You may think the unprecedented and massive security breach that took down multiple Sony services including Sony Online entertainment and PlayStation Network is what pushed Sony to make the changes it did recently to the PSN Terms of Service, but a CNN report points to another reason: The Supreme Court. Last week Sony changed the document for PlayStation Network asking customers to give up their rights to file class-action lawsuits against the company and its partners. As we noted earlier today, customers can opt out by sending the company a letter in the mail – we also noted that most people did not notice the new clause in the TOS, and probably don't give a whit that they are losing their rights to sue.
Sony tells CNN that the new changes were made because of a Supreme Court decision in April – AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion (PDF). Due to a Supreme Court ruling the company was allowed to enforce a clause it included in employment contracts that barred workers from bringing class-action suits and forced them to go through arbitration.
"The Supreme Court recently ruled in the AT&T case that language like this is enforceable," a spokeswoman for Sony's PlayStation unit wrote in an e-mail to CNN. "The updated language in the TOS is designed to benefit both the consumer and the company by ensuring that there is adequate time and procedures to resolve disputes."
As the CNN report points out arbiters are usually retired judges who collect ridiculous fees of $300 or more hour. Arbitration never involves a jury and arbiters are typically more sympathetic to the corporations.
As we noted earlier, it will be interesting to see if someone, somewhere challenges the revised ToS in a court room. Many legal experts do not believe it can stand up in a court of law – mostly because of the way Sony made consumers aware of it.