Sony: PS3 updates both a Hassle and a Trap? A LEGAL Trap?
So Sony is still trying to shake off all that bad juju from the massive security breach that put oh… 77 Million or so people in the cross-hairs of hackers. Granted, Sony didn’t hand the info to the hackers with a bow on it, but after reading about how Sony bypassed essential security measures to make the “free” Network easier to financially support… Yeah, not really feeling any sympathy for Sony.
To shake off this very bad juju, Sony has done a couple of things and all of them appear to be totally disorganized and poorly thought out as though Sony shaking their keys will make anyone forget going to get a new credit card of that their motion shooter involves a lollipop on the controller. For instance, they changed their old slogan “It only does everything” to “Long Live Play“. This silly new advertising gambit was thrown in to counter the hilariously awesome “It only does Offline” (and it’s ilk) that became popular when the PlayStation Network was turned off and partially as an attempt to establish a new, more explosive image for the company trying to usher core gamers into its heaving bosom.
Less references to Sony’s Bosom and more ample references to how Sony plans to keep you from suing them WITH YOUR APPROVAL… after the cut.
Recently, their efforts to change included a sneaky attempt to wriggle out of potential lawsuits in case this sort of thing happens again has been worked into a MANDATORY FIRMWARE UPDATE that has a new Terms of Service and User Agreement folded into it. An update where merely approving the update’s installation counts for their purposes as an agreement that you will NOT be part of any future class action lawsuits against Sony for issues related to a Network Outage following August 20th, 2011. The specific August date is there because there’s already a few suits in motion and they want to prevent as many ADDITIONAL lawsuits popping up relating to the original account info breach as possible.
(Above: Sony’s text accompanying this “update”)
Within the dense hedge of text you’ll find the following passage:
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.
So there you go, Sony is forcing you via update to surrender your rights a customer and a member of a legion of victims in order to squash potential lawsuits before they happen. The results of the current lawsuits will probably mean free game downloads again or by mail as they did with other things in days past.
Regardless, Sony has offered a way out of being drawn into this web of deceit:
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 there ya go. In a day of Electronic Mailing when they will seriously count “hitting X” as a legally binding signature, they will only make an exception to their rule of one-on-one arbitration pitting you against their oversized legal team if you send a signed document stating your lack of interest in playing by their definition of “fair”. People have scoffed, but I’m sending mine in and I am getting it tracked with a mandatory recipient signature. I’m not off pawning my PS3, but I’m not going to let them tell me how I can sue them either.
Seriously, THE NERVE of these guys. While it is true that many bigger and potentially more EVIL companies (Microsoft anyone? Google?) have similar language in their Network agreements, they didn’t have a customer service disaster like Sony’s data breach. It’s one thing to start up a service with this already in the signup sheets, but it’s another thing altogether when you come up to the victimized masses and suggest that if this happens again that they not bother trying to either defend themselves or demand compensation for additional Sony negligence down the line.
I’ve half a mind to start a class action lawsuit over this one element.
Info gathered from various sources including Daison, but most of the stuff was brought to my attentionby Joystiq.