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Sony EU Operating Systems The Courts Games Your Rights Online Linux

Sony Should Pay For OtherOS Removal, Says Finnish Board 319

Posted by timothy
from the seems-only-fair dept.
x*yy*x writes "According to Consumer Board in Finland, Sony should pay up 100 euros to a console owner for OtherOS removal. The board said that the removal of OtherOS crippled console features that were present at the time of purchase and agreed that consumers should be compensated. Sony tried to point out that the user agreed to the PS3 EULA, but the consumer board noted that such agreements can't go around consumer laws."
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Sony Should Pay For OtherOS Removal, Says Finnish Board

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  • Good move (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RenHoek (101570) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:22AM (#35913590) Homepage

    That's should stop a lot of companies from removing features at will..

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:37AM (#35913642)

    Because most techie types simply will refuse to buy it. Anything Sony has a bad smell about it now and that won't change anytime soon. Sure, techies may only be a small percentage of total buyers but even if its only 1 or 2% thats still a lot of sales money for Sony to lose to its competitors.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:55AM (#35913710) Homepage

    Yes, because in the process of teaching or explaining, sometimes you have to say the same things in different ways to get the point across to different people who think and understand things in different ways.

    I understand your amazement, it is essentially the same thing as the article summary...

  • Same thing we do with Cisco, Microsoft, RedHat, and any other company we buy things from; we don't buy without a good SLA.

    If nodes need to be added, we can get them from Sony with whatever firmware revision we want.

  • by Spewns (1599743) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @06:57AM (#35913718)

    Those in favour say "and? I bought the console, I can do what I like." (These people make up the bulk of /. commenters, but by and large are in a minority if you look at various PS3 forums).

    Rational people generally are in the minority like that.

  • by Lemming Mark (849014) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:01AM (#35913738) Homepage

    A very good step in the right direction, compensating consumers who have been misled. However, I really think that what Sony did requires some kind of punishment. Require them to pay punitive damages to consumers, fine them substantially, do something.

    Otherwise, what are we saying? That it's OK to forcibly revoke something somebody's bought so long as you pay for the thing you took away? What Sony did was far more akin to old fashioned theft than piracy *ever* has been. Why? Because they're not getting something for free, they're actively depriving others of valuable things they own. They should be punished for this kind of trick (in a way that they'll notice, rather than just writing off as a minor expense) and / or made to restore the functionality.

    This doesn't bother as many people as it should - it's niche functionality, so people don't care, apparently it's OK to swindle as long as it's small numbers of people. Wait a few years and see if you find your music or video playback from non-approved disks and memory cards retroactively disabled or your car satnav is disabled because someone found out how to upload non-approved maps. Then see whether the precedents set on this case look like a good thing.

  • by JohnRoss1968 (574825) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:10AM (#35913768)

    It does not matter how many people buy it for games or whatever. What does matter is when a customer bought a PS3, they were told that it has the ability to use the other OS. And then Sony took that ability (that the customers paid for because it was a part of the package they bought.) and removed it without the customers permission. If that is allowed than what else is allowed.
    Dear Customers we are disabling the ability to use 3rd party controllers.
    Dear Customer we are disabling the ability of your PS3 unit to save games.
    Dear Customer we are disabling the ability of your PS3 to play videos
    Dear Customer we are disabling the ability of your PS3 to play games.
    Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to use 3rd party hardware, and its only $19.99*
    Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to now save games, and its only $24.95*
    Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to now play movies and videos for only $10.99*
    Dear Customer we are proud to introduce a new update that will allow your PS3 to Play GAMES ITS MAGICAL at only $49.99**
    * These features may be removed at any time. No refunds. If these features are reintroduced you may need to purchase them again.
    ** Sony has the right to introduce features into its system to 'refinish' the surface of your game disks. Sony is not responsible for any damage done to your game disks.

    PS Sony would like to thank our customers for their hard earned cash and would like to thank them by saying "SUCK IT"

  • by unity100 (970058) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:27AM (#35913830) Homepage Journal
    "Sony tried to point out that the user agreed to the PS3 EULA, BUT, the consumer board noted that such agreements can't go around consumer laws."

    and thats the way how it is, in any decent society based on laws.

    however in usa, law, for some reason, can be undone by contracts. and then rabid corporations which get used to this in usa, try to perpetuate the same filth in other countries too, saying that it is 'standard practice' and whatnot.

    really. america is producing so much filth in the form of rabid corporations that it suffices for entire world. you people really need to put down the law there. that is, if you can.
  • by andydread (758754) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:37AM (#35913866)
    It seems that Sony takes their holy EULA to be the end-all for any legal situation more so than most. I would advise people to seek the advice of legal counsel before purchasing *any* Sony products. Or just simply avoid Sony products all-together. When you look at the history of Sony and the consumer you see that they are consistently hostile towards the consumer. Cracking down on home brew, The wholesale disablement of their customers CD-R Drives on their computers with a rootkit. They also have tried relentlessly to lock people into proprietary technologies and control media standards over the decades. Beta-Max, Memory Stick, Mini-Disc, And finally better success with Blu-Ray. And now draconian legal policies against consumer freedom to tinker with products they bought and share information. At this point avoiding Sony products should be a no-brainer. I for one will advise anyone that mentions the word Sony in my presence to stay far far far away from Sony products.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:42AM (#35913888) Journal

    Its those against that are the problem with society today. I have nothing against people acting in their own self interest. I would never ask or expect someone to act against their own self interest. What I find sad about most people is short sightedness. Its not at all in their self interest to let Sony get away with abuses like this just because it does not effect them and it means a cheaper video game today. Tomorrow when they become the victim of such practices they will have discouraged those who might have stood with them, and they will have created precedent against themselves.

    As a consumer its impossible for me to understand how anyone else thinks its a good idea to create a trade environment where manufacturers are free to materially alter products after sale without my consent. There is just no way that is going to work to my favor over the long term. If people won't exercise enough sense to oppose it now wherever they spot it while its relatively benign, its going to be much harder later.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @07:56AM (#35913924) Journal

    So you translate your post...

    I don't care if Sony is abusing others because they are not hurting me personally, and I am a short sighted selfish douche who can't see the harm in permitting the destruction of personal property and consumer rights just so I can more fun today.

  • by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:22AM (#35914004)

    *grr* I sooo moderated in this, but I couldn't let your comment go to waste.

    Sony will get nothing of what I so dearly wish they had coming to them without a huge smack-down from the courts.

    A lot of these so-called "techies" have kids, partners or both, who will beg and nag and want PS4 for $LATEST_SHINY_REHASH_OF_GAME.

    Have you ever tried to tell your wife she can't have something? Go out and get a wife (or husband, but it's not quite the same) if you don't have one and then try tell them that they can't have something they want. Now imagine that they want it because the kids are dead-set on it. "No! Dear, I run the tech in this house and you are not buying Sony! The foot is down!". Tell me how that works out for you!

  • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:30AM (#35914038)
    Yes, but not on the side [physorg.com] you seem to be suggesting.
  • by Jesus_666 (702802) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @08:55AM (#35914148)
    Well, all sides are acting rationally:

    The hackers want Other OS because it's something they paid for and that the console was advertised with. That's rational.

    The regular gamers are happy with Other OS being taken away because not only it it something they don't need, it's actually detrimental to them (as it forces them to deal with cheating to a greater extent). It's rational to be in favor of something exclusively detrimental to one to be removed.

    Sony shut Other OS off because it makes it easier to run unlicensed copies of games and to run homebrew that wasn't sold through PSN. Since game sales are essentially what makes the platform profitable it's rational for Sony to try to protect their bottom line.

    The legislators point out that the PS3 EULA contains unenforcable provisions and hence Sony didn't have the right to turn off Other OS in their country.


