Sony has revised its ToS and user agreement for its online services, in order to prevent US users from bringing a class action lawsuit against it.
The only way a class action suit can be brought against the company, according to the new agreement, is if Sony agrees to it. Suits filed before August 20, 2011 still stand though.
According to Gamasutra, the new section, Binding Individual Arbitration, states that when users accept the agreement, they will also be giving up the option to open a class action suit pertaining to online services.
“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, unless both you and the Sony entity with which you have a dispute specifically agree to do so in writing following initiation of the arbitration, reads the new entry.
However, Sony admits in the clause that amendment to the ToS may not be upheld by the courts: “If the Class Action Waiver clause is found to be illegal or unenforceable, this entire Section 15 will be unenforceable, and the dispute will be decided by a court and you and the Sony Entity you have a dispute with each agree to waive in that instance, to the fullest extent allowed by law, any trial by jury.”
PS3 users will have to accept the new terms the next time they log onto PSN, and if they do not wish to accept the new ToS agreement, Sony will “close your account and return your funds.”
Users can send a letter to Sony to opt-out of the clause, and dispute claims out of court, but it must happen within 30 days of accepting the new ToS agreement.
Basically, you can still sue Sony, you just can’t change the suit into a class action lawsuit.