The 521,000 Hits Celebration Party and iRacing Legal Update!

GSC 2015-10-12 17-08-00-72Those who are familiar with PRC.net already know the drill, but for our newer readers who may be a bit confused, we give a small state of the union address each time our site increases in traffic by 100,000 hits. Why do we celebrate a milestone like this? It’s simple, really. PRC.net is nothing but a wall of text, and in 2015, people straight up don’t like reading articles. Reading is important, and managing to get 175,000 fans of a niche video game genre to sit down and read lengthy articles in an era where information is commonly presented in short YouTube videos is an achievement that should be celebrated.

521Maple’s season working on Setups for an iRacing Peak Anti-Freeze Series team has come to a close, and Sev will be pushing out a review of Mad Max in the near future. If there’s something you’d like their in-depth opinion on, check out the Submit page and send in your questions – be sure to list who you want answering your submission.

12165303_10207998671233978_1067506073_oAnd now, onto the fun stuff…

Coloring contestThe PretendRaceCars.net Coloring Contest

Do you all see that ugly ass logo at the top of the page, one that was blatantly stolen from Audi and hacked up in Paint Shop Pro for our website? We’re tired of it, and we’re going to stage a mass coloring contest to find a replacement because we can. Everybody who sends in a submission will be considered a winner, and as WordPress lets me put the header image on a random rotation, we’ll post absolutely anything that gets sent into us.

The rules? Crayons only, you’ve gotta write PRC.net or PretendRaceCars somewhere on your picture, and your submission must be 937 x 300 pixels as displayed above. There is no end date.

iRacingSim 2012-03-07 22-12-19-15About That iRacing Legal Stuff…

On Friday, we published a pretty lengthy article detailing how iRacing’s EULA, Terms of Service, and Sporting Code would get annihilated in front of a judge. To make a long story short, I received an unwarranted IP ban from iRacing in June for daring to give their Street Stock Camaro a negative review, and now have nothing to show for the $800+ I’ve spent on additional cars and tracks within iRacing. When I finally inquired about the ban after four months, wondering if I’d see any of that money back or get to race again, iRacing cited an extremely shady portion of their End User License Agreement that says they’re allowed to get rid of you for sneezing at the wrong time; confirming they’re unable to take criticism of any sort.

The more we dug, we ended up discovering that iRacing forces you to give up the presumption of innocence, right to free speech, and freedom of the press while in the confines of their online environment. Of course, they can’t do that, as you cannot include several terms in an EULA for computer software that blatantly go against basic human rights and already established local consumer protection laws and regulations, but they unfortunately get away with it because people are too scared to fight an entire company.

Despite the mixed reception our site receives both in our own comments section, as well as on other message boards such as Reddit, most people thought we had a legitimate case.

In fact, many readers wanted to throw money at us and suggested a class-action lawsuit…

classactionand those normally against the site also believe we’ve brought up a legitimate issue…

leddit…but talk is cheap.

We here at PretendRaceCars.net are sim racers. We would like to come home after an unexciting day, play unfinished racing sims, and occasionally write articles for a small website. We do NOT want to be known as “those three guys who put their heads together and took down an entire developer.” It’s fun being right for a night and cracking jokes on Teamspeak, but let’s say we’re victorious in the end as some have predicted, and iRacing is found in violation of an obscure customer protection rule from the dawn of the PC age in 2001, and is forced to pay $50 in cash to every iRacing member because the judge doesn’t really understand video games.

Sure, there would be a celebration in the comments section of the inevitable article recapping everything, but the reality is that iRacing cannot afford even the smallest of legal slip ups, and 140,000+ people would no longer have a racing sim to play. Being right and going the distance to legitimize our cause could potentially come at the expense of destroying something a whole shitload of people love. This ain’t cool.

Then, all 140,000 of those people would complain that they’d spent anywhere from $200 – $1200 on iRacing, and now had nothing to show for it. This leads to another class-action lawsuit, similar to what happened with NHRA’s Pro Stock Truck class in the early 2000’s. The sanctioning body found out the hard way that you can’t just shut down something overnight, and you’re looking at a mess that would spiral out of control and change the entire climate of sim racing if iRacing was forced to close up shop overnight.

Personally, I’d prefer to just have my money back, or get to race again. It’s a Kurt Busch-like scenario where everyone knows he drew the shortest straw due to NASCAR’s nonsensical rules, but it was much better for the sport, and Busch, to move forward and ignore the outlandish events of the 2014-2015 offseason. The last thing iRacing needs as a company is to be known as those guys who charge ridiculous prices for NASCAR 2003 with updated graphics, who sued modders to try and funnel them into paying for iRacing, and then went bankrupt because some guy they banned had enough community support fight their crazy EULA terms in court. 

Want to help out? Don’t throw money at us (although our donation button still works), choose one of the following:

  • Research the exact laws and regulations iRacing has violated with their EULA/Terms of Service/Sporting Code, and post them in the comments section below.
  • Talk about this everywhere. iRacing is not going to ban fifty people from their forums in a single day just for discussing an article on a sim racing news site. If they do, congratulations, they just proved all of our crazy conspiracies we’ve discussed over the past few months to be extremely accurate.

Here’s to another 100k hits, hope you guys are enjoying this place!

iRacingSim64 2013-04-14 22-25-32-23

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37 thoughts on “The 521,000 Hits Celebration Party and iRacing Legal Update!

  1. You are not guaranteed to win in front of a judge. Assuming you are located in Canada:

    A class action is a civil case, there is no “presumption of innocence” in your favour.

    Furthermore, liberty of the press and free speech are legal rights guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution, but they cannot be enforced against a private party’s actions, only against the government of Canada.

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      1. Just trying to help you here…

        That’s not really what I said. Read it again.

        The rights granted by the Constitution can only be enforced against the government. A law is not the same thing as the Constitution.

        There is a possibility that iRacing’s EULA breaches one or several Consumer Protection Act(s) in Canada (let’s be clear: those are laws, and (usually) apply to everyone) and that you might win against iRacing on that ground.

        However, it has absolutely nothing to do with presumption of innocence, free speech or freedom of the press.

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      2. Yes, the 1st Amendement does, in fact, only apply to the government.

        Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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    1. Everyone is talking about legal things to do to iRacing. My suggestion would be to file a dispute of payment with your credit card company. If every customer that has been ripped off of monies by iRacing were to file a dispute with their credit card company they would be denied your money. Simple solution that I believe would cost iRacing a large sum of revenue and change their tune. Then perhaps the owner of iRacing would finally get rid of Nim Cross and Shannon Whitmore. Send emails to iRacing sponsors such as NASCAR, Indy Racing League, and all other sponsors and let them know how you are being treated by iRacing. It is time to put a stop to Shannon Whitmore and Nim Cross forever.

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  2. I’m glad to see that you guys are thinking wisely and not actually suing iRacing. I would have loved to see them get their just desserts, but it never occurred to me that iRacing can’t really handle a big lawsuit like that. That said, I think it would do wonders just consulting with a lawyer, and see if it’s possible to at least scare them a little bit with a fax from him and to confirm whether or not they’re actually breaking a law.

    As an aside, I also remembered that iRacing sells you a license to use the vehicles you’re paying for, not the actual content itself. Could that factor into this somehow, in a sense that they may have more of a right to revoke your license than they do to revoke access to content, or is it just legalese to prevent people from legally modifying/ripping their content?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s possible you have a case, but you really need to stop talking about “freedom of speech” and all that. As any pre-law student could tell you, the provisions in the Constitution only apply to the government.

    What you would need to be looking at is contract law, specifically laws referring to unconscionable contracts. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unconscionability

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    1. To elaborate a little bit, apparently according to the most commonly cited case, here are the criteria for an “unconscionable” contract:

      Unconscionability has generally been recognized to include an absence of meaningful choice on the part of one of the parties together with contract terms which are unreasonably favorable to the other party….
      In many cases the meaningfulness of the choice is negated by a gross inequality of bargaining power….
      The manner in which the contract was entered is also relevant to this consideration. Did each party to the contract, considering his obvious education or lack of it, have a reasonable opportunity to understand the terms of the contract, or were the important terms hidden in a maze of fine print and minimized by deceptive sales practices?
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Williams_v._Walker-Thomas_Furniture_Co.

      I think you could certainly argue that:

      -the contract terms are “unreasonably favorable” to iRacing,
      -there was “gross inequality of bargaining power” (you have no opportunity to modify the terms of service),
      -and it’s even possible that you didn’t have a ‘reasonable opportunity’ to understand the contract (who reads ToS’s anyway?).

      The first part is somewhat harder – after all, there are other sims out there. This is where iRacing’s advertising about how they’re the best, the only sim that does what they do, etc, might actually work against them. In the end, you would need to ask a real lawyer for advice, and I’m one. But, despite having no clue what you’re talking about legally, it is my opinion that you might actually have a case.

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      1. This is what James has been saying all along. The EULA is invalid because of unreasonable terms that are skewed in iRacing’s favor.

        He used free speech and presumption of innocence to explain WHY the terms were unreasonable. The US Government can take more criticism than a video game company.

