New PSN Terms of Service prevents class-action suits

Sony amends the PlayStation Network's Terms of Service in an attempt to stop future group legal action aimed at them.

Since the PlayStation 3's release in 2006, Sony has made multiple changes to the platform. Some of them, like the introduction of Trophies and DivX support, have been welcomed by the fans, while others, such as the removal of Linux-support, have been greeted with lawsuits.

Sony objects to class-action lawsuits.

In a bid to cut down on lawsuits that have been aimed at the Japanese hardware giant, Sony today revised its PlayStation Network Terms of Service. A newly added section of the agreement form that all PSN users will be forced to comply with in order to use the platform bans users from forming class actions. Instead, Sony will deal with claims on an individual level. This particular change falls under section 15 of the Terms of Service.

"ANY DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEEDINGS, WHETHER IN ARBITRATION OR COURT, WILL BE CONDUCTED ONLY ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS AND NOT IN A CLASS OR REPRESENTATIVE ACTION OR AS A NAMED OR UNNAMED MEMBER IN A CLASS, CONSOLIDATED, REPRESENTATIVE OR PRIVATE ATTORNEY GENERAL ACTION, UNLESS BOTH YOU AND THE SONY ENTITY WITH WHICH YOU HAVE A DISPUTE SPECIFICALLY AGREE TO DO SO IN WRITING FOLLOWING INITIATION OF THE ARBITRATION. THIS PROVISION DOES NOT PRECLUDE YOUR PARTICIPATION AS A MEMBER IN A CLASS ACTION FILED ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 20, 2011." (All caps are in original document).

While the new Terms of Service covers all new and upcoming class-action lawsuits, it won't affect anyone who took action against Sony before August 20, 2011.

The recent changes to the Terms of Service now also cover the Sony Entertainment Network, as well as the PlayStation Network.

To agree to the revised Terms of Service, users will be prompted the next time they attempt to log into the PlayStation Network via their PlayStation 3 console. If you'd rather read the Terms of Service on a computer, you can view the full document (including all of its changes) here.

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180 comments
qwakcookie
qwakcookie

Well, it seems Microsoft is also doing the same thing now.

RadioactiveMah
RadioactiveMah

I don't see a problem in this, it's just a company trying to cover it self

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@muzza93, and are you going to sue Sony over a $100 dispute when your legal fees will be more on day one? What if 1 million people "need" to sue Sony for 100$ (e.g. they decided to commit fraud and charge each credit card they have info on $100 for a monthly sub they introduced and decided it was an 'opt-out' subscription)? That's why class action lawsuits exist, individually nobody will sue Sony for that infringement, so they get away with stealing $100 million. What a victory for the rights of the consumer... What if this clause makes it into EVERY agreement you sign from every company (Since they can point at Sony as the example for it being allowed). How will corporations EVER be held accountable?

steveguttenberg
steveguttenberg

@bigcrusha Yes, thank you. Frustrating that so many people think class action lawsuits are about getting rich. But the general anti-lawsuit attitude people have makes more sense when you realizes corporations have been paying lots of money promoting "tort reform." They don't know that the actual frivolous lawsuits are thrown out by judges and never make it to court. Tort reform's goal is to make sure corporations don't have to pay for their crimes. This not-GTA-related documentary is pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Coffee_(film)

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

@caketoo @KamuiFei @RadioactiveMah So what's there to understand Kamui? Is Sony NOT taking community power away? Radioactive, you don't see a problem? Do you know what a class action is? Caketoo, yes you get a small share but the point is that when you are going up against a corporation and an army of the best lawyers they can afford, class actions are beneficial to a positive outcome. You sue alone, you risk getting jumbled with huge legal fees and risk getting bullied around by big corporate attorneys. Sony's reason behind doing this is to discourage people from suing. When fighting, you wanna throw a boulder, not a pebble. I think most people know that when they sue in a class action, they aren't getting a huge settlement reward, the idea behind it is to promote change, like a protest in legal form.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@grungeman91 But that's not in the contract. It it just restricts you to participate in a lawsuit on an individual basis. Even then, you could still file a class-action suit, you just might be counter-sued for breach of contract, but it might not even matter if your case is legitimate. They can make things more difficult, but there's no course of action that would allow sony to completely prevent a class action suit, let alone an individual suit.

