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Encryption Sony The Courts Your Rights Online Games

Sony Wins Restraining Order Against Geohot 397

tekgoblin writes "The courts have just issued a temporary restraining order against George Hotz (Geohot). Sony filed this lawsuit because they were unhappy that Geohot had released the Playstation 3 decryption keys so other people could play unsigned games on it. [Geohot is prohibited from] 'offering to the public, creating, posting online, marketing, advertising, promoting, installing, distributing, providing, or otherwise trafficking' in any software or methods for circumventing the PS3's protection methods. No longer can he 'provide links from any website to any other website' relating to such matters, or publish any information obtained by hacking the PS3. And more to the point, he can no longer 'engage in acts of circumvention of TPMS in the PS3 System to access, obtain, remove, or traffic in copyrighted works.' Pretty much he can't talk or think about the PS3 for some time."
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Sony Wins Restraining Order Against Geohot

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  • by intellitech ( 1912116 ) * on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:13PM (#35025214)
    This just means he won't be attaching his name to anything PS3-related for quite some time.

    (something he likely should have just done in the first place)
  • This makes me sad (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Octopuscabbage ( 1932234 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:17PM (#35025274)
    Coporations should not be able to do this...
  • by FictionPimp ( 712802 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:19PM (#35025304) Homepage

    It is very hard to stuff a cat back into a cat carrier. It is even harder to stuff a cat back into a bag.

  • by Daniel Phillips ( 238627 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:21PM (#35025330)

    Just don't buy anything from Sony for some time. Like forever.

    The way Sony treated me over the faulty PS3 hardware they sold me makes this decision easy, never mind the other horrible things Sony does on a regular basis.

  • Re:No big deal (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:21PM (#35025334) Homepage Journal

    Agreed, and:

    he can no longer 'engage in acts of circumvention of TPMS in the PS3 System to access, obtain, remove, or traffic in copyrighted works.'

    So he CAN still engage in acts of circumvention of TPMS in the PS3 System to access, obtain, remove, or traffic in NON-copyrighted works.

  • by sunjay ( 1536185 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:25PM (#35025372)
    It baffles me that this is not protected like jailbreaking of mobile devices. It is near identical, Full hardware access in order to add features, which some low-lifes use for piracy. You cant blame him for thinking he was within the law on this one, since he is when he does the same thing on his iPod.
  • by TENTH SHOW JAM ( 599239 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:27PM (#35025412) Homepage

    If I were Geohotz, I wouldn't even be doing that. I might do some research on the PS3 in my spare time, but nothing would be published until the court case is over. Then, once the cheque comes form Sony paying his legal bills, release that research. His lawyer is probably telling him (for his own good) to STFU for a bit.

    Having had a read through the court docs that have come to light thus far, I'd say Geohotz has this case in the bag if his legal representation can stand up.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:28PM (#35025428)

    Modification of your OWN property is not a crime. (Searches US Constitution.) I can not lay my hand on any part of this document which gives Congress the right to block you or Geohot from making mods.

    On the contrary part 10 of the Bill of Rights reserves that power to the Member States of the union. And part 9 reserves to the People the right to make said modifications.

  • by The Grim Reefer2 ( 1195989 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:29PM (#35025450)

    It is very hard to stuff a cat back into a cat carrier. It is even harder to stuff a cat back into a bag.

    I guess it depends on whether or not you want to keep the cat alive. ;-)

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:34PM (#35025528)

    Why not? He's doing something that may, or may not be illegal. Asking the court to knock it off until the status of his actions is quite reasonable. Now, IMO there isn't much question and what he's doing should be legal, but the court obviously thinks it isn't that obvious.

    It's not as if Geohot makes his living hacking PS3s to run pirated games (which is all the restraining order prevents him doing). This is costing him his hobby, and only temporarily if what he's doing is determined to be legal.

    Don't like it? Find a politician who will fight to have the law overturned or clarified. Can't find one? Then make one. The Tea party didn't exist 3 years ago. If that particular group of people can become a political force overnight I would hope the geeks of the nation could manage as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:36PM (#35025544)

    There's a saying here in México about late reactions like this one:

    "Ahogado el niño, a tapar el pozo"

    or in english: "drowned the kid, let's cover up the well".

    Sony can't claim this as a victory. They already lost. The code is out in the wild.

  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:43PM (#35025628) Journal

    The rootkit wasn't enough?

    The better solution is to actually stick to your boycott. Don't buy anything Sony, ever. Making it only "for some time" makes it clear that Sony can do whatever they want so long as they're willing to take a short-term financial hit, and that's assuming there are enough people to even make that point.

  • by gstrickler ( 920733 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:45PM (#35025640)

    With the possible exception of the PS3, when is the last time Sony marketed a product that you might actually want to buy (for it's features and/or price)? Ok, maybe some movies they market.

    Sony has made it very easy to not buy their products. It's a great example of how to destroy a huge company:

    1. 1. Stop making great products that people want to buy.
    2. 2. Sue your customers
    3. 3. Repeat until you're out of business
  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:45PM (#35025642) Journal

    It's more surprising that they think this will accomplish anything other than harassing this one guy. The damage is done -- everyone who wanted the keys has them, and there's nothing Sony can do about that.

    This is worse than the MPAA trying to stop 09 F9.

  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @06:48PM (#35025694) Homepage

    From TFO []:

    Paintiff has submitted substantial evidence showing that defendant George Hotz has violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(1)(A), 120(b)(1). Plaintiff has also submitted evidence demonstrating that plaintiff is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of relief, and that the balance of hardships favors plaintiff.

    Once the keys were out there, the irreparable harm was done. There is no "relief" whatsoever provided by this order. It's vindictive intimidation, plain and simple.

    I'm also disappointed that the judge decided to assert jurisdiction despite the obvious fact that it's well within SCEA's means to file suit in New Jersey, and clearly places a significant burden on the defendant to appear in California. The fact that SCEA wanted this case heard in Northern California has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that it's the "proper venue" and everything to do with forum shopping. I can only surmise that the judge was rationalizing her decision to participate in what will undoubtedly be a precedent setting case should it go to trial, which doesn't speak highly of either her integrity or judgement. Signing her name to a paper stating that the plaintiff's case is "likely to succeed on the merits," shows either a bias in favor of SCEA, ignorance of the facts, or both. Mr. Hotz has repeatedly stated that he does not condone piracy, none of the PS3 tools he has released directly facilitate piracy, and in fact, none of the tools he's ever released on any platform has directly facilitated piracy. Sony's keys, while ostensibly a trade secret, are not subject to IP law protections, and even if they were, they were obtained through lawful reverse engineering of property sold to the defendant(s).

    In summary, we have some really crappy laws, and those charged with upholding them don't seem to be much better.

  • by billcopc ( 196330 ) <> on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:04PM (#35025874) Homepage

    It's a lot easier to find tens of thousands of stupid people to form a "political" party, than fill a courtroom with intelligent and non-corrupt lawmakers.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:17PM (#35026054) Journal

    It is the state that arrests & prosecutes you.

    That's beside the point, which is that fiddling with your Playstation 3 is not fucking bank robbery. It's not murder. It's not terrorism. It's not even spitting on the fucking sidewalk.

    I may not be able to rob a bank, but I can write a book about robbing banks, even if it requires me to research the topic by learning to crack safes.

    Geohot fiddled with his PS3. He published what he learned.

    Here, I'll even give a car analogy for the pudknockers who want Geohot sent to Guantanamo for crimes against humanity.

    I can buy a Ford Focus, and if I had the skill and the means, I could drop in some engine (even from a different manufacturer) that could make the Focus go 200 mph, which is clearly illegal in all fifty states. That is not the same as driving 200 in a 55 zone.

    The DMCA is bullshit, and once the current crop of corrupt ideologue bastards on the Supreme Court are safely retired (or whatever) it's going to be revisited. Besides being horrible law, it hinders innovation which is eventually going to cost us. It applies 19th century standards to 21st century technology and eventually it's going to collapse under its own weight. Either that or we're screwed. On further reflection, we're probably screwed, but that doesn't make the DMCA any less bullshit.

  • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:56PM (#35026468)
    Not the end of your karma, but I'll burn some of mine by saying that your opinion is twisted. Even if Geohot threw the first punch, Sony's reaction was completely over-the-top and illegal. One person attempting to hack your system does not give you the ethical right to screw over your entire customer base. In all fairness to both of us, Sony has burned a lot more karma.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 27, 2011 @07:57PM (#35026474)

    I wasn't aware that modifying hardware that you own constitutes provoking the company that manufactured it. I would actually say that Sony deciding that they didn't like the way that paying customers using their private property then pushing out a mandatory update in order to reduce functionality down to something they thought better suited their business model is a much more provocative action. And is much more analogous to throwing, "the first punch" as you said.

