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Posted at 10:10 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Sony takes legal action over PS3 hacks

By Hayley Tsukayama

Sony has filed a restraining order against groups and individuals distributing a toolkit that allows anyone to run their own software on the Playstation 3 console.

The electronics company says in the temporary restraining order that the tools are in violation of U.S. copyright law and allow users to play pirated games on the console.

"Defendants George Hotz, "Bushing," Hector Cantero, Sven Peter and "Segher" (collectively, "Defendants") are computer hackers. Working individually and in concert with one another, Defendants recently bypassed effective technological protection measures ("TPMs") employed by plaintiff Sony Computer Entertainment America LLP ("SCEA") in its proprietary PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system ("PS3 System"). Through the Internet, Defendants are distributing software, tools and instructions (collectively, "Circumvention Devices") that circumvent the TPMs in the PS3 System and facilitate the counterfeiting of video games."

George Hotz, who is listed in the order, said he never intended the code to be used for piracy and does not think that Sony is on solid legal ground.

"I have spoken with legal counsel and I feel comfortable that Sony's action against me doesn't have any basis," he told the BBC.

Hotz and another group that received the restraining order, fail0verflow, have posted the legal documents regarding the case on their Web sites.

On its Web site, fail0verflow's administrators laid out their case in the following bullet points:

- Our motivation was Sony's removal of OtherOS.
-Our exclusive goal was, is, and always has been to get OtherOS back.
- We have never condoned, supported, approved of, or encouraged videogame piracy.
- We have not published any encryption or signing keys.
-We have not published any Sony code, or code derived from Sony's code.

OtherOS was a feature in previous versions of the Playstation 3 that allowed users to install other operating systems such as Linux on their gaming consoles. Sony removed that feature from all Playstation 3 consoles in April.

Members of fail0verflow showed off the toolkit in question at the Chaos Communication Conference hacker convention in Berlin late last month.

This is not the first high-profile move from Hotz or fail0verflow. Members of the same group that presented at the conference have been credited with cracking Nintendo's Wii to allow gamers to put their own games and software on that console as well; Hotz is well known for unlocking the iPhone in 2007 at the age of 17.

By Hayley Tsukayama  | January 12, 2011; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  DRM, Gadgets, Gaming, Linux  
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I do not think that Sony is acting Legal. Just think for personal computers exist different software like Windows and Linux. Even for your bios you can use different software.

So why should have Sony the right to use their monopoly power on the PS, if other develop software that consumers demand?

Furthermore, if you bought a product, why shouldn´t you be allowed to use it with none Sony software?

Imagine you buy a CD player from Sony and would only would be allowed to run CD´s from Sony records.

From my point of view the fact that Sony restricted some functions of the PS3 is a violation of consumer rights.

Posted by: VinzenzLeutloff | January 12, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The tech industry seems intent on destroying the concept of "sale". When you buy a product the seller transfers the property right to the buyer. The buyer should be entitled to do whatever he or she wishes to do with that product. The claim that these companies are only "leasing" or "licensing" the use of the product is a sham.

By way of analogy, imagine Ford or Chevy claiming that you have no right to modify the car you bought!

Posted by: SteveR1 | January 12, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Professor David Touretzky of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is challenging Sony by mirroring GeoHot's PS3 jailbreak on a CMU server. ( Dr. Touretzky has a lot of experience in this matter, as he hosted a site full of DeCSS descramblers 10 years ago, with no apparent repercussions. (That site is still up.)

Sony can solve this by re-enabling the ability to install another operating system, which the PS3 jailbreak is designed to do. (The PS3 originally allowed this.) I don't know why Sony is doing this.

Posted by: mirele | January 12, 2011 7:42 PM | Report abuse

If I buy a PS3 is is MINE. The box is MINE. I can do with it any damned thing I well please. I can hack it, I can jack it. I can melt it down into a puddle of plastic. Sony is being stupid here, just as they have been for the last 15 years. First their stupid proprietary A-TRAC format instead of jumping on mp3's. Now this. Just another way to alienate customers. Not good business practice.

Posted by: moonwatcher2001 | January 13, 2011 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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