SCOTUS To Blame For Sony's Terms of Service Changes

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SCOTUS To Blame For Sony's Terms of Service Changes

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Sony wants you to know that it isn't evil for sneakily changing its PSN terms of service; the Supreme Court totally said this sort of thing is totally cool to do.

Sony hasn't won too many fans with the recent changes its PSN terms of service. A large part of this disapproval is because it seems like the company is trying to protect itself from future class-action lawsuits in case it finds itself in a similar situation to this year's earlier PSN hack. However, Sony has revealed that it's implemented the change not because of the hack, but because of a recent Supreme Court decision that makes such language acceptable to use.

In case you missed the news last week, Sony included a "Binding Individual Arbitration" clause that included the following language: "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 action."

The clause, it turns out, was implemented because of the Supreme Court's decision regarding the AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion case. The Court ruled that AT&T was allowed to enforce a clause in employee contracts that prevented workers from filing class-action lawsuits and - instead - make the wronged minions go through arbitration proceedings.

in an email to CNN, Sony explained the logic:

The Supreme Court recently ruled in the AT&T case that language like this is enforceable. The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."

It's certainly not surprising that Sony would rather go to arbitration instead of a courtroom. As CNN notes, arbiters are often retired judges who are paid obscenely well and tend to be friendlier towards corporations than individuals.

However, the revised terms of service may very well be legally challenged in the near future. Apparently a number of legal experts don't think it'll actually stand up to the scrutiny of the law, thanks in large part to how Sony informed consumers of the change (read: hoping they wouldn't notice when they agreed to the latest ToS changes).

Source: CNN via GamePolitics

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I'm pretty sure most EULAs would have a hard time holding water in a proper tort court. they just have too many shady "by looking at this document you agree to the entirety of this document" type statements.

Sony, do you just not want to stay on my good side?
Or you Supreme Court?

aashell13:
I'm pretty sure most EULAs would have a hard time holding water in a proper tort court. they just have too many shady "by looking at this document you agree to the entirety of this document" type statements.

I always find it funny when anything says "You may only click enter agree if you are 18 or older".

Many parents use games as a babysitter for their kids and I bet many of those kids aren't going to their parents to press a button for them.

This is bullshit. I don't care if you can call and say you don't want to be part of it within 30 days or whatever, this just isn't fair to the consumer. If they're going to pull this BS, then they should also be forced to give every single person the option to return their console for a refund. They are literally saying that we cannot sue them if they mess up, no matter how bad it is, if we want to keep using the full functionality of our systems.

And the ruling was for employees, not for customers. Employees can quit whenever they want and not lose anything (unless under contract and besides the obvious lack of job). Consumers can't really do that with products they own. If this holds up in court, I'd be incredibly surprised.

I blame the moronic couple thinking they can win and bringing such a shitty case to the supreme court level making it not only legal precedence but the LAW OF THE LAND. They constantly appealed until it got up to the SCOTUS where they should of known it was a 5-4 court where we already have extreme political ideology.

Kapol:
This is bullshit. I don't care if you can call and say you don't want to be part of it within 30 days or whatever, this just isn't fair to the consumer. If they're going to pull this BS, then they should also be forced to give every single person the option to return their console for a refund. They are literally saying that we cannot sue them if they mess up, no matter how bad it is, if we want to keep using the full functionality of our systems.

And the ruling was for employees, not for customers. Employees can quit whenever they want and not lose anything (unless under contract and besides the obvious lack of job). Consumers can't really do that with products they own. If this holds up in court, I'd be incredibly surprised.

What? No. They're saying you can't bring a CLASS ACTION suit against them. You can still sue them to your heart's content. Also, in the EULA, it says you have thirty days to bitch to Sony if you don't accept the terms.

I understand why Sony is doing it though. People are so ridiculously sue-happy these days...

I was always told in law classes that it was always better to settle in arbitration than in courts because your almost always guaranteed a settlement where as being in court it would be a gamble to get anything.

Kopikatsu:

Kapol:
This is bullshit. I don't care if you can call and say you don't want to be part of it within 30 days or whatever, this just isn't fair to the consumer. If they're going to pull this BS, then they should also be forced to give every single person the option to return their console for a refund. They are literally saying that we cannot sue them if they mess up, no matter how bad it is, if we want to keep using the full functionality of our systems.

And the ruling was for employees, not for customers. Employees can quit whenever they want and not lose anything (unless under contract and besides the obvious lack of job). Consumers can't really do that with products they own. If this holds up in court, I'd be incredibly surprised.

What? No. They're saying you can't bring a CLASS ACTION suit against them. You can still sue them to your heart's content. Also, in the EULA, it says you have thirty days to bitch to Sony if you don't accept the terms.

I understand why Sony is doing it though. People are so ridiculously sue-happy these days...

