New PSN Terms Of Service Include A No-Suing Sony Clause

Have you agreed to the new PlayStation Network terms of service yet? If you have, then you've agreed not to take Sony to court or participate in a class action lawsuit against the company. You really should read things before you sign them.

Today Sony Network Entertainment America transfers its online services to Sony Network Entertainment International, and PlayStation Network members are being asked to agree to an updated terms of service document to reflect that change, but they're agreeing to much more than a new global Sony Entertainment Network.

They're agreeing to not take any Sony Entity to court regarding any Sony online services or the use of any devices sold by a Sony entity to access those services. It's right there in section 15 of the document:

Other than those matters listed in the Exclusions from Arbitration clause (small claims), 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.

In summary, in order to use the PlayStation Network, you must agree to settle any dispute with the company outside of court.

That's not all. There's also a class action waiver in section 15, which states that those agreeing to the terms of service are also agreeing to setting their disputes with Sony entities one-on-one. That means they cannot participate in a group action, unless that group action was set in motion before August 20, 2011.

It's a rather sneaky move on the part of Sony's legal department, though it isn't quite as nasty as it sounds. I mean, they did give us a way to opt-out of the agreement:

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 centre 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.

Ah, written notice, the pleasant way to say, "F**k you, buy a stamp." It's an inconvenient way out, but it is a way out. Otherwise you're not only bound for the duration of your agreement, but until the end of time, thanks to a continuation clause at the end of the section.

So your options are send a letter, deal with it, cancel your PlayStation Network account, or wait until such a time as a judge deems this illegal or unenforceable, which I don't imagine will take too long.

I've contact the PlayStation folks for comment, and will update the post should they respond.

Update: Sony's Patrick Seybold responded to my inquiry with the following:

"This language in our TOS is common and similar to that of many other service related Terms of Service Agreements. It is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

Terms of Service and User Agreement (Version 12) [Sony Entertainment Network]


Comments

    Most ToS and EULAs have this "don't sue me" clause, but I've never seen one that gives users a chance to opt out. Sony are being better than most.

    I'd doubt that clause would be enforceable, if someone has a right (in the eyes of the law) to sue someone, a commercial contract can't take that away.

      What Cameron said. EULAs cannot remove or invalidate your consumer rights.

    that sounds fairly illegal thing for sony to do...

      It's just not enforceable.

      And it's not news worthy kotaku US!

    Wow, I can't imagine that would stand up in a law court.

    So long as they haven't added a clause requiring you to laugh at Kevin Butler's awkward rambling.

    The reality is it's better to engage in arbitration rather than court or class action anyway.

    But it also means that if Sony doesn't participate and seek an appropriate resolution either, THEY end up breaking the contract first, thus invalidating the entire thing and opening up court-based opportunities. So I wouldn't worry.

      Now thats using your noggin! I actually realised this when I had problems with my last real estate agent when I was moving house! They were trying to shaft me and do anything to stop my bond refund, so I informed them that I would issue them with a "notice to remedy breach" which changed they're tune and I got my bond back. Whats great is alot of companies make you think that you are the only one who can be in breach of contract, until you read and learn the rules and find out that they are also liable for breaking contract as well! So, read everything people - especially when it comes to shifty real estate agents!

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