No, Runescape Muting is Not a Free Speech Violation

The logo for Runescape, the game Elasari was likely muted on.

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No, Runescape Muting is Not a Free Speech Violation

January 25, 2020

By: Brian Renadette

More Info About This Game
Developer
Jagex
Publisher
Jagex
Platforms
PC, Android, IOS
Release Date
January 4, 2001 (Calendar)
Genre
MMORPG
Purchase (Some links may be affiliated)
 
 

A Pennsylvania federal court of appeals has dismissed a man's lawsuit against Jagex, the company behind the MMORPG Runescape. The lawsuit alleged that Jagex violated his free speech rights when he was muted from one of their games.

As reported by Pennlive, the problem began in March 2019 when Amro Elansari of Exton was muted from Runescape. Although the game is unnamed in the "largely handwritten" lawsuit, it's highly implied to be Runescape due to Elansari saying he had 2,000 hours "invested" in the game. In terms of what muting means, muted accounts can't talk normally in-game or post on the forums, but can still otherwise play and trade normally. Elansari claims he attempted to appeal his muting, but Jagex denied the appeal without providing a reason. From there, he filed his case with the federal district court, alleging “Discrimination — Business — Public Space,” “Free Speech/Expression/Culture” and “Due Process — Adverse Action — Notification Breach of Contract" as the constitutional grounds for his claim. For damages, he sought "whatever the jury sees fit" and the removal of the mute on his account.

Runescape Dimension Gameplay

When his suit was thrown out on the grounds of not making any actual constitutional claims, Elansari moved to the US Court of Appeals for the 3rd District. In the end, they also found nothing in Elansari's suit that could be considered discrimination or otherwise worthy of a lawsuit. In their January 22 statement, the court said:

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 based on any of the grounds protected by Title II.

This isn't the first lawsuit that Elansari has tried and failed to pursue. Pennlive says that Elansari has posted 10 lawsuits in the last year and a half, with four of them, including the Jagex suit, in July 2019. His most recent attempt was against Tinder, where he alleged that the people the dating app said were interested in him were all fake.

 
 

What do you think about this lawsuit? Do you think Elansari had a case? Let us know in the comments below!

A picture of me, Brian Renadette
Staff Writer

I am a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a major in writing and a minor in gaming. I have a passion for video games and writing. I also enjoy volunteering at my local SPCA by walking the dogs.

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