If You Had A US PSN Account In 2011, Here’s How To Get Free Stuff Now

If You Had A US PSN Account In 2011, Here’s How To Get Free Stuff Now

More than three years ago, a crippling internet attack brought down Sony’s PlayStation Network and interrupted service for more than a month. Legal showdowns ensued and today, people in the US who used the company’s online services can begin the process of getting their share of a $US15 million settlement. Here’s how.

Emails have started going out today detailing what longtime users of PSN, Qriocity, or Sony Online Entertainment need to do to get the rewards being offered as part of Sony’s $US15 million make-good. You’ll need to have had a PSN account before May 15, 2011 to qualify and some of the offerings include free games like Infamous, LittleBigPlanet and God of War HD. The wording makes a specific, probably-legally-required point of absolving Sony of any wrong-doing :

A settlement has been reached with the Sony Entities about the illegal and unauthorised attacks (the “Intrusions”) in April 2011, on the computer network systems used to provide PlayStation Network (“PSN”), Qriocity, and Sony Online Entertainment (“SOE”) services. The Sony Entities deny any claims of wrongdoing in this case, and the settlement does not mean that the Sony Entities violated any laws or did anything wrong.

Who is included? The Class includes everyone in the US (including its territories) who had a PSN account, a Qriocity account, or an SOE account at any time before May 15, 2011.

What does the settlement provide?

There are various benefits, depending in part on what type of account(s) you had. Benefits you could get (if you qualify) include:

  • Payment equal to paid wallet balances (if $US2 or more) in PSN or SOE accounts that have been inactive since the Intrusions,
  • One or more of the following: a free PS3 or PSP game, 3 free PS3 themes, or a free 3-month subscription to PlayStation Plus (once valid claims exceed $US10 million, class members will still be eligible for one free month of PlayStation Plus),
  • A free month of Music Unlimited for Qriocity account holders who did not have a PSN account,
  • $US4.50 in SOE Station Cash (amounts will be reduced proportionally if valid claims exceed $US4 million).

Identity Theft Reimbursement: If you had out-of-pocket charges due to actual identity theft, and have documentation proving that the theft was caused by the Intrusion(s), you can submit a claim for reimbursement up to $US2,500. Reimbursements will be reduced proportionally if the total amount payable on all valid claims would exceed $US1 million.

How can I get benefits? To get benefits, you must file a claim form. Claim forms are available at WWW.PSNSOESETTLEMENT.COM. You can also request claim forms from the Claims Administrator by writing to PSN-SOE Settlement, PO Box 1947, Faribault, MN 55021 or by calling 1-877-552-1284. The earliest deadline to file a claim is August 31, 2015, or 60 days after the settlement becomes final and effective. Visit the website for more details on submitting a claim online or by mail.

Your other options. Even if you do nothing, you will be bound by the Court’s decisions. If you want to keep your right to sue the Sony Entities yourself, you must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by April 10, 2015. If you stay in the Settlement Class, you may object to the settlement by April 10, 2015. For instructions on how to exclude yourself from the Class or object to the settlement, please seeWWW.PSNSOESETTLEMENT.COM.

Kotaku staff have logged into the settlement website to get some awareness of what it will ask users for:

If you were an SOE user, you get a different benefit, with an offer of the network’s Station Cash as a restitution. From the settlement site: “You can get a $US4.50 deposit of “Station Cash” (450 Station Cash units) into your SOE account, usable for all SOE digital products and services for which Station Cash may be used.”

It looks like you’re entitled to more free stuff if you can prove that you were a paid subscriber to to Netflix or Hulu that couldn’t use those services during the outage.

It seems like users who didn’t pick up anything during the previous Welcome Back campaign may have the opportunity to do so now as part of this settlement, which includes first-party games like Puppeteer released since the the hack. If you’re a person who doesn’t own Super Stardust, God of War HD or Puppeteer yet, this is a great chance to pick up those good games at no risk.

For Sony, this settlement roll-out is hopefully the beginning of the end of a very ugly chapter in their corporate history. If you’re an affected Sony services user making their way through the settlement process, let us know what you’re experiencing in the comments below.


