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206 comments

Is this any surprise? (3, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433100)

It's completely ridiculous, which shouldn't surprise anyone. We already know that going into court is a crapshoot, with somewhat random results, but the one thing that we can be certain of? Having money enough to have a team of attorneys permanently on staff (like Sony) is definitely going to help tug the randomness in your direction.

How could any court not view this as false advertising? My guess is that they have fresh Vaios and PS3s (i.e. hookers and blow) to spare.

Re:Is this any surprise? (4, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433128)

It's not quite as simple as that for a number of reasons:

1. A number of countries have a system for dealing with claims with a low monetary value (which this would almost certainly fall under) and generally speaking this system is set up to make it practical for you or I to sue a huge company by limiting the amount of costs (and, for that matter, messing around) either party can incur.

2. "How could any court not view this as false advertising?" : Good question. IANAL, but I can think of three things: I seriously doubt many people genuinely used their PS3 for Linux - and Sony could easily dig up numbers to support that, the fact that the feature was removed in the update was well known and in the release notes and the update may well have shipped with a "regardless of what this does to your console, you can't sue us" disclaimer.

I would add that IMV the only thing worse than Sony doing this is that I haven't yet heard of a single legal case where the judge(s) involved seem to be taking it particularly seriously. I really don't like the idea of living in a world where a manufacturer can release a product with features X, Y and Z only to remove Z - even from items already sold - at a later date. Could be particularly interesting here in the UK where no matter what the manufacturer does, it's the retailer who's on the legal hook if they sell you something which doesn't perform as advertised.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433182)

It's a bit of a weird situation for the law though, isn't it?

it's not exactly false advertising because it was there at the time and if you'd searched through all the small print I'm sure you would have found a lot of "we can do what we like, no guarantees sucker" type text. Judges do seem to be getting less tolerant of that crap I suppose.

But yeah, I can't see that this fits false advertising, it's a little more like reneging on a contract.

Re:Is this any surprise? (3, Insightful)

chaboud (231590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433248)

We have subscription accounting (Sarbanes-Oxley) for products for which the manufacturer is obligated to support the advertised feature-set and ongoing work.

It hardly seems like a stretch to hold manufacturers to their advertised add-ins (especially "free" ones that have their cost built into the cost of the device) for the reasonable life-time of the product.

Sony totally boned the PS3 lifetime, though. The degree of cluelessness with the little things and the amount of damage that they have done to such a technically impressive platform is just mind-boggling.

Re:Is this any surprise? (2, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434156)

Sony totally boned the PS3 lifetime, though.

But not in any sort of way they actually care about. The lifetime of a PS3 they care about is the amount of time you can use it to carry on consuming their content (ie, licensed PS3 Games and BlueRay Movies). Other crap you can do with the device that does not make them any money they don't care about.

Even on the PC Linux is a niche market amongst home users that carries very little commercial weight as a result. I bet on the PS3 it was even more so so when the Other OS feature became a security hole in the platform it was simply not worth fixing when it could be removed far more cheaply and the only people it would annoy a few geeks.

Remember also that they did not force you to apply the update so if you wanted to you could have carried on playing all the single player games you already had and never upgrade. The only legitimate customers it affected were people who used the Other OS feature and also played games online.

The simply fact is they removed a feature that most of they customer base did not care less about having. They did this to make sure they carried on getting revenue from games producers. Sony's big selling point to game producers is the enhanced security over the Xbox360 which has more users. If they lost this selling point more and more developers would just abandon the platform and save the money they spend supporting it.

I know the PS3 has better capabilities but that is a selling point to end users, not game development companies since they usually have to support both platforms anyway and have to deal with lowest common denominator hardware. They can improve the rendering a little on the PS3, but the bulk of the gameplay will be identical between PS3 and Xbox360.

The truth is that I am amazed the PS3 is still getting any game development anyway. It has long since been overshadowed by the XBox360 and Wii in terms of userbase. It may have been by far the best console on paper, but it was just priced too high to manufacture. This made the console expensive to buy and even then it was being sold at a loss and still is apparrently, long after the Xbox360 is being sold at a profit per unit.

http://nexus404.com/Blog/2010/02/05/sony-still-posts-a-loss-for-every-ps3-sold-ps3-costs-sony-18-more-than-it-costs-you/ [nexus404.com]

This leaves Sony's only hope being that it will take off as 3.5 generation console and creep back into the market as the Xbox360 and Wii start to look dated in terms of technical specs (ie - no BlueRay). This will only work though if Sony can cling onto game developers producing content for it. They can only do this by screaming to the world that their console is the most pirate proof in a big old PR game with the managers of the game development companies. PR games are very rarely based on fact anyway so whether the Other OS feature actually made it more secure is largely irrelevant.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434334)

Perhaps the AU legal system doesn't have the same concept of bait and switch as what's in the US systems.