    All sides have good arguments. There's no sense to let people run arbitrary code on a device which you use precisely because people can't run arbitrary code on it (while a game is running); I can understand the regular gamers in that regard. On the other hand it's not okay to sell something with a certain feature set and then remove features you decide you don't want on the market after all so the postion of the hackers and the legislators makes sense as well. Ultimately I'd side with the hackers (Sony just handled the whole thing very badly) but I wouldn't call any side in this argument irrational. They just happen to have different perspectives.
  • by GeneralERA (980501) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @09:48AM (#35914354)
    That's a very relevant point, what with this story discussing a Japanese company in a European court...
  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @10:55AM (#35914728)

    The PS3 was sold as a loss leader...

    Maybe they should have priced it so that it wasn't a money loser, or better yet - price it where it was, but sell the OtherOS functionality as an add-on for the difference in cost between the PS3 retail price, and the actual cost + profit margin.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @11:28AM (#35914912) Journal

    If they were breaking even on the PS3s, then that doesn't really hold water. Even if they were making a small loss, it doesn't for several reasons:

    Firstly, the number of people building PS3 clusters is tiny compared with the total number of sales. They've sold about 50 million PS3s so far. I'd be very surprised if even 100,000 of those were for clusters. A typical small cluster only has about 100 nodes, so even if every university in the EU and USA had one (most don't) then it would still be quite a small percentage of total sales. Most universities that were considering buying them for number crunching just bought one or two as Cell development machines (oops - no cheap way of doing that anymore, I bet IBM and Toshiba are really happy about that), they didn't build complete clusters. The PS3's lack of Infiniband or any equivalent and tiny amount of RAM make it pretty useless for most cluster problems. These days, you can probably get better performance out of GPGPU or some other normal CPU, depending on your workload than from a Cell.

    Secondly, if you think that a cluster of PS3s means no game sales then you've never worked in a university research group. I've talked to people in a couple of places where they did build PS3 clusters (a few years ago, when the price/performance actually made sense) at conferences, and their cluster designs had one thing in common: they were designed so that it was really easy to pull a couple of the units out and plug them into projectors for postgrads to play games on when no one was using the cluster.

    Thirdly, the 'PS3 is used in supercomputers' meme was great advertising for Sony. No one was building clusters out of the XBox 360 or the Wii. Any time the USAF or anyone else talked about their cheap supercomputer built with PS3s, it was free advertising. The total losses from all of the sales of PS3s for supercomputers are tiny compared to the advertising budget for Sony's PS3 division.

  • by Usefull Idiot (202445) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @12:13PM (#35915236)

    Sony should pay up 100 euros to a console owner

    In the US they would either pay the federal entity directly, or be required to provide a $10 voucher to but another Sony product. If it was a class action suit, the customers would get no more than $2 a piece, because the lawyers had to get paid. That's the US for you though, suing culture, but only the lawyers get paid.

  • by TFAFalcon (1839122) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @01:08PM (#35915594)

    I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem if your car manufacturer gave you the option between driving on odd or even days.

  • People are going to reply that either 1) it was used to break into the console and pirate games/break DRM/hack online games, or 2) it was costly to maintain. Those are what Sony would like you to believe. However, both of those are lies.

    It is true that the first remotely notable break in PS3 security occurred through the use of the Linux functionality. This was geohot's original hypervisor exploit. However, that exploit required hardware (a RAM glitching setup), was extremely unreliable, and didn't get you any further than hypervisor access. Nothing ever came out of that hack directly, it was more of an academic thing. This has never had anything to do with piracy and has never been used for piracy.

    The next big PS3 hack (which was actually designed for piracy) was a GameOS exploit (PSJailbreak), and later the core of the PS3 security was compromised, with the goal of running Linux, but without depending on any existing Linux functionality (which had been removed by then). So, in fact, OtherOS has never caused security problems from the PS3. In fact, the only thing it clearly did was prevent attack by giving power users a way to run their own code. The vast majority of people who I know participated in developing PS3 hacks (myself included) did so after Sony removed OtherOS, and wouldn't have done so otherwise.