grungeman91
grungeman91

I'm no expert in law but is it illegal to put "You can't sue us" in a contract?

grungeman91
grungeman91

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

polterdice
polterdice

@muzza93 It also allows Sony to charge small amounts to its consumers without fear of paying a large class action settlement. Let's use an example: AT&T v Concepcion, the case that spurns the additional clause. AT&T offered free phones to its customers and then charged them some $35 in taxes. Concepcion argued the phones were advertised as free and should not impose a tax (or should be covered by the company). However, no credible lawyer would take a $35 case against a company as large as Sony; hence the existence of the class action lawsuit. With this new clause, Sony can make a quick buck off its customers without having to worry about ramifications. However, this precedent is still in its infancy and Sony would be rash in testing it. Either way, I accepted without reading because click wrap contracts are laughable.

Maxxgold
Maxxgold

Sony = BIG FAIL this time around. I miss the good days with my PS and PS2, now Sony just doesn't get it anymore. My PS3 just collects dust anyways so no big deal. There is nothing earth shattering that I have to play on the PS3. Dark Souls is coming out on Xbox too and Uncharted while it was a good game is nothing I have to play. Taking Linux away was just the first of many big mistakes. Oh well.

muzza93
muzza93

**I mean Sony's new user agreement is very reasonable**

muzza93
muzza93

LOL the people who are mad have no idea what they are talking about. You can still sue them if you want! It just stops whole groups of people all putting their money together to pay the legal fees and a very large percentage of the people in the class actions against Sony would just be in it purely for the money they will win. IMO this is very reasonable.

theshonen8899
theshonen8899

A class-action lawsuit consists of a group of people who enter a lawsuit together and collectively sue. This allows them to split the legal fees amongst themselves, the larger the group the less each individual pays for the legal fees. When pursing a class-action lawsuit against one entity, a large group of people can collectively sue without any investment or risk for the group while the single entity is forced to pay their legal fees by themselves. Class-action lawsuits are still a phenomenon in America and most countries around the world have not adopted it. What happened after the PSN hack was that an enormous group of people collectively sued Sony under the idea that they should have worked harder on security. This is a flimsy case because no one can determine exactly how much spending is good enough for "strong" security. However, because this was a class-action lawsuit, people jumped aboard the case contributing little of their finances in promise for huge returns. With this new ToS, this will not happen. Instead, people who truly felt they have been wronged by Sony will have to sue them with a tradition first-party lawsuit, which ensures that the user legitimately believe they were abused and can win the case with their legal fees being returned to them.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

@caketoo I'm glad someone gets it. The rest of you should look up the difference between suing a company directly and class action lawsuit. I recommend Google.

Quezakolt
Quezakolt

So what do we have to do now? They keep changing terms and terms and terms. And now this. Plus the purchase of downloadable content which is changed to a liscence to use product (which is lent). So do I have to sell my PS3 now? Accept this, which is unacceptable, or sell it, and then all of us who did not agree sue Sony over this? The problem is that the corporation writes the laws now, and the governement works for the corporations. I will not accept the terms. Who else wanna fight in? They will back down if it gets all over the news and people fight and complain about it.

paranormalnut
paranormalnut

Nope, not gonna work. MS did that and big N did that. Both were over ruled.

polterdice
polterdice

This may or may or may not be binding, and comes after the wake of 5-4 Supreme Court split on class action arbitration in adhesion contracts. Precedent prior to AT&T Mobility vs Concepcion would have deemed such a clause unconscionable. However, this most recent case claims otherwise. Thank Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts, and Alito (appointed by Reagan (2), G. Bush (1), and G. W. Bush (2)). The four dissenters were Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan (appointed by Clinton (2) and Obama (2)). Prior to this case, the courts acknowledged an unequal bargaining power and deemed the adhesion unconscionable when the company deliberately cheats its customers. Now, the Supreme Court (rather 5/9) claim class action is not a right and prevents meaningful and quick arbitration. The dissenters claim it provides an avenue for cheated customers (of small value, too small to take to court individually) to hold companies responsible. This most recent case is causing many corporations to add such a clause to their terms. It is hard to say right now how courts will handle the new precedent. They can choose to ignore it and treat it as an exception and enforce prior precedents or they can embrace it. Either way, companies are jumping on the bandwagon just in case they can use it later.

