Sony’s latest firmware update (3.30) for its PlayStation 3 beefs up some of the console’s trophy attributes and prepares it for 3D gaming, but the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) contained some wording that alarmed UK website Thinq.
A Thinq author actually read through the whole EULA, which is dated December 10, 2009, and expressed concern over Section 3, which refers to Services and Updates. The passage is included below:
From time to time, SCE may provide updates, upgrades or services to your PS3™ system to ensure it is functioning properly in accordance with SCE guidelines or provide you with new offerings. Some services may be provided automatically without notice when you are online, and others may be available to you through SCE's online network or authorized channels.
Without limitation, services may include the provision of the latest update or download of new release that may include security patches, new technology or revised settings and features which may prevent access to unauthorized or pirated content, or use of unauthorized hardware or software in connection with the PS3™ system.
Additionally, you may not be able to view your own content if it includes or displays content that is protected by authentication technology. Some services may change your current settings, cause a loss of data or content, or cause some loss of functionality. It is recommended that you regularly back up any data on the hard disk that is of a type that can be backed up.
Thinq took the part about Sony being able to provide some services “automatically without notice when you are online,” as implying that “Sony can do whatever the hell it wants to do to the content of your PS3 without notifying you or asking your permission.”
Thinq does write that it has no way of knowing if the passage in question is new or not, but calls the choice between agreeing to the EULA or refusing to agree—and losing the ability to play online games—as “stark.”
Don’t forget too that Sony, in its Terms of Service and User Agreement (updated on April 21, 2010), indicates that it owns (in Section 12), for all intents and purposes, any content transmitted across PSN:
To the extent permitted by law, you authorize and license SCEA a royalty free and perpetual right to use, distribute, copy, modify, display, and publish your User Material (defined as pictures, photographs, game related materials, or other information) for any reason without any restrictions or payments to you or any third parties.
There was, however, no mention of souls in either document.