Yes, but how many people can actually afford to pay for a good enough legal team to deal with Sony's? And, for that matter, the most payout they'd likely get is about $300 (the cost of the average PS3, or perhaps more if they can prove the cost being more and being purchased from a store instead of second-hand, which would likely have to be done anyways and that's more documentation that people don't normally keep track of). Unless of course they did something so massively stupid that it would cause more damages then the system itself. Therefore it wouldn't be worth it for an individual to sue the company anyways, especially after paying legal cost.

Class action suits get rid of the need for each person to have some kind of legal team to fight it. You could of course go through arbitration, but as it was noted in the story, they're more likely to win then a normal court case (if that part is true, and depending entirely on the judge).

The point is that they shouldn't be able to do this by slipping in a small line into an agreement they know 99% of people won't read it. Their argument that the SCOTUS case says it's alright is also BS in my opinion, mainly because that case was dealing with employees vs. employers, not customers vs a company they paid to have access to a product. I'd say it's a very different situation.

im ogign to laungh if next itme sony screws up 1000 people sue them individually and sony has to pay lawyers to deal with each case seperately

I don't see this holding up. The Supreme Court said that AT&T could do it to employees but said nothing of consumers.

Am I the only one who read SCOUTS at first?

Also, Sony, that is totally not cool.

I blame lawyers which created a society of sue happy nutbags in the first place which then forced corporations to protect themselves from class-action lawsuits.

Kopikatsu:

I understand why Sony is doing it though. People are so ridiculously sue-happy these days...

Then again, so is sue-happy-Sony(... kind of has a catchy ring to it).

canadamus_prime:
I blame lawyers which created a society of sue happy nutbags in the first place which then forced corporations to protect themselves from class-action lawsuits.

Really? Because I blame corporations for having such shitty customer service, negligence, and complete disregard for the individuals who keep them in business that the only way to get meaningful results is through a lawyer and a court.

And with this and all binding arbitration agreements you as an individual are basically stating "you can go ahead and screw me all you want, I can't do anything about it". Lets put it this way, under this agreement If Sony INTENTIONALLY sold your personal info to criminals you would have no recourse other than to beg to an "arbitrator" who Sony is paying.

Arbitration proceedings are under gag order and have no discovery process. This means all the corporate shenanigans are kept secret and swept under the rug when they are called on their practices. The lack of sunlight means the corporation has no fear of bad press for their behavior.

Check out more information here: http://www.kintera.org/htmlcontent.asp?cid=71449

Bottom line, arbitration sucks for individuals and is good for corporations who want to screw people. Refuse to do business with anyone who requires arbitration even if it is inconvenient.

---

But one bright spot is EULAs haven't been tested in the supreme court though there is some unfortunate precedent toward enforceability in state courts.

Ser Imp:
Sony, do you just not want to stay on my good side?
Or you Supreme Court?

Watch it Sony, he'll have your manhood cut off and fed to the goats...

]DustArma[:
Am I the only one who read SCOUTS at first?

Also, Sony, that is totally not cool.

Nope, I thought it said SCOUTS at first as well, and agreed. I thought Sony sucked before, but now...wow...

rembrandtqeinstein:

canadamus_prime:
I blame lawyers which created a society of sue happy nutbags in the first place which then forced corporations to protect themselves from class-action lawsuits.

Really? Because I blame corporations for having such shitty customer service, negligence, and complete disregard for the individuals who keep them in business that the only way to get meaningful results is through a lawyer and a court.

And with this and all binding arbitration agreements you as an individual are basically stating "you can go ahead and screw me all you want, I can't do anything about it". Lets put it this way, under this agreement If Sony INTENTIONALLY sold your personal info to criminals you would have no recourse other than to beg to an "arbitrator" who Sony is paying.

Arbitration proceedings are under gag order and have no discovery process. This means all the corporate shenanigans are kept secret and swept under the rug when they are called on their practices. The lack of sunlight means the corporation has no fear of bad press for their behavior.

Check out more information here: http://www.kintera.org/htmlcontent.asp?cid=71449

Bottom line, arbitration sucks for individuals and is good for corporations who want to screw people. Refuse to do business with anyone who requires arbitration even if it is inconvenient.

---

But one bright spot is EULAs haven't been tested in the supreme court though there is some unfortunate precedent toward enforceability in state courts.

So much this.

The only individuals who support arbitration and overly-broad EULAs are those who don't understand the ramifications. While they may not ever cause you any trouble, that doesn't mean they don't harm anyone.

Companies don't use these clauses to "protect themselves," they use them to violate consumers.

aashell13:
I'm pretty sure most EULAs would have a hard time holding water in a proper tort court. they just have too many shady "by looking at this document you agree to the entirety of this document" type statements.

You'd be wrong.

As long as the PSN is still free, I couldn't care less...

The fact that such language is supposedly acceptable to use does not make the fact that Sony did it the Supreme Court's fault. Sony still has free will...They can still choose to actually value their customers over the almighty dollar.

As to the Supreme Court OKing this...No surprise at all. Citizens United, anyone? Corporations are people too, you betcha!

Vernor v. Autodesk Inc. may be going to the Supreme Court. It's also not the only active case. But considering the a) length of common EULAs and TOSes, b) the sesquipedalian prose used in EULAs and TOSes, which is significantly beyond comprehension of the average computer or console user, c) the commitment one generally undergoes before seeing a EULA (say, purchasing non-returnable software retail, and taking it home), and d) the ridiculous clauses and claims that are often included in a EULA or TOS[1], I would be surprised if this ruling is sustained for very long.

238U.

[1] For example, it is technically impossible to listen to music purchased from Amazon.com's download store and still adhere to the EULA. You may purchase and download a song, but the license specifically prohibits you from using (i.e. listening to) the licensed item (i.e. the song).

Baldr:
I was always told in law classes that it was always better to settle in arbitration than in courts because your almost always guaranteed a settlement where as being in court it would be a gamble to get anything.

Probably because law classes are teaching you what's best for you as a lawyer, with arbitration you get a nice big check in the mail from you client and a percentage of whatever the settlement is. For the client they end up paying both the lawyer and the arbitrating judge for a settlement that will probably lean heavily in the company's favor, and as the article mentions those judges don't come cheap. So yeah, great for lawyers, shitty for the client.

Limiting customers to "arbitration" is basically just legally telling them that they have the right to get fucked right up the ass. As rembrandtqeinstein put more eloquently, arbitration is just a great way for companies to continue screwing over their customers without having to suffer negative publicity.

I really hope that some authority in UK or any other country in European Union can act against this.

Hey, we don't see SCOTUS doing anything else wrong?
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Oh, wait...

Where is the EU when we need it?

*Yawn* to many big words for me to understand at this time of the morning -.- (Well afternoon but meh!)

I'll just take it as "Sony is fucking people over again"

And people wonder why i haven't invested in a PS3 yet...(I plan to, but the way Sony are going it won't be any time soon)

vansau:

However, the revised terms of service may very well be legally challenged in the near future. Apparently a number of legal experts don't think it'll actually stand up to the scrutiny of the law, thanks in large part to how Sony informed consumers of the change (read: hoping they wouldn't notice when they agreed to the latest ToS changes).

They outright said section 15 has changed and you should read it when you go to agree to the latest terms change. Its not like they were trying to hide it or anything they pointed it out.

It may fall through based on other reasons but I highly doubt it will be because of how they implemented it.

Kopikatsu:

Kapol:
This is bullshit. I don't care if you can call and say you don't want to be part of it within 30 days or whatever, this just isn't fair to the consumer. If they're going to pull this BS, then they should also be forced to give every single person the option to return their console for a refund. They are literally saying that we cannot sue them if they mess up, no matter how bad it is, if we want to keep using the full functionality of our systems.

And the ruling was for employees, not for customers. Employees can quit whenever they want and not lose anything (unless under contract and besides the obvious lack of job). Consumers can't really do that with products they own. If this holds up in court, I'd be incredibly surprised.

What? No. They're saying you can't bring a CLASS ACTION suit against them. You can still sue them to your heart's content. Also, in the EULA, it says you have thirty days to bitch to Sony if you don't accept the terms.

I understand why Sony is doing it though. People are so ridiculously sue-happy these days...

Well, lets say Sony is absolutely 100% negligent and every bit of personal and credit card information is stolen from Sony. In that case, we'd have a right to sue them. With this new EULA we can spend years sitting around waiting while paying our own (shitty) lawyer (depending on personal resources). Many people would likely go broke or give up before Sony had to face the music, as planned by Sony.

Arbiters are asshats.

There's a reason class action lawsuits even exist.

Sweet! We're not evil, we're totally just following evil examples!

The Devil made me do it, I mean that rabbit made me do it, I mean the government made me do it.

canadamus_prime:
I blame lawyers which created a society of sue happy nutbags in the first place which then forced corporations to protect themselves from class-action lawsuits.

Yea because big corporations like Sony never rip people off, put them at harm, or sue people themselves.

snfonseka:
I really hope that some authority in UK or any other country in European Union can act against this.

bit_crusherrr:
Where is the EU when we need it?

Don't worry, it's void in the European Union and Australia, since they have laws to protect against this kind of thing. So you're fine.

Only in America can bullshit like this happen.

I don't see eye to eye with those whose butts are clenching up painfully tight over this. Sony has every right to protect itself. I would do the same thing.

Why did I read that as "COITUS to Blame?"

Kapol:

Yes, but how many people can actually afford to pay for a good enough legal team to deal with Sony's? And, for that matter, the most payout they'd likely get is about $300 (the cost of the average PS3, or perhaps more if they can prove the cost being more and being purchased from a store instead of second-hand, which would likely have to be done anyways and that's more documentation that people don't normally keep track of).

MajorDolphin:
-Snip-

You've got it mixed up there, Kapol. Class action suits are where you only get a few hundred dollars if you win. (Indeed, the last successful class action suit against Sony had the sue-er's (I have no idea what word to use) collect $400 each. Suing them personally is where people make the multiple million dollars, but basically this is just saying that Sony wants to pay people off before it goes to court because they don't want to deal with it.

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