Perhaps the regulatory board that cleared Sony didn't look at it thoroughly enough or had an alternate motivation.

Re:Is this any surprise? (2, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433252)

It's a bit of a weird situation for the law though, isn't it?

That sums it up beautifully.

While consumer law in many countries explicitly bars terms which say "you can't sue us", I seriously doubt it accounts for products which may be updated over the course of their lifetime in this fashion.

  For one thing, much of it was probably written long before user-updateable firmware became common, in which case the idea that it might even be physically possible to disable a feature post-release would be totally alien.

Re:Is this any surprise? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433346)

For one thing, much of it was probably written long before user-updateable firmware became common, in which case the idea that it might even be physically possible to disable a feature post-release would be totally alien.

That is the problem. The law doesn't currently consider the idea of upgradeable firmware. That doesn't change the fact that disabling a feature post-release is a dirty business tactic. There were a lot of people who did use the PS3 for Linux and gaming. It is not possible to continue to use the Playstation Network if you don't continually install the firmware upgrades. While they're saying that nobody is forcing consumers to upgrade to firmwares that drop the other OS support they're essentially locking people out of the online section if they don't. It's dirty and it should be illegal.

All we have here is a bunch of tech companies (Sony, Apple, etc) who are treating the device like they own it. They are operating it like the user is leasing it from them, which is not true. They're really exploiting the fact that the law hasn't kept up with the technology to be able to fuck everyone around.

The law will evolve, but it will take more than one guy in the small claims court. It'll take an army of highly paid lawyers. The lawyers will win in the short term but (hopefully) in the long term the law will start to catch up with the technology.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433726)

Wasn't there also the part that newer games would possibly stop themselves from being played if your system version wasn't >version x.y.z? I think i read that here on /.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433966)

yeah, newer games can require a newer firmware version and possibly ship with the update right there on the disk

effectively sony is saying "games or linux, you chose", which is right in the face of the fact that it was sold as "games and linux"

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

plumby (179557) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433986)

It is not possible to continue to use the Playstation Network if you don't continually install the firmware upgrades. While they're saying that nobody is forcing consumers to upgrade to firmwares that drop the other OS support they're essentially locking people out of the online section if they don't. It's dirty and it should be illegal.

For me, this is the critical issue.

If it was simply the case that he'd entirely voluntarily decided to update his firmware and not noticed the bit that said it was going to disable Linux, then to some extent that's his own fault.

But it's not entirely voluntary. He had a console that used to be able to both run Linux and connect to PSN. Sony presented him with a choice of either removing Linux or removing PSN access. Don't know whether I missed it, but the article seemed to skip over this point.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33434084)

Ah, but that's the legal catch here, isn't it?

You can continue to use the console that YOU own... you just can't continue to use the PlayStation Network that *THEY* own. That, my friend, is how they are "legally right, even though they are morally wrong".

Here's a PS3 console. It does this, that, and other stuff. If you want it to connect to our network, you're going to need to do updates, even though it may have other issues. If you don't want to do those updates, you don't have to... (after all, it's your console!), but then you can't connect to our network anymore.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433504)

I'll reference the many, continuing, 'It only does everything' ads that Sony runs repeatedly through primetime, with no disclaimer text...at least here in the States. While this could count as puffery for some things (i.e., being, say, a nuclear device, a flying car, and so on), a function for which it has been determined capable (i.e., running an alternate operating system) and later prevented from doing would certainly nullify that sort of defense.

Did Sony, initially, advertise falsely? Not at the start, within reason. But did they continue an advertising campaign that they had rendered false? Yep. In that regard, they've done wrong. Anything else from there, material breach of agreement and whatnot, is quite a bit more murky.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433546)

They can print the disclaimer in any size they want, if they try to market it with "It runs Linux" and it won't it is still false advertising. They can even put stickers on the box that says it won't run Linux. As long as they try to sell it with "It runs Linux" they better make sure that it do.
I don't know the consumer laws that are in place where you live but last time I read those where I live this could be considered a defect that they have to fix. (Optionally they can allow me to fix it myself and charge them for the cost as long as it is "reasonable".)

Another way to look at it is that it wasn't really false advertising since the product actually did what they said it would do. Then som random jerk (Who happened to be the same company that sould you the product.) accessed your property and removed features from it. Call it theft or vandalism.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433714)

Call it theft or vandalism.

