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Sony Sued Over PSN 'No Suing' Provision 384

Posted by Soulskill
from the had-to-see-that-coming dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the Examiner: "In a grand dose of irony today, Sony was sued over a term in the PlayStation Network's End User Agreement that states that users cannot sue Sony. These terms were added in September, after a long string of Sony hacks (the official count is that Sony got broken into 17 times in a space of about 2 months), which included a massive outage of the PlayStation Network itself. The suit that was filed today is a class action suit for all of those who bought a PS3 and signed up for the PSN before the September update to the EULA. The suit also claims that this is a unfair Business practice on Sony's part, and requires users to forgo their rights in order to use the device that they purchased."
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Sony Sued Over PSN 'No Suing' Provision

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  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:05PM (#38441728)

    No EULA is required to use free software. DISTRIBUTING software is a different matter. It's an important difference.

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoobixCube (1133473) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:07PM (#38441770) Journal

    I'd like to see my local EB Games accept my PS3 return now, after the EULA updates, even though I bought it years ago...

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:14PM (#38441864)

    A EULA, like any other contract, is only enforceable if it's provisions don't break the law. A company can put whatever they want into them, but that doesn't mean it has legal standing. Companies don't get to arbitrarily make laws. They could add a provision that you'll give them your first born son, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't stand if challenged in court.

    You clearly don't live in the USA.

  • by Ossifer (703813) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:19PM (#38441946)

    Too bad, you got screwed... Now, do you plan on buying their products again?

  • Re:EULAs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:24PM (#38442020)

    The game console was marketed as a media box, just like it's linux capabilities were. You can't fault someone for buying a product to do a job that they were told the product did.

    In all honesty, I don't know anyone that bought a PS3 for the games. Most people I know bought it for the Bluray player, since the good ones were going for more than a PS3 was at launch, as well as the streaming capabilities (whether local or via Netflix, which I don't think even had streaming service at that time).

    Besides, putting together a decent HTPC that could push 1080p wasn't nearly as cheap back in 2005 (or was it 2006?) as it is today.

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:28PM (#38442068)

    And, IIRC, didn't the Supreme Court recently rule that an AT&T provision in their contracts did not violate the law? If you are an AT&T customer, your lack of right to sue them (for any reason, no less) has apparently been upheld by the courts. Your sole method of redress is binding arbitration with, as I recall, some sort of liability cap.

    What's the good, compelling reason that anyone is allowed to forfeit (or demand another party forfeit) what is otherwise a legal right? What was the justification given for considering this a legitimate part of contract law? Especially in one-sided, non-negotiable contracts of adhesion?

    If there are any lawyers who can answer that, I'd really like to know. It seems like one of those incredibly short-sighted ideas that does more harm than good.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:33PM (#38442136)

    I totally agree lots of EULAs these days are one sided crap, with terms like, "We can change these terms any way we want and all you can do is suck it up".

    I even see that often you can't see the EULA until you buy the product, which seems horribly unfair to be "bound" by it then. I should think that would be found illegal, even.

    But once these terms are well known and publicized, what I don't get is, why does ANYBODY else ever buy that product again? Why would any otherwise sane person buy a product which to continue using as intended, you have to give the company you bought it from that much control, and the ability to *change the terms* later on without you being able to to jack except stop using the thing?

    If people just woke up and said, "hey, that's idiotic!" and stopped forking over $$ for that particular item of entertainment, the terms would change within days. Nobody *needs* a PS3. It's a luxury item and there are plenty of other ways to scratch a gaming itch without agreeing to such terms.

    It seems to me like, I say, "Hey, I'll sell you this sandwich for 5 bucks". You say, "OK". I say, "Wait, there's more. You have to agree to anything I tell you to do ever again". Why in the name of sanity would you say OK to that too?

  • Re:Common Nonsense (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mattack2 (1165421) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:35PM (#38442162)

    Yup, which is why A) I despise the concept of a "Living Constitution," and B) I feel those who support constant re-writing of what I once agreed to can go piss up a rope.

    Yeah, 3/5 of a person forevermore, right?

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:37PM (#38442180)

    What's the good, compelling reason

    What on earth makes you think there was one of those involved?

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:40PM (#38442208)

    If this EULA update worries you, then just give them a written notice that you don't accept that clause. They allow it as long as you notice Sony, and they still let you accept rest of the EULA and use PSN. It's even written there right next to the clause. Read it.

    Marketer says: if my decision to automatically sign you up for our endless reams of junk mail err I mean special promotions, adding your name to every advertising database we maintain, and spamming you err I mean keeping you posted about interesting new offers worries you, just waste your time by opting-out of them!

    This is a little like mail-in rebates. The company is counting on the fact that most people are lazy, are not diligent, and won't follow through. The number of customers who would say they dislike this clause if asked directly is far higher than the number who actually read through the EULA of their own initiative and used their limited time to follow up on each provision they disliked. Sony knows this.

    If you think a business practice that depends solely on laziness and lack of due diligence is perfectly legitimate and deserves to be successful ... well, that's where we would disagree. If we are going to have that sort of free-for-all marketplace then I also want all warning labels removed from all products, all drugs to be legal and unrestricted (you still go to a doctor because it's a good idea, if you are too stupid to realize that then you take your chances), all other victimless-crime laws to be repealed, and all scams to be legal since the targets should have known better anyway.

    In some ways, I would like that because laziness and stupidity would become much, much more painful to the point of become rarities. People would learn that no one cares about their own interests more than they do. They'd also learn how to perform basic research when in doubt about something important. However, I'm not really so sure that replacing lazy, fat, stupid people with smart, fit, evil assholes would be an improvement. At any rate, some time ago we decided that "consumer" protection was a good idea and shady business practices don't deserve to be rewarded. All I'm asking for is a little consistency.

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fieryphoenix (1161565) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @07:56PM (#38442350)
    Having a PS3 without being able to play online is kinda like having a TV that you can only watch VHS tapes on. Yeah, technically it's using it, but without the TV stations its value is greatly diminished.
  • Re:EULAs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:01PM (#38442382)

    IANAL, but the logical reasoning (yeah, that doesn't usually any similarity with the law...) is: That some users may be willing to give up a legal right in exchange for something that they wouldn't otherwise be able to get (or not at that price)?

    I understand why it could be tempting. But there are lots of tempting things the law does not allow (eh use your imagination if you like).

    What makes this one special? Especially considering the nature of a contract of adhesion and the tendency for all companies in a given market to use extremely similar agreements? It's just a bad idea. I see no benefit to it being allowed by law. That's especially true in the USA which is founded on the concept of natural inalienable rights. It would be more understandable in a country where rights are considered something granted by law.

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:08PM (#38442446) Homepage Journal

    I still don't go out to buy screwdriver when I want to hit nails to a wall.

    You're on such a shill roll, I hate to interrupt your flow, but you do realize that Sony marketed the PS3 as a media box, don't you?

    And you do realize that they advertised it as a media box on which you could install an "OtherOS", right?

    Then, after you shelled out your cash and bought their product, they decide that "Well, no, we really didn't mean that, so we're going to take those capabilities away from you even though you paid for them".

    It would be like a a car company saying, after you bought that car, that no, you can no longer put groceries in the trunk because someone might put contraband in their trunk so they're going to remotely lock all trunks so they cannot be used. No, you didn't buy the car just to use it as storage, you bought it as transportation, but the manufacturer just took away a very useful feature of a product. A feature for which they gladly took your money when you bought the product.

    "InsightIn140Bytes", I'm trying to figure out why, in the nearly 300 comments you've posted on Slashdot in the three weeks since you signed up for an account here, that so many of them are posts fiercely defending Sony (at least when you're not fiercely defending Microsoft). I'm curious, is it because you just can't stand the injustice of people picking on poor, weak corporations who only want to give their customers great products and make them happy, or is it because you work for one of the "New Media Strategies" type companies and defending these corporations is your job? Because honestly, I can't wrap my head around anyone suggesting that Sony has been anything but hostile to their customers, using the worst kind of bullying and sleazy legal maneuvers (like a 30 day period for sending a written, notarized opt-out via certified mail or else you are considered to have accepted their brand new EULA for a product you may have paid for years ago, or else you won't be able to use many of its features and fuck you if you don't like it).

    So tell us, please: What's your story?

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @08:08PM (#38442448)
    Not to mention it seems like my PS3 every other time I turn it on wants to either update its OS or update the game I'm currently running before letting me use it. It is like the Windows box from hell (KB 1010283 ready to install don't do anything and don't shut me off while I spin for 20min installing another .00.01 release of a feature you don't use). It isn't just a matter of reading the EULA, I think I did when I opened my box. It is the biweekly OS updates since this problem, each with an EULA warning, which may are may not be different from the original one (and if it is the same is a complete waste of time to read again) but which I'm not willing to spend the 20 minutes I was planning on spending playing a game reading it instead. I'm not sure couldn't they just have sort of a release note? Ie. "all previous rights and terms as before except ... you can't sue us". Would save a heck of a lot of reading/might actually get read/might actually fit on one screen.
  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:01PM (#38442996) Homepage Journal

    If Sony is so bad, why do you need to resort to lies to attack them? If they were so bad shouldn't you be able to make them look bad even without lies?

    Son, if it's not notarized and not sent via certified mail, that EULA opt-out that Sony requires in writing is not worth a damn.

    I would guarantee that if you send them the written opt-out statement and it's not notarized and not sent via certified mail, and Sony comes after you for a violation of their EULA, their lawyers are immediately going to demand to see the certified receipt for a notarized written statement or else they'll just say they never got it.

    And by the way, why don't they ask for your agreement to their EULA in writing? Why just the opt-out?

    You're not very good at this, "InsightIn140Bytes". If you're going to defend Sony, you're going to have to start bringing your A-game.

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @09:20PM (#38443156)

    Corporations can, at will, strip any human of their constitutional rights, simply by inserting a clause in a contract. They can give unlimited, anonymous bribes to politicians. They pay little to no taxes. They can never be sentenced to prison. If by some miracle you do manage to sue them, they can give you the legal run around for decades -- they don't have a biological clock ticking away.

    If you could be granted the legal rights of a corporation instead of those of a human, wouldn't you spring for the chance? In the eyes of modern American law, they are better than us in every way.

  • Re:EULAs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ILongForDarkness (1134931) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:10PM (#38443514)
    Exactly. My thinking is: there should have to be a very good reason to amend an agreement, it shouldn't be a monthly thing. Heck they shouldn't have to have you accept another agreement every time they do a patch, they could just have "same terms as the last time" (Ok Cancel). The burying you in legalize on a regular basis and then calling it your fault if you don't send them a letter within 30 days to keep your original rights is ridiculous.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:59PM (#38443792) Homepage Journal

    It's illegal in Canada, too.

    Only Americans, once the land of the free protected by their constitutional rights, are now willing slaves to corporatism. The rest of the world does not suffer CEO's who get paid 800% of what their employees do. The rest of the world does not allow EULAs and such to override constitutional rights.

    Sorry, but the US is screwed. Big time. Your nation has gone so far off it's ideals and once shining examples that it's literally scary to the rest of the world, because you're trying to shove your fucked up legal approaches on the rest of us.

    We won't have it. Screw the american system -- you DO NOT rule the world.

  • Re:EULAs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Riceballsan (816702) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @11:23PM (#38443936)
    Some companies yes.. people have sued over frying their poodle in a microwave when attempting to dry it off etc... Sony has been sued over removing features after the fact (other OS), and for PSN going down and the comprimise of all of their users data and possibly credit card numbers... that isn't a little thing.

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