Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change PlayStation Network Terms of Service

April 5, 2012 -

A Federal Court has ruled that Sony has the right to change the terms of service on its PlayStation Network service because it is a "choice" for its users. Sony changed its TOS for the PlayStation Network last year by adding a clause that anyone wanting to sue the company would instead have to go to what some like to call "mandatory arbitration." 

In case you are not familiar with arbitration, if you have a complaint you have to go before a third party arbitrator to settle it. The problem is that Sony hires the arbitrator, and even though he or she is supposed to be neutral, they tend to side with the corporations that hire them. The company also added a clause that users could not form class-action lawsuits.

Those who were not happy about the changes filed a class action lawsuit against Sony Network Entertainment (lead plaintiff Stephen Fineman), but it looks like the courts have decided that Sony has the right to change its TOS on its PSN service as it pleases. So ruled Judge Susan Illston of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, who granted Sony Network Entertainment a motion to dismiss the case.

The case is Fineman v. Sony Network Entertainment. For a complete rundown of the case, check out ericgoldman.org.

Source: TechDirt by way of UnchartedNES


Comments

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

As far as I see it, Sony is in violation of contract law. They are refusing to allow counter-offers, they practice undue influence, and they aren't allowing equal consideration for both sides of the contract. The terms are unfair, one-sided, and they compel you to agree or lose vital functionality of your property. I don't see how the courts could allow this to persist.

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

if your allowed to choose not to accept the terms of service why do all games (made after the new set of terms and updates) require updates that force you to accept the new terms if you want to play the game you just bought.

also most shops have a no return policy so you end up with an expensive coaster if you wont accept the new terms.

its not much of a choice.

maybe sony should add on the case of the games "requires XX patch and XX terms agreed to play" of course that would mean informing the public before the money is handed over.

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

As an optional service, this makes sense.  However, I do have to admit it sets a dangerous precedent for the future if, say, your employer demands that you sign a binding arbitration clause in order to work.  There has to be tight limits on when you can actually sign away your legal rights to prevent abuse by corporations.

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

But it's not an optional service. You need it for updates, game features, etc. By refusing the terms, you loose the capacity to play certain games and update you console.

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

Employment is a wholly different story than access to a private network. Employment is more of a right and courts have very strict processes on deciding fair employment contracts.

 

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

Courts keep bouncing back and forth on this issue.  There have been some rulings that said 'you signed a contract, you didn't have to, deal with it' while others have gone 'you can not sign away your legal rights'.

Mandatory arbitration and 'no sue' clauses have been in the headlights for a while now, with courts really unable to be consistent on if a contract can actually enforce such things.   I imagine in this case the fact it was for a game/toy made the court less sympatic to customers.

Re: Court Rules That Sony Has The Right to Change ...

I'm sure businesses are looking forward to the day when the often big business friendly current SCOTUS takes a crack at this.

 
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