Digital Homicide's lawsuit against Jim Sterling is dismissed with prejudice

Digital Homicide

Update February 21, 2017: The Digital Homicide lawsuit against YouTuber James Stanton, aka Jim Sterling, in which he was charged with assault, libel, and slander by the game developers, has been dismissed with prejudice.

A dismissal of this type essentially means the lawsuit can't crop up again. In a blog post, Sterling says the whole ordeal was a drain on both resources and his emotions. A dismissal was the best result he could hope for, as he probably wouldn't have recuperated his costs if it went to court anyway.

We had a look at the shady world of paid-for reviews a few months back.

Sterling says the case was dropped after his lawyer explained to the plaintiff, James Romine, exactly what would happen if the case went to court. 

"That it got as far as it did, went on for as long as it did, is atrocious - especially when this is a case that amounts to a game developer wanting to silence a game critic," says Sterling.

"I personally viewed, and still view, the lawsuit as an attempted attack on my freedom to do my legally protected job. I personally perceive it as an attack launched by a man who is unable to deal with criticism in a reasonable fashion and has sought to blame me, continuously, for his failures."

Thus concludes a year of legal disputes between Jim Sterling and Digital Homicide. At one point last year, the studio even attempted to sue some Steam users, as you can see in the original stories below. 

Update October 3, 2016: Digital Homicide's founder James Romine's lawsuits against Steam users have been cancelled, forcing him to close down the studio, citing Valve's removal of their games as reason for both the closure and the lawsuit folding. 

It all started when Digital Homicide filed to sue 100 Steam users, prompting Valve to pull their games from sale on the platform. This move, it seems, has seen Digital Homicide die. The case against the Steam users has been pulled, as Digital Homicide - no longer bankrolled by their games on Steam - ran out of funds. 

In an interview with TechRaptor, Romine claims some of the Steam harassers were competitors.

"At least two were competitors," Romine claims. "The case dismissal was only due to financial reasons caused by the removal of our games. I believe the case was very solid. There were in excess of 140 false statements by the 11 steam users, tens of thousands of posts harassing myself and my customers, three direct interference with written contracts with third parties by steam users (some of which were competitors), and much more.

"A combined in excess of 25 reports were filed against the worst users of the 11 with no resolutions being found."

He goes on to say that he feels like Steam's moderation tools failed them, and that they were harassed by some users for "18+ months", with further suggestions that competitors were making false reviews, running Digital Homicide's games on unsupported hardware, that sort of thing. 

"As far as digital homicide? It’s destroyed," he concludes. "It’s been stomped into the ground from a thousand directions and use is discontinued. I’m going back into the work force and watching what’s really going on. Not gaming media gossip - the real stories are in the legal documents. Not talking about mine."

Update September 18, 2016: Digital Homicide has replied to Valve's official statement on removing the studio's games from Steam by pledging to seek legal action against the digital publishing platform for "over 100 infractions in need of litigation".

The studio had all 18 of its games removed from the digital storefront on Friday night after issuing Valve a subpoena this week for customer details in order to pursue legal action against 100 users for "harassment and criminal impersonation".

"I'd like to give some context to [Valve communications director Doug Lombardi's] offficial statement: "Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers,"" the studio's statement reads. "What has actually transpired was a lack of resolution from Steam in regards to moderation of their platform which might sound like a tough job to do, but coming from a company that brags its profitability per employee is higher than google, it just shows a reckless disregard for for the well being of their community for profits."

The statement continues to assert that Valve's decision to remove their games from sale only sends a message that the harassment the studio was subject to is justifiable, but defending itself through litigation is not.

"By removing us they have taken the stance that users have the right to harass me, tell me I should kill myself, and insult my family," the unsigned statement continues. "If I try to defend myself against said actions then I lose my family's income. If it wasn't for 2 years of experience of dealing with Steam on a regular basis, this disgusting stance would seem shocking to me."

The author, again unknown though very likely co-founder James Romine who filed the original court documents in Arizona this week, then pledges to look into legal action against Valve for a myriad of corporate offences.

"The only thing that prevented me seeking legal counsel for a long list of breach of contracts, interference with business, and anti-trust issues was the fear of losing my family's income," the statement says. "Since that has been taken away I am seeking legal representation. The case will benefit from a long list of organized documentation of events that have happened over the past 2 years including dates, screenshots, emails, and more on over 100 infractions in need of litigation."

The statement concludes with a request for any legal counsel interested in taking on the case to contact the studio via an email address. The company's last attempted litigation against game critic Jim Sterling has yet to come to fruition as the crowdfunding for counsel is stalled at $425 of a $75,000 goal.

Original story: Notorious game studio Digital Homicide has had all traces of its games removed from the Steam store after attempting to sue 100 members of a Steam group for stalking, harassment and criminal impersonation. 

The games were removed late last night within a week of Digital Homicide's co-founder James Romine filing a lawsuit with an Arizona courthouse asking for $18m in damages from 100 anonymous Steam users.