Nope, it's called a trojan horse, virus, root kit etc....

My set-top box upgraded without asking me.

Basically my set-top box was hacked.

There are laws against this kind of thing in the UK. 'Hacking' laws.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433956)

My set-top box upgraded without asking me.

This ^^^

It nearly always boils down to a couple of basic principles;

Does the user/owner control a device he has purchased and "owns" by any other legal measure, or does whoever made it? Furthermore, is it fair that the user is told he owns the device when it's advantageous to the maker, but is told they don't own it when it comes to things that the maker is opposed to owners doing or doesn't want to pay/be liable for?

These are the clear issues they'd like to muddy in peoples' minds.

Strat

Re:Is this any surprise? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433310)

maybe if linux users were not just all anti-copyright thieves and pirates, people would give a fuck.
but we don't.

Re:Is this any surprise? (2, Informative)

Maximus633 (1316457) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433356)

While I tend to not feed the trolls this comment seems to be more of an attack. You must not understand what Linux is about. It is not about anti-copyright thieves or pirates. I think you will find if you take the time to look beyond what someone is spoon feeding to you that you might see it is actually the opposite. Most Linux users (be it system admins or the Linux home user) respects copyrights. We relay on those same evil copyright laws to enforce companies and individuals to follow the agreement for the use of our code or project. While the "releasing" of the code is different in each case (GPL BSD etc) they all have the same request for copyright as most people. The Linux community has even taken cases to court in which code was "used" without their permission or in a way not intended in their agreement for the right to use the code.

With that being said how can you say that linux users are against copyright if we want it enforced on our own products. Yes there are people who use linux to "break" copyright and move around things. However, this happens in the Apple world as well as the Microsoft world. May I remind you that majority of the copyright cases filled by the RIAA are users using programs that were developed for a Windows Operating system.

There are just as many people out there using the other operating systems who don't give a crap about copyrights as there are those that use linux who don't care for copyrights.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1, Interesting)

Haxamanish (1564673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433408)

maybe if linux users were not just all anti-copyright thieves and pirates, [...]

Hi, I am a Linux user and I am anti-copyright and anti-"Intellectual Property" in general. But I have never stolen anything nor raided any ships. Oh, you mean illegal copying of software... Well, since I use Linux I do not need to make illegal copies, nor do I have the time for that because free software is released at such a fast rate that I have no hope to learn to use all of it in my lifetime. (Apologies for feeding the troll.)

Not all non-free apps have free counterparts (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434050)

Well, since I use Linux I do not need to make illegal copies, nor do I have the time for that because free software is released at such a fast rate that I have no hope to learn to use all of it in my lifetime.

Not all non-free applications have free counterparts. For example, what is a close substitute for each of 1UP's top PS3 games of 2010 [1up.com] that is distributed as free software?

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433512)

And all windows users are god-fearing, church-going, PTA-attending, family-oriented people? Way to generalize, you fuck.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433816)

We are not Anti-Copyright.

We LOVE the GPL... Its a copyright license for (nearly) all linux stuff.

Try again, Mr. Troll :-)

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433442)

"A number of countries have a system for dealing with claims with a low monetary value"

Yes, all Australian states have a small claims tribunal that handle claims up to a few thousand dollars and/or disputes with government departments. They are specifically designed for quick and cheap dispute resolution. As such Sony's legal army would be useless, they would basically be confined to barracks.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433520)

Good question. IANAL, but I can think of three things: I seriously doubt many people genuinely used their PS3 for Linux - and Sony could easily dig up numbers to support that.

I don't think numbers using it should affect it. If you buy a device with a feature that you use that should be enough.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434252)

I seriously doubt many people genuinely used their PS3 for Linux

Funny, I seem to recall that from the start, the majority of PS3 owners were running GNU/Linux on their PS3s. I also seem to recall Sony dropping that capability in the new PS3 models to try and cut their losses. Maybe I need to get my memory checked though.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

rmm311 (1550631) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433140)

Obligatory Simpsons reference about Mr. Burns team of high-priced lawyers in waiting.

Re:Is this any surprise? (4, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433186)

It's completely ridiculous, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

The ridiculous and surprising part is his legal defense:

"He explains that he believed a warning about the update, downloaded on April 1st, was just an April Fool's joke."

If I were the judge, I would have adjourned the case until April 1st and then handed down the victory to Sony then.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433214)

That appears to be a case of stating too much. Sony simply advertised and supplied a feature, only to force users to choose between two features (linux, network gaming) later on. That should be sufficient to at least recover the cost of his PS3 and associated purchases (which are useless without a PS3). In Aussie dollars, that's like, what, $12 Million?

