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Operating Systems PlayStation (Games) Sony The Courts Your Rights Online Games Linux

Sony Sued Over PS3 "Other OS" Removal 546

Stoobalou writes "A Californian Playstation 3 user has filed the first class action lawsuit against Sony over removal of the 'Install Other OS' function from the Playstation 3. The action seeks to redress Sony's 'intentional disablement of the valuable functionalities originally advertised as available with the Sony Playstation 3 video game console.' The suit claims that the disablement breaches the sales contract between Sony and its customers and constitutes 'an unfair and deceptive business practice perpetrated on millions of unsuspecting customers.'"
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Sony Sued Over PS3 "Other OS" Removal

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  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:41AM (#32028550) Journal

    You should also file a complaint at your own national consumer agency. I asked the store I bought my PS3 from to restore the Other OS function or offer a refund on the product because the ability was stated in the box. In this case the seller is breaking the law if such stated features are later removed.

    They initially refused to offer a refund, so I filed a complaint to the consumer agency. It's important you try to talk with the seller first, and if both parties don't come into a good conclusion, then file a report. They contacted the seller, who then again contacted me and asked me to return the PS3 and they would give me a full refund.

    I'm sure stores will first try to say that they cannot offer a refund and it's up to Sony, but if law states they are liable, just take it a bit further and you will get a refund. It will teach Sony a lesson too.

    • by Duradin ( 1261418 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:59AM (#32029546)

      "It will teach Sony a lesson too."

      You know what lesson it will teach Sony and every other console maker? To make everything but the barebones ability to play games (that require no network connection) an option not included included with purchase of the base unit. Sure, they might offer free unlocks for some abilities but those won't be on or in the packaging of the console itself.

      • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7 @ k c . r r . c om> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:45AM (#32030432) Homepage

        You say that as if its a bad thing...I would bet that the majority of gamers would rather have a less expensive console purely for gaming than the expensive swiss army knife consoles we have today....why do you think the Wii is absolutely crushing the PS3 and 360.

      • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <gsmith@gregsmith.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:53PM (#32033808) Homepage

        I don't think you realize exactly what Sony did here. Back when they were fighting the war against HD-DVD, they loved these Linux sales. Every user who bought a PS3 for reasons besides playing games was listed on the headcount of active Bluray players, and therefore served their master plan to kill off their competitor though showing superior market share.

        Now that said competitor is gone, they'd prefer not to sell to or support those users, and so they're just killing them off. Sony has finished with using them now and now is actively fucking them over. All of us who leaned toward buying a PS3 due the Linux feature have been intentionally played here.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GameMaster ( 148118 )

      Consumer agencies aren't bad, but a better group to focus on, at least in the U.S., are the state district attorneys. Most states have laws criminalizing bait-and-switch tactics. You don't get to sell a product claiming it can do functions X, Y, and Z then fix it so it can't do function Z long after you've been paid. Criminal charges would take the issue to a whole new level and could set a clear legal precedent that this kind of crap is unacceptable. State attorneys general, also, tend to be young, amb

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:43AM (#32028568) Journal

    That's what an EU citizen did. It came out of amazon's pocket if I recall correctly, and I'm sure they then charged it back to Sony.

    • by redscare2k4 ( 1178243 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:49AM (#32028640)

      Sony officially stated they had not paid a penny of those $50 and that any similar issues are a matter between the final seller and the client and had nothing to do with them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Yes and my dad broke his arm at work. The lawyer official stated they admit no guilt and don't owe him a dime, but will happily pay to fix the arm plus lost wages. Sony's statement is the same deal - legalese - trying to protect their ass(ets).

        • Yes and my dad broke his arm at work. The lawyer official stated they admit no guilt and don't owe him a dime, but will happily pay to fix the arm plus lost wages. Sony's statement is the same deal - legalese - trying to protect their ass(ets).

          I agree that's probably pretty standard to avoid opening one up to more legal action; as is requiring neither party to discuss the settlement.

          I have an EE degree. What's a good 2nd degree? CMP ENG or Comp Sci? I want to be eligible to apply for more jobs.

          I realize I'm responding to a sig but I'd suggest an MBA. Science / Tech undergrad plus MBA is a good combination.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Shrike82 ( 1471633 )
      Sony are refusing to reimburse retailers if they give refunds.
    • I asked, and got told to FO. For the tiny amount of money involved it would waste much more of my time than the value that I'd get back from the refund. I'm finally starting to dislike Sony as much as most other Slashdotters. Previously I'd thought that the gaming division was pretty good even if the rest was run by morons.. but no longer.

      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )

        Sony decided that they'd put asshattedry in a whole new category years ago. If it wasn't for Microsoft being there first, they'd be the undisputed champs.

        It started in the 80s with the quality of their electronics going downhill while banking on their reputation to keep prices up, and then the "gouge their customer" disease spread like wildfire throughout the rest of their divisions.

        Even if Sony comes out with a "good" product, I won't buy it due to their reputation in how they deal with their customers. I

      • Sony was a good company in 1995 when they first entered the gaming arena.
        They were still a good company in 2000 as well, although prone to exaggeration ("PS2 can do Toy Story in real time").
        But then they devolved. It happens.

        - By the way I still haven't seen Final Fantasy 7 ported to the PS3. :-| I know that was just a demo, but it would be awesome to play that game again with FF12-style, fully-realized character graphics.

    • Because in the US you aren't protected by EU law. EU law gaurentees that you're in line for a partial refund at least if part/all of the functionality of the device is not fit for purpose.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JohnFluxx ( 413620 )

      Sony have stated they will not give out refunds.

      http://www.mcvuk.com/news/38565/Sony-rules-out-OtherOS-refunds [mcvuk.com]

      "We do understand the frustration a small number of consumers may feel at SCE's decision to provide an upgrade to the firmware to disable the Linux operating system but we refute any suggestion that this action is in any way a contravention of the terms of Sale of Goods Act,” SCE UK’s David Wilson told ThinkQ.

      “The console packaging and the in-box manual for the console do not refer

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nschubach ( 922175 )

        The console packaging and the in-box manual for the console do not refer to the use of Linux on the console.

        Actually, it does tell you how to install the OtherOS and I believe it lists Linux as an option. I will have to dig out my user manual when I get home, but I'm pretty sure that statement is wrong.

  • I suppose this might an opportunity to test those "We reserve the right to change the EULA" and the EULAs themselves in court.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Zironic ( 1112127 )

      I don't know much about US law, but I did study Swedish contract law which the EULA would fall under and generally such clauses are blatant violations of the law that states that contracts have to be balanced, generally they get away with them for services because if they change the terms you have the right to cancel the contract and get your money back, however for a device like the Playstation that would mean having to give a full refund as it no longer works as per the specifications it was bought for.


  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Raxxon ( 6291 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:51AM (#32028658)

    (1) How do people join?

    (2) If I bought the unit used for the ability to play PS2 games and OtherOS, do I qualify? It was bought within the time specified....

    • I've read anyone in the states who bought their PS3 before March 28, 2010 when the lawsuit was filed and initially had the functionality is automatically part of the lawsuit. I don't know if that applies to me in Canada or not. I've also read that you may Opt-out of the lawsuit if you wish, I don't know how you do that.
  • by nweaver ( 113078 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:53AM (#32028680) Homepage

    A prediction: there will be some settlement, where the "victims" can claim $10 in coupons for discounted games, but the lawyers will make a few hundred thousand or a million.

    • A prediction: there will be some settlement, where the "victims" can claim $10 in coupons for discounted games, but the lawyers will make a few hundred thousand or a million.

      That's a shame, but it's about the only way we have to hit Sony in the pocket for their bizarre anti-customer actions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      With a class action, the lawyers are bearing much of the risk of failure - you are welcome to employ your own lawyer and pay the full cost for a potentially better trade off if you so wish.
    • by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:30AM (#32029170) Homepage

      A prediction: there will be some settlement, where the "victims" can claim $10 in coupons for discounted games, but the lawyers will make a few hundred thousand or a million

      Its the lawyers doing all the work here, how much money do you expect for doing nothing but signing your name, you don't even have to show up in court.