    So that takes care about option #1. What about #2? That's what Sony implied when they removed OtherOS from the PS3 Slim (which, remember, happened before any PS3 security issue at all). And we bought it at the time. And then the PS3 security was broken, Slim included, and we found out that GameOS uses the same hypervisor interface as Linux, and that Linux happily ran on the Slim with trivial modification. The truth is that GameOS depends on the same hypervisor as Linux, and OtherOS is nothing but a launcher and a different guest profile in the hypervisor. The amount of code required is insignificant, and the maintenance required just about nonexistent. By maintaining GameOS they are implicitly maintaining OtherOS. High maintenance cost? My ass. This also exculpates geohot's original hack, since that happened after Linux was removed from the Slim, and we now know that the given reason for removing it from the Slim was bullshit.

    Then there's the whole selling PS3s at a loss deal, but we all know that Sony is now making a profit on all PS3s, so Linux doesn't hurt there either.

    They turned it off because they WANTED to turn it off. The real motive? There clearly is one, but we don't know what it is. The only mildly plausible explanation that I've read is that Sony wanted to push emulated PSN games a la Virtual Console, but studios were concerned about unofficial emulation via Linux. But that's still not terribly convincing.

    Note: I was one of the people named in the Sony lawsuit for bringing Linux back on the PS3, so I think I know what I'm talking about.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @02:47PM (#35916192) Homepage Journal

    I, for one, simply don't give a rat's ass if Sony were losing money on those PS3's. If indeed, they were, they had several options.
    1: sell a new model that didn't have the OtherOS enabled
    2: simply raise the price on the original PS3 so that they made a profit
    3: change the existing PS3's into two lines, one optimized for the clusters, the other optimized for gaming, and price them accordingly
    4: design, build and sell yet another PS3 that was even better for clustering, and price them accordingly - and remove the gaming features from that machine
    5: just leave things alone, and when the cluster market was saturated, the gamers would eventually do what gamers do - keep buying consoles for gaming.

    I'm sure that others can come up with other ideas. Bottom line - Sony had no right to remove or disable features that they sold. That's right, SOLD. EULA's mean diddly shit - they are coercive in nature, and the only people who "agree" to them are those who simply don't care. I'll click through EULAs all day long, in order to get to the end that I have in mind. I just don't give a shit. Microsoft, Sony, websites, I don't care. They mean nothing to me, and I'll break them forever.

    Now, as for that cash settlement - I find that to be unsatisfactory. Any rational court of law should force Sony to restore those features that the original purchasers paid for, AND give them the cash in consideration of all the inconvenience a bunch of jackbooted Gestapo wannabes caused the owners of those PS3's.

    Auto analogy? General Motors sold half a zillion cars with turbochargers, then decided that they didn't like their cars running so fast. So - GM recalled all those vehicles and removed the turbochargers. But, rather than just a recall, they sent a mechanic to every home that had a car in their driveway, jacked the car up, and forcibly took out those turbochargers. The owner of the car had zero say in the matter, because each mechanic was accompanied by enough force to ensure that the owner didn't interfere.

    Totally wrong, no matter how you look at it.

  • by sjames (1099) on Saturday April 23, 2011 @03:07PM (#35916354) Homepage

    That is the crux of the issue. People bought their older PS3 complete with OtherOS. At least some of those people saw OtherOS as the key determining factor in their purchase. Then Sony effectively stole that value from those buyers by altering the device after the fact without discussion or compensation of any kind. The practical effects are indistinguishable from outright theft.

    It's sad that thus far, only Finland has seem fit to do anything at all about it abd even then has only managed to make a "recommendation" and it doesn't involve any kind of criminal proceeding. This is hardly the first time Sony has done something on a global scale that would be treated as a serious crime if an individual did it even once to a single person.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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