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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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  • Testing the EULA? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zero.kalvin ( 1231372 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:44AM (#32028586)
    I suppose this might an opportunity to test those "We reserve the right to change the EULA" and the EULAs themselves in court.
  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:53AM (#32028676)

    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.

    *standard IANAL disclaimer*

  • 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.

  • Re:Can't lose! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shrike82 ( 1471633 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:54AM (#32028690)

    My bet is he will lose. Sony will find some loophole, the judge will allow it because the removal of this function affects a very small part of the userbase.

    Car analogy time. My car comes with a spare tyre in the boot (trunk for you Yanks). Now most people will never have to use this. Most people are lucky enough to buy, use and then sell a car without ever having a flat or blowout. Now, if the car manufacturer decides during a scheduled service that they're going to remove the tyre from my boot (and the boots of everyone else that comes in for a service) then it will only affect a small part of their userbase, but it doesn't matter. The car was sold and marketed as having a spare tyre, and they can't just take that away.

  • Re:Can't lose! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @08:58AM (#32028754)
    It's also possible Sony will make every attempt to settle this out of court to prevent the court from definitively ruling on what a company may and may not put in a ToS/EULA. If a court ruled that when you buy hardware that REQUIRES software to run then you are buying the software as well there are going to be a lot of angry companies (E.G. Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo, etc...) out there whom will lose their easy way to shaft their customers.
  • Re:So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twistedsymphony ( 956982 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:08AM (#32028876) Homepage
    Human body update 568.3... since you have the potential to put non-edible things in your mouth we are disabling eating so that you may continue to breath our air service, you may chose to deny this update and continue eating but we will no longer allow you access to air... We're not forcing you to stop eating.. the choice is entirely yours. Have a nice day.
  • 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).

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:15AM (#32028970) Homepage

    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 McNihil ( 612243 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:19AM (#32029030)

    it was pretty clear and in no uncertain terms that the "other OS" option would be disabled if I continue installing it. It also plainly said that I was allowed not to upgrade but would lose the PS3 Store connectivity.

    If you depend on the "other OS" solution you simply don't upgrade.

    The only persons this effects are the ones that want to use BOTH linux stuff and the newest PS3 store things. Knowing that users that have the PS3 setup as a Linux test station are not using the PS3 store stuff in any case and wouldn't need the new capabilities like twitter and facebook. Also with todays GPU's the use of the cell is not as important anymore in computing clusters so really the whole things is a large non issue.

    And furthermore... if the persons are so dependent on both solutions why can't they buy a secondary PS3? Presumably they are consumers and are going to spend money in the PS3 store... or more likely they wont at all.

    This law suite should fail. Not that I want to be on SONY's side but they were 100% clear in their intentions regarding the "other os" option from day one.

    This entire suite is a non issue.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:22AM (#32029062)

    As long as it kicks Sony in the wallet, it is better than the whole lot of nothing that would happen otherwise.

  • by PalmKiller ( 174161 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:27AM (#32029134) Homepage
    Not the same thing. Dell may no longer sell OS/2 on their new systems, but you bet your bottom dollar that if Dell did something to wipe out OS/2 on a still working system...or a closer analogy, break a useful feature of OS/2 on all running systems sold by dell, it would be grounds for a lawsuit.
  • by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:29AM (#32029168)
    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 deroby ( 568773 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:41AM (#32029306)

    IMHO, the question here is : did Dell *disable* OS/2 on your (probably old) machine that had been running OS/2 for quite a while already and at the time was sold as "runs OS/2" ?

    Didn't think so.

    Frankly I can think of quite few people (hobbyists, scientists, ...) that went for a PS/3 *because* it is (probably!) one of the most accessible CELL-based machines around. Having it also do games is an added bonus, or vice versa. I'm not sure on how the DoJ will look upon this, but IMHO Sony did indeed steal functionality away from the user with their move.... few will mind, I'm sure 99% of PS/3 users never understood let alone used said functionality, but then again, it was there for everyone who bought a machine to use, and it was advertised as such too !! I remember at the time it surely helped their 'Hey Sony is playing the nice guy by allowing Linux on their new machine!'-image. First disappointment probably was the hyper-visor and the 3D Gfx not being accessible, and now this... I think it's sad.

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:49AM (#32029388) Journal

    >>>This comment makes me feel like your whole reasoning behind this was to "teach the store a lesson."

    Given how many times consumers get screwed by corporations or mega-stores, I agree they need to be taught a lesson. The law is the law and applies to everyone, even corporations. I bought underwear that was supposed to be size medium, but actually had small inside. No big deal, but when I asked for an even exchange they said my receipt was past the 60-day return limit so "sorry we can't exchange sizes".

    If your viewpoint I guess I should have just rolled-over and let myself be screwed.

    Instead I contacted my credit card, told them what happened, and they reversed the charge on the basis of the merchant not fulfilling contractual obligations (selling the product advertised). So to the Grandparent poster I say: Bravo! You stood up for your rights and enforced the law as written - you wanted a PS3 + Third Party OS and they took that away from you. Perhaps if more of us did that, we wouldn't keep getting trampled underfoot by the likes of Goldman Sachs or the Congress.

  • by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:49AM (#32029394)

    Bullshit. You buy a PS3 and then a couple years later they tell you 'ok, now you have to choose between feature A not working and feature B not working'. If Sony is allowed to do this, then that also means it would be legal for them to start charging money for the features that the game consale originally came with and advertised as being free. Why don't they just make the next firmware update required a $50 payment every time you want to eject the current game disk? I mean as long as they let you know that's what it's doing before installing, there's nothing wrong with that, right?

    You can't sell something that doesn't do what it's advertised as doing. And you can't sell something that's going to stop functioning at some future date without making that clear at the time of purchase.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:49AM (#32029400) Journal
    Wait, you're saying that you bought a computer from Dell that was sold as supporting OS/2, and now it no longer runs OS/2? What did Dell do that broke OS/2?
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:52AM (#32029442) Journal


    >>>they can't "restore the Other OS function" any better than you can. What lesson are you trying to teach them?

    (1) Obey the law even if you don't like it. (2) If enough merchants like Walmart, Kmart, Sears, et cetera lose money due to refunds on Sony's products, then THEY will sue Sony for damages causes to their businesses. And they have far more power than we do to make Sony hurt.

  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:04AM (#32029600)
    really? Dell sold a specific model that they advertised as being OS/2 compatible and then released a firmware update that intentionally broke OS/2 compatability?
  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:20AM (#32029862)

    I would probably take them up on the offer. If you payed ~$600 for an original ps3, you can get a new slim ps3 and ps2 for that and still have money left over.

  • by GameMaster ( 148118 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:22AM (#32029900)

    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, ambitious, politicians looking to make a name for themselves by taking on cases that are highly publicly visible and populist. If you can convince one, if not a large number, of states to go after Sony with criminal charges they'll be much hotter under the collar.


  • by iapetus ( 24050 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:33AM (#32030140) Homepage

    They've also taken the whole 'screwing with consumer rights' thing to astronomical levels. You can sue the crap out of Sony, but they might turn out to be allowed to take your immortal soul, first-born child, and Linux running functionality.

  • Is the ability to run Linux the main reason why the PS3 haven't been broken for so long, as people wanting to play with homebrew could be satisfied with the Linux ability?

    Yes [] (slightly outdated).

    If so, won't that mean that with Other OS gone, that enthusiasts will do their very best to crack that machine open any which way they can to enable homebrew, this time with the goal being full access?

    Yes, and piracy advocates will come out with a piracy tool shortly after it is completely broken.

    Yes, Sony is shooting itself in the foot bigtime.

  • 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 mattr ( 78516 ) <> 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.

  • by qoncept ( 599709 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:31AM (#32031284) Homepage

    Given how many times consumers get screwed by corporations or mega-stores, I agree they need to be taught a lesson.

    Right, right, but what the fuck was the lesson?

    CIA Superior: What did we learn, Palmer?
    CIA Officer: I don't know, sir.
    CIA Superior: I don't fuckin' know either. I guess we learned not to do it again.
    CIA Officer: Yes, sir.
    CIA Superior: I'm fucked if I know what we did.

    Seriously, identify the next similar situation for me. I'd like to know how, as a vendor, you prevent something like this from happening. The way I see it, you have two options. 1) Stop selling, as I said in my OP, anything with a network interface. Or, 2) keep selling them because they sell ridiculous volumes and eat the cost when the company responsible puts you in a tough spot, since you're still filthy fucking rich from it.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:56AM (#32031724) Homepage Journal

    The lesson is:
    Stop selling Sony made products. If A few major retailers did this, Sony would change their tune, or at least go about it in a responsible manner.

    Also, the vendor can then sue Sony.

    If best buy, wal-mart, and frys just didn't place an order for any Sony good for one month, Sony would behave, anmd probably put this feature back in.

  • by CapnStank ( 1283176 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:04PM (#32031910) Homepage
    I think you're all missing the point. The path the GP poster made was not necessarily to Best buy or whoever but to Sony. There's two scenarios:

    1) You call the 1-800 Sony line and get Prakesh on the other line. For all you know he sympothizes with you but is powerless to do anything. He can't give you back Other OS, he can maybe apologize and bring it to management who proceeds to ROFL (yes, on the floor) and then scrap your complaint.

    2) You take your purchase back to Best Buy: under law they are forced to return your price and then duke it out against Sony about the return charge.

    Who do you think Sony listens to? Joe, who is upset with their firmware on the line, or Best Buy USA whose upper management is yelling at you because they got a surplus of PS3s that they've been forced to refund because of your shit decision?
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:20PM (#32032172) Journal

    >>>I'd like to know how, as a vendor, you prevent something like this from happening.

    Isn't it obvious? When a customer comes into your store and says, "My PS3 no longer runs linux. I'd like a refund," don't push the customer out the door. He will simply call-in the Consumer Protection Agency and get you, the vendor, in trouble. That's the lesson.

  • by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> 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.

"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN