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Sony Lawsuits Target PS3 Jailbreak Authors

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the sounds-more-expensive-than-admitting-they-were-stupid dept.

Sony 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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205 comments

Sony should have lost this already. (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729168)

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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (5, Insightful)

Dalzhim (1588707) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729708)

The difference is that one is an explicit exception to the DMCA and one isn't.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730170)

What about internet lock in, I'm still forced to only give Sony a subscription fee. It's the same as vendor lock in period.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730250)

What subscription fee would this be? I use the same internet on my PS3 that I use for everything else. If you were referring to Plus, that's hardly 'forced', let alone required. You're a moron.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729318)

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.

Theoretically at least, you can source games from suppliers other than Sony. Some of the indie games companies should do just that, compete with Sony for the supply of games to their console.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729412)

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.

Theoretically at least, you can source games from suppliers other than Sony. Some of the indie games companies should do just that, compete with Sony for the supply of games to their console.

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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (5, Insightful)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Funny)

sixteenbitsamurai (1070810) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729562)

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.

This. If I had mod points, you'd be getting one right now.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729642)

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.

Are you really that niave? you think just because they can also pirate on the PC they won't on a console? I know a ton of people with hacked gaming consoles (in the order of 15-20), all of them do it so they can copy/pirate/share games, none of them would even consider doing it to give them access to more stuff to purchase, they do it to get something for free.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1, Informative)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729846)

I don't have a single pirated PSP game on my hacked PSP. Then again I don't know you.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729982)

Well I can't speak for them, but I can speak for myself, and I bought a Dreamcast even knowing it would probably be a loser PLUS buying games for said dreamcast specifically BECAUSE it had been jailbroken, thus allowing me to use emulators on it instead of having to keep my old consoles are wired together in a mess. I was more than happy to buy games for it PLUS buy games for my Xbox (which I had XBMC on) because they gave me MORE value for my money. The dreamcast was my one stop for all my classic games plus the newer Dreamcast stuff like Power stone, just as the xbox was my stop for playing lots of games PLUS it made a damned good media center.

To me it has always been about giving me a good value for my dollar. same reason I buy tons of games from Good old games [gog.com] even though there isn't a single game there I couldn't pirate, but they give me lots of extras like soundtracks PLUS guaranteed x64 support on all games PLUS make it easy and cheap to pay them. I think the bigger problem is game companies charging $50+ for frankly shitty games that are nothing but eye candy without any gameplay and then looking for a scape goat. Sure there will always be some that pirate, most of the pirates I've known were poor college students that couldn't afford the product anyway.

That is why I hope Sony gets the smackdown. Too many of these great new toys coming out are locked down tighter than a nun's thighs and there just ain't no sense in wasting all that good tech when it could do so much more. I might be tempted to get my family an x360 or PS3 if someone jailbroke it so I could have an HD XBMC and be able to run any format, along with emulators and homebrew and anything else cool someone thinks to do with one. If I buy the toy I want to play with it, no have some company tell me I'm only allowed to do what they say with it.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (5, Interesting)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729948)

I'll add a second anecdote: I have a hacked Wii. I have my whole (20-30, 90% used from gamestop) game library loaded on a hard drive. I like the convenience. At this moment, I could pull out any game disc for anything on my hard drive you'd like to see. For me, it's about convenience. The same reason people want a media library of ripped DVDs even through they own all 400 the discs. Heck, it's even easier to FIND the game you want when the count gets high. I first figured out the USBloader process after my 4 year old rendered the Wii sports disc unreadable. (it was able to rip, luckily). could I replace a disc? probably. is there a convenient way for me to avoid needing to replace discs and avoid that hassle? yes. so that's all I need.

Then again, I also don't know you. so you're point stands. maybe you just need friends with a bit more moral fiber.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729988)

Offering a competing multiplayer backend (replacing WiiConnect24, PSN, and XBOX Live!) for "blacklisted" consoles would create an extensive reason to mod a console.

The issue that such a fledgling company (threatening to steal the apples from these company's walled gardens) would need to assert is that such a service is not geared toward allowing pirated games to be played. As such to be legitimate it would need to also ban people that are found to be using it for this purpose.

It's main function would be to allow people who have modified their consoles so that they can play modified multiplayer maps to continue to do so. (Currently this activity violates the PSN, XboxLive, and WiiConnect EULAs, resulting in being blacklisted.)

If I wasnt deathly afraid of blood sucking vampir^V^V^V -- "Lawyers", I would consider investing the time with a copy of Wireshark examining raw packet dumps of the Live, PSN, and WiiConnect protocols. (I have a PSP, a 360 and a Wii, so I should be able to investigate all 3 authentication methods.)

Once you have the language down, all you have to do is get the console to communicate with the new server; Something that might be doable by instructing it to use a "Special" proxy server. (IIRC, all of these consoles allow the use of a dedicated proxy for internet connectivity. Just point it at the rival service server's IP address, and it then masquarades as the real deal, by "internally" routing the target's IP address at itself, while opening the rest of the internet as a proxy is supposed to.)

what about the issue that m$ blocks 3rd party HDD (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730108)

what about the issue that m$ blocks 3rd party HDD on the xbox 360 you want to pay $70 for a 120gb HDD? $129.99 for a 250gb?

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (3, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729930)

"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

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729946)

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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

Sollord (888521) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730032)

"Not everyone is a pirate" Just 90+% of everyone. There is a small minority who will use the jailbreak to do linux and homebrew the vast vast majority are gonna be teens and young twenty somethings with limited funds to buy all the games they want. Just like all the people who modded the 360 to play pirated games.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730520)

The potentially massive amounts of data on a bluray disc count in Sony's favour there I would think, it could take a loooooong time to download 50GB. Not that many games are quite that big, but still.

Anyway, screw 90% of people, this is slashdot, where we're supposed to care about whether you can run BSD on a toaster, or linux on a ps3.

Do all the people that modded the Wii play pirated games? I don't. Likewise with the PS2. But then I would try to install linux/BSD on a toaster if I thought there was a chance of it booting.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730558)

Hacking a $300 console is still a lot cheaper than a $1,000 gaming PC, and the gaming PC doesn't even live in your living room.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (4, Interesting)

rs1n (1867908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729320)

While you don't need to jail break your PS3 to hook it up to XBOX live, you (apparently) need to do so to run other applications). The real issue here is how Sony will fight this. _IF_ they plan to use the copyright argument, the surely they will not prevail.

To reiterate a quote from the GP:"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" If the jailbreaks somehow infringe on copyrighted material, then Sony has a case with respect to copyright. If I'm not mistaken, there were reports that the software used in some of the jailbreaking may have made use of an illegal copy of Sony's SDK.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

rs1n (1867908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729338)

That should have been "they surely not prevail if there were no copyright violations."

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (4, Informative)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729526)

The jailbreak itself doesn't use Sony's SDK. Pretty much all currently available homebrew (except maybe PSPong?) does use it however, since there isn't a stable open alternative...yet. Building a complete, mature, and stable SDK for a newly accessible system in, what, a month? is frankly an unreasonable demand.

Sony should be driving legal action to stop the current PSJailbreak scene, but they shouldn't be targeting the creators of PSGroove, PSFreedom, or OpenPSJailbreak -- they should be attacking the people who have released actual homebrew to date using the Sony SDK (which is, admittedly, basically all of it so far and includes the original creators of the PSJailbreak hack). That would protect their copyrights while also encouraging the creation of an open SDK as an alternative to the leaked Sony SDK.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

GizmoToy (450886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730360)

But Sony in no way wants to encourage the creation of an open SDK. They want to make the jailbreak go away, and that's it. Of course it's not going to happen, but that's all they're working toward with these lawsuits. They want any potential future firmware hackers to see what they did to these guys and think twice about working on PS3 exploits themselves.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (3, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729386)

It's not like you can "jail break" your PS3 and hook it up to XBOX live.

We can't?! Let's sue Sony and Microsoft!

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (3, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729886)

All that this means is that somebody needs to create a competing service. Sounds like there is a very fertile industry for it, especially if it s more lax than the default platform creator's choice. (Such as, actually ALLOWING halo map mods, etc.)

See for instance, things like the successor to BnetD, and associated open servers. Creating an actual company geared toward servicing "blacklisted" consoles would fill a valid market niche. Last I checked, reverse engineering laws STILL provided safe habor for such practices when used for "Cross compatibility" and "Interoperability".

*would LOVE to see an alternative to sony's PSN and Microsoft's XBOX Live! service; Especially if that same service was console agnostic, and would permit multiplayer games from both consoles to have mixed matches.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Insightful)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729258)

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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Funny)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729364)

> The primary purpose of the device (the PSJailbreak) that started this is piracy
> they still share quite a bit of the piracy code.

lol! "the piracy code"!

> Worse, currently, all installable PS3 homebrew is developed with the leaked Sony SDK, which, in and of itself, is also piracy.

Wow - using an SