Sony attempts to block legal option, if you disagree you'll need to buy a stamp
A security breach that led to more than 100 million online accounts being compromised was always like to cause a few lawsuits, and it appears that Sony isn't willing to go down without a fight - or at the very least some paperwork.
In an update to its terms of service and user agreement, the company said that anyone who has an account for its online services must now waive their right to a class action lawsuit. Basically, Sony is preventing groups of people from being able to sue should it be hacked in the future.
"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 action."
The company goes on to say that people can only file a class action lawsuit if Sony agrees to it beforehand. Such a move is certainly 'a bit of a pain' from a PR perspective; the reactionary majority will inevitably jump at the chance to have another go at Sony.
While the legal implications may be quite minor (individuals who accept the new terms of service can still sue Sony), sneaking in such an update is desperately poor form. Essentially, Sony is taking away a legal resource from anyone who is still using its service - and these are the people who have shown faith in Sony.
Incidentally, any outstanding class action lawsuits filed against Sony will still stand - including the class action case filed by Rothken on behalf of some 77 million PSN customers.
It isn't entirely clear if such conditions would be enforceable here in the UK under the Unfair Contract Terms Act.
If you agree to the new terms of service (which is necessary if you want to continue using the service) but don't want to be prevented from entering a class action lawsuit against Sony, the only way to do so is to write a letter to Sony.
Again, said Sony:
"Right to opt out of binding arbitration and class action waiver within 30 days. 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."
So, who's got a stamp?
A new home for the Caps Lock Alert program
Hosting the files for the Caps Lock Alert program on Dropbox wasn't really working. Not least because...
Gmail users: The dot in your email address is irrelevant
For the last few months I've been getting someone else's emails. Recently I received an invitation to...
Minecraft comes to the Raspberry Pi
Great news for all Raspberry Pi owners, especially those hoping to keep their children interesting in...
The broken promise of smart TVs
Smart TVs, or internet-connected TVs as they should really be called, were supposed to make watching...
Updating your subscription status