Court Rules Sony Can Change PlayStation Terms of Service

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Court Rules Sony Can Change PlayStation Terms of Service

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A lawsuit filed against Sony over changes to the PlayStation Network terms of service has been dismissed.

In September of 2011, Sony made some pretty big changes to the PlayStation Network terms of service that effectively eliminated the right of users to bring class action lawsuits against it. The updated TOS declared that all disputes between PSN and its users would be settled through arbitration unless the company agreed to let it happen. Users can opt out of the amended terms by contacting Sony in writing within 30 days of agreeing to them, but choosing to hold on to the right to file a class action suit means giving up the option of out-of-court settlements.

The TOS amendments, not to mention the fact that arbitrators would be hired by Sony, stacked the deck pretty heavily in the company's favor. This didn't sit too well with an awful lot of people, in particular a California man who sought to bring a class action lawsuit against Sony over its efforts to block class action lawsuits. He claimed that the TOS amendments amounted to unfair business practices under the terms of California's "Unfair Competition Law" and a "tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing."

The courts disagreed, however, and have dismissed the case, saying it fails to show either a valid UCL claim or a breach of any particular agreement. The crux of the decision is that the plaintiff chose to agree to the amended terms of service and then did not opt out, meaning that the only "economic harm" he can claim to have suffered is the loss of the right to file a class action lawsuit.

"This 'harm,' however, is too conjectural to support a finding of economic injury here and now," Judge Susan Illston wrote in her decision. "Plaintiff himself explains that 'if' defendants engage in 'wrongdoing' in the future, he will only be able to seek relief in an individual arbitration which is 'unlikely' to be cost effective. However, plaintiff cannot allege that defendants will engage in wrongdoing in the future, that he would pursue a remedy for that unknown wrongdoing, or that the type of harm he suffered would not be cost effective to resolve through an individual arbitration. By his own argument, plaintiff demonstrates that he has not, as of this date, suffered a concrete and particularized economic injury."

There's quite a bit more to it, with plenty of phrases like "sua sponte" and "res judicata doctrine," but the bottom line is that the lawsuit has been given the boot. The plaintiff was given ten days to amend his filing to "state a claim for declaratory relief" but the UCL and tortious breach claims were both dismissed without leave to amend. As far as further action against Sony goes, in other words, that's pretty much that.

Source: Techdirt

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Wow Sony, you're just asking for another security breach aren't you?

you know, the more i hear, the more i think they just don't wanna be in video games anymore

Lunar Templar:
you know, the more i hear, the more i think they just don't wanna be in video games anymore

I've taken that message loud and clear.

No PS4 for me next gen.

Company wins? OMG! NO WAI!

A court gives a company more rights than a person? Color me fuckin' surprised.

Makes you wish that ToS and EULA's weren't legally binding in any way, shape or form.

Qitz:
A court gives a company more rights than a person? Color me fuckin' surprised.

Makes you wish that ToS and EULA's weren't legally binding in any way, shape or form.

They aren't. They are rules/wish lists. If you violate the TOS of this site you can be banned, but that is not a legal issue. If you violate the terms of an EULA, well, nothing happens lest they take you to court and win. As a general rule, EULA's are just wish lists. They cannot call the police and have you arrested because you installed Windows on more than one PC, for example.

Well, at least it didn't hurt the chances of future lawsuits over changing the EULA for a product that's already purchased.

Moral 1 of this story is: the people at Sony view customers as sheep to be sheared, and will force you into the pen and down the chute by whatever means they can legally get away with.

Moral 2: Don't file lawsuits unless you actually know how.

Just another brick in the wall that is the oncoming State Corporatisim. Because capitalism simply was not sufficient enough to only be a economic structure, it now has to be a system of government too. It saddens me to see people still have not stopped this sort of nonsense. When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

viranimus:
Just another brick in the wall that is the oncoming State Corporatisim. Because capitalism simply was not sufficient enough to only be a economic structure, it now has to be a system of government too. It saddens me to see people still have not stopped this sort of nonsense. When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

I believe, and I stress believe, that this is the natural evolution of Capitalism. Capitalism needs a reboot.

