No, being muted in a game isn't a civil rights violation. How do we know? Because the U.S. Federal Court recently declared it isn't. That's right, the U.S Federal Court recently had to set the record straight on players getting muted in video games, and how it is not a civil rights violation in any shape or form. How did such a decision come across its plate? Well, because last year Amro Elansari filed a DIY lawsuit against Jagex, after the games makers muted him in its popular MMO Runescape and rejected his appeal. According to Elansair, Jagex had discriminated against him, and also violated his rights to free speech and his rights to due process.
As you would expect, the lawsuit was quickly dismissed by District Judge Mark Kearney, who noted that the claims from Elansair over his civil rights being violated was simply "implausible."
"The First Amendment and its constitutional free speech guarantees restrict government actors, not private entities," said the judge. "Defendants, who are not alleged to be state actors, are not subject to constitutional free speech guarantees. The Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause 'appl[ies] to and restrict[s] only the Federal Government and not private persons,' and does not act against a private company."
Naturally, Elansair appealed this decision, and brought the case to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which also shot the case down. Like the previous court, the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit was quick to point out that the defendant is not a state actor. Further, Elansair's claims that the action taken by Jagex was an instance of discrimination was also shot down due to a lack of evidence.
So, now there's legal precedence over whether or not being muted by a video game developer is a violation of civil rights. I never thought I would ever write such a sentence in my career, but alas this is the world we live in. Anyway, as always, feel free to sound off in the comments section with your take on this strange situation and ruling.
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