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On Super User (and probably on others), legal questions are usually closed, or at least refrained.

The simple reason is that we are not lawyers, we are computer users (and here, gamers). As such, we don't have the ability to answer such questions. These questions require the opinion of a qualified person, not just anyone.

We shouldn't support the fact of giving legal answers, in my opinion, especially that they are potentially wrong. I think this should be outside of the site scope.

What do you think about it?

  • I'm curious what the opinion is on a question about the terms of service. If someone has a question about a particular game, and whether a certain action violates the terms of service of that particular game - is that a valid question? – Jeffrey Jul 9 '10 at 17:02
  • @Jeffrey That's a very tricky thing. We've had similar questions already, though primarily on hardware warranties. This gives some important points to think about. – Grace Note Jul 9 '10 at 18:04
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    @Jeffrey: There’s now a separate question about this: Are questions about ToCs/EULAs allowed? – unor Aug 17 '14 at 11:49
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I think it is in fact wiser that we avoid these questions. I saw a question about the legality of emulators earlier, and I felt like doing some research. While I came to solid conclusions based on both actual game company legal reading and white papers on the subject, I nevertheless felt that an answer would remain at best an "interpretation" without fully understanding the literal law behind it.

Even if I had read the literal laws and court proceedings that were used to determine how it has been judged in the past, I cannot without having studied law really say that my answer would be correct, nor can I expect that the person asking the question will be able to understand the files any better. And I really don't expect our target audience of gamers should try to handle this kind of material.

Edit

As pointed out by Arda Xi in this question, there's also the matter that law is localized to the different nations of the world. Especially with the divide between where the Berne Convention is upheld, a lot of these will end up as "too localized" as well. It really is more hassle than it is worth, often times.

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    Well, I had to test the line... But you're right, we shouldn't encourage those questions, so I'll vote to close it – Zommuter Jul 8 '10 at 11:48
  • @Tobias - nothing bad in it, the beta phase is exactly for that. – Gnoupi Jul 8 '10 at 12:12
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    Yes, as Gnoupi says, I think it's better that you did test the line. We may not have inspired this meta discussion were it not for that. – Grace Note Jul 8 '10 at 12:20
  • Do people on the gaming site really not know the IANAL acronym that the rest of the Internet knows? Most people will give a reasonable disclaimer when answering such a question. If someone gives me advice in that fashion, I know that it's not legal advice... but it can help me know what questions to ask the lawyer if I do go get legal advice. – Kyralessa Aug 27 '10 at 3:46
0

Grace Note makes a good point, however where do you draw such a line? For example, a question I asked here: How do you know whether a game is in the Public Domain? is a question I think many people will have, and it's more of an FAQ than a complicated legal matter. Do we allow this or should it be closed as well?

  • Figuring out if a game is free or not isn't a complicated legal matter. Most every game these days is distributed with a license agreement. – JamesGecko Jul 9 '10 at 4:21
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    @James The difficulty with license agreements is that depending on your location sections of the agreement or even the whole thing are not legally binding. Further, once you've found which sections are binding according to your country/province/city, nothing's definite until a court gets done wrangling with it. – Fambida Aug 14 '11 at 22:05
  • That's still dealing with the law and should be closed. – Timtech Aug 21 '13 at 13:16

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