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Sony The Courts Games Your Rights Online

Sony Files Lawsuit Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot 508

Posted by timothy
from the poor-sportsmanship dept.
Kayot writes "George Hotz, or, as he is known on the internet, GeoHot, has been served court papers. Shorty after Team fail0verflow discovered faults in the PS3's TPMs, Geohot and others figured out how to extract the long sought after holy grail encryption keys. Apparently Sony is not pleased and is very keen on defending their poorly defended system with the US legal system. The basis is that GeoHot released programs that allow the signing of homebrew which can be used to make PSN-like games out of normal PS3 games. However GeoHot has never supported any form of piracy and in fact has taken a constant stance against it."
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Sony Files Lawsuit Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot

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  • by LSD-OBS (183415) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:00AM (#34846938)

    Sue that information right off the Internet! It'll work, we promise.

    • by scubamage (727538)
      Streisand effect in 3....2....1....
    • Re:Come on Sony! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khchung (462899) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:31AM (#34847200) Journal

      Sue that information right off the Internet! It'll work, we promise.

      The naivety of this is amazing. When the mafia burning down someone's shop, it is not because they are trying to recup any losses, but rather to send a "Don't mess with us" message to OTHER shop owners.

      Sony don't need to win anything from this suit, they just need to drag GeoHot through a very expensive lawsuit hell as a message "You better have a lot of money before messing with us!" to other future possible hackers.

      This is the same tactic with the RIAA against filesharers (but there are simply too many to fight against), and the same tactic Adobe tried against Skylarov (sorry, maybe mispelled), and the same tactic the US govt is using against Assange. No different from any school bully, you mess with him, you got beaten by whatever means available.

      • Re:Come on Sony! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by cdrudge (68377) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:35AM (#34847246) Homepage

        Sony don't need to win anything from this suit, they just need to drag GeoHot through a very expensive lawsuit hell as a message "You better have a lot of money before messing with us!" to other future possible hackers.

        Yeah, because that has worked so well for the many hackers that have cracked previous consoles, developed modchips, etc.

      • by Moryath (553296)

        And this is where US law ought to step in and say "no, you can't do this."

        There are dozens of reasons this ought to get laughed right out of court. Anti-SLAPP statutes [thefirstamendment.org], for one, or the judge could just issue a bench order declaring the case to be brought in bad faith and dismiss it with prejudice.

        Unfortunately, US judges are brain-dead fools who follow the highest bidder and with one or two notable exceptions, have no education in modern technology. The end result has been a stream of rulings by idiots whos

      • Re:Come on Sony! (Score:5, Informative)

        by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@g m a il.com> on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:49AM (#34847378) Homepage Journal

        The problem is that they may have picked the wrong person.

        What if the EFF or another firm helps him pay legal costs to fight this? He isn't pirating material, nor distributing pirated material. Sony advertised a feature and sold consoles under the guise you'd have that feature, and then removed that feature.

        GeoHot didn't hack the PS3 until Sony removed functionality.

        And while you can argue circumventing copyright measures is illegal for any reason according to the DCMA, this isn't a criminal case, and a federal judge has already opened the door saying jailbreaking an iPhone to get additional functionality (not piracy) is legal.

        Sony could actually hurt their own case by allowing a judge to rule against them.

      • Y'all hide yo PS3, hide yo sign'n keys, hide yo wallet, cause they're sue'n everybody out here!
    • Re:Come on Sony! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:33AM (#34847216) Homepage

      This is less about putting the genie back into the bottle and more about punishing offenders to discourage others from doing the same to whatever Sony sells us next.

      I wonder though. Is this a means or method of circumventing copyright protections? This code-signing thing is about the ability to create new code, not access existing code as I understand it. Am I wrong? (If so, please show me.) The DMCA only protects copyrighted material to my knowledge and a code signing key, which is more of a secret than a copyrightable or patentable thing, and I don't think it really applies in this case. (Not that it would stop sony from trying to sue under the DMCA -- after all, it seems most of the wins under intellectual property law seem to have been about exploiting weaknesses in knowledge and understanding of technology as far as I can see.)

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)

        This code-signing thing is about the ability to create new code, not access existing code as I understand it. Am I wrong? (If so, please show me.)

        You are not wrong, but I believe Sony's argument is that (as well as allowing the creation of new code) these keys will make it easy to dump and repackage existing copyrighted code in such a way that it can be easily copied and played, presumably on unmodified systems.

        Sony's attempt to ban the tool (the encryption keys) regardless of legitimate uses, rather than going after the actual copyright infringers who happen to be making use of that tool is asinine, but who knows which way the courts will side on th

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      It's Sony. They'll just install another rootkit without the user's permission and block the information that way.

      • by eleuthero (812560)
        The information on the hack indicates that it would require a hardware mod to stop it--since no one I know is going to shell out more money to make their console less usable, a rootkit would not be sufficient to stop it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The technique(hack) used by Geohot is usable on any locked core, such as TV sets, Ipods, smart phones and as well as any other DRMed hardware. Sony probably wants Geohot to keep a lid on it to prevent their other hardware root keys from being found out. If the tech was released on the Internet all encryption keys to signed hardware would be easily removed from such hardware.

  • by Haedrian (1676506) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:01AM (#34846948)

    You should be sure to take down any keys which appear on popular social networking sites.

    I mean it worked brilliant with 09 F9

  • Sony: They're fucking clown shoes. If they were real, I'd beat the shit out of them for being so stupid. I can't believe the US legal system would have anything to do with this shit. I, for one, will be boycotting Sony. Who's with me?
    • by LSD-OBS (183415) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:07AM (#34846974)

      Do you post as "magnoliafan" on moviepoopshoot.com?

    • I've been boycotting Sony for years (as much as possible). Once they got knee deep in the hardware AND software side, I got nervous. They're other shennanigans with rootkits etc was just the icing on the cake for me.
    • I have been boycotting sony for years. Hasn't seemed to make a difference. People just don't give a shit these days. they will tolerate almost anything rather than endure a small inconvenience to make a difference. Damn sheeple these days.
    • This isn't a criminal case. You can sue anyone for any reason. That is how lawsuits have always worked.

      I can't believe some people are so stupid they still haven't realized that.

  • LOL, DMCA (Score:3, Informative)

    by millennial (830897) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:03AM (#34846956) Journal
    Again, the "enabling" provision of the DMCA pops up. It's like these lawyers have never heard of the phrase "necessary but not sufficient." Yes, GeoHot's tools can be used to enable piracy, but they're not enough on their own. You also need a computer. Maybe Sony should sue computer makers for contributing to the problem. Regardless, the lawsuit is over so far. They weren't seeking damages, just a restraining order over the information. GeoHot decided to put the information back up on his site, so we'll see what happens there.
  • How is publishing information from/about a device you own a legal offence?

    • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:19AM (#34847076)

      The DMCA makes it illegal, in the USA, to circumvent copy-prevention mechanisms on a device, or to remove copy-prevention from a piece of media, or to distribute equipment to do the same. There are a few enumerated exceptions. Initially, this meant encryption researchers could perform this work with the explicit consent of the manufacturer on the condition that they immediately inform the manufacturer if they are successful. There are now a few fair-use and accessibility provisions too. None of those apply in this case.

      In simple terms, it's illegal because they passed a new law to make it illegal.

      • by scubamage (727538)
        Is having a copy of a key circumvention of copy protection? If someone leaves the key for a house that I own on my doorstep with a note saying "this is the key to the house you have purchased." Using the key wouldn't be circumventing anything. Breaking in through a window on the other hand would be. Crappy analogy, but I hope it gets the point across.
        • by Sockatume (732728)

          You're circumventing my restrictions on entry (door) by doing that. I should've mentioned, the DMCA protects restrictions on user action.

