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On-line gaming

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I operate an online gaming system (MUD, Multi-User-Dungeon). An interactive, text-based system where both human and computer controlled characters interact with each other in an artificially generated world. Violence and death are depicted via
"written" descriptions.

I have been hearing unsubtaniated accounts of
operators of such systems being sued by parents of players, and the players themselves for the conduct of other players, and the content/context of the game world itself.

Our policies and rules explicity prohibit behavior that offends others, but does not limit conduct between consenting players (not specifically sexually explicit conduct).

We do not have any form of registration, proof of identity requirements, etc.

We do, however, present new players with our list of rules and policy, and automatically enforce that the player must at least be aware of the rules/policy before they can actively participate in the game.

I have considered going beyond this, and have drafted a disclaimer against responsibility for the actions of player vs player.

I am curious if a) there is reason to be
concerned about lawsuits or other legal action in this context (frivolous or not), b) if I have taken reasonable precautions against same, and c) if the policy/rules and disclaimer actually offer me any protection.

Thank you,

Rick Ernst



I am in a similar situation with a web based business I am creating. The problem was this: Would a disclaimer and Terms Of Service agreement for users protect me from the actions of my users whatever they did.

After consulting a lawyer, I was informed that the TOS might help in a law-suit but will do nothing to protect the suit from happening to begin with. As such, along with a TOS, my business will be purchasing insurance and incorporating in the respected city and state to separate my liability from the business liability.

I suggest you consult an attorney; you may need to perform the same as well.

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