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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.
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+