        • Sort of. If it's a public / private key pair, you already have the public key so you can use the device, but I think it is the private key that is discovered. So you could install a copy protection circumvention application on it. Nobody says you will do so, however.
      • by poetmatt (793785)

        if you paid attention to the DMCA at all, being able to crack something basically makes its protection ineffective, there's also the argument of substantial non-infringing uses such as enabling other OS's and things like that.

        so in simple terms, if geohot can afford the lawyers, they will easily win this in court.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          The non-infringing uses that you mention are enumerated in the Act and court decisions since, and are very specific, and many of them were not continued after last year. None of the current ones apply, and the only expired one that applied was in relation to obsolete video game systems.

    • Because of the DMCA. You probably own books and music too, but that doesn't make it legal for you to re-publish them.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      Technically 'reverse engineering' works out to be 'publishing information from a device you own'. Decompiling code to see how my competitors are doing it is also illegal.

      So yeah it could still be pretty illegal - not really related to this case - but even if you 'gloss it over' in that manner, it still works out the same.

    • How is publishing information from/about a device you own a legal offence?

      Sony view this as facilitating in copyright infringement (helping others in any way to do so).
      Peter Sunde should be able to confirm that from prison.
    • by Obyron (615547)
      a device you own

      What a trite, 20th century concept. Devices are no longer owned. They are leased from the manufacturer for the life of the product, and subject to you following their Terms of Use. Things got a lot easier after they coopted their EULA into the legal system. Welcome to the new world order.
  • Big corporations are such sore losers when their DRM/lockdown/lock-in systems are broken.

    If SONY were a good sport they'd be proud their signing/encryption took this long to crack.

    • Re:Sore losers (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:24AM (#34847138) Homepage

      From all that I have read and followed the ONLY reason it has not been cracked earlier was because OtherOS existed and removed the need to crack it from those that actually had the skill to do so. The second they removed "OtherOS" they gave a huge number of experts a reason to crack it.

      Sony did it to themselves.

    • It only took so long to crack because you could tinker with the hardware using linux just fine. They shot their own foot with a bazooka by removing that capability.

  • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:09AM (#34846996) Journal

    A lawsuit was pretty much inevitable; Sony needs to show its shareholders that it's doing something. To be honest, I find it hard to imagine that they won't succeed in making Mr. Hotz's life very... expensive indeed. Of course, with the cat now well and truly out of the bag on PS3 security, anything they do now can't really be more than a mixture of revenge and deterrence.

    The real question for Sony (and other console developers) is how they pitch the longer term response to this. With hindsight, it now appears that the long-legendary PS3 security set-up wasn't so stellar after all. Prior to Sony's removal of OtherOS, there were only tiny cracks in the wall and Sony could reasonably have expected it to last several more years. Following the removal of OtherOS, the demolition of Sony's safeguards was swift and ruthless.

    One possible inference, therefore, is that Sony's decision to grant PS3 users a "walled garden" in which they could - to some extent - do what they wanted with the system was what really provided the PS3 with its 5-year immunity from piracy. The commercially-minded piracy people, and the bored teenagers who wanted to play pirated games, just weren't good enough to break a console's security (even if major flaws did exist) and the people who were good enough; they weren't interested, as they could already do what they wanted with the system.

    If I were Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft, I would now be urgently investigating the possibility of incorporating a similar "walled garden" OtherOS equivalent into my next generation hardware. Yes, the numbers who might actually use it would probably be small - and yes, said users aren't worth much commercially as they probably don't buy many games, but 5 years of no piracy on the system is a pretty big payback.

    • by Durzel (137902)

      Your inference argument conveniently forgets that the original PS3 hack (by Geohot too if memory serves) used OtherOS as an attack vector, so the argument that preserving OtherOS would've somehow immunised the PS3 against piracy is fallacious.

