A clever Sony have recently updated the terms of their online gamer network, the PSN, to prevent users from pursuing class-action lawsuits against the company regarding the service.
Version 12 of the PSN service agreement, live as of the 15th of September 2011 clearly states on it’s 18th page that;
Any dispute resolution proceedings, whether in arbitration or in court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action or as a named or unnamed member of a class, consolidated, representative or private attorney general legal 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 blatant reaction to recent hacking of the network is extraordinarily controversial, since gamers are required to lay down what essentially are fundamental rights usually given to consumers to allow them to have a method of legal recourse to damages or other effects of criminality conducted on Sony’s service, and critics are labeling their response as ‘less than admirable’. Coupled with the embarrassment of the hacker responsible being given a job by Facebook, Sony isn’t the public number one currently, now so more than usual.
PSN users in the United States can expect to be required to stand down from their rights to sue Sony in order to use the service on agreement of the recent terms, which can be opted out of by simply mailing Sony at the address below with their name, full address and PSN account number if applicable, along with a clear statement that as a PSN user you will not resort to legal proceedings against the company.
ATTN: Legal Dept
6080 Center Drive, 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Whilst this will mean users will still be unable to sue Sony, it does mean their legal rights in general are unaffected a confusing, but apparently more legally ethical solution. The document must be mailed within 30 days of agreeing to the new PSN terms.
UK PSN users should also be aware of the new terms, and should contact Sony’s UK branch in order to find information regarding legal proceedings if required.