Crono1973:

I believe, and I stress believe, that this is the natural evolution of Capitalism. Capitalism needs a reboot.

Quite possibly. Or is it that capitalism is already being rebooted. This is just the first steps of the dark and gritty reboot that we have seen so much of as of late?

I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about this. There's no definitive statement on whether or not EULAs are binding (at least in the United States) because they constitute a shrink-wrap contract. So you could still have a lot of legal actions you can take, even if they try to hold you to the terms stipulated in the TOS agreement.

Matthew94:

Lunar Templar:
you know, the more i hear, the more i think they just don't wanna be in video games anymore

I've taken that message loud and clear.

No PS4 for me next gen.

No Next Generation Consoles for me period. Gaming has gotten so simple and bland that there is no point for me to continue lol.

As far as the topic is concerned, I have a drink or 2 before agreeing to anything. Contracts are null and void if the person signing them are not of sound body or mind, including inebriation.

HobbesMkii:
I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about this. There's no definitive statement on whether or not EULAs are binding (at least in the United States) because they constitute a shrink-wrap contract. So you could still have a lot of legal actions you can take, even if they try to hold you to the terms stipulated in the TOS agreement.

If they aren't legally binding, then they aren't. It's not up in the air. If there is no law that says you can't throw your PSP at the wall, then by default, you can.

Crono1973:

HobbesMkii:
I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about this. There's no definitive statement on whether or not EULAs are binding (at least in the United States) because they constitute a shrink-wrap contract. So you could still have a lot of legal actions you can take, even if they try to hold you to the terms stipulated in the TOS agreement.

If they aren't legally binding, then they aren't. It's not up in the air. If there is no law that says you can't throw your PSP at the wall, then by default, you can.

That's a nice thought, but that's not the case. See, laws aren't exhaustive or thorough on all things. Some laws are written intended for one thing but end up getting applied to another. Thus, shrink wrap contracts fall under the concept of a contract, which is a legally binding document, but doesn't make provisions for shrink wrap contracts. Adding to this is the fact that each state and federal appeals circuit essentially defines its own jurisdiction, meaning you have a plethora of laws with varying degrees of constitutionality.

The trouble with shrink wrap contracts is that in order to enter into a legally binding contract, both parties must consent to do so. But in the case of software, in order to obtain the contract you need to consent to in order to use a product, you have to buy that product. Generally, you're not legally bound to consent to or even read such contracts, because they can basically put anything in there, and you'd have to agree (which would be an undue burden, because the EULA could claim anything, like that you had to give up your first born son to Sony). However, because no case has ever reached the US Supreme Court, the actual constitutional legality of EULAs and TOSs has never been firmly established, and the Appeals Circuits have varied in their decisions about EULAs' and TOSs' legal status.

So, in theory, you have the ability to appeal your case to the SCOTUS if you should ever be attacked by Sony for violating TOS.

Edited: removed a bit about Sony's TOS updates being murkier, which was false, see Foolproof's correction below

viranimus:
When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

When they placed the economy on a higher pedestal than the people's will? And how do you keep the economy happy? Keep the big businesses happy. I was kind of hoping we wouldn't hear more about these kind of cases but whatever. I can still dream of a world where corporations aren't people.

viranimus:
When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

Ah You forget: Corporations are people my friend

HobbesMkii:

Crono1973:

HobbesMkii:
I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about this. There's no definitive statement on whether or not EULAs are binding (at least in the United States) because they constitute a shrink-wrap contract. So you could still have a lot of legal actions you can take, even if they try to hold you to the terms stipulated in the TOS agreement.

If they aren't legally binding, then they aren't. It's not up in the air. If there is no law that says you can't throw your PSP at the wall, then by default, you can.

That's a nice thought, but that's not the case. See, laws aren't exhaustive or thorough on all things. Some laws are written intended for one thing but end up getting applied to another. Thus, shrink wrap contracts fall under the concept of a contract, which is a legally binding document, but doesn't make provisions for shrink wrap contracts. Adding to this is the fact that each state and federal appeals circuit essentially defines its own jurisdiction, meaning you have a plethora of laws with varying degrees of constitutionality.

The trouble with shrink wrap contracts is that in order to enter into a legally binding contract, both parties must consent to do so. But in the case of software, in order to obtain the contract you need to consent to in order to use a product, you have to buy that product. Generally, you're not legally bound to consent to or even read such contracts, because they can basically put anything in there, and you'd have to agree (which would be an undue burden, because the EULA could claim anything, like that you had to give up your first born son to Sony). However, because no case has ever reached the US Supreme Court, the actual constitutional legality of EULAs and TOSs has never been firmly established, and the Appeals Circuits have varied in their decisions about EULAs' and TOSs' legal status. Sony's TOS update is in even murkier waters, because it's actually a contract they're foisting upon you, the consumer, after you've purchased the product in order to keep using the product you've already purchased. Software and consoles are, to my knowledge, the only such products in the history of selling things that have been able to do this. You sign a contract to purchase or lease a car, but that contract never changes at the whim of the dealer--it'd be unfathomable.

So, in theory, you have the ability to appeal your case to the SCOTUS if you should ever be attacked by Sony for violating TOS.

An EULA or TOS has exactly as much power as you give it or as they can enforce per person. They aren't going to take everyone to court and as of now there is no blanket law stating that a EULA is legally binding. It's a wish list.

Example: You can't install Windows 7 on more than one computer because Microsoft has an activation system that prevents it. No legal action is being taken there, it's just that the DRM is preventing honest customers from doing it. If you choose to circumvent the activation system, you can install it on as many computers as you want and there will still be no laws broken. You broke the EULA, a wish list, nothing more. If Microsoft chooses to take you to court then the court will decide if you were in the wrong but ONLY you, not everyone who installs Windows on multiple PC's.

They can put anything they want in an EULA which is just evidence that EULA's can't be legally binding without some sort of oversight for every EULA written.

If people want to go on believing that EULA's are legally binding, then eventually they will be. That's what happens when no one questions ridiculous things.

So basically you won't be able to sue Sony because you can't prove now that Sony will do anything that will make them liable to lawsuit? Makes perfect sense yo. >.>

Now im gunna file a lawsuit that says I can't ever be arrested for bank robbery because banks can't prove I might rob a bank in the future.

Qitz:
A court gives a company more rights than a person? Color me fuckin' surprised.

Makes you wish that ToS and EULA's weren't legally binding in any way, shape or form.

So that everytime you give a company your personal information, they could immediately identity fraud you and take everything you own as they don't need to stick to the terms of service?

viranimus:
When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

How exactly is it in the interests of "The people" that this guy be allowed to waste taxpayer money clogging up the courts while he tries to argue he should be allowed to have his cake and eat it too?

HobbesMkii:
Sony's TOS update is in even murkier waters, because it's actually a contract they're foisting upon you, the consumer, after you've purchased the product in order to keep using the product you've already purchased.

Wrong. The TOS is about accessing a free service you didn't pay for, didn't purchase, and don't therefore have any legal right to - its an extra by every single understanding of the word. As such, restricting you from accessing it if you don't agree to the TOS is not in any way unethical or illegal.

Foolproof:

HobbesMkii:
Sony's TOS update is in even murkier waters, because it's actually a contract they're foisting upon you, the consumer, after you've purchased the product in order to keep using the product you've already purchased.

Wrong. The TOS is about accessing a free service you didn't pay for, didn't purchase, and don't therefore have any legal right to - its an extra by every single understanding of the word. As such, restricting you from accessing it if you don't agree to the TOS is not in any way unethical or illegal.

