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Sony PlayStation (Games) The Courts Games Your Rights Online

Sony Lawsuits Target PS3 Jailbreak Authors 205

StikyPad writes "PS3News is reporting that Sony's latest legal salvo is targeting the creators of PS JailBreak, PSFreedom and PSGroove-related PS3 hacks, citing numerous court documents for those interested. From one of the documents: 'Having considered the Motion for Expedited Discovery of Plaintiff Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (oeSCEA) [...] the Court hereby grants SCEA's Motion. IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that [...] SCEA has leave to serve similarly targeted subpoenas or deposition notices to any other third party who SCEA learns may be involved in the distribution or sale of the oePS Jailbreak software, known as, for example, "PSGroove," "OpenPSJailbreak," and "PSFreedom," or who may have knowledge of the distribution or sale of this software.'"
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Sony Lawsuits Target PS3 Jailbreak Authors

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  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:43PM (#33729168) Homepage Journal

    I'm under the impression Sony has already lost this case. Very recently it was decided that you CAN hack your own phones [wired.com]. I don't see what would make the PS3 so special that Sony can declare they can police what you can do with hardware you yourself have purchased and is in your own living room, especially since phone manufacturers have been told they don't have the power Sony is claiming to have. Granted the PS3 is not a mobile phone, but take away that particular radio I don't see what differentiates it from a mobile phone in those same regards.

    But the Copyright Office concluded that, “while a copyright owner might try to restrict the programs that can be run on a particular operating system, copyright law is not the vehicle for imposition of such restrictions.”

    I think the Wired article the previous and next quotes come from address this case almost as well as the article covered in the parent.

    A federal appeals court came to the same conclusion last week in an unrelated dispute about “dongles,” or keys that grant access to software. “The owner’s technological measure must protect the copyrighted material against an infringement of a right that the Copyright Act protects, not from mere use or viewing,” the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a case concerning a software licensing flap between MGE UPS Systems and GE Consumer and Industrial.

    I hope Sony gets shot down. The PS3, and for that matter the PSP are both incredibly powerful systems with so much to offer but with a big dolt called Sony sitting on them saying you can't use them for that. This attitude is why I ditched my iPhone, which I refused to hack even though I could, for an Android phone - which I wound up hacking - but to keep it from doing what I didn't want to instead of making it do what I thought it should. My PSP is hacked and I like it that way, the battery last much longer and I don't have to carry all those UMD's with me. For that matter I can buy my UMD's at fair market price at a store instead of having to buy them from a website that has Sony setting an outrageous price for them that has nothing to do with what they're worth on the market.

  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:50PM (#33729222)
    There is a difference, even if its only a minor one. The decision on phones was so that consumers where not stuck with carrier lock ins. The intent was so you could take your phone to a competing carrier. There is no such issue with game consoles. Its not like you can "jail break" your PS3 and hook it up to XBOX live.
  • by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <hectorNO@SPAMmarcansoft.com> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:55PM (#33729258) Homepage

    The DMCA exceptions are revised every 3 years and the recent phone jailbreaking exception singles out phones and does not apply to consoles. The primary purpose of the device (the PSJailbreak) that started this is piracy, and this is what the vast majority of people using the device and its clones are doing. Even though the homebrew clones are trying to move away from it, currently, they still share quite a bit of the piracy code. Worse, currently, all installable PS3 homebrew is developed with the leaked Sony SDK, which, in and of itself, is also piracy.

    I'm not saying Sony's case is a good idea, but they have a much better case than Apple would right now.

    Personally, I'm working on using the PSJailbreak exploit (not any of its code, payload, patches, or functionality) to run a fully original payload that will eventually boot Linux as GameOS (with access to the 3D hardware, but otherwise similar to OtherOS). In order to avoid legal trouble, I would recommend that open source PS3 hack authors do something along similar lines and distance themselves from the original game-loading payload and the Sony SDK (and even GameOS). If you do that, then you seriously cut down on the number of things that Sony's lawyers can grab on to for a case.

    My €.02.

  • by Dalzhim ( 1588707 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @06:58PM (#33729308)

    Jailbreaking to bypass a carrier lock-in isn't a better reason than jailbreaking to run your own software that didn't go through the app store.
    The only difference is that bypassing a carrier lock-in might be a more widespread reason than running software that didn't go through the app store.

    If the reason for allowing jailbreaking is to allow people to bypass carrier lock-in, then there is a serious problem. The rationale for allowing jailbreak should be that you fucking own the hardware. End of discussion.

  • Endgame? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kurokame ( 1764228 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:11PM (#33729424)

    You're not going to unhack it. Your target doesn't have anything in their pockets to take. You're not going to silence anyone. In fact, this will just draw more attention to the hack and probably expose it to completely new audiences which may not have been aware of it yet.

    I see a few possibilities. Firstly, spite. Secondly, it may be a knee-jerk response by people disconnected from the realities of the situation. Lastly, they may need to establish intent to protect their DRM in order to validate future efforts to defend it as valid protection in the courts and to developers.

  • It is silly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:14PM (#33729444)
    It is silly that Sony and the US government through copyright laws, seems to think that Sony should own our consoles that we paid for, and quite honestly it sets a disturbing precedent against property rights. If Sony wants to try to block people from accessing PSN for this, if Sony wants to make firmware updates to prevent this it should be well within their rights, but don't tell me what I can and can't do with -my- console. The idea that I don't own the hardware that I bought and should be able to run whatever on it is quite scary. Property rights need to be balanced to have a free economy, Sony should own their services and I should own my own console.

