riot is an operator of an online service (self-admitted in their Terms of Service), and all users are, by Riot’s own terms, required to register in order to use Riot’s services. So, in theory, California minors should be able to request the removal of comments they write in-game – never to see the public eye.
This would probably include the removal of content on tribunal reports.
Even the purpose of the California bill seems to be to allow this type of removal – toxic comments are typically made in the heat of the moment – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t typed something they haven’t meant, without thinking, say when a teammate throws their silver-to-gold 5th promotion match. So does that mean California minors have a “get out of the tribunal free” card?
Possibly. The tribunal has a couple things backing it. First, Riot could argue that minors have waived that right by agreeing to the ToS. This is a weak argument, since it is unlikely a California court would allow a minor to waive this right at all. Second, Riot could argue that the fact that the chat is anonymous protects the privacy of the minor. This could work, depending on things like a.) the purpose of the tribunal action, b.) the impact and degree of the minor’s language, and c.) whether the courts view LoL as a social media outlet (unlikely).
What do you think? Should the California law give minors an out to tribunal action? Or should Riot still be allowed to post content by minors to be judged by the community?
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