Version 12 (September 15, 2011) of Sony’s new online services terms of service agreement (PDF) states, on page 18:
Any dispute resolution proceedings, whether in arbitration or in court, will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class or representative action or as a named or unnamed member of 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.
Just thought you should know that in order to play games on their service, you’re being required to give up a very relevant method of legal recourse. I actually was about to sign up for a new PSN account, but I think I’ll hold off for a while.
I don’t want to get too deep into this, but the news is making the rounds and it seems to be just the latest shady way in which Sony is manipulating the law and the rights of others to their own liking. Their handling of the Geohot case was repugnant, and while they’ve worked hard at making things right for those affected by the PSN and SOE hacks, their response to that too was less than admirable.
Shenanigans in license agreements and terms of service are nothing new. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be disturbed when Sony makes us agree not to sue them before we can play our games.
You can opt out of the updated arbitration process by actually mailing in a document saying you want to. Simply send a letter to this address containing your name, full address, PSN account number if applicable, and a clear statement to the effect that you do not wish to resolve disputes through arbitration:
ATTN: Legal Dept
6080 Center Drive, 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Be advised that you must do this within 30 days of agreeing to the terms.