    • It’s easy to say get on with it but Sony really screwed up there. It wasn’t like the PSN was down for a few days because someone spilled water on a router. The way they handled user information was not acceptable. The way they responded to the intrusion was pathetic, deceptive and I’m pretty sure outright illegal.
      If you found out your accountant more or less handed your private details over to a criminal, then tried to cover their mistake up giving that criminal a larger window to abuse those details before you took the appropriate measures, you wouldn’t shrug it off just because they gave you some free calendars and they have the legal resources to slow progress down to the point where it takes three years to get a result.

      It’s easy to forget that their irresponsible treatment of user data led to something happening that can’t be undone. The bulk of the complaints came from people who were pissed they couldn’t play Call of Duty for a month and a half but their ignorance of what actually happened or their willingness to accept a few token games doesn’t change the severity of what occurred. Frankly after seeing the problems Sony continued to have with security as recently as 2014 makes me think accepting Disney Dollars and moving on is a terrible idea.

      • I’m pretty sure outright illegal.

        While I agree with a few things, unless you’re 100% sure, don’t go throwing terms like that around dude.

        • It is deceptive business practise to not notify customers who have their credit card information stolen or used by others and banks don’t exactly look at it positively because they have to chase it all down regardless to fill in all of the chargebacks and so on, dealing with the later fraud issues with potentially millions of customers.

          As for illegality, Sony gets out of it due to jurisdictional allowances for the various territories it conducted transactions. At the point of sale, ie where the credit cards were processed, that’s where you’d check the laws over public disclosure of liability or losses.

          And then you have to check out your revised terms and conditions post 2011, which probably has a no fault or no liability clause for this, which you probably agreed to when getting the 3 free games.

          You did read the terms and conditions, right?

          I’ve changed my credit card 3 times since the PSN hack and I haven’t used the PS3 since then, not even to get the 3 terrible games at the time.

        • Well that’s why I said pretty sure. Given the large gap between the hack and Sony notifying users that their data had potentially been compromised it seems very likely that they broke the law. Playing it safe and waiting until they had confirmation of exactly what data had been compromised may seem like a smart business decision to avoid potentially unnecessary backlash but they have certain legal obligations when dealing with intrusions into their systems. Those obligations vary by state in the US and I’m no lawyer, thus the ‘pretty sure’.
          I’m not just randomly slinging mud here. Sony may be a victim here but it’s clear that even if they had the best intentions they made some seriously questionable decisions here.

  • This doesn’t seem particularly releveant to Australians unless I missed something… I had a US PSN account at that time however I’m not nor have I ever been a US citizen which seems like I’m excluded…

    While I am completely willing to lie about what country I’m in for the sake of dodging annoyingly arbirary region restrictions there’s no way I’m going to lie on what amounts to a legal claim.

    • It’s a Kotaku US article. And it’s basically the result of the class lawsuit Sony had to defend in America on the PSN hack. Hence the whole US citizen thing only…

      The free games from ages back were seperate from this class action. It was basically just Sony reimbursing everyone for the damages.

      • And, getting everyone to sign up to the new legal contract so they couldn’t sue Sony America…

        There were dozens of “kick Sony” articles pushed ruthlessly back in 2011/2012 when PSN came back up, asking people to forgive them, and discussing the games, and the new legal contract you had to agree to when they ditched backwards compatibility, or other random things that they took out of the old PS3 legal documents.

        • Errmmm…. if your talking about the “no claim clause” on that claim form then IIRC that’s pretty standard =/

          That’s the whole point of joining a class action suit is so that you have a better chance of getting compensation via bargaining as a collective entity as opposed to applying your own individual case. By participating in the claim you’re basically joining that collective entity which has successfully litigated against Sony. This means that you are now precluded from lodging your *own* claim as that would be the law equivalent of “double dipping”. So if you think the compensation was not enough you can forgo actually taking the compensation and are entitled to bring a *separate* case of your own to try and get better compensation.

          Unless you’re talking about the “Cannot Sue” clause on the Terms & Agreements w/ PSN/SoE at which case pretty sure that’s old news… and if US legal system allows that to happen then that’s the local countries problem (because IIRC that clause cannot apply to AU because we have a much more consumer friendly trade practices law)

          • This is 100% correct. Australian Consumer law dictates that a ‘you cannot sue us’ clause means absolutely squat in Australia. If you break the law, you are liable, no matter who you are.

            That’s the ‘theory’ anyhow 🙂

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