      If anything I would infer that Sony's reaction to the original hack (i.e. removing OtherOS feature completely) was what frustrated the black hats. I agree it was dumb and likely to result in more focus on restoring it but let's not delude ourselves that the hackers an

      • by RogueyWon (735973) * on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:39AM (#34847274) Journal
        Not forgotten at all. The original exploit by Geohot was an awfully long way from producing something that was actually usable as a means of playing pirated games on the PS3. It was one of the small cracks that had appeared in the wall and as a pay-off for 5 years of effort, it was pretty poor. The nature of the attempts to break through the PS3's security barriers changed dramatically following the removal of OtherOS. I don't deny, however, that the sheer, brazen anti-consumerism that Sony manifested in yanking the OtherOS feature from all PS3s will have had a massive "red flag to a bull" effect.
    • Prior to Sony's removal of OtherOS, there were only tiny cracks in the wall and Sony could reasonably have expected it to last several more years. Following the removal of OtherOS, the demolition of Sony's safeguards was swift and ruthless.

      The commercially-minded piracy people, and the bored teenagers who wanted to play pirated games, just weren't good enough to break a console's security (even if major flaws did exist) and the people who were good enough; they weren't interested, as they could already do what they wanted with the system.

      Actually, IIRC, GeoHot started working on the PS3 just before they removed OtherOS. That seemed to be the entire reason why they removed it. Then after they did remove OtherOS, GeoHot gave up and it took a long time for any real cracks to come out. It was hardly swift compared to iPhone jailbreaks and the like.

      I definitely think providing Linux was a good thing to do. I'm happy with them requiring official games to be signed too to at least give us a few years with no fscking wallhackers etc. I'm not sure t

    • I don't think Microsoft has to worry all that much about this. The PS3 is interesting because of the Cell broadband engine and as such, has a lot of potential. It's also quite reliable. The XBox 360 has very average hardware with high failure rates, and therefore has little attraction to be opened. The WII was broken long ago, as it only has marginal security measures.

      • by RogueyWon (735973) *

        The 360 has also been comprehensively broken since its early days. That said, MS does seem to be able to pick up and ban modded 360s when they connect to Xbox Live, and you could argue that Live is such a large part of the 360-package that this is a reasonably large barrier to modding for most people.

    • The problem with the original OtherOS option is that the garden was too small. Hackers wanted access to the more specialized components (like the GPU), but they were walled off. This is enough incentive for somebody to start tinkering, to try to find a way out of the garden. Either way, the console was doomed.

    • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @10:09AM (#34847572) Journal

      If I were Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft, I would now be urgently investigating the possibility of incorporating a similar "walled garden" OtherOS equivalent into my next generation hardware.

      I don't think that will be a viable strategy any more. Sony has destroyed the trust such a move would have bought. Now when someone sees "OtherOS" on a console, they won't think "this is what I want, I don't have to hack", they'll think "It's only a matter of time before they take that away for no reason. I better hack faster."

  • They will release the playstation 4. That will just speed them up into a half-baked solution, as they were expecting the ps3 to last a little longer.

    I would hire this people who broke the ps3's security to help me make the new version if I were them. Hotz even talked about it.

    • by Abstrackt (609015)

      I would hire this people who broke the ps3's security to help me make the new version if I were them. Hotz even talked about it.

      Would you really hire the guy handing out copies of the keys to your kingdom? Don't get me wrong, I think it's absolutely fantastic that those keys are out there but I don't think Sony would trust him not to do it again.

  • "Unless this Court enjoins Defendants' unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in their attempts to ensure that pirated software can be run on the PS3 System, resulting in the destruction of SCEA's business."

    "The explanation was broadcast live through multiple video and audio streams on the Internet [...] including in California"

    There's also the bit about Californian jurist. because someone used github. It's like if I would claim jurist. on an american because they use IKEA furniture.

    • by hjf (703092)

      "Unless this Court enjoins Defendants' unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in their attempts to ensure that pirated software can be run on the PS3 System, resulting in the destruction of SCEA's business."

      Ah, but sony continues to make PS2s, which have been cracked for years. So piracy doesn't destroy their business, does it?

  • I do not understand the u.s. legal system. Who are the 100 "Does" mentioned in the lawsuit?

    • They are 100 people to be named later when Sony figures out who they are. You know, the ones who were harder to identify before filing the lawsuit.

      • They are 100 people to be named later when Sony figures out who they are. You know, the ones who were harder to identify before filing the lawsuit.