I skipped installing the linux-killing update and haven't switched on my PS3 since. I know it's indirect, but when Sony looks at the game sale rates not being what they'd hoped, I know that I've done my tiny, anonymous part for fairness in support of continuous features.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433286)

skipped installing the linux-killing update

How is it as a linux box? I've heard that it is quite limited, but I am not sure how (HDD? memory?) And how come you haven't powered on, does it contact the mothership (sony) looking for an update? Can that part be disabled?

Otherwise, I will be looking for these on the auction sites, if it's worth it. I'd appreciate your opinion or comments on this aspect of the box.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433386)

It's limited in that you don't get access to many of the things that games need, like fast hardware accelerated graphics, communicating directly with the bluray drive, and such things.

So, you'd probably not want to use PS3 Linux for playing graphics-heavy games, and AFAIK, you can't view bluray movies.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433432)

If you want to play newer games or blurays, or play online via PSN, it will need to contact the mother ship for a firmware update.

You can either have your old PS3 with Linux, and only be able to play older blurays or games and not go online, or upgrade which will remove the Other OS feature, and be able to play new games, blurays and play online.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434070)

It's completely ridiculous, which shouldn't surprise anyone.

The ridiculous and surprising part is his legal defense:

"He explains that he believed a warning about the update, downloaded on April 1st, was just an April Fool's joke."

If I were the judge, I would have adjourned the case until April 1st and then handed down the victory to Sony then.

That and his damages... Renting a laptop? The PS3 was not a laptop. He should have gone for the price of a PS3. Then he would have won. Less money, but more than he got!

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433232)

Do they advertise Linux compatibility!? Never seen that myself.

There is a different between being cleared of wrongdoing and being cleared of something illegal. The fairer minded among us want the laws to reflect values such as ethics and "what's right" but that isn't what they are for in a modern society unfortunately. They are for making decisions based on rules fought for by the powerful, for money and/or power obviously. Unfortunately, that's not the vast majority of "us".
 

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433454)

Yeah, they did advertize -- not in billboards of course but in the spec sheets.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0, Flamebait)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433318)

It's completely ridiculous

Not really.

which shouldn't surprise anyone

I'm certainly not supprised, well not at the ruling as it's completely logical.

Contrary to the popular delusion, you the gamer are the product, the advertisers and game makers are the customers. You also agreed that Sony could change things whenever they wanted when you opened the box. Sony's done nothing illegal here, wrong maybe but definitely not illegal. It's the courts job to rule on violations of the law, not good will. At absolute worst the court should have ordered the gamer to hand back his PS3 and Sony to refund the gamers money in full.

How could any court not view this as false advertising?

Because it wasn't advertised prominently or deceptively. When you buy a Sony Playstation or Microsoft Xbox you are expected to understand that things may be subject to change at Sony's (or Microsoft's) whim. This is part of what we call "common sense" or more accurately "having half a brain" so what I want to know is why this case made it to an Australian court in the first place. The plaintiff is clearly a moron.

My guess is that they have fresh Vaios and PS3s (i.e. hookers and blow) to spare.

Actually no, we enforce some standards of integrity over here. Besides, Sony was legally in the right.

Point in short, when you buy into a closed platform you accept that the owner of that platform can change whatever they like without prior notice.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433392)

You also agreed that Sony could change things whenever they wanted when you opened the box.

In Australia you can accept a contract without the option to see it before accepting it? I'll have to remember not to move there. I'm told that Contract law in New Zealand says that you can't be bound by one of those "opening this package implies accepting of this contract" deals if the contract is inside the box. You can't read it if you can't see it, and you can't disagree (or agree) with it if you haven't seen it.

So, I'd like to note that your "standards of integrity" are amusing.

In short, get your hand off it. You'll go blind doing that.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433424)

The contract for the PSN is accepted separately, after you bought and powered on the console, when you create a PSN account, after having read a pretty large license agreement.

Another agreement is displayed before installing any system software upgrade and you have the option to accept it or reject it.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433594)

That is quite shifty and probably illegal.

"Congratulations on buying your new car! If you want our permission to move your car from our property you will have to sign this contract that allows us to take the car back at any time."

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433852)

Not that you need a PSN account to play your games, retrieve game patches, or firmware updates. So.. not at all like signing a contract to actually be able to move the car you purchased.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433982)

newer games will also require the newer firmware, and even ship with the update on the disc

car analogy "either you agree to agree with any agreement we give you, or we wont allow your car to run on any newly built roads"

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434072)

Not that you need a PSN account to play your games

Some games require logging into PSN in order to play, either because A. they were previously purchased from PSN and use Assassin's Creed 2-style continuous Internet activation or B. their multiplayer modes require multiple consoles instead of splitting the screen.

Re:Is this any surprise? (2, Insightful)

gamricstone (1879210) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433360)

I don't believe this is false advertising, as no one who purchased a console before the update was required to install the update. Sony is under no legal obligation to provide access to the PSN, and they are simply refusing to offer this service to consoles with outdated firmware. As for removing the option to install other OS, that is also Sony's choice for future firmware iterations as well as future console sales.

That being said I think its a shitty move on their part, but far from illegal unless they continue to advertise the feature.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433560)

And if your car dealer sold you a car which came with lifetime service, but two years down the line decided that they would only service cars which opted to have the steering-wheel removed?

Re:Is this any surprise? (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433576)

I don't believe this is false advertising, as no one who purchased a console before the update was required to install the update

Unless they want to play new games, new BluRay movies, or continue to access PSN. If you don't install the update, you lose these features (which the console was advertised as having), if you don't install it then you lose the ability to run Linux (which the console was advertised as having). Whichever choice you make, you lose some of the functionality that the console was originally advertised as having.

I hope that Microsoft and Nintendo will remember this for the next round of the console wars, and remind people that Sony doesn't sell you a console, it lends you one and reserves the right to disable arbitrary features in the future.

Re:Is this any surprise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433470)

It's completely ridiculous, which shouldn't surprise anyone..

I'm seeing a lot of crap coming out of Australia these past couple of years, regarding information suppliers' rights to do... well, pretty much whatever they feel like doing. I can't see this flying in North America, but who knows?
I do know this much : SONY has lost me as a customer forever. I may not be aware of every single piece of tech that they have their finger in, but you can bet if it stinks of them, it won't be in my shopping basket.

Re:Is this any surprise? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434136)

I do know this much : SONY has lost me as a customer forever. I may not be aware of every single piece of tech that they have their finger in, but you can bet if it stinks of them, it won't be in my shopping basket.

You mean the CD rootkit, the "secure" thumb drive rootkit, and the BluRay shenanigans weren't enough? I am a Linux geek, but this is no where near as bad as the other 3.

Appeal posible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433116)

This is a lower level court and an appeal is possible.

Re:Appeal posible (1)

cappp (1822388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433154)

Is there? I've spent a frustration 30 minutes bouncing from link to link looking for some actual details without much luck. It's pretty much all cut 'n paste, most of what's out there looks to be word for word repetition, and no-one seems to have bothered to provide the actual basis for the decision or the avenues for review. I was all ready to blast the summary for linking to some gaming site but sadly enough their content was equal to all the rest I could find.

So much for the internet creating a space for human creativity unbound and nuanced reporting. Maybe it's just the bitterness of a failed search talking but from where I'm sitting, it's all page-hits and no actual content.

Judgement apparently not posted yet (2, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433216)

When it is, I'd expect it to appear here [sa.gov.au] .

Re:Appeal posible (3, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433226)

Is there? I've spent a frustration 30 minutes bouncing from link to link looking for some actual details without much luck.

Yeah, the details are rather scant. But the decision was apparently made by a magistrate, which means he filed either in a local court or in the federal magistrates court. Either of these can be appealed (*almost* automatically) to a higher court, if he chooses to do so.

Very sad. (5, Insightful)

ahaubold (1705608) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433130)

Yet another case where money > consumer protection/right.

Re:Very sad. (1, Informative)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433220)

Justice by credit line

Re:Very sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433250)

Yup. I wonder how much Sony paid to get their way through this.

Re:Very sad. (0, Troll)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433464)

Hmm. Yet another case where emotional knee-jerk > evidence-based judgement.

Re:Very sad. (-1, Flamebait)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433534)

That's some funny moderation. The examples just keep pouring in, don't they?

What evidence did the GP have to conclude that money somehow trumped consumer rights? He basically had, "Sony is rich", and "I hate Sony". I'm sceptical that the judge would have admitted those into evidence.

Re:Very sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33434196)

Please keep posting comments on your moderation, so that soon we won't have to see any of your comments as long as we browse at +1.

Another link (5, Informative)

Lliam33 (1881990) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433180)

Forum post [whirlpool.net.au] from the guy involved. Scroll up for some more info.

