Unsurprisingly, the nearly month-long PlayStation Network outage and related security breach resulted in the inevitable class action lawsuit. And while that's fair game, Sony isn't taking it lying down. The Japanese consumer electronics giant has amended its online gaming service's Terms of Service – that's the giant wall-o-text that consumer have learned to gloss over while hunting for the "Agree" action. Sony's solution: Why, a mandatory system update, of course!
The next time users log into PSN, they'll be greeted with the all-too-familiar request to update their consoles; however, this update includes the aforementioned new Terms of Service which, amongst other things, include the following notable enhancement:
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.Naturally, this change isn't going to sit well with consumers but it is in Sony's best interest to try any and everything it can to protect itself from retaliation if and when this happens again. Sony's Patrick Seybold addressed the change, saying, "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." You can opt out of this easily, by just ... sending a letter? Sony is keeping things simple, and offers this easy opt-out method:
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.We'd love to know what kind of postcard you're using for this letter and, as Ars Technica points out, you may want to get signature and tracking service. For more thrilling reading from the new Terms of Service, head on past the break where we've embedded the entire thing, with changes marked in red.