As part of this legal process, the studio served Valve with a subpoena for the identities of those users, thus getting the big bad involved in their frivolous litigations. Digital Homicide have hit headlines previously in recent months after attempting to sue critic Jim Sterling (real name James Stanton) for $10m in libel and slander allegations.

Valve's response has been to remove every one of the studio's 18 available games from the store and can more than 30 titles currently in Greenlight (you can see the culling through SteamDB's history here). A statement issued by Valve's communications director Doug Lombardi simply says: "Valve has stopped doing business with Digital Homicide for being hostile to Steam customers."

The customers Digital Homicide had been targeting were part of a Steam group named "Digital Homicides" and formerly "Poop Games" which described itself as "a dedicated consumer-advocacy group and censorship safe haven."

It alleges ten of the group made false accusations and posted negative reviews causing "financial damage and emotional and mental anguish."

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unwanted avatarShriven avatar0V3RKILL avatarholmesc avatarTsunamiWombat avatarajt09 avatar+11
TsunamiWombat Avatar
574
7 Months ago

I guess you could say they the committed... Digital Suicide

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

17
unwanted Avatar
764
7 Months ago

I didn't even know this company existed. I went to their website and...well, I don't recommend it.

Also, 30 titles on Greenlight? That should tell you all you need to know.

3
beliar1404 Avatar
4
7 Months ago

That doesn't mean they shouldn't be allowed to defend!

2
Foxgguy2001 Avatar
3
7 Months ago

#tyrannosaurus-rekt

3
Shriven Avatar
3388
7 Months ago

Jim Sterling must be spinning in his Boglin shaped pool of Patreon money right now!

2
0V3RKILL Avatar
283
7 Months ago

yeah I don't like that guy either, or any scum youtuber. hard to believe a word they say

-1
Shriven Avatar
3388
7 Months ago

Hmm so, how is appearing like a dick to the internet going for you? :S

0
holmesc Avatar
51
0V3RKILL Avatar
283
7 Months ago

what ticked you off the most? me having my own opinion or what the opinion is? Cause I have seen you trash on youtubers on many other occasion. only difference is that I am consistent with what I believe.

0
Aever Avatar
586
7 Months ago

lol, finally ...

2
0V3RKILL Avatar
283
7 Months ago

I'm glad this happened. I hope they learn something from it

1
beliar1404 Avatar
4
7 Months ago

Right, so as developer I can take no legal actions against people who clearly break the law against me or I will lose my revenue?

I don't care what studio Digital Homicide is and what people running it, This is just bullshit.

1
gnihton Avatar
1
7 Months ago

Mocking or critiquing somebody is not against the law.

1
NihlusGreen Avatar
596
7 Months ago

Harassment is uncouth, but ultimately Valve aren't doing business with those that attempt to sue their customers.

1
memnarch Avatar
56
7 Months ago

Their definition of 'abuse' is a little loose unfortunately https://imgur.com/gallery/ITZ7p

1
PixelMunk Avatar
24
7 Months ago

Saw this coming, and while I think they did it to themselves it still sucks to see. Only because I like The Culling.

1
nu1mlock Avatar
659
7 Months ago

What does The Culling have to do with Digital Homicide?

1
PixelMunk Avatar
24
7 Months ago

Edit* The Culling has nothing to do with DH. For some reason I thought that was one of theirs. Good catch, thanks.

2
Anakhoresis Avatar
503
2 Months ago

"I personally viewed, and still view, the lawsuit as an attempted attack on my freedom to do my legally protected job."

I'm confused as to what exactly he means here. Suing someone for damages for libel and slander is a perfectly acceptable thing, -if- their accusations are factual. Even in terms of opinion pieces, I would assume the opinion has to be based on truths? For example, if someone posted an article that completely destroyed the game Paragon because it uses Unity3D as the game engine, that would be demonstrably false.

I'm not supporting Digital Homicide whatsoever, just questioning the phrasing that was used.

1
ajt09 Avatar
45
7 Months ago

Digital Homicide I have a little idea you may want to try. Just STFU and stop acting like a bunch of morons.

K there princess?

0
Mwalkerworld Avatar
1
7 Months ago

Jim sterling is like. Shock jock. Not very smart has an opinion on everything and says things to shake people and get attention. And while digital homicides games might not be that impressive they should have the right to exist. Now if your told by Lot of people your games are horrible wouldn't you try to improve them. ND Jim you dirty troll don't beat a dead hoarse! After you have made your point move on. Be a man not a sarcastic idiot hiding behind a IP.

-2
storageheater Avatar
1
3 Months ago

This is glorious. Jim Sterling reviews games. What's shocking and upsetting you there? He had nothing to do with Digital Homicides' games being removed. They were told their games were bad, and instead of "trying to improve them" like even you suggest...

...you either didn't read the article and genuinely don't know, or you're James Romine and this stream of consciousness nonsense is why any of this happened. Oh.

1