Shinobi120
Shinobi120

This is one of the reasons why I don't own a PS3 for this gen, & why I own both a Wii & a 360. They admitted that they used most of their PS2 fanbase for Blu-Ray, they lied about the credit card info or whatever being protected, they lied about cross-game chat, they lie about everything. And now, we got THIS news. Screw you, Sony. I'm very sure that's illegal for them to do this, anyways.

G1Ga-B1T3
G1Ga-B1T3

Corporate Fascism. Or Corporatism. And only 1 politician is speaking out against it.

caketoo
caketoo

Its more corporate jargon but why is anyone really gonna get upset over this? What would you miss out on? your 5$ share of a group settlement assuming you can provide reciepts from years ago. You can still sue them just not as a group.

berzerk0912
berzerk0912

Definately not buying a PS4 next time around.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@KamuiFei Don't give us that Bovine Scatology. It may not be slavery, but that is excessive and shady reducing legal recourse in the event of corporate negligence or product failure. This, too me, does less to assure the consumer and is cause for greater alarm. It's like they're covering their own butts because they can't figure out the problem or just don't want to. This isn't "I have to pay or can't play" options, this is "I have to give up a legal recourse in event of if I want to play".

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

@Morphine_OD Its not slavery if its a choice. You're not physically bound to Sony for the rest of your life. If you don't like it, you don't HAVE to use it. Agreement or not, you still have a choice to use their service. Your acting like Sony is gonna break down your door to your house and force you to accept their Agreement. And just so everyone knows, you can still sue Sony directly if any damages were done to you, IF it was Sony's fault. This is only an attempt to prevent BS class action lawsuits. It's still the courts decision, not Sony's.

Rottenwood
Rottenwood

Many wondered how long it would take Sony to burn through all of the consumer goodwill they earned with the amazing PlayStation 2. The answer, apparently, is 'not very.'

Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

I wonder if it'll hold up in court. Sure as hell hope not. If I'm gonna sue them I'm not gonna ask their opinion on how I can do it. Then again I'm not a lawyer.

nimbulan2000
nimbulan2000

I'm sure we all saw this coming. Not that many people are actually going to care, but I think the most worrying part is that they've actually been sued enough to consider putting this in the license agreement. Makes you wonder what's next. @Ex-DarkBlade: Not just hackers use Linux on PS3's, they're used for scientific research as well because of the rather unique CPU that powers the PS3.

RadioactiveMah
RadioactiveMah

I don't see a problem in this, it's just a company trying to cover it self.

Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

"IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE BOUND BY THE BINDING ARBITRATION AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER IN THIS SECTION 15, YOU MUST NOTIFY SNEI IN WRITING WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE DATE THAT YOU ACCEPT THIS AGREEMENT. YOUR WRITTEN NOTIFICATION MUST BE MAILED TO 6080 CENTER DRIVE, 10TH FLOOR, LOS ANGELES, CA 90045, ATTN: LEGAL DEPARTMENT/ARBITRATION AND MUST INCLUDE: (1) YOUR NAME, (2) YOUR ADDRESS, (3) YOUR PSN ACCOUNT NUMBER, IF YOU HAVE ONE, AND (4) A CLEAR STATEMENT THAT YOU DO NOT WISH TO RESOLVE DISPUTES WITH ANY SONY ENTITY THROUGH ARBITRATION." @KamuiFei You have only 30 days to opt out of the agreement and you have to notify SCEI via MAIL if you want to do that. What were you talking there about leaving it anytime you want? This is slavery exactly.

NodakJo2010
NodakJo2010

I love the ps3 system a lot...it has great games...but why does the company itself have to be run by retards!?