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      2. Agreed. Also, outright ‘free speech’ is a bit too broad. Use the protection of the consumer to argue the case, either with iracing or in court.

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      3. How I got a B+ in Contracts I’ll never know. Barely went to class, didn’t read many of the cases. Pretty boring stuff.

        Obviously, contracts are taken pretty seriously, and every member agreed to the TOS prior to joining. Moreover, from what I understand, the policy at issue is fairly common within the software industry, especially within online community TOS’ and EULAs.

        That said, you really need to discuss this with a contracts lawyer, preferably a new media or software specialist. Any other opinions are just that.

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      1. JamoZ, it’s so cute that even an impersonator can get you so riled up.
        You really do have a crush on him, don’t you?
        AWWWWWWWWW

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    1. The latest build is pretty good. I’m running the Indy and Late model and you can slide those things around corners as you would expect. I’m sure there are plenty of problems still, but its fun.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “You can slide the IndyCar around corners”
        If you like snapping backwards off the track at the next corner because the tires have immolated themselves I guess.

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  4. Oh well, they don’t seem to notice people running in the Gen6 races with a giant sticker saying “Hitler did nothing wrong” (Thank you for the laughs. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time after you posted that screen few articles back; it’s would be my new desktop, if only I could find it again..), but they have all the time in the world to hunt your articles down and ban you because you said that something within their game is broken.

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    1. The hitler did nothing wrong is a custom car, which is visible because of a third party program called Trading Paints. It’s not an iRacing thing that iRacing needs to handle, that’s a Trading Paints thing.

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      1. James was also suspended for two months in 2013 for an “inappropriate paint scheme”, and given how you’ve just confirmed iRacing can’t do anything about that, it’s looking more and more like the only ones with an irrational vendetta are iRacing themselves.

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  5. Personally, I don’t think you have much of a case. You still have free speech. They have done nothing to prevent you from saying what you wish to say. That angle isn’t going to work….

    They have banned you from their service, but that’s their choice. They have the right to refuse service to anyone at any time, for any reason.

    Of course, they also took your money and banned you for no reason. That shit isn’t cool and I’d hate for that to happen to me for speaking out.

    They should refund your money for the content if they wont allow you to use it. But that might not be a legal requirement.

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  6. Only problem I see is John Henry is behind iRacing and that dude is a billionaire. I don’t think he started iRacing for the money and could see him throw a whole legal team at such an issue without blinking.

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    1. James can’t lose.

      If it goes to court and he loses, he already has the support of the community. Everyone knows the full story and most agree that he should at least get a refund and iRacing’s EULA is sketchy.

      He loses? iRacing went out of their way to silence a journalist and take his money.

      He wins? The guy everyone thought was a nerd with an irrational vendetta takes down a company funded by an MLB owner.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t think you displayed enough strength here to even get your money back. Begging is not a good look and someone at Iracing is likely laughing now.
    Regardless if you have a case. What you don’t have is support or resources. And I mean support of a lawyer or someone who can help. Not just state an opinion.
    Doubt you could even talk sev and maple into ditching Iracing and joining your suit.
    You being so alone and isolated hurts your chances.
    I think iracings had you here. Or you’ve done this to yourself. Either way.
    It’s dead and not going anywhere.

    It’s crazy how you got banned and now you are hating on a game your desperate to get back into.
    You probably want back into your community as badly as you want the cash. Or more.
    But Iracing sucks
    Carry on

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  8. Should have gone for it James. Screw iRacing, for their only good point (safety rating and multiplayer game structure) they have 1000 terrible flaws, from physics to bang per buck.

    Release a game with decent physics, with a normal game prize, that copies the way they schedule the races and they´re History anyway.

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  9. I wonder how many of those 521,000 hits are from game devs and their lawyers checking to see the latest “facts” about their products that apparently the ever so depressed sim racing community so need to know…

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  10. It is kind of like acting like a jerk in a club although not thinking you are acting like a jerk, getting thrown out by the bouncers and arguing the toss and asking for your entrance fee back. It isn’t going to happen…

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  11. I don’t know if you are really that naive, or you’re trying to fool the chaps out there.
    I give you a tip: setup a RANDOM website, and I mean totally random, post a couple of back-links here and there, you don’t need to post anything interesting on it, you can prettu copy and paste a no-sense text from any other website or just a google page.
    Let it run for X month… and then read the stats… amazed of the numbers you will find? You won’t believe at your eyes? You will spend the following week trying to understand who are those “persons” who read those no-sense “articles” on a random website?
    Yes, there’s an explanation… but I want to leave it with a shade of mistery. 🙂
    Of those 500k … 10k are the real (humans) hits collected in “months” .. the rest are not.

    Liked by 1 person

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