Subscribers to the Playstation Network, like many online services, are subject to changes and revisions in its terms of service from time to time. This week, Sony decided to sent out emails to Playstation Network users alerting them to yet another change in the terms of service agreement. Customers must accept the new terms in order to sign on and use the Playstation 3 online service. The new agreement, however, now forces its millions of users to agree to not join any new class action lawsuits against Sony.
The exact change, in Section 15 of the terms of service agreement, is as follows: "Any dispute resolution proceedings, whether in arbitration or in 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 which you have a dispute specifically agree to do so in writing following initiation of the arbitration. This provision does not preclude your participation as a member in a class action filed on or before August 20, 2011."
The obvious motivation for this change is for Sony to prevent its Playstation Network subscribers from joining any massive class action lawsuit in the future. As IGN points out, Sony is already dealing with class action lawsuits filed in response to the cyber attacks that took down PSN last April along with Sony's decision to remove Linux support from the Playstation 3 console.