Sony tries to prohibit future class action lawsuits by forcing users to agree not to sue Sony if they want to continue using their PlayStation 3 game consoles online.
In order users to use the Network online service, they typically have to check "I agree" after reading a wall of legalese about what they can and can't do thereafter. According to the latest Terms Of Sevice
, consumers have to agree that if they have a dispute with Sony, they will work it out with Sony without legal recourse.
"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," reads part of PSN's latest Terms of Service.
And now, in the wake of Sony's catastrophic PSN security failure last April-May, the company's legal team seems to think the best way forward involves forcing consumers to agree that if they have a "dispute" with Sony (where the word dispute "is to be given the broadest possible meaning that will be enforced"), they agree to work it out with Sony without legal recourse.
According to Sony, dispute "means any dispute, claim, or controversy between you and any Sony Entity regarding any Sony Online Services or the use of any devices sold by a Sony Entity to access Sony Online Services, whether based in contract, statute, regulation, ordinance, tort (including, but not limited to, fraud, misrepresentation, fraudulent inducement, or negligence)."
Users may opt out of the new terms of service - if they've even noticed them - by mailing a written statement to the company within 30 days of signing the agreement.