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Sony seeks to settle lawsuit over PSN data breach for $15 million
Sony seeks to settle lawsuit over PSN data breach for $15 million
July 24, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

July 24, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Social/Online, Business/Marketing

Sony has agreed to a preliminary $15 million settlement in a long-running class action lawsuit over the PlayStation Network security breach in April 2011.

The court has given the settlement [PDF, via Polygon] preliminary approval, and if it gives it final approval in the coming months this will bring closure to more than 50 class action lawsuits filed against SCEA in the wake of the PSN security breach that compromised approximately 77 million PSN accounts.

Those lawsuits were later consolidated and carried out in Southern California district court. Sony was also fined nearly $400k by UK public officials over the breach, and went on to amend some of its user agreements and terms of service to prevent similar class action lawsuits from being filed against it in the event of a future breach.

Now, years later, Sony seeks to bring its long-running legal battle to a close by offering the following compensation for customers whose accounts were affected by the breach:

For PSN account holders

PSN Account holders who did participate in Sony's "Welcome Back" promotion after the PSN servers came back online will be eligible to choose one of the following settlement benefit options: one game from an undisclosed list of fourteen PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Portable titles, one set of three PlayStation 3 themes from an undisclosed list of six themes, or 3 months of PlayStation Plus.

These rewards are first-come, first-serve and will be given out until the total value of such recompense hits $4 million.

PSN account holders who did not participate in the "Welcome Back" promotion will be eligible to select two of the above-mentioned benefit options on a first-come, first-served basis until total recompense is valued at $6 million.

For anyone who can prove their identity was stolen and financial harm was done

Sony will reimburse up to $2,500 per documented, proven claim of identity theft that can be linked directly to a Sony service security breach, up to a maximum of $1 million. You can file multiple claims.

For anyone who paid for a third-party service like Netflix or Hulu

If you can prove that you were paying for an account on a PSN third-party service like Netflix that you were unable to access during the breach, Sony is offering you either three of the afore-mentioned six PlayStation themes or 3 months of PlayStation Plus if you're a new subscriber (i.e. have never subscribed to Plus in the past.)

For Sony Online Entertainment account holders

If you held one or more SOE accounts when the breach occurred, you're eligible to claim 450 units of "Station Cash" ($4.50 USD) if the settlement is approved. Sony has set a cap of $4 million on this benefit clause, so if it has to pay more it will proportionately reduce the amount of each payment.

For Qriocity account holders

If you had a Qriocity (now called Music Unlimited) account in April 2011, you'll be eligible to receive a free month of Music Unlimited service under the terms of the proposed settlement.

If the settlement is approved, you should be notified and will likely be filing your claims for these benefits at at this dedicated PSN/SOE Settlement website.

Gamasutra has reached out to Sony representatives for comment on the case.

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Ron Dippold
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Leaving the $2500 for identity breach aside, this is a pretty typical laughable payout for class action.

If (*if*) you take as given that Sony should be paying $15M, they're paying it off with things that are essentially zero cost to them. Give out a PS3 game (which you can get used for $1 and the user would never have bought anyhow) - that's '$20' paid out! Station Cash of $4.50 might cut slightly into possible purchases, but you can view it as a promotion. Ditto for the Music Unlimited and the free promotional PSN+.

When I had AT&T wireless, before escaping, there was a class action lawsuit payout for something - maybe involving Cingular. The 'payout' was $5 coupon towards a new phone. Which would immediately lock you into a new 24-mo contract. It wasn't a punishment for them, it was a promotional campaign!

Not really upset here because I don't feel Sony owes me anything, but who benefits here? Oh right, the lawyers.

James Yee
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The lawyers ALWAYS win. :|

Though in this case as I wasn't really affected a possible 3 month extension to my PS+ or a Vita game I might have missed isn't bad. (Since I participated in the Welcome Back Campaign.)