Sony has lost an appeal over a lawsuit in Brazil regarding users sharing accounts to access its PS Plus Collection service. The gaming giant was appealing a decision whereby it was told it couldn't deactivate users' PS5 consoles over sharing the Collection.
Why has Sony lost this PS Plus Collection lawsuit?
This news comes to us via Brazilian tech platform Tecnoblog (we're using machine translation for this link). In its appeal against the suit, Sony said it banned the user because account sharing - that is, allowing other users to access PS Plus Collection games without those users paying a subscription fee - is against the terms of service for PlayStation Plus. According to Sony, this regulation is crystal-clear, but the Sao Paulo Court of Justice disagreed, stating that neither this specific rule nor the punishment for breaking it are clear enough in the ToS. As such, the court upheld its original ruling.
The Court of Justice found that Sony provides inadequate information and punishes users unfairly for sharing PS Plus Collection games. Since we're using machine translation, the wording of the ruling can be a little ambiguous, but it seems like Sony hasn't put sufficient emphasis on the rules against sharing games, nor the penalties for doing so, in its terms of service text. As such, the Court stated that the ban on the complainant's PS5 "goes against the Consumer Protection Code" and puts the consumer at an "exaggerated disadvantage". Sony must reactivate the user's PS5 and pay $1,500 in damages to the user's lawyers, as well as paying costs.
What does this mean for Sony around the world?
It's worth noting that a previous Court of Justice of Sao Paulo ruling already found that Sony isn't legally able to block users' consoles for sharing PS Plus Collection games. Still, this likely isn't going to feel good for Sony, even if the ruling doesn't apply outside of Brazil. When it emerged last year that users were selling or sharing access to the PS Plus Collection, thousands of bans were issued in places like Hong Kong, so it's clear Sony doesn't want users doing this. Any impediment to stopping the company from blocking users trying to share the PS Plus Collection isn't likely to go down well at Sony HQ.
Sony's argument - that it banned the user fairly due to a violation of the terms of service - may not have allowed them to deactivate a console, but this doesn't necessarily apply to deactivation of accounts. As a result, we'd recommend not sharing the PS Plus Collection as a precautionary measure. Even if the bans are automated, it's not fun to have the ban hammer fall on your account due to something like this. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.
How do you feel about the Court of Justice of Sao Paulo's decision? Let us know in the comments below!