        That description makes it sound a little more shady than it is. It's more that Sony suspects activity from what they think are 100 different people. Sony needs the lawsuit in process before they can subpoena to figure out who these people are.

        Of course, the oddly round number of exactly 100 does make that sound very shady.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      A John Doe is an instance of a person you are unable to identify. Its pretty much a placeholder.

      Like if you're going to sue 100 people for downloading your show - and you only have their IPs, you issue a lawsuit against 100 John Does, then fill out the information when you subpoena it.

    • by RingDev (879105)

      They don't know. They are list as "Jane Doe" and "John Doe" usually when the claiment wants to start things up before they know who they are sueing. RIAA cases are often like this when they are seeking injunctions/information from ISPs. They'll sue the "Does" so they can get a court order for the ISP to turn over the identities of people associated with the IP's they do have.

      -Rick

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:21AM (#34847096) Homepage

    Leave it to a MegaCorp to do the wrong thing.

    Dear Sony, All you are doing is now causing this information, that you want kept secret, to become mainstream news. Remember DeCSS? It was a minor thing until the Last batch of idiots sued the guy and it became wide spread and copied 800,000 times overnight.

    So I suggest you hire some competent people to run your legal department, as they really do not know what that are doing.

    • by thomst (1640045)

      Leave it to a MegaCorp to do the wrong thing.

      Actually, leave it to Howard Stringer, the man who destroyed CBS News, to do the wrong thing.

      Larry Ellison notwithstanding, a bigger putz you will not find.

  • by renek (1301131) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:24AM (#34847142)

    erk: C0 CE FE 84 C2 27 F7 5B D0 7A 7E B8 46 50 9F 93 B2 38 E7 70 DA CB 9F F4 A3 88 F8 12 48 2B E2 1B

    riv: 47 EE 74 54 E4 77 4C C9 B8 96 0C 7B 59 F4 C1 4D

    pub: C2 D4 AA F3 19 35 50 19 AF 99 D4 4E 2B 58 CA 29 25 2C 89 12 3D 11 D6 21 8F 40 B1 38 CA B2 9B 71 01 F3 AE B7 2A 97 50 19

    R: 80 6E 07 8F A1 52 97 90 CE 1A AE 02 BA DD 6F AA A6 AF 74 17

    n: E1 3A 7E BC 3A CC EB 1C B5 6C C8 60 FC AB DB 6A 04 8C 55 E1

    K: BA 90 55 91 68 61 B9 77 ED CB ED 92 00 50 92 F6 6C 7A 3D 8D

    Da: C5 B2 BF A1 A4 13 DD 16 F2 6D 31 C0 F2 ED 47 20 DC FB 06 70

    Sorry Sony, don't know how that happened. My cat jumped on the keyboard.

  • I don't understand why geohot, US citizen, posted all this information with his real name known to everyone? I would thought that he is aware of the DMCA.
    • by ledow (319597)

      Because he has nothing to hide?

      He may have "facilitated" copyright infringement (and even that's a matter of opinion) but he's not involved in it in any other way. But facilitation is a bit of a problem - do I "facilitate" theft of cars when I learn that their remote keyfobs codes are insecure? Do I "facilitate" theft / criminal damage if I show someone that you can break a glass window with a hammer? It's all pretty subjective.

      Fact is, he found existing security flaws and published them, like a thousand

      • Unfortunately for him, looking like or actually being the good guy doesn't matter to the US civil court system.
  • EULA involved (Score:5, Interesting)

    by igorthefiend (831721) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:34AM (#34847234)

    What's interesting if you read the complaint is that some of it is predicated on enforcing the EULA that's presented when logging into PSN and when downloading firmware updates. Have these ever been tested before in US courts?

