Sony's new PS3 terms of service are designed to stop the company being hit with class-action suits, and having to front juries, which care about little things like the right of the consumer over the operations of multi-billion dollar corporations.
So how did the company get away with legally including a "don't sue us" clause?
CNN reports it's all because the US Supreme Court ruled in April that AT&T was allowed to include a similar clause in its contracts, only this time that between employee and employer, not customer and provider as is the case with the PS3.
"The Supreme Court recently ruled in the AT&T case that language like this is enforceable," a Sony spokesperson told 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."
Well, no, it's designed to benefit Sony, in that it makes it less likely they'll get hit with massive class action suits. It doesn't benefit a consumer at all. If you're in the US (remember, the new ToS don't apply everywhere), it's really in your best interest to opt-out.
And how do you do that? Get off your ass and write them a letter. Say explicitly that you don't want to use arbitration to settle a dispute with Sony, put it in an envelope and send it to:
6080 Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Attn: Legal Department/Arbitration
Attn: Sony Legal Department: Dispute Resolution
Even if you're not the class action type, the more people who do this, the more it sends a clear message that consumers take consumer rights a little more seriously than corporations do.