Everiez
Everiez

Saw this coming miles away. One side loves to sue happy. The other side got tired of being sued countless times so they do this. And the cycle continues.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

Sony's trying to cover their a$%. I really doubt that it will work. Some judge, somewhere and sometime will see that clause as a joke an allow a class action lawsuit despite what the terms of service that consumer has signed.

DrAmazinDood
DrAmazinDood

whats next? Hackers telling sony they can't sue them for hacking PS network? When they force ppl to give them personal info to use their service and then for lack of competence make that info fall into the wrong hands and say "can't sue us" you have to be trolling...right?

gameconsolewads
gameconsolewads

Well as you can see they are just getting more dirtier by the minute...good ole corporate capitalists. I guess that the breach wasn't enough of a lesson on their part to quit being a bunch of dirt bags. Pathetic. Well that's okay cause I am willing to bet history will repeat itself and I hope the next time that some inside exposure gets listed instead. Oh and I see they still haven't fixed the account management on the web end either. SAD!

almossbb
almossbb

well its not like im gonna try and sue sony so this doesnt really affect me

DiscGuru101
DiscGuru101

ATTN: LEGAL DEPARTMENT/ARBITRATION 6080 CENTER DRIVE 10TH FLOOR LOS ANGELES, CA 90045 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- MUST INCLUDE: NAME, ADDRESS, PSN #, CLEAR STATEMENT THAT: YOU DO NOT WISH TO RESOLVE DISPUTES WITH ANY SONY ENTITY THROUGH ARBITRATION. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Distrusting your customers the same year in which you compromise their credit card information on a historic scale? Cowardly: and hideously offensive.

InnerSenses
InnerSenses

Sure whatever, I'll accept. I didn't plan on suing Sony anyway. To the people complaining in the comments, this just means that if you have a problem with Sony you have to do it yourself. It also means that any lawyer who reads the news but thinks an analog stick is something that makes your car go faster, can't make a quick buck whenever Sony makes a slip-up.

otanikun
otanikun

@Evilbunz and that just makes it harder for those that have legitimate complaints to sue the company, which is still crap.

daabulls23
daabulls23

I bet they really regret removing Linux, since that is basically where it started. Backwards compatibility was pretty big, but I think most people have moved on from that or kept their PS2s. That Linux issue just hangs around Sony like bad BO.

Ex-DarkBlade
Ex-DarkBlade

Who, besides the hackers, honestly cares about Linux being removed from the PS3? And also why are people over reacting with this new? We can still sue Sony. This change only stops useless civil law suits.

Rovelius
Rovelius

@Freezezzy They did hire someone and finally went around updating their servers. Sure it can still happen but it's less likely to.

Rovelius
Rovelius

@buying1999 It's still free.

armandoisgreat
armandoisgreat

Don't care. I bought my ps3 to play games. When it stops doing that, i will complain.

HaloPimp978
HaloPimp978

They can say it, but will it actually work.

Super-Poke-Bros
Super-Poke-Bros

Can they do that? I declare that you can't call the cops if I steal your car! :D

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

@Morphine_OD Theres a small flaw in that logic. You see, you have a choice to agree to this, you can also leave this agreement anytime you want. Slavery is where you don't have a choice to choose whether you want to agree or not.

CaptainHerlock
CaptainHerlock

Gamers may think they are "fighting the good fight" by filing these lawsuits, but in reality they are the ones being used. Yes, being used by lawyers who see "gamers" as their new growth field, ready to cash in on a corporation with deep pockets, and abusing a civil court system that has made it far too easy to file these lawsuits, making it possible for them to earn a quick pay day. I know this is going to get a ton of "Thumbs Down" votes, but the civil court system was designed to render equity when the criminal courts could not. It wasn't intended for gamers to squeeze a quick freebie and use it has a panacea for every ill that happens to fall their way.

robfield
robfield

If I ever own a business my terms of service will be "you give up all rights to sue" of course it will be in small print and in the middle of a paragraph. "Click here to agree"

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

How are these legal? Why doesn't every company say you can't sue them in class action suits?