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Plaintiffs File Amended Class Action Against Sony for Removing Linux from PlayStation 3

San Francisco, CA - Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs (Hausfeld LLP, Calvo Fisher & Jacob LLP, and Finkelstein Thompson LLP) filed an Amended Consolidated Class Action Complaint yesterday against Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC, the North American  distributor of the  PlayStation 3 (“PS3”) console, on behalf of a nationwide class of PS3 purchasers,  alleging that Sony violated consumer protection laws when it removed the “Other OS” feature from   PlayStation 3 consoles through a firmware update.  

 According to the Complaint, Sony heavily promoted that purchasers could utilize the on the “Other OS” feature on the PS3 console to install a Linux operating system and then use the PS3 as a personal  computer in addition to a gaming console.  Sony also promoted that users would be able to upgrade the computer features through firmware updates during the expected ten-year life of the console.  In early 2010, however, Sony made a decision to remove the “Other OS” feature through a firmware update. Sony claimed that this was for “security” reasons.  The Complaint alleges, however, that Sony removed the feature because it was too expensive to maintain and researchers were buying the PS3 to use it solely as a computer, causing financial losses to Sony who hoped to make up the below cost  sales price of the PS3 on sales of games and other accessories. Additionally, the Complaint alleges that Sony had no justification to remove an advertised and core feature of the PS3.  

The case, In re PS3 “Other OS” Litigation, has been pending in federal court in the Northern District of California in front of Judge Richard Seeborg since April 2010.  Judge Seeborg dismissed several of the claims in February 2011, finding that the initial Complaint had not alleged sufficient facts, but granted Plaintiffs’ leave to amend. Judge Seeborg did allow the Plaintiffs’ “Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” claim to go forward because Sony could not show that its use of the “Other OS” firmware update to remove the feature was authorized.  The new Complaint contains over 88 pages of detailed allegations contending that Sony promoted the computer features of the PS3 for the life of the product and had no permission to remove a core feature from the PS3 after consumers purchased it. 

“The millions of PS3 owners in this country deserved better from Sony. These loyal customers spent hundreds of dollars on a PS3 that was advertised as being able to function as a computer distinguishing it from its competitors. Sony took that feature away without justification and has essentially told consumers we can turn the PS3 into a $600 paper weight and you have no recourse,” said Rosemary Rivas of Finkelstein Thompson, one of the Lead Counsel in the case.  

Co-Lead counsel James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld added, “Sony’s actions are like a car manufacturer telling a buyer that it is going to remove the engine because it does not want to service the part anymore and then telling the consumer, ‘tough luck, we are not going to give you a refund.’ This type of activity is exactly what our country’s consumer protection laws were designed to protect against.” Co-Lead counsel Jim Quadra of Calvo Fisher & Jacob agreed. “Once you buy a product, the manufacturer is not entitled to remove parts of it. Courts have repeatedly found that consumers are entitled to the benefits of their bargains.”


For more information or a copy of the Complaint, please contact James Pizzirusso of Hausfeld LLP,  202-540-7154/703-587-6474.

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Practice Areas: Deceptive Business Practices and Consumer Protection