  • by Cybercifrado ( 467729 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:54AM (#32028692)

    Sony reminds me of Vader from this clip:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOaCRGVYGTc [youtube.com]

    And if I weren't laughing, I'd be crying at the stupid shit Sony is trying to force the consumers into.

    • It's easy to laugh if you didn't buy a PS3. Bwahahahaha!

      • You won't be laughing so hard if Sony "gets away with it". If they do you should expect to see every other major company start to pull this kind of crap after they've sold you a product promising A, B and C. They'll stop letting you use B. Then who'll be laughing.
      • I was going to buy a ps3. But now i never will, even if they restore the function.
      • So how's that red ring of death working out for you ;) :P

  • A contract can not take your rights away!

    Just as they can't say something like you must give us your kids.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Er, of course a contract can take your rights away. As long as doing so is not an illegal act.

      It is routine to contract away legal remedies, for example. (E.g., all disputes will be handled by third party arbitration, or "damages are limited to replacement only.") Or to specify venue to someplace that favors the defendant.

      While it is unusual, there are probably remote legal circumstances where "you must give us your children" might hold up.

  • A reasonable outcome (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jmichaelg ( 148257 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:09AM (#32028898) Journal

    I'm not a fan of class action lawsuits because they usually result in pennies for the consumer and millions for the attorneys. They're basically lawyer-enrichment actions.

    For this suit to be any different, the best outcome would be to give Sony an option.

    1. Restore the Linux implementation and purchase full page ads in the NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post advertising they have done so along with a mea culpa and a promise never to disable functionality again.
    2. Refund the full purchase price to any purchaser who wishes to return the unit and purchase ads as above advertising the availability of the refund with a mea culpa.

    Give the attorneys a few million for their time whichever choice Sony takes and the outcome will serve as a warning to companies that they can't put whatever they wish into EULAs because consumers will bite back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      If you think large torts are just "lawyer enrichment" then the criminal justice system is really just the same thing. It's a welfare system for mediocre law students.

      That kind of stupid logic works either way.

      The point is to discourage the next guy from stealing from you or crippling your wife.

  • by Umuri ( 897961 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:11AM (#32028914)

    Class Action lawsuits in this country are near pointless in terms of causing redress, and barely hurt the companies they're brought against. In a lot of bigger companies they're seen as a regular cost of business.
    As said in other posts, enjoy your coupon that ends up making you spend more money.

    If you REALLY wanted to get redress, take sony to small claims court.
    $50-100 filing fee(75 in my state), you can get damages up to $5000, and you can make sony pay the court fee upon winning too.

    They'll either start settling cases, or waste a lot more sending representation to win.
    So sue em for the cost a new PS3, since that's what it will take to restore you the original functionality that they took away ( one PS3 to play games and do PSN, one to run linux, since you can't do it on both anymore).

  • EULA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:20AM (#32029044)

    Sony's standard EULA states that if the machine
    1) didn't work,
    2) didn't do what the expensive advertisements said,
    3) electrocuted the immediate neighborhood,
    4) and in fact failed entirely to be inside the expensive box when you opened it,
    This was expressly, absolutely, implicitly and in no event the fault or responsibility of the manufacturer,

    5) that the purchaser should consider himself lucky to be allowed to give his money to the manufacturer,
    6) that any attempt to treat what had just been paid for as the purchaser's own property would result in the attentions of serious men with menacing briefcases and very thin watches. /cite{Good Omens}

    They just added
    7) If the machine does work, we will break it the next time we want your money or feel like it.

  • by mattr ( 78516 ) <mattr@t e l e b ody.com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:52AM (#32030534) Homepage Journal

    Just don't buy a PS3, and don't buy Sony.

    The message is simple. After the root kit and this, it is clear. Sony expects you to pay them money while they slap you in the face, saying F U.

  • Tax evasion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xian97 ( 714198 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:35PM (#32032440)
    Didn't Sony get a tax break in Europe because they were able to claim that the PS3 was a computer because of the Other OS functionality? The tax rate on a console was higher than a computer.

    http://kotaku.com/179245/why-the-ps3-is-a-computer-sony-dodges-euro-tax-men [kotaku.com]

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.