Sony Changes PS3 Terms Of Service To Avoid Class-Action Lawsuits

When AT&T recently convinced the Supreme Court that a mandatory binding arbitration clause hidden deep in a customer’s terms of service contract was enough to keep said customer from joining a class-action lawsuit against the company, many of us predicted that a number of large companies would follow AT&T’s example, adding arbitration clauses to avoid expensive class actions. And it looks like Sony has opted to go that route.

The company, which has found itself on the receiving end of a number of suits following both the massive PS Network outage and data leaks, and the company’s decision to retroactively remove Linux support from the PS3.

So the next time you go to turn on your PS3, you’ll face a mandatory system update, which includes adding a binding individual arbitration clause to your terms of service.

It reads:

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 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 PROVISION DOES NOT PRECLUDE YOUR PARTICIPATION AS A MEMBER IN A CLASS ACTION FILED ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 20, 2011….

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.

Of course, what do you think the odds are that Sony will ever acknowledge receipt of your opt-out letter? The only way to have any sort of back-up is to keep a copy and send your request by registered mail or a parcel delivery service that allows tracking and signature capture.

Mandatory PS3 update removes right to join in a class-action lawsuit [ArsTechnica]