You're right, thanks for correcting me.

Dunno, the phrasing there seems to indicate that they can sue over the altered ToS denying their class-action-lawsuit ability in the event that something happens where losing the right to file such a suit could result in them losing damage claims.

So Sony may have achieved nothing by their alteration in the first place.

Foolproof:

HobbesMkii:
Sony's TOS update is in even murkier waters, because it's actually a contract they're foisting upon you, the consumer, after you've purchased the product in order to keep using the product you've already purchased.

Wrong. The TOS is about accessing a free service you didn't pay for, didn't purchase, and don't therefore have any legal right to - its an extra by every single understanding of the word. As such, restricting you from accessing it if you don't agree to the TOS is not in any way unethical or illegal.

Are we talking about the free service that is required for updates that allow you to play new games? Because if so, that makes it a whole lot less cut & dry, as far as I'm concerned.

All the ToS really says is don't be an asshole and you're good to go. Not really sure where people are getting "rights" from. It's you're "decision" to purchase a product. If you don't want it then don't buy it. simple as that. I use my gaming system as a gaming system. It does what it's intended. I could give two shits about ToS cause i'm not an asshole as stated earlier.

Good day.

Donald Anzalone:
All the ToS really says is don't be an asshole and you're good to go. Not really sure where people are getting "rights" from. It's you're "decision" to purchase a product. If you don't want it then don't buy it. simple as that. I use my gaming system as a gaming system. It does what it's intended. I could give two shits about ToS cause i'm not an asshole as stated earlier.

Good day.

Hint: You usually only read the ToS when you already bought the product.

Another good hint: If you don't agree, the shop won't give you a refund

You know, one of the biggest problems I have with EULAs and ToSs is this: The contract is one way, despite the fact that one could easily see why it shouldn't be.

In short, the idea of EULAs and ToSs should be the idea that the company in question is creating an agreement between you and it. They agree to give you the service in question within reason (such as not allowing you to copy it, or being able to perform maintenance, yada yada) and you agree to obey the rules of this service. This also means that it is indeed a service then, that if it is a game being promised to you, and you have paid your money and created an account that you be able to have access to it so long as your account obeys the rules.

In addition, if you are supplying information, the privacy policy should also act as the agreement that yes, that company is indeed responsible for its security. This should be common sense, but as anyone who was victimized during the PSN attack, or is one of the many daily hacked Xbox account owners, etc. this doesn't seem to be the case.

TL;DR All companies with EULAs, ToSs, Privacy Policies, etc. need to recognize that those things require them to hold up their end of the bargain, not just the signers.

Scars Unseen:

Foolproof:

HobbesMkii:
Sony's TOS update is in even murkier waters, because it's actually a contract they're foisting upon you, the consumer, after you've purchased the product in order to keep using the product you've already purchased.

Wrong. The TOS is about accessing a free service you didn't pay for, didn't purchase, and don't therefore have any legal right to - its an extra by every single understanding of the word. As such, restricting you from accessing it if you don't agree to the TOS is not in any way unethical or illegal.

Are we talking about the free service that is required for updates that allow you to play new games? Because if so, that makes it a whole lot less cut & dry, as far as I'm concerned.

If its an actual requirement for the game, as opposed to for a patch, then the appropriate update is usually on the disc itself.

Well well, this is 3 things I've learnt today that I already knew would happen.

Sony getting the green light to do what its already done, ME3 getting "closure" and Kenny Dalglish saying that the squad is fine and playing well *cough*BULLSHIT*cough*. Colour me shocked.

Crono1973:

viranimus:
Just another brick in the wall that is the oncoming State Corporatisim. Because capitalism simply was not sufficient enough to only be a economic structure, it now has to be a system of government too. It saddens me to see people still have not stopped this sort of nonsense. When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

I believe, and I stress believe, that this is the natural evolution of Capitalism. Capitalism needs a reboot.

A hard reset by any chance?

VonKlaw:
So basically you won't be able to sue Sony because you can't prove now that Sony will do anything that will make them liable to lawsuit? Makes perfect sense yo. >.>

Now im gunna file a lawsuit that says I can't ever be arrested for bank robbery because banks can't prove I might rob a bank in the future.

But should you rob a bank you will be arrested in the same way that if this guy faces financial loss due to sony's wrongdoing in the future then he can sue them. The ruling just says that Sony have done nothing wrong and he can't sue them based on predictions of the future.

wooty:
Kenny Dalglish saying that the squad is fine and playing well *cough*BULLSHIT*cough*. Colour me shocked.

Biggest shock is he's still sticking around, he's usually done a runner by now when things don't go his way. As a Blackburn rovers fan I really wish they'd stop giving points to everyone around us, it's making it hard to avoid relegation.

Glademaster:

Crono1973:

viranimus:
Just another brick in the wall that is the oncoming State Corporatisim. Because capitalism simply was not sufficient enough to only be a economic structure, it now has to be a system of government too. It saddens me to see people still have not stopped this sort of nonsense. When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

I believe, and I stress believe, that this is the natural evolution of Capitalism. Capitalism needs a reboot.

A hard reset by any chance?

Maybe it will come to that.

Foolproof:

viranimus:
When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

How exactly is it in the interests of "The people" that this guy be allowed to waste taxpayer money clogging up the courts while he tries to argue he should be allowed to have his cake and eat it too?

Its not having your cake and eating it too, its having your cake and telling the baker to fuck off when he steps in when your halfway through eating it and tries to force you to sign a waiver that if that if you become ill from eating it hes not responsible.

It is an incredibly important use of time and resources to try to stop the progress of state corporatization at every step. This is clearly illegal process of having a product you own suddenly change and force you to waive your legal rights if you wish to continue fully using the advertised features you bought the product for. This is being made legal by how easy it is to buy a judge when your profit margins are in the billions. This only hurts the consumer, It only helps protect Sony for having to pay for their mistakes, How exactly is this NOT in the interest of the people because if this ruling does not get overturned all it does is sets the stage to encourage Sony to do it again.

If I misread you I am sorry and ignore what I said, but It really sounds like your trying to suggest that Sony has a right to demand that you waive your rights to hold them accountable if they fuck up by withholding advertised features of the product they sold to you until you agree to it.

Hmmm... if this keeps heading the direction it is at present for much longer. Then the only thing we'ed be missing from ending up in a dystopic cyberpunk world would be the technology; and I can see that arriving farily soon.

viranimus:

Foolproof:

viranimus:
When exactly was it that branches of the government forgot that the only reason they exist is to do what is in the best interest of the people.

How exactly is it in the interests of "The people" that this guy be allowed to waste taxpayer money clogging up the courts while he tries to argue he should be allowed to have his cake and eat it too?

Its not having your cake and eating it too, its having your cake and telling the baker to fuck off when he steps in when your halfway through eating it and tries to force you to sign a waiver that if that if you become ill from eating it hes not responsible.

It is an incredibly important use of time and resources to try to stop the progress of state corporatization at every step. This is clearly illegal process of having a product you own suddenly change and force you to waive your legal rights if you wish to continue fully using the advertised features you bought the product for. This is being made legal by how easy it is to buy a judge when your profit margins are in the billions. This only hurts the consumer, It only helps protect Sony for having to pay for their mistakes, How exactly is this NOT in the interest of the people because if this ruling does not get overturned all it does is sets the stage to encourage Sony to do it again.

If I misread you I am sorry and ignore what I said, but It really sounds like your trying to suggest that Sony has a right to demand that you waive your rights to hold them accountable if they fuck up by withholding advertised features of the product they sold to you until you agree to it.

What ruling exactly? All it says is this guy has suffered no financial loss by signing the ToS and cannot assume that he will, this means if does the court would hear it.

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