  • by Thing 1 ( 178996 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:06PM (#35026578) Journal
    Yeah, the proprietary "memory sticks" was the first shot across my bow; the rootkit on music CDs that to this day are still infecting people who frequent used CD stores, was the last straw. No Sony in this household.
  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:10PM (#35026616)

    It's amazing how many of ye are anxious to give the central government virtually unlimited power. If sometime this year the Congress declares, "All lights shall be turned off from 9pm to 3am," you'll not only comply like a good kitchen slave beating the yard slaves to please the master, but also sit here and Defend this as "constitutional" even though it clearly is not.

    The copyright clause gives Congress the right to prosecute copiers NOT to punish people for hacking into their own purchased property like cars, TVs, or whatever, and discovering the secret to their operation ("If your Ford computer refuses to recognize your key and locks you out, here's how you unlock the code and fix it."). That is how knowledge spreads. - "Grants of this sort can be justified in very peculiar cases only, if at all; the danger being very great that the good resulting from the operation of the monopoly, will be overbalanced by the evil effect of the precedent; and it being not impossible that the monopoly itself, in its original operation, may produce more evil than good."

    "Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of Natural Right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If Nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

    "Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by Nature when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in Nature, be a subject of property."

    - Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, 1780s while drafting the Constitution

  • by techoi ( 1435019 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:18PM (#35026684)

    How dare you think that silly, old piece of paper called the US Constitution should somehow be allowed to slow (or God forbid stop) any corporation from being able to extract every last penny from their victims (errr customers)???.

    This is America, bitches! This is were you only *think* you can own something. Where you can "buy" a PS3 knowing you can load another OS (until they decide otherwise).

    This is America, where you can "buy" a DVR at Best Buy for $199.00 only to have to return it to DirecTV after you cancel service or they will charge you another $250.00 for that thing you already "bought".

    This is America, where odds are you can punch your local taxi driver right in the face and steal his wallet and get less of a penalty than if you, GOD Forbid, share that song that you already "bought" on vinyl, then "bought" on cassette, and maybe "bought" CD. Fuck those stupid hold-up victims, the real victims are the music and media companies and the fines imposed on those caught sharing prove that out.

    And, finally, this is America, where you can be punished for pointing out that the security of the product you "bought" was designed by ass clowns. Of course if one of those corporations ever fucks up and breaks a law or two (Sony root kits anyone?), well, tough shit...that YOUR problem...That's what all you stupid-fucking-morons (oh, sorry we mean victims, er, no that not it...we mean "customers"). Yeah that's the funny word we corporations call you - customers. Anyhow, yeah, tough shit, customers, that is what you get by not being able to afford an army of lobbyists yourselves.

    This is AMERICA bitches! The best fucking government (Democrat or Republican lead - it don't matter) that money can buy. Stupid Constitution wavers....

  • by quacking duck ( 607555 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:18PM (#35026692)

    I'm surprised there hasn't been a defense on free speech grounds yet.

    Fox "News" can broadcast things they know to be false. Not just lies of omission, actual lies.

    Anonymous political donations in amounts so large you know they're from corporations, are "free speech."

    And yet publishing the poorly protected keys to the Sony gaming crown jewels gets a legal muzzle.

  • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @08:20PM (#35026710)

    I had 8 cats until recently, so I have plenty of experience with them. I've never had much trouble putting them in carriers. It's really quite easy: just grab their front legs together with one hand, while holding them under the chest with another, and shove them in. Then slam the door shut before they can spin around and bolt back out.

    The problem most people have with handling cats is that they're too afraid of getting scratched. Keep their claws trimmed, and realize you're going to get scratched at some point, and stop being afraid of it, and handling them becomes much easier.

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday January 27, 2011 @09:02PM (#35027004) Journal

    True! That is very true, and I'm sure he's having a devil of a time right now.

    But -- pay attention here -- the cat is out of the bag. And I think original poster's point is that if you don't give geeks some reasonable access to a device, to do something innocuous (install Linux) that doesn't muck with your DRM, they will break your paltry encryption and publish the hack. Regardless of the personal consequences. 'S how geeks are. And the rest of us will turn the hack into haiku and t-shirts and spread it all over the net and sundry, and you'll never EVER get that particular cat back in that particular bag.

    That being the case, and acknowledging that he's in a heap 'o' trouble, and whether or not Sony has the high ground here, Sony could have saved themselves a lot of grief by just keeping the damned "Other OS" feature on. Can we agree on that?

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"