Free speech or criminal harassment? Arizona game maker sues; Logan Elia, Rose Law Group litigator who focuses on cyber law and cyber defamation, comments


By Kaila White | The Republic

After asking for help and being turned away by the FBI and the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, a video-game developer in Yuma has sued in federal court over what he calls relentless online harassment that has lasted more than 1 1/2 years.

Brothers James and Robert Romine founded Digital Homicide Studios LCC in Arizona in 2014 and have since created more than 60 small PC games.

Their largest distributor was Steam, a wildly popular online platform owned by Valve Corporation that lets users digitally buy and play video games.

The Romines contend that criticism of their work, which started with a video from a popular YouTube personality, has escalated beyond appropriate critique into harassment.


“It is disappointing but not surprising that the police have failed to help this harassment victim. Unfortunately, resorting to civil court is frequently the only remedy available to individuals or businesses targeted by online trolls. That said, Arizona has robust laws in place to protect its citizens against stalking and harassment by digital means. Harassment, including harassment by electronic means, includes any conduct that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed if the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the victim. It is misdemeanor criminal conduct under Arizona law.  See, A.R.S. § 13-2921.”

“A person commits stalking if the person intentionally or knowingly engages in a course of conduct that is directed toward another person and if that conduct causes the victim to suffer emotional distress or reasonably fear that either the victim’s person or property will be injured or damaged. See, A.R.S. § 13-2923. Stalking is a felony under Arizona law. It is also illegal under Arizona law to use an electronic communication to terrify, intimidate, threaten or harass. See, A.R.S. § 13-2916.”

~ Logan Elia