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Sony The Courts Games Your Rights Online

Sony Files Lawsuit Against PS3 Hacker GeoHot 508

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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  • Re:LOL, DMCA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by millennial ( 830897 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:14AM (#34847042) Journal
    Not to mention... This is the company that fought for fair use copying rights back in the Betamax decision. They invented a device that enabled movie and TV piracy, and fought vigorously to defend its use. How the times have changed...
  • Re:LOL, DMCA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @09:23AM (#34847128)
    And removing emulation. Both of which are features printed "on the box." I wonder if they press it if Geohot could begin a class action lawsuit? I know there's a ton of nerds out there who'd be foaming at the mouth.
  • 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 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.

  • Re:LOL, DMCA (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anyGould ( 1295481 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @12:27PM (#34849484)

    The trick is to make sure that you're asking for the right thing - if you want $CRAZY_PUNITIVE_DAMAGES, you get vouchers and crap. What you push for is actionable items - forcing re-enabling of OtherOS, for instance.

    (Answer to your sig: Because the US has never, and will never submit to international authority, because they feel They're Just Too Awesome.)

  • 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.

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

    by nabsltd ( 1313397 ) on Wednesday January 12, 2011 @01:03PM (#34850016)

    So while Hotz didn't directly contribute to piracy or even came out against it, the opening up of the console has allowed it.

    One thing that might have Sony worried is that the PS3 is technically a software Blu-Ray player, and having this key might make it possible to hack that functionality to allow more widespread copying of movies, too.

Loose bits sink chips.