To clear the company from all class-action lawsuits, which Sony has faced for its removal of Linux support and security breaches, its latest mandatory system update for the PlayStation 3 now has you sign away that very right:
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 LEGAL 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. THIS PROVISION DOES NOT PRECLUDE YOUR PARTICIPATION AS A MEMBER IN A CLASS ACTION FILED ON OR BEFORE AUGUST 20, 2011.
You can circumvent this measure by sending a letter (who writes letters anymore?) to Sony within 30 days of accepting the agreement with your name, address, PSN account number, and a clear statement of not wishing to resolve disputes with any Sony entity through arbitration. In return, I would like to know the names, addresses, and PSN account numbers of every Sony employee and lawyer connected to this measure. No? Well, f***.
I'm not sure what this says about our legal system if this is acceptable (it can't be good, really), but it does say how much Sony is willing to hold online hostage to ensure that its users can't band together in protest for any of its future actions. In fact, how much you wanna bet we're going to see a class-action lawsuit… for the lulz.
As a side-note, these kind of Mandatory Binding Arbitration clauses have been appearing in contracts all over the place in contracts with credit cards, cell phones, etc. Also, this contract seems to be enforceable in the US, but not in other countries like Brazil and certain provinces in Canada. We're special that way.