In re RealNetworks

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In re RealNetworks
Court U.S.D.C, Northern District of Illinois
Citation Eastern Division, 2000 WL 631341 (2000)
Date decided 2000

Facts

Plaintiff brought suit against defendant for trespass to property and privacy, claiming that the defendants’ products secretly allowed them to access and intercept users’ electronic communications and stored information without their knowledge or consent. The defendant offers two downloadable products to play music and view video on the web, and before the user installs these programs they must accept the terms of the License Agreement. The license agreement contains an arbitration clause which requires any disputes to be submitted to arbitration in Washington. Plaintiff claims that the electronic agreements are not “written” agreements that are covered by the FAA and WAA.


Issues

Whether an electronic contract is considered a written contract covered by the statute of frauds.


Holding/Decision

The license agreement is a contract and should be enforced to compel arbitration.


Reasoning

Electronic contracts are easily printable and storable, and are in actuality considered written contracts covered by the statute of frauds. The rule and purpose of the law should be upheld because legislature did not contemplate electronic contracts when composing the statue.