May be a GOOD decision (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433686)

If the person did not suffer any 'loss' by this disablement/amputation of functionality, then it follows Sony would also not suffer any equivalent 'loss' for the newish PS3 USB Jailbreak R4 chips etc.
Now we are dealing with 'sold' units. Extending this to the unlocking or jail breaking of say the iPhone so it can do other things supports this premise. As long as the law is applied fairly and evenly.

He should appeal (1)

Aussie (10167) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433190)

He no longer has what he paid for and Sony are responsible. They should have at least provided a method of restoring the functionality to how it was.
I must admit I'm surprised the ACCC took that stance, I'd really like to see more details.

Re:He should appeal (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433196)

Ditto. Please sing out if you find any. At the moment we just have a single (very nearly) context-free report, echoed ad infinitum. The reasoning (if any) behind the ACCC and Magistrates' decisions are what will matter in the long term.

Re:He should appeal (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433740)

Is there even an option of appeal in small claims cases?

If there is, any idea how they work? is it just to another small claims court or does it get escalated to a higher court, and if so, do your potential liabilities increase should you lose there too?

I agree appealing is a smart option in this case, but I don't know if the appeals process for this sort of thing actually fairly caters to it or not?

Re:He should appeal (4, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433400)

There's a forum linked elsewhere - in essence, Sony's argument was "you can't sue us, the EULA says so" and the judge agreed.

Analogy (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433778)

Then this is very sad justice indeed. That means that if I make, for instance, bicycles and attach some kind of EULA on it, I can put myself above the law by denying any responsibility in the EULA. I don't need to deliver basic quality, or a safe vehicle, or deliver a functional thing if I repair it. Even if an EULA is nothing more than a forced, after-the-sale contract which should be void in any country with a serious law.

Re:Analogy (2, Interesting)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434054)

Oh, very much in so. An EULA is a blatant attempt to turn a business-to-consumer transaction (which in many countries has all sorts of legal protections) into the legal equivalent of a business-to-business transaction (which in many countries has very few legal protections - if you're a business you're meant to have the good sense to exercise due diligence and hire a lawyer if necessary).

What the world really needs is a judgement in a first-world country in a court which makes binding decisions acknowledging this and telling the big company in no uncertain terms where to stick their EULA. Though very few individuals have the money to chase something all the way to such a court, and any director with half a brain will settle out of court as soon as it becomes apparent that something like this may happen.

Re:Analogy (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434120)

Rubbish. Your lack of basic safety checks could kill someone, so you're damn right you'll get hosed in court if you don't do them. A better analogy would be issuing a product recall for a minor adjustment to the gear ratios, then finding out that it came back with only 12 gears instead of the advertised 18 you bought it with.

Still, you all bought the damn thing knowing full well what was in the EULA. More fool you, firstly for not reading it and thinking "GTFO I'll buy a pretzel for the walk home" and also for thinking that the fact the EULA should be unenforceable is a good enough reason for a court case.

Re:He should appeal (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433818)

Man, I love coming from a country where that shit (EULA, and signing away rights) doesn't matter!

This is theft or wilful damage (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433748)

If you can see a feature as an independent thing, then that feature was stolen after he bought it and paid for it. Otherwise, his machine was wilfully damaged by Sony.

Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (1, Insightful)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433262)

Personally I lost all respect for Sony with the whole rootkit deal.

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433322)

Personally I gained very much love for Sony music and support their efforts to end piracy. My Sony PS3, VIAO and music collection can only be pried from my cold dead hands until next updates come. Then my Sony branded credit card comes out to buy from the online store. Express shipping most great!

FTFY
Sincerely,

Sony IT dept

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (2, Interesting)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433434)

Ain't that the truth, and even before that they were shady.

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (1)

blippo (158203) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433538)

Sony is a media company, and they sell crippled devices.

I have a PS3, a Xperia 10 and a set top box, and they are all intentionally not delivering what they could,
in order to protect Sonys media interests.

Never Sony again.

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (0, Flamebait)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433586)

Sony's media and hardware divisions are more or less independent, so it's not necessarily fair to judge one by the actions of the other. This decision shows that they are both (independently) anti-customer.

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433614)

"Personally I lost all respect for Sony with the whole rootkit deal."

Most people don't care. It's a TOY, it plays games, it's a trifle.

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433994)

It's a TOY, it plays games, it's a trifle.

Well I still think Sony should get their just desserts.

Re:Why do people even trust Sony anymore? (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434080)

Most people don't care. It's a TOY, it plays games, it's a trifle.

I know a lady who saved and made sacrifices for six months in order to buy a PS3. For her (and others who don't make much money), it was obviously more than a trifle.

Facepalm (2, Interesting)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433306)

Okay I am really confused over all of these attempts to sue the manufacturers, maybe I'm missing something here. In the UK, if a product is not as described/fit for purpose among other things, the seller is liable (providing they're a business etc.). It's the same thing EU-wide (1999/44/EC), surely it's the same with Australia and North America?

Or am I wrong about the UK, and the manufacturer is also liable? Any British IANALs got some case or statute law that says that a buyer can sue a manufacturer for false advertising?

Re:Facepalm (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433422)

Why in the world would it be the same in North America or Australia?

That approach doesn't make any sense at all!

it's just EU stomping on small businesses. Who is best able to know and control if a device has its features? In what way could a retailer know, prevent, forsee, control Sony from firmware updates? Build a flux capacitor?

Sony made the claim. Sony broke the claim. The law in the civilized world holds Sony accountable. The UK hardly qualifies.

Re:Facepalm (5, Informative)

cc1984_ (1096355) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433518)

I know you're trolling but let me explain why the UK does what it does.

The Sale of Goods act (1953) was brought into being to protect the consumer from shops palming off problems to the manufacturer. Your equipment is faulty? Send it back to the manufacturer. The book you bought has pages missing? Phone up the publisher to get it replaced. With this act the retailer is obliged to offer a replacement to the purchaser and it becomes the retailer's responsibility to get a replacement from the manufacturer. No flux capacitor required.

Re:Facepalm (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433772)

Indeed, and it makes the retailer less likely to do business with problem publishers/manufacturers, hence putting greater pressure on them than an individual by themselves could to rectify their poor business practices.

It's easy for a manufacturer to fob off multiple independent individuals, it's harder for them to fob off the retailers who are their gateway to getting their products to consumers in the first place.

Re:Facepalm (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433608)

The same act provides the shop with grounds to take it to the supplier. Basically, it means that the supply chain works both ways. You take the problem to the shop, and they are required by law to address it. They then take it to their supplier, who is required by law to address it. The complaints go from the customer to the retailer to the wholesaler and then to the supplier.

Part of the logic behind this is that you have a lot more leverage against the person closest to you in the supply chain. Your decision to boycott Sony and tell all of your friends to do so makes little difference to them. Your decision to boycott a local shop and tell all of your friends to do so makes a bigger difference to them. The shop's decision to boycott Sony won't make much difference, but their choice to switch wholesalers would. The wholesaler's decision to stop providing Sony products would be a much bigger threat to Sony than a single customer.

Re:Facepalm (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433892)

The UK system is sensible ....

Instead of the customer suing Sony and having to wait months if not years for a resolution, and having to involve lawyers etc .... they pester the people they bought it from, who then can band together and hassle Sony ...

Who is Sony going to listen to, a small band of customers who are suing them, or a group of retailers, some of whom some of their best customers ?

The UK and European still holds Sony accountable, but stops each customer having to approach Sony and then sue them individulaly ...

Note customers have got refunds or partial refunds from some retailers already under this system .... whereas in Australia Sony does not have to pay anything?...

Re:Facepalm (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433488)

In the UK, the consumer only has a contract with the retailer they bought it from. The manufacturer is not liable.

People have been successful in the UK with a full or partial refunds. Amazon, GAME and HMV have given damages or full refunds to customers. £84 is what Amazon offer for a partial refund, and you get to keep the console.

Re:Facepalm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433556)

It's a bit of a legal quagmire, as you're buying a product from one company that contains a service provided by another company not party to the original contract (who just happens to be the manufacturer). It wouldn't be right to allow an action against the vendor as they actually sold exactly what they promised, and it doesn't seem like any of the consumer protection laws would allow an action against the manufacturer as they're all centred around contract and you didn't have a contract with the manufacturer. Maybe there is some avenue of agency law - that you can argue, since you're purchasing not just hardware but software with an ongoing expectation of support and the ability to utilise advertised features such as network play, then the vendor is really acting as an agent of the manufacturer (this effectively allows a breach of contract based action against the manufacturer). The bottom line though is that the law is not set up to deal with rapidly changing situations, it works best where there is initial legislation which is refined over time through legal precedent. In this brave new world, only the legislation has a chance of keeping pace with the technological changes, and since legislation is driven by politicians and they're driven by lobbyists who are funded by big business, it's hardly surprising the consumer doesn't often get a fair deal.

Why does anyone buy Sony ? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433394)

From their repeated abuses of customers (hello Rootkit !) I really do not understand why anyone would give Sony any more money ?

Buying Sony products is like being the battered wife who keeps going back to her violent alcoholic husband because "he can change".

People, just stop buying Sony's crap already.

The story so far (4, Insightful)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433540)

A man walks into a shop:
"Hello, good sir. I would like to purchase a computer."

"Here you are. That will be $600"

"A fair deal indeed. Thank you."

[ Several months later, our hero comes home to find his computer missing. In its place is a short note and a paddle-ball ]

"Dear customer. We have taken the liberty of replacing your computer with a paddle-ball, as we learned that people were attempting to use their computers for non-paddleball-related activities."

The problem in a nutshell (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433664)

A man walks into a shop:

"Hello, good sir. I would like to purchase a computer."

After which he points you to towards the Sony Vaio, the HP Pavilion, the Lenovo ThinkPad. Perhaps a Dell Inspiron if you a looking for a budget desktop.

He does not send you to the racks with the XBox 360, the Wii, and PS3.

Re:The problem in a nutshell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433912)

"Hello, good sir. I would like to purchase a multi-purpose computational machine that is advertised as both a computer and a paddle-ball."

Re:The story so far (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33433678)

No. It's more like this:

A man walks into a shop:
"Hello, good sir. I would like to purchase a computer."

"Here you are. That will be $600"

"A fair deal indeed. Thank you."

[ Several months later, the user calls a tech to come service his computer. ]

"If I service your computer, as you've requested, it will remove a feature."

"I understand and agree to your terms."

[ The user is stunned when said feature is removed and sues the company. ]

[ Judge laughs at the user and tells him to get a life ]

Re:The story so far (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433928)

No, in this case the tech would solicit to service his perfectly fine computer, then say if he does not service it, the user will not be able to connect to the Internet. You act like the user had a choice. His choice was update or get screwed, or don't update and get screwed even more. If I asked you if you'd like to be raped with lube or without, which would you choose?

Poor Choice of Damages (2, Informative)

DavidD_CA (750156) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433668)

It says he sued to get back $800 (AU), which was the cost of renting a laptop for some unspecified period of time.

He should have sued for the retail price of the PS3.

Re:Poor Choice of Damages (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434064)

yeah, that was what I thought. It immediately looks like a time-wasting idiot-case when he seems to want a resolution which (a) let's him keep his PS3 as a gaming machine and (b) make Sony pay for him to have a seperate computer as well (and as the sort of nerdy type who installs Linux on a PS3, he probably has a seperate computer anyway). He'd probably have been more successful if he'd demanded they take the product back since they were crippling it.

To use a car analogy (3, Interesting)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433836)

Customer: I bought this Sony Car because it had headlights. I need headlights so I can drive my car at night.

Sony: We removed the headlights feature at your last service because headlights can be used to flash oncoming drivers. But removing headlights has made your Car lighter, so it can go faster and use less fuel. We hope you like the changes.

Customer: I can't use my Car any more because you took the headlights away, thus it's no longer roadworthy and it would be illegal for me to drive it. Give me back my headlights, and pay $800 for the rental car I've had to use in the meantime.

Sony: No.

Judge: No.

Rest of the world: Dumb-asses.

Re:To use a car analogy (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434034)

Customer: When they called me and offered to remove my headlights, I only agreed because I thought it was a joke!

Slashdot: SOOONY BLOOOOOD!

Rest of the world: Dumb-asses.

Re:To use a car analogy (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434112)

Correct analogy would be that they would only service the car if they also could remove the headlights.

Question (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#33433954)

Why is it that Sony first allowed Linux on PS3 (and earlier PS's too), and there were even supercomputers built with PS3's, and that later Sony decides to disallow that support completely? Why the sudden change?

Re:Question (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434140)

Just a guess: because 1. They make their money on the games, not on the console, and/or 2. Money is more important than providing added value to your customers?

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33434282)

The change was brought about, because some asshat rooted the PS3 via the Other OS option.
As far as Sony are concerned, a rooted PS3 equals game piracy. Therefore, they kill the Other OS option to stop the onslaught of piracy which was about to hit their pockets.

Here's what I think of it, should anyone care (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33434122)

The point of branding is to help people recognize what they can expect from a product. If you disagree with the proven track record of shady business tactics of a company, just consider their logo to be a warning label. You'll be surprised at how well this works.

Another nail in the coffin of Linux (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33434150)

RIP Tux. You sucked just like William Hung but you had a small following for a while.

Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33434322)

This is really just another breadcrumb in a long standing series of Sony business practices, which has been covered by reputable news agencies for ages now. Here's just one example: http://www.theonion.com/video/sony-releases-new-stupid-piece-of-shit-that-doesnt,14309/

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