    The next thing you know, people are going to sue for removing the OEM copy of Windows off of your new computer...
  • by internettoughguy ( 1478741 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:20PM (#33729494)

    hmmmm targetting a segment of the market of whom the majority have gone out of their way to avoid having to purchase games, yeah that sounds like a successfull business model for those struggling indie developers.

    Is that true? I find it hard to believe those people would get a console in the first place, PC games are a great deal easier to pirate.

  • consoles or PC's ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by volcan0 ( 1775818 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:22PM (#33729496)
    Seriously, where does the line between a console and an embedded system lies ? I mean, if this would go through, does this mean that DELL can ship a computer running windows and legally refrain you from installing another operating system or restricting you to an app store with pre-approved apps ? I understand that one is a general purpose computer while the other is a game console, so the intended usage is the difference. But under the hood, they are the same hardware ( ok, not litteraly... ) and can do exactly the same things. Can you imagine the legal precedent this would set ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:30PM (#33729564)

    Since when is piracy playing a game you own off the hard drive?

  • by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @07:49PM (#33729694)
    As it currently stands I know more people that pirate games for their Xbox and Wii than I do for PC Games. PC games being easier to pirate is irrelevent, people will pirate whatever they want to play if it is an option and it isn't exactly hard to pirate for the 360 or Wii (and now the PS3). I have been around gaming a long time and I can honestly say I don't know a single person that has hacked their console for any reason other than to play pirated games, even backups is a ridiculous excuse with the current guarentees and replacement disc deals you can get with most game shops.
  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:06PM (#33729806) Homepage
    You are generally right about it only being a recommendation at this point, but wrong about it being just a policy paper; it's a formal recommendation under the DMCA to the Librarian of Congress, who can adopt those recommended exemptions, and his or her decision is final--it doesn't have to be endorsed by Congress or the President.
  • by slinches ( 1540051 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:26PM (#33729910)

    I understand that one is a general purpose computer while the other is a game console, so the intended usage is the difference.

    To muddy the waters even further, the PS3 was originally advertised as being a general purpose computer as well a game console through the "Other OS" capability. Sony, with their decision to remove Other OS in a required software update, effectively made PS3 owners choose between their hardware being a general purpose computer or a game console. Assuming the firmware update EULA is upheld, I think Sony may have an argument that by updating to firmware 3.41 (necessary to use the current jailbreak exploit) the console owners would have to accept the removal of the device's ability to be a general purpose computer. Although, that could be complicated by a release of jailbreak code that works with firmware 3.15 (last one with Other OS) which is supposedly being worked on right now.

    I don't envy the judge and jury in this case.

  • by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:30PM (#33729930) Homepage Journal

    "I find it hard to believe those people would get a console in the first place, PC games are a great deal easier to pirate."

    • Not everyone is a pirate
    • some people like to have hardware
  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:37PM (#33729946) Homepage

    It bears repeating that the PS3 used to allow for alternative software and was at one time sold specifically for this purpose.

    The fact that this crack is merely re-enabling features that were sold with the hardware might make a bit of difference to the judges.

    The fact that these cracks only came about when those features were disabled might be of some influence too.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:43PM (#33729984)

    You guys realize that Nintendo and Microsoft are doing the same thing, right? So the alternative is to not buy proprietary consoles.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, 2010 @08:55PM (#33730030)

    The primary purpose of the device (the PSJailbreak) that started this is piracy, ...

    Well, no. That has to be /proven/, not suspected or rounded off with loose terms like "probably". Also if it is proven, that does not logically negate the validity of legal use.

    ... and this is what the vast majority of people using the device and its clones are doing.

    Again, that's not enough to logically negate the validity of legal use.

    Of course this is probably going under US civil law rather than criminal law, which appears to be an 'anything goes' sort of court. I expect your view is entirely likely to be more correct about how things are actually going to go down.

    The core trouble is the inherit contradiction of hardware and software lockdown. It doesn't seem to be possible to do this without infringing on legal use. Logically any infringement should make a lockdown illegal and/or invalid. Grotesque legislation like the DCMA is a bunch of handwaving to make it appear you can have things both ways.

  • by wierd_w ( 1375923 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @02:54AM (#33731578)

    The point of an alternative multiplayer back-end is not to allow downloads to the console, but to allow existing legitimate games to be played with modifications. (done with things like Datel Xport for XBOX360, etc.)

    Hacking the console's firmware to support non-branded hardware upgrades would fall outside the scope of this theoretical network service.

    What MIGHT fall into it would be an alternative to the MSN store front, allowing direct download of homebrew games. (Possibly along with tricking the console into giving it a local signature so that it can run cleanly without modding.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @06:51AM (#33732588)

    Slashdot's idiotic UI means that if the moderating user uses the mouse wheel to scroll down the page while leaving the focus set to the moderation list control, you will end up with a random moderation. I've done this before, myself. That accounts for a lot of seemingly nonsensical moderations.

  • by Sollord ( 888521 ) on Wednesday September 29, 2010 @08:17AM (#33732984)
    People with limited funds who will never buy another non-PSN game ever. What accessories will they buy? 1 extra controller?

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb