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Supreme Court Prompted Sony's Restrictive Terms of Service

Decision in favor of AT&T stripping away rights to class action lawsuits spurred action.

You can still take legal action against Sony, you just need to send a letter maintaing that right.

If you've agreed to Sony's recently updated Terms of Service to sign into PlayStation Network, you're waiving the right to collectively sue (read: class action lawsuit) the company in the future.

There was speculation Sony decided to make this change now was the result of a Supreme Court decision involving AT&T from April. The decision allowed AT&T to include a similar clause in employee contracts that prevented them from taking collective legal action against the company.

Sony confirmed to CNN today this was the reason.

"The Supreme Court recently ruled in the AT&T case that language like this is enforceable," said a spokesperson. "The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

As pointed out in my story earlier this week, you have the ability to maintain the right to participate in class action lawsuits against Sony by sending a physical letter to the company. It's not the most convenient solution, but it's there. The catch being that anyone who agrees must send a letter to Sony within 30 days of saying yes.

Sony claims the move will benefit both the company and consumers, but the updated Terms of Service means you must engage Sony via arbitration. There is no jury involved with arbitration, though there is a judge. The cynical viewpoint would be that the lack of a jury could create less sympathy towards a consumer.

If you'd like to send a letter to Sony, I used Google Docs to create a publicly available template.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
You can still take legal action against Sony, you just need to send a letter maintaing that right.

If you've agreed to Sony's recently updated Terms of Service to sign into PlayStation Network, you're waiving the right to collectively sue (read: class action lawsuit) the company in the future.

There was speculation Sony decided to make this change now was the result of a Supreme Court decision involving AT&T from April. The decision allowed AT&T to include a similar clause in employee contracts that prevented them from taking collective legal action against the company.

Sony confirmed to CNN today this was the reason.

"The Supreme Court recently ruled in the AT&T case that language like this is enforceable," said a spokesperson. "The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

As pointed out in my story earlier this week, you have the ability to maintain the right to participate in class action lawsuits against Sony by sending a physical letter to the company. It's not the most convenient solution, but it's there. The catch being that anyone who agrees must send a letter to Sony within 30 days of saying yes.

Sony claims the move will benefit both the company and consumers, but the updated Terms of Service means you must engage Sony via arbitration. There is no jury involved with arbitration, though there is a judge. The cynical viewpoint would be that the lack of a jury could create less sympathy towards a consumer.

If you'd like to send a letter to Sony, I used Google Docs to create a publicly available template.

Edited by is343

Huh, how could they rule that this language is enforceable.

Edited by shinigami420

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can not understand you America

Posted by AlexW00d

@shinigami420 said:

g

G for good job, and for grow up.

Posted by dragonzord

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Posted by Flappy

I wonder how many people are actually gonna send letters in? Hm...

Posted by dlwarner

America corporate law at it's finest.

Posted by Beb

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you America

It's not about wanting to due everybody. The law exists to protect everyone, and there is no good reason to sign away your rights. This is about trying to keep Sony honest in its dealing with you. If you throw your rights away then they have less reason to do things like protect credit card information, because a huge company can crush any one person in a court of law.

Basically, it's like taking the leash off the dog. And Sony has shown itself to be a bad dog in the past.

Online
Posted by shinigami420

@AlexW00d said:

@shinigami420 said:

g

G for good job, and for grow up.

No G for gastronomical

Posted by RsistncE

@AnZ17N said:

Huh, how could they rule that this language is enforceable.

All it takes is a Judge willing to play along and a legal counsel which has precedent to back it up. The AT&T case is actually far more astouding: AT&T actually put a clause in it's employment contracts, saying that employees could not take part in a class-action lawsuit against the company. A hard pill to swallow especially if AT&T does something bad enough to it's employees to prompt a class action lawsuit.

Posted by Mr. Kamikaze

It's a bit disturbing...but I don't find myself caring a whole lot. I have no plans in suing Sony any time soon, regardless of the issues they have been having. So long as I don't have to attend regular meetings, submit a survey at the end of every fiscal year, etc. As long as I can just play the games I want....I'll leave the letters to other people.

Posted by shinigami420

@zoner said:

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Yeah i agree they should be punished but just saying HEY SONY YOU DIDNT KEEP OUR STUFF SAFE NOW GIVE US MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

If it was the govorment i would be fine but this all seems like a cheap way to try to get alot of money

People in North America are just looking for excuses to sue big corporations so they can get rich

Posted by SgtGrumbles

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can not understand you America

Suing and retaining the right to sue are very different.

Posted by Traegan

I don't believe it is right to change TOS after a customer has purchased a product. I bought something, I agreed to the TOS (or presumably disagreed and returned the product). Forcing the customer to accept a change in TOS without offering a refund if they disagree with the TOS should not be allowed.

Posted by ryanwho

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

Posted by Firrae

@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

I find it sad I'm grouped in with them :(

Posted by BrockNRolla

Not that I doubt Sony's lawyers looked into this, but I would guess they are stretching the meaning of the AT&T ruling. It just means it could possibly be legal, as are all contracts until they are broken down in court.

Posted by Veektarius

That AT&T law does bother me. Hadn't heard of that decision.

Posted by ricetopher

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

Posted by kitsunezeta

So, lemme get this straight: Because AT&T managed to get the Supreme Court to rule in favor of allowing the stripping of the Class-Action rights of their EMPLOYEES (which, for those who somehow don't know, are paid by AT&T), Sony believes they have the right to do the same thing to their CONSUMERS (who aren't paid by Sony).

Someone needs to get the Supreme Court to review THIS one, and fast. And to Sony: Either pay each member of PSN in the US $174 per day (US Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 times 24 hours a day) that they are a member, without question, or take that clause out of the TOS.

Posted by HarlequinRiot

@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

I forgot how everyone over the age of 25 struggled for every right they enjoy and fought to the death when any were threatened.

Posted by wickedsc3

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can not understand you America

Ok for the billionth time. Our country runs on a Credit system, idk if your does. Company A gets hacked and the hackers are able to empty out my checking account. Now every months bills that affect your Credit are due, car payment, car insurance, house payment, phone bill, ect..... Now I can guarantee it will take Company A longer than a month to return the lost money. Causing some of my bills to not get paid which in turn causes my Credit rating to drop. Now Company A will pay back the money lost in the hack im sure, but there is no way for them to make up my Credit, bad credit stays on your record for 7 years. So the next time I go buy a car my payments will be higher because my Credit Rating is now lower.

So now that my checking is empty how can I take on this huge Billion dollar company. This is where a class action lawsuit helps.

Posted by darkdragonmage99

If anyone needed any more proof the supreme court is no long for the people but for the corporation here it is.

You wanna find out why the USA is in the shitter all you have to do is follow the money.

Posted by AiurFlux

@shinigami420 said:

@zoner said:

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Yeah i agree they should be punished but just saying HEY SONY YOU DIDNT KEEP OUR STUFF SAFE NOW GIVE US MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

If it was the govorment i would be fine but this all seems like a cheap way to try to get alot of money

People in North America are just looking for excuses to sue big corporations so they can get rich

It's not the point of suing them. I have ZERO intention to sue Sony unless I lose money through identity theft. But the point is that you should not have to waive your fucking rights to access something that you essentially already paid for, and this case that something is Playstation Network. Yeah sure it's free on paper, but whenever you buy a PS3 PSN is a part of that transaction. It's clearly advertised right on the back of the goddamn box as one of the selling points.

The reason that they're doing this is because arbitration is harder to take part in than a class action lawsuit. A single voice is like a fart in the win. When you have a hundred, or a thousand, or even hundreds of thousands it's an entirely different story. Arbitration involves you potentially sacrificing work hours, and because of a clause in the EULA they can CHOOSE the point of arbitration. So not only are you losing the time that you're in court, but also losing the time that it will take to travel to wherever arbitration is to take place. This could amount to days without work, all for something that could amount to only a hundred dollars on stolen credit card information. And yes, Sony very well could reimburse you, but it will not ever be for 100% of the net loss. It never is for 100% of the net loss when it comes to reimbursement for loss of income due to missing work. Jury duty for murder doesn't even give full reimbursement. It mathematically will not make logical sense. Nobody would ever sacrifice hundreds of dollars in income for a paltry sum when it could just be written off by the credit card company. And Sony knows this. That's why they're doing it.

Straighten up.

Posted by Jack_Lafayette
@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

Indeed.
Online
Posted by Evolkimchi

Many thanks for the heads up and template.

Posted by Thor_Molecules

Don't blame Sony here, blame the Supreme Court.

But I expect many snarky jabs at Sony regardless.

Edited by Fobwashed

@shinigami420 said:

@zoner said:

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Yeah i agree they should be punished but just saying HEY SONY YOU DIDNT KEEP OUR STUFF SAFE NOW GIVE US MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

If it was the govorment i would be fine but this all seems like a cheap way to try to get alot of money

People in North America are just looking for excuses to sue big corporations so they can get rich

I don't think anyone will be getting rich for suing Sony unless Sony ran them over with a car. In these class action lawsuits that cost millions to the companies being sued, the individual only receives a small portion of the total amount. . . it just so happens that the company screwed over lots and lots of people and have to pay them all small amounts of money so that builds up into a large ass number. The alternative is not suing at all and just giving them a free pass to fuck up. Which is what they did. If they're paying, it's because they fucked up.

The cases where a single individual or small group sues and gets a large amount of money is one of two things. Either that individual actually got effed up to the point where they deserved the money for damages (iono, amputated legs, brain damage, loss of life), or the court is awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages? For instance, say an Apple iPhone exploded in someone's hand, and they lost a finger, and they sued. If it were Apple's fault, they'd pay for the damages to the victim. If Apple knew about this problem, that people might lose their fingers, but went ahead with it anyway, they would be slammed with punitive damages instead of just the amount of damage they did to the victim. Punitive damages is set up to be an amount that is large enough to cause the company to make changes, but not enough to cripple them or put them out of business. For big ass companies is a whole lot because if they just had to pay a few million, what's that to Apple? Not much. But if it were a few hundred million. . . they'd make changes fast.

Whatever you have against Americans, great. But these things are set up the way they are for a reason. . .

Posted by Video_Game_King

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that" the consumer has virtually no chance of suing Sony for potential grievances.

Posted by Pr1mus

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company"

That part is pretty funny.

Posted by Fobwashed

@Pr1mus said:

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company"

That part is pretty funny.

I'm sure some of the consumers work at the company so this statement is true.

Posted by ProfessorEss
@Pr1mus said:

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company"

That part is pretty funny.

Yeah, I chuckled at that too.
Posted by Krummey
@HarlequinRiot

@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

I forgot how everyone over the age of 25 struggled for every right they enjoy and fought to the death when any were threatened.

Hyperbole!
Posted by BrockNRolla

@Veektarius said:

That AT&T law does bother me. Hadn't heard of that decision.

It isn't a "law" it was just a singular court decision; even if it was a Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court only rules on Constitutional issues, so any court is free to say Sony's contract isn't valid for innumerable other reasons.

Posted by MeatSim

This benefits the consumer? yea right.

Posted by ultimatepunchrod

@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

well i dont care because i dont have a reason to sue sony and even if i did i wouldnt win.

Posted by Juicebox

@shinigami420:

wow Sony fanboys never seize to amaze me. So ignorant

Posted by Insectecutor

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

"The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

Shut the fuck up Sony, this boilerplate bullshit flat out disgusting. Glad I live in a country where it's not enforceable.

Posted by Krrutch

quick, lets not stop while we're all on this roll of being self-entitled idiots who continually jump at every chance we get to find an excuse to get angry about something

Posted by Phished0ne

These comments turn me into James Chen.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

It dosent matter, you guys heard Patrick say it himself on the bombcast. The lawyer they talked to was pretty sure it wouldnt even hold up in court. EULAs only ever hold up when it comes to DRM stripping and copyright issues.

Posted by PulledaBrad

@shinigami420 said:

@zoner said:

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Yeah i agree they should be punished but just saying HEY SONY YOU DIDNT KEEP OUR STUFF SAFE NOW GIVE US MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

If it was the govorment i would be fine but this all seems like a cheap way to try to get alot of money

People in North America are just looking for excuses to sue big corporations so they can get rich

I dont think he understands how class action law suits work....

Posted by snetErz

@kitsunezeta said:

So, lemme get this straight: Because AT&T managed to get the Supreme Court to rule in favor of allowing the stripping of the Class-Action rights of their EMPLOYEES (which, for those who somehow don't know, are paid by AT&T), Sony believes they have the right to do the same thing to their CONSUMERS (who aren't paid by Sony).

Someone needs to get the Supreme Court to review THIS one, and fast. And to Sony: Either pay each member of PSN in the US $174 per day (US Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25 times 24 hours a day) that they are a member, without question, or take that clause out of the TOS.

Actually it wouldn't be under Federal Minimum Wage, as that pertains to people working in positions of the federal government. What you would want to look at is State Minimum Wages, as they can be higher than federal and sometimes lower.

Posted by Veektarius

@BrockNRolla said:

@Veektarius said:

That AT&T law does bother me. Hadn't heard of that decision.

It isn't a "law" it was just a singular court decision; even if it was a Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court only rules on Constitutional issues, so any court is free to say Sony's contract isn't valid for innumerable other reasons.

I chose my words poorly, but supreme court decisions are law in the sense of stare decisis. It's true that the breadth of the decision's application rests in the lower courts until the Supreme Court clarifies, but in the aggregate it will create decisions that are more alike to its conclusion than those that preceded it.

Posted by BrockNRolla

@Veektarius said:

@BrockNRolla said:

@Veektarius said:

That AT&T law does bother me. Hadn't heard of that decision.

It isn't a "law" it was just a singular court decision; even if it was a Supreme Court decision. The Supreme Court only rules on Constitutional issues, so any court is free to say Sony's contract isn't valid for innumerable other reasons.

I chose my words poorly, but supreme court decisions are law in the sense of stare decisis. It's true that the breadth of the decision's application rests in the lower courts until the Supreme Court clarifies, but in the aggregate it will create decisions that are more alike to its conclusion than those that preceded it.

Certainly. It's not to say the decision has no impact at all, just that I think Sony was overplaying their hand with this sort of rhetoric.

Posted by kmg90

@zoner said:

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Identity Theft occurs worldwide, its not just limited to the US, the majority of Identity theft originates from outside the US

Posted by dragonzord

@kmg90 said:

@zoner said:

@shinigami420 said:

This is dumb why the fuck do you care? why do you want to sue everybody? i can never understand you Americans

Yes, no one should be punished for losing personal information and risk putting people in danger of identity theft. Us Americans and our crazy identity theft culture.

Identity Theft occurs worldwide, its not just limited to the US, the majority of Identity theft originates from outside the US

that'sthejoke.jpeg

Posted by ryanwho

@Krummey said:

@HarlequinRiot

@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

I forgot how everyone over the age of 25 struggled for every right they enjoy and fought to the death when any were threatened.

Hyperbole!

He lashes out because the truth hurts.

Posted by ChrisInCali

Looks like I'm not using my PS3 for anything online now. Not giving my rights away. This country is letting large corporations own us. The Supreme Court is a bunch of geriatric old fucks who live in mansions and don't give a shit about REAL hard working Americans.

Posted by HarlequinRiot

@ryanwho said:

@Krummey said:

@HarlequinRiot

@ryanwho said:

Its heartening to know this young generation of "get over it" pushovers who gladly sign their rights away will one day be the leaders of the world.

I forgot how everyone over the age of 25 struggled for every right they enjoy and fought to the death when any were threatened.

Hyperbole!

He lashes out because the truth hurts.

I'll have you know, I forgot how to feel pain because I'm too busy conforming. Like in all those books people know the titles of.

Posted by MusiM

While I'm all for individual rights over company rights, class action law suits really only benefit the lawyer instigating them. Its definitely slimy of Sony and even slimier of AT&T (employees, really?!!!) but in the long run... actually I don't have anywhere I'm going with this. I guess I'm just indifferent to it all. The US clearly values large corporation rights over the middle class and poor so its not like we're ever going to have a good road to travel when it comes to taking these things forwards. I suppose the benefit of the current industry is perception is everything and a decent amount of publicity over something negative is sometimes enough to enact some type of change. Too bad Sony is more stubborn than most.

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