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Discord’s new terms of service prevents lawsuits in favour of binding arbitration

Discord has issued an update to its terms of service that “significantly affect” its users’ legal rights, requiring regulars to waive their right to file a lawsuit – including larger class-action litigations. The platform insists that this isn’t to downplay its responsibilities, but instead to resolve issues in-house via arbitration if problems escalate.

The new terms sit under the Dispute Resolution and Class Action Waiver sections of Discord’s terms of service. The first part is to ensure that all parties “use their best efforts to settle any dispute, claim, question, or disagreement directly through consultation with one another,” while the second forces “binding arbitration” should a dispute intensify.

This will be the new protocol for anything other than “disputes concerning patents, copyrights, moral rights, trademarks, and trade secrets and claims of piracy or unauthorized use of the Site,” which will “not be subject to arbitration.”

Discord is set to initiate its new terms of service from October 23rd, 2018. Users will be opted in by default, however individual lawsuits are still supposedly possible should the user manually opt-out. Within the first 30 days, Discord will be accepting emails from its ‘[email protected]‘ address, but it’s worth noting that it doesn’t look like this applies to the platform’s clause about class-action suits.

“I want to be clear that we're not doing this to dodge responsibility for anything. We believe in doing right by you, and we take feedback into account (see the recent Nitro Classic changes).” Discord explains within a Reddit thread.

“The reason that there's an arbitration agreement in our Terms of Service is that there have been a continuously increasing raft of class actions and firms that look for companies that are susceptible to class actions. When class actions are successful, the lawyers get millions, and each user gets, on average… anywhere from ten cents to a couple dollars. Sometimes tens of dollars! Maybe a free rideshare,” continues the representative.

“This isn't to persuade you not to opt-out. Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not arbitration is good, or whether or not the class action system is one that is beneficial. If you want to opt-out, you absolutely should,” concludes the note, however it’s worth remembering that arbitration allows Discord to cut costs on both the company’s and the user’s side, allowing for greater compensation.

KitGuru Says: As someone not expertly informed about legal standings, I can’t rightly comment on whether or not this is a good change. What I can say, however, is that self-regulation can be a good thing to prevent arduous cases that drain the legal system of valuable time and money. How do you feel about Discord’s recent change in terms?

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