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New PSN TOS Blocks Your Right to Sue Sony, Ever

September 15, 2011 Written by Sebastian Moss

Terms of Service are a controversial contract at the best of times, with the huge list of legal jargon often including crucial, binding statements that generally include not having the right to a refund, or the ability to blame them for any glitches. Sony’s new TOS takes things a step further, and will not allow you to sue PlayStation, or other Sony companies.

The revised terms of service and user agreement for its online services, that include the PSN, now has a new section that states users cannot enter into a class action lawsuit against Sony unless the company agrees to it (why would they?). On top of that the section states:

Other than those matters listed in the Exclusions from Arbitration clause, you and the Sony Entity that you have a Dispute with agree to seek resolution of the Dispute only through arbitration of that Dispute in accordance with the terms of this Section 15, and not litigate any Dispute in court. Arbitration means that the Dispute will be resolved by a neutral arbitrator instead of in a court by a judge or jury.

That means that you will also have trouble bringing other types of lawsuits against Sony, including their other divisions like Sony Pictures or Sony Online Entertainment.

Anyone who has filed a class action suit against the company before August 20th can still do, but future users won’t be able to. Sony explained:

If you do not agree with the new TOS or Privacy Policy, or if you do not wish to enter into an agreement with [Sony Network Entertainment], you may decline the TOS and Privacy Policy and we will close your account and return your funds.

You do have the option to opt-out of the clause by writing to Sony, but the opt-out must take place within 30 days of accepting the new terms.

Sony does admit, however, that the entire section might actually be illegal:

If the Class Action Waiver clause is found to be illegal or unenforceable, this entire Section 15 will be unenforceable, and the dispute will be decided by a court and you and the Sony Entity you have a dispute with each agree to waive in that instance, to the fullest extent allowed by law, any trial by jury.

The new section comes after the Rothken law firm filed a federal class action lawsuit against SCEA for the recent hack of the PSN.

On top of the added section, terms like “purchasing” and “owning” have been replaced by “licensing”, so it seems that you don’t actually own your PSN titles any more.

What do you think of the new TOS? Are they a step too far? Let us know in the comments below.