New PSN ToS Likely Not Enforceable in the UK, Says Lawyer

September 16, 2011 -

An interactive entertainment lawyer tells GameIndustry.biz that the new wording in the PlayStation Network terms of service is geared more towards consumers in the United States and is probably not enforceable in the United Kingdom due to existing laws that prevent such contracts.

In case you've forgotten it from yesterday, here's what paragraph 15 of the PSN terms of service states:

"If you have a Dispute with any Sony Entity or any of a Sony Entity's officers, directors, employees and agents that cannot be resolved through negotiation within the time frame described in the 'Notice of Dispute' clause below.

Other than those matters listed in the Exclusions from Arbitration clause, 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."

Sheridans partner and interactive entertainment lawyer Alex Chapman says that - even though consumers loathe it - it makes sense for Sony to do this after all the trouble it had this year.

"Whilst this may not be popular with consumers it is really nothing more than any sensible business would do after it has learned some lessons through what must have been a very difficult experience," Chapman told GamesIndustry.biz in an exclusive statement.

"Sony is clearly balancing the risk of adverse consumer reaction against the risk of facing future class actions," he added. "Time will tell whether consumers care enough about not being able to bring a class action to give up PSN access."

While this might work in the United States the new wording, says Chapman, is likely not enforceable in the UK.

"From a legal point of view there is no certainty that this language will have any effect," Chapman continues. "The applicable law for the kind of disputes that consumers may bring will generally be governed by the country in which the consumer is resident. In the UK it is not unlikely that this would be considered unenforceable under the Unfair Contracts Terms Act. However it is probably not the UK that Sony is worried about but the USA where class actions are more common place and the system can mean that defending those actions can be so time consuming and expensive that it is more cost effective to settle even spurious claims."

Source: GI.biz


Comments

Re: New PSN ToS Likely Not Enforceable in the UK, Says Lawyer

Been hearing from some places that the same might be true in Canada. 

(To be honest, I'm still somewhat flabbergasted that it's now possible in America‚Äč.)

Re: New PSN ToS Likely Not Enforceable in the UK, Says Lawyer

The sad part is I doubt any company will make an open console again. Things might get even harder for the homebrew community on consoles next gen. I definitely would no expect any open system from Microsoft. 

Re: New PSN ToS Likely Not Enforceable in the UK, Says Lawyer

Good for the UK.  This is a pretty low blow by Sony.  The major takeaway for them from this whole hacking thing seems to be that they should do more to cover their own butts.

 
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quiknkoldhttp://www.nichegamer.net/2014/09/real-gamedevs-sound-off-regarding-the-gamergate-controversy/09/19/2014 - 8:35am
MaskedPixelanteMeanwhile, in news that actually DOES matter, Scotland voted "NO" to Scottish independance.09/19/2014 - 8:20am
ConsterSeriously? "We shouldn't make a new hashtag - it's better to associate ourselves with psychos than to decrease our visibility"?09/19/2014 - 7:54am
Michael ChandraI forget what it is exactly, but there already is another hashtag that some use, exactly to separate themselves from the abusive behaviour. So don't bother lying to me.09/19/2014 - 7:06am
quiknkold2 to 3 or more09/19/2014 - 6:53am
quiknkoldMichael Chandra : I'll say this. The only reason they havent used another hashtag is because it would look like a form of dividing the arguement. Using another Hashtag has come up, and they feel like if they made a new hashtag, it'll split the debate from09/19/2014 - 6:53am
Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
 

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