PSN Terms of Service Sept. 15, 2011 | Waiver of Right to Class Action Lawsuit


So be honest: Did you actually read the new Terms of Service agreement that was posted in advance of Firmware update 3.72 several days ago? I’ll admit it—I didn’t! I scroll right through those things like a chump. The faster I can get to the “Accept” button, the faster I can reconnect to PSN and regain access to online gaming, the PSN store, Netflix streaming, etc. Perhaps I was overhasty on this occasion, as Sony included a rather surprising clause in the latest TOS, acceptance of which waives my right ever to join a class action lawsuit against the corporation. More details—and information about how to reclaim the aforementioned right, should you wish to do so—after the jump.


Note that the story that follows below is applicable to U.S. subscribers to PSN services. I have no knowledge of the TOS agreements in other countries or regions.

It’s not hard to guess why Sony is feeling embattled by class action lawsuits: It was hit by the first of these within days of the commencement of the April 2011 PSN multiple security breach fiasco (which we covered exhaustively). By July 2011, Sony faced fifty-five class action lawsuits in direct response to these attacks. Fast forward to September 2011, when, according to an article by CNN’s Mark Milian, Sony took heart that the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that class action lawsuit-limiting language developed by American telephony company AT&T is legal. PSN’s new TOS creates similar strictures for PSN consumers. After all, as Milian’s article states, it is often prohibitively expensive for the average consumer to individually sue a corporation, so the new language should dramatically reduce Sony’s exposure to consumer lawsuits.

So what, exactly, is the new language? To “refresh your memory” of the TOS document that you doubtless poured over for hours on your television screen, you might pull up the full document online (Adobe PDF file), which handily flags revisions when compared to the previous TOS agreement. The relevant changes for our purposes appear in Section 15 (pp. 17-19). I quote a portion of this section below:

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.

Perhaps in an effort to make this change or palatable or to shore up its chances of withstanding a legal challenge, Sony has provided an opt-out clause (TOS, p. 17). You have thirty days from the time that you accept(ed) the agreement to opt out by sending a letter to Sony with the following information:

1. Your name
2. Your address
3. Your PSN account
4. “A clear statement that you do not wish to resolve disputes with any Sony entity through arbitration.”

This letter should be sent to the following address:

6080 Center Drive
10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Attn: Legal Department/Arbitration
Attn: Sony Legal Department: Dispute Resolution

A template letter in the form of a Google document has been created for your convenience by Patrick Klepek of GiantBomb.

I am happy that Sony has permitted us to refuse the waiver, but this still feels like a disingenuous move: Sony is extending us the ability to work for a right that we inherently possessed until a few days ago. What percentage of PSN subscribers will opt out? How many people even know about the change such that they understand that they have the option to opt out? Does anyone read the TOS?

So let’s hear from you, intrepid PS3 dévotés: How do you all feel about the TOS change? Will you mail an opt out letter to Sony?


Written by: premiersoupir - News Contributor


  1. #1 by Abkanis on September 22nd, 2011 [ 1064 Points ]

    Did I read the new ToS? No. But I did read about them; and the “don’t sue us” clause. And I just don’t care really don’t care about it. Sony isn’t going to take down their box, or the supporting network for it anytime soon, and thats what I paid them for it.

    I admit it, I never intended to run linux on it. And internet douchebags happen (and will ddos sites/hack them). There promises, yes. But they’ve acted well within reasonable expectations. PSN came back after the anon incident, stop whining about it.

    What I’m trying to say is: almost no one has any reason to sue Sony. I know I certainly won’t. And before anyone wants to go around saynig persons like me are just being complacent towards company BS: stop looking for reasons to cause trouble, if trouble does in fact happen then its a different story. but this is a gaming machine beyond anything else. Entertainment. Fun.

    It’s my belief that the internet, as a collective, needs to lighten up.

  2. #2 by Eddie on September 22nd, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    I’m still uneducated completely on the meaning of this but I assume you can still sue them as an individual.

    I also know that many other companies have been using this in their TOS lately as well.

  3. #3 by Pedro on September 22nd, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    Personally, while I think this is nice, I do believe there could be some kind of law that are obligating Sony yo put this in their ToS. What I know is I don’t really plan on suing Sony…

  4. #4 by FooBear408 on September 22nd, 2011 [ 17244 Points ]

    do I have enough time/money to obtain legal council and sue Playstation?

    the answer is no. so this whole thing has no effect on me either way.

    side note: your icon is a cheetah wearing a monocle.

  5. #5 by EdEN on September 22nd, 2011 [ 139781 Points ]

    @Eddie: You CAN sue them as an individual but that’s more expensive on your part (lawyer fees, going to court, paper filing, etc.). Class Action is better since it’s just a “once the judge rules in consumer’s favor everyone that feels they have a right to some $$$ can step up” situation.

  6. #6 by Pedro on September 22nd, 2011 [ 39949 Points ]

    FooBear408: do I have enough time/money to obtain legal council and sue Playstation?the answer is no. so this whole thing has no effect on me either way.side note: your icon is a cheetah wearing a monocle.  

    isn’t that an eye-patch?

  7. #7 by bipple305 on September 22nd, 2011 [ 350 Points ]

    Sony, sometimes you make me sick. Thankfully I will never enter my CC info on any of your consoles. Amazon.com + PSN cards = suckkkkk it!

  8. #8 by premiersoupir on September 22nd, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    @Pedro & FooBear: Let’s split the difference and call it a monocle-patch. Regardless, he’s quite the nattily-appointed flâneur!

    @those who don’t expect to sue Sony: Neither do I! But shouldn’t we have the right to do so in a class action suit? I don’t sign an agreement revoking my right to class action lawsuit when I drink a Coke, buy a car, or subscribe to a cable service. I don’t expect to sue any of the relevant corporations, but I reserve the right to do so if the products poison me, explode underneath me, burn down my house, etc. Who’s ever heard of such a terms of service agreement?

  9. #9 by Eddie on September 22nd, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    @premiersoupir ummm actually you do with some cable providers. A lot of cell phone providers as well.

  10. #10 by Darklurkr23 on September 22nd, 2011 [ 22711 Points ]

    I’m too lazy to go through all that to sue anyway. But yea total BS clause. If they screw up BIG TIME, they should be liable to a CERTAIN degree. Not 100% because ya know it’s not there fault they get hacked, but it should be worded differently.

  11. #11 by Eddie on September 23rd, 2011 [ 44542 Points ]

    Well Sony currently has 55 pending class action lawsuits based on the hack alone.

  12. #12 by Nikazio on September 23rd, 2011 [ 69 Points ]

    actually i did read them lol i think it’s the first time i read the ToS in a very very long time

  13. #13 by premiersoupir on September 23rd, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Eddie: Well Sony currently has 55 pending class action lawsuits based on the hack alone.

    Good info to cite in the main article — I’ll add that in. Found a source for the number. Thanks, @Eddie!

  14. #14 by Emrah on September 23rd, 2011 [ 7319 Points ]

    I read some of those agreements in full, but didn’t read this one as I knew the changed part in advance.

    This is a a bit, but not so much, like them removing Linux support. The excuse from apologists was “How many percent are using Linux anyway? I don’t use it”. Well, how many percent is willing to participate in a class-action lawsuit anyway? :)

    Of note, I objected the removal of Linux.

    • #15 by Tosh on September 23rd, 2011 [ 1102 Points ]

      I loved that I had the option to run Linux, it was fun. Was very sad when that was taken away from us :( I didn’t use Linux to often, but now I can never do so again on my PS3.

  15. #16 by premiersoupir on September 23rd, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Emrah: This is a a bit, but not so much, like them removing Linux support. The excuse from apologists was “How many percent are using Linux anyway? I don’t use it”. Well, how many percent is willing to participate in a class-action lawsuit anyway? Of note, I objected the removal of Linux.

    I’m with you, cat. The point is now dreadfully moot, but I objected strenuously to the removal of OtherOS capability as well, and I wrote Sony a strongly-worded letter about the matter. I’m still convinced that if Sony hadn’t taken such a reactionary stance to GeoHot’s first foray, then we wouldn’t have had the cascade of escalating attacks and countermeasures.

    At any rate, my latest letter went out in the post to Sony today.

  16. #17 by wolfkin on September 23rd, 2011 [ 6633 Points ]

    oh shoot I really need to mail that off.

  17. #18 by dragon290513 on September 23rd, 2011 [ 7218 Points ]

    admitly its a cool function, best of this gen console but only a fraction of us try install Linux on their systems.

  18. #19 by jeliminy on September 24th, 2011 [ 75 Points ]

    Thank you guys so much for bringing this issue to my attention! You have done a real public service. I would not have known about it otherwise. Sending in my letter tomorrow!

  19. #20 by GreaterGnoll on September 24th, 2011 [ 135 Points ]

    Hello. I just created a registration at this site to say thank you for this article.

  20. #21 by premiersoupir on September 24th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Welcome to the site! Make yourself at home, and throw your name in the hat for one or more of our awesome giveaways, like Resistance 3!

  21. #22 by GreaterGnoll on September 24th, 2011 [ 135 Points ]

    I have a question. Link to “template letter” is not working.

  22. #23 by premiersoupir on September 24th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    GreaterGnoll: I have a question. Link to “template letter” is not working.

    Hmm… seems to be working for me. The link employs Google Documents service, so if you don’t have a Google account, I suppose that you may be unable to access it. At any rate, just compose a typical business letter (if you need a template, your word processor should supply one) that provides the information that I enumerate above (name, address, psn id, & statement). Then print out you letter and send it to the address above!

  23. #24 by GreaterGnoll on September 24th, 2011 [ 135 Points ]

    Thank you.

  24. #25 by xDeFcoN_2FasT4Ux on September 24th, 2011 [ 2160 Points ]

    Yea I didn’t read them, watch some day we all become test subjects, just like in south park with teh IPAd thingy and The Humansentipad. episode. lol

  25. #26 by Kane112 on September 25th, 2011 [ 34187 Points ]

    lol ye never read these myself since its basically agree or dont play


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