Sony has announced that the recent changes to its online terms of service agreement forbidding class action lawsuits was prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, in a move which suggests other companies will be leaping to follow in kind.
The recent change is covered under the Binding Individual Arbitration section, which effectively means that consumers have waived their rights to be represented as part of a class. Any disputes with Sony therefore "will be conducted only on an individual basis", rather than the company being sued by a larger group of people.
The U.S. Supreme court ruling saw AT&T Mobility allowed to block employees from bringing class-action suits against the company by including a clause in their hiring papers. Given how much money and effort legal disputes can chew up, this plan will save the companies a hefty stack 'o cash. Sony are banking on the idea that individuals are going to be much less likely to take their claims through arbitration by themselves.
If you don't want to be included in this, you do have a choice. Gamasutra reports that, by sending a physical letter to the company, you can opt-out. Sony doesn't expect you to do that, either, but it will theoretically silence the haters in case this case ever gets dragged in front of a judge.