New PlayStation Network terms include anti-class action clause; Accept or face ban

New PlayStation Network terms include anti-class action clause; Accept or face ban

Summary: Sony's PlayStation Network comes with new terms of service, restricting users from instigating class-action lawsuits in case of future hacks. Accept, or face a ban.

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After a series of massive data breaches which hit the PlayStation Network last year, Sony is facing pressure from legal action and class-action suits relating to loss of data and security lapses.

But the new terms and conditions of the PlayStation Network now includes a new clause for which users waive the right to collectively take legal action against Sony over future hacks or breaches -- or face bans from the service.

When users log in, the re-written terms will be displayed, and must be accepted to continue to play on the network. Gamers will now have to try to resolve any legal disputes with a Sony appointed arbitrator before a suit can be filed, according to the new terms.

(Source: Flickr)

The new terms includes specific wording to future-proof the company against legal action:

"Class Action Waiver. 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."

The Register points out users who wish to opt-out of the clause can do so, by sending a letter to Sony's Los Angeles headquarters. Subscribers will then be able to hold onto their right to file a class-action suit without arbitration.

Earlier this year, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Sony in April after the first hack, which led to the theft of 77 million users' personal details, including email and postal addresses and passwords. The PlayStation Network was brought offline for forty days in a bid to salvage the network and to bolster the services' security.

At the height of the 'summer of hacking' by group Lulz Security, it was first suspected that the group could have been behind the hack. Sony blamed Anonymous, the wider hacking collective, but it shortly after denied its involvement. Lulz Security subsequently hacked a number of Sony websites as part of its wider AntiSec ('anti-security') campaign.

The full terms of service agreement can be found here [PDF].

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Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Networking

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4 comments
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  • Can they legally do that?

    As per rule one sided contract cannot be enforced in the court of law. When terms of contract are too much one-sided, i.e. it is written to protect only one party then it is thrown out of court.
    That means even if contract says that users cannot bring class suite in court; if they bring class suite, court is unlikely accept Sony's argument about the clause in the contract for not doing so.
    p.vinnie@...
    • RE: New PlayStation Network terms include anti-class action clause; Accept or face ban

      @p.vinnie@... Eh, I think it's more "If you sue us, then we're not gonna let you use our stuff". Not that I agree with it or anything.
      Aerowind
    • RE: New PlayStation Network terms include anti-class action clause; Accept or face ban

      @p.vinnie@... Arbitration seems to be a big thing in many EULAs, unfortunately. As far as I know, no case has really called this issue into question, at least not yet.
      Third of Five
  • No ambulance too fast

    These big online gaming networks are all going to be closed down if the companies running them cannot protect themselves from class action suits where the "class" consists of numbers like 77 million people.<br><br>Those suits are a wonderful deal for lawyers, but why should the entire Sony corporation face bankruptcy if some network admin makes a configuration error or fails to apply a patch in minutes instead of hours? It's just easier to exit the online gaming business altogether.<br><br>Think of all the things in our society, from "monkey bars" to entire playgrounds, that used to be fun but don't exist anymore because of these incessant lawsuits.
    Robert Hahn