Enlarge / Ken Kutaragi, former president and group chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. unveils the PlayStation 3 during a news conference on May 16, 2005 in Culver City, California.Getty Images
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Open up your wallets—Sony might have as much as $55 for you. PlayStation 3 owners who lost the ability to run Linux on their consoles following a 2010 firmware update should soon be getting a notice from the console maker that it is settling a class-action lawsuit over the debacle.
A California federal judge signed off (PDF) on the accord (PDF) Thursday, and notices of the deal will be sent via e-mail to those on the PlayStation network.

Those notices should reach as much as 77 percent of the affected class members, according to the court. Other advertisements about the deal will be advertised online.
Those eligible for a cash payment of either $9 or $55 are “all persons in the United States who purchased a Fat PS3 model in the United States between November 1, 2006, and April 1, 2010.”

Sony’s troubles began with the PS3 software update 3.21. On March 28, 2010, Sony announced that the update would “disable the ‘Install Other OS’ feature that was available on the PS3 systems prior to the current slimmer models.” This feature, Sony claimed, would be removed “due to security concerns,” although the lawsuit alleged that piracy was the main reason.

At one point, Sony claimed that its terms of service allowed it to remove the Other OS feature.
Sony also said that the functionality wasn’t that big of a deal for most console owners, but many in the gaming community were very upset by the removal of the Other OS feature.
As we reported earlier, to get $55, gamers “must attest under oath to their purchase of the product and installation of Linux, provide proof of their purchase or serial number and PlayStation Network Sign-in ID, and submit some proof of their use of the Other OS functionality.” To get the $9, PS3 owners must submit a claim that, at the time they bought their console, they “knew about the Other OS, relied upon the Other OS functionality, and intended to use the Other OS functionality.”
For a more detailed description of how to comply with eligibility requirements, read this document (PDF).
Because of the complexities of class-action lawsuits, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, must hold another hearing.
It is scheduled for December 20.

There, she’ll address any objections to the settlement.
If all goes smoothly and there is no appeal of the settlement, the cash would then be sent out to affected class members who complied with the eligibility requirements.
Sony said it would spend as much as it needed to pay out legitimate claims.
“Conceivably, if every class member submitted a claim, Sony could pay out tens of millions of dollars,” said attorney James Pizzirusso, who is representing the class. “The fund is uncapped, and there’s no way to know ultimately today how many people will submit claims.”

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