Anti-Class Action Lawsuit ToS Prompts Class Action Lawsuit Against Sony

December 19, 2011 Written by Rae Langdon

The recent Terms of Service change that Sony initiated with the latest version of the PlayStation 3 firmware has been challenged in federal court.

This latest lawsuit was filed in South Carolina on behalf of PlayStation 3 owners who had purchased the console before September 2011, according to GameSpot. The new suit alleges unfair business practices due to a clause buried in a multipage document Terms of Service. The new clause requires users to mail Sony a physical letter in order to opt out of the safeguards that protect Sony from class action lawsuits due to service interruptions and other problems.

The clause that protects Sony from future class action lawsuits reads as follows:

NOTE: THIS AGREEMENT CONTAINS A BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER PROVISION IN SECTION 15 THAT AFFECTS YOUR RIGHTS UNDER THIS AGREEMENT AND WITH RESPECT TO ANY “DISPUTE” (AS DEFINED BELOW) BETWEEN YOU AND SNEI, SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT INC., SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC, THEIR AFFILIATES, PARENTS OR SUBSIDIARIES (ALL ENTITIES COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO BELOW AS “SONY ENTITIES”). YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO OPT OUT OF THE BINDING ARBITRATION AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER PROVISIONS AS FURTHER DESCRIBED IN SECTION 15.

The lawsuit also alleges Sony hid the clause amongst a 21-page form, and also failed to post an easily accessible version of the form online – despite having done so with past user agreement updates.

Late last month a similar lawsuit brought against Sony over the April 2010 removal of the ‘Other OS’ feature was dismissed. Will this new suit have the same outcome? We’ll find out in due time. Legal matters usually take several months, or years to be resolved. I’m sure this won’t be the first time we hear about this lawsuit.