  • by Suzuran (163234) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:53AM (#34847414)

    I stand by my earlier comments. Sony must either enable homebrew or it will be enabled later without their consent. This is not difficult:

    First, make a homebrew/hobby developer package and sell it. The SDK and hardware provided ABSOLUTELY MUST be absolutely identical in every way to that supplied to commercial developers. Pricing should be high enough to make a direct profit (Since there will be fewer games sold for these units), but low enough to be obtainable. Say, $1500-2500 or so. There should be no software support entitlement (to control costs), and a non-disclosure agreement on any proprietary technologies in the SDK.

    Second, make a homebrew/hobby version of the PSN. There is already a developer version of the PSN, and this would ensure that everyone stays separated. Access to the homebew/hobby PSN must be conditioned upon acceptance of the non-disclosure agreement. Then create some message boards or forums in the PSN. This would enable the hobby/homebrew programmers to communicate with and support one another while being assured they are in compliance with the NDA. Consider allowing commercial developers access to the hobby/homebrew PSN as well, so if we find anything interesting they get access to it too.

    The third item is the only item that is really new. There should be some sort of release mechanism where games can be released from the homebrew/hobby community to the rest of the world running retail hardware. This shouldn't be free - Sony needs to pay their bills, and it would discourage releasing crap that sucks. Homebrew releases should be prevented from generating profit for the programmer, to keep commercial developers from using the homebrew SDK as a cheap substitute for the commercial SDK. The homebrew developer would pay Sony's QA costs, and once the QA passes, the release is cryptographically signed and becomes a free item in the PSN online store. If the game has serious commercial potential, perhaps an agreement could be made between Sony and the programmer for a full commercial release, with Sony keeping the majority of the proceeds. This is so there is an incentive for upgrading from the homebrew SDK to the commercial SDK if you are interested in making a profit.

    It is of EXCEEDINGLY VITAL importance that the only difference between a commercial SDK and homebrew SDK be the software support entitlement and ability to generate a profit.
    If there are ANY technical limitations in the homebrew SDK that are not present in the commercial SDK, people will be motivated to jailbreak, and we will have the present situation all over again.
    As long is there is no reason to jailbreak the machine other than piracy, everyone wins. (Except the pirates, and nobody important cares about them.)
    In addition, the presence and popularity of this homebrew/hobby SDK would also give Sony more credibility when prosecuting pirates.

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      This is SONY, remember. They were religiously proprietary and closed source before Apple ever was a Woz dream.

      Betamax tapes? How many companies made them?

      That dog gets a bone, it don't let go.

  • by headhot (137860) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:57AM (#34847462) Homepage

    Because of the removal of the "OtherOS" option, Geohot can claim he was just restoring functionality that people were already licenced to have. It can be circumvention, if its restoring a feature you paid for. He could claim he was repairing the system.

    This is going to throw a serious kink into the case, something that Sony has never had to deal with before in court. They may not even want to see it get to court.

  • George Hotz's work has been mirrored by Carnegie Mellon professor David Touretzky [cmu.edu], known for his excellent work towards freedom of speech on the Internet through his publication of The Secrets of Scientology [cmu.edu]. Dave Touretzky has repeatedly shown himself willing to accept whatever the MAFIAA et al will throw at him.

  • by Pahandav (245033) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @11:53AM (#34848944)

    I am not a lawyer (yet... hopefully next week, though,) so this isn't legal advice as much as a deconstruction of their complaint. In terms of mistakes, their first mistake was to sue the members of fail0verflow. It's true that one of them lives in the US, but three of them live in Europe, where the courts are extremely protective of their own citizens. They're gonna have problems with the fact they are trying to sue them under the DMCA (not applicable in Europe), service of process (to serve process on them will literally take months, and if they mess it up, the foreign court could ignore the judgment), proper forum (they say that the EU members have signed a TOS with SCEA, when logic would dictate, seeing as they live in Europe, that they signed one with SCEE, and so they should technically be sued in London or somewhere like that), and personal jurisdiction. They also have to contend with the DMCA exceptions.

    The first claim for relief involves the DMCA, which I never studied in law school, and so I'll defer to people who actually know that to explain why that claim wouldn't work. The second claim is where things start to slide into the realm of insanity. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was a law designed to make it illegal to break into systems that the person DOESN'T OWN. Breaking into your own system (just like breaking into own house), is not supposed to be illegal. So, the only way that this claim would work is if Sony had an ownership interest in the PS3 that they sold you. The fourth claim is rather similar, just based on California state law. The seventh claim for relief is where they go into some strange parallel universe. There, they claim trespass. Trespass is when you invade someone else's property. But how could it be their "property" when they sold you the system? After all, the UCC's implied warranty of title gives any good-faith purchaser for value a clean title to the goods they have purchased. They did access the system, but they bought the system. This means that once you buy the system, you own what's in the system. Well, not everything, mind you, seeing as Sony still owns the actual copyright to the software on the system, but you get the point. What they are essentially claiming here is that the EULA that they require to sign before using your PS3 gives them back an ownership interest in the system sufficient for them to be able to raise trespass claims.

    Normally, this kind of thing is dealt with through an EULA (meaning, hacking is a breach of contract), but here they seems to be claiming that the EULA grants them an actual ownership interest in what they sold you. If they were to get relief on those claims, what's to stop others from including contracts included with what they sell you from saying that to use what they have sold you, that you must acknowledge them as the owner of what they just sold you? I dunno, this just seems like another chink in the very concept of private property. Oh well, discuss.

  • A Real World Analogy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:55PM (#34849896)
    Here's a real-world analogy to the world as Sony sees it:

    Sony will sell you an automobile, however, you are only licensed to drive it on certain roads. In the future Sony will sell you new Road Packs at an additional charge. You may not purchase road non-Sony approved Road Packs. Also you are not allowed to modify the engine, tires, or any other aspect of your car except with Sony Authorized Replacement Parts at Sony Service Centers. Sony may, at its discretion, provide new engine firmware with proffered "improvements" along the way which you must accept or lose access to all Sony service. They may also download additional restrictions to disable your car if you attempt to drive on unapproved roads. Finally, although your car was originally certified for off-road driving and you may have purchased it in part based on that ability not offered by other cars, that ability has now suddenly been removed with no compensation for this loss by Sony. Now have nice day or we'll sue your pants off.

    Would you buy that car? Would you feel bound to those terms after you "owned" that car?
  • Incorrect summary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:56PM (#34849910) Homepage

    They have not sued either George Hotz or Fail0verflow members. What they have done is file a motion for a TRO -- a Temporary Restraining Order -- which means most of the comments here are way off point and off target. None of the claims are things that will necessarily be added to a lawsuit, rather it's the kitchen sink approach, which is the standard MO for almost any legal accusations. In the event of an actual lawsuit, Sony will likely pick and choose its charges a bit more carefully to prevent anything from being potentially invalidated, including its EULA and/or the DMCA.

    Here's what I'm wondering:

    1) What is the function of a restraining order, and should they be used to allow companies to gag the public ex post facto? The damage has already been done here, and nothing George Hotz will do in the future will make it any worse than it is right now. While he *could* release a Custom Firmware (CFW) that enabled wholesale piracy, his first release deliberately excluded the requisite system calls. Further, he's stated that he won't facilitate piracy , and there's no reason to believe he actually will. IMO, this is a frivilous request, which makes it an abuse of the court.

    2) Will Sony actually sue George Hotz, or anyone else? I think that's extremely doubtful. The case they have is extremely tenuous. First, the system has been unlocked, but nobody has actually created a circumvention device (other than the unrelated "PS Jailbreak" USB sticks) to allow piracy, which makes all of this one step removed. Second, it could be a public relations problem if a giant corporation seen to be abusive. Third, actually bringing this case to court could, as described above, put their EULA and the DMCA in jeopardy. Are software-based circumvention devices free speech? What about "homebrew" software, which is all that these efforts have allowed so far? I don't think Sony really wants these questions answered. What they want is to use intimidation tactics to try to frighten people into compliance.

  • by shentino (1139071) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @05:11PM (#34868150)

    http://www.groklaw.net/pdf2/SonyvHotz-19.pdf [groklaw.net]

    Geohot's fighting back.

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