US class action lawsuits against Sony?

Still developing, as the big guys like to say: reports have surfaced that there have been class action lawsuits filed against Sony in California and New York. The complaints detail the following violations:

In California:

  1. Violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Cal Civil Code Section 1750 et seq.);
  2. Violations of the Consumer Protection against Computer Spyware Act (Business and Professions Code Section 22947-22947.6); and
  3. Violations of the California Unfair Competition law (Business and Professions Code section 17200 et seq.)

In New York:

  1. Computer fraud under 18 USC 1030;
  2. Deceptive Business Practices under New York Law (Sections 349/350 of the GBL); and
  3. Common law fraud.

As Marvel Comics editors used to say, a big No-Prize to the first reader to point to the full text of the complaints. (And tip o’the hat to HardOCP for the pointer.)

Update with some additional pointers: according to, the California firm filing the lawsuit is Green Welling, whose home page as of this writing indicates that they are “investigating” the matter. And Internet News indicates that the EFF is investigating as well. Finally, this post on Spamroll indicates that Ethan Preston is getting into the act. Are these efforts connected, or separate suits?

4 Responses to “US class action lawsuits against Sony?”

  1. paolo Says:

    I just wrote a blog post about
    “Sony managers (i.e. Cyber Criminals) should go to jail”

    It starts comparing Sony managers with 2 virus writers sentenced many years of jail. What do you think? I’m still a bit shocked by what I learnt …

    1) Creator of Melissa Computer Virus Sentenced to 20 Months in Federal Prison
    NEWARK - The New Jersey man accused of unleashing the “Melissa” computer virus in 1999, causing millions of dollars in damage and infecting untold numbers of computers and computer networks, was sentenced today to 20 months in federal prison, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie and state Attorney General David Samson announced.
    2) Pathogen Virus Perpetrator sentenced to 18 months in prison
    On 15 November 1995, a judge sentenced Pile to 18 months in prison. The judge declared: “Those who seek to wreak mindless havoc on one of the vital tools of our age cannot expect lenient treatment.”
    3) Sony installed spyware on the computers of anyone who simply inserted some of Sony music CDs into her Windows-based computer. Users were not informed of this installation. [Paradox: you buy the CD, you get the virus. At least Pathogen and Melissa were free!!!]
    So simple question: if Melissa brought 20 years in jail to his creator and Pathogen 18 years, how many years you think Sony managers should spend in jail?

  2. Tim Says:

    Good question, Paolo. The difficulty would be proving damage. In the case of Melissa, the damage done by the virus was well documented and widespread, including in corporate environments, so it was pretty clear. Fortunately or unfortunately, any damage caused by the Sony DRM is mostly theoretical right now–very bad computing, but it is hard to quantify the amount of damage it will do and accordingly it would probably be difficult to justify any sentencing absent guidelines.

    Of course, the laws under which Sony is apparently going to be sued may include sentencing guidelines, but I think many of them are so new that there will be little precedent. One can only hope…

  3. Ken Nelson Says:

    Link to the Washington Post article about this:

    You can get the PDF version from a link within the article. I’ve d/l’ed the PDF, and may very well post it on my blog.

    Apologies if I’m covering old ground, I didn’t see the PDF in any of the above links that I followed.

  4. The Sony Boycott Blog » Blog Archive » Update: California class action suit against Sony Says:

    […] CNet provides more details on the California class action suit against Sony I mentioned Tuesday. Among other eyebrow raisers, it was actually filed November 1, just one day after the original blog post that started it all. The suit “asks the court to stop Sony BMG from selling additional CDs protected by the anti-piracy software and seeks monetary damages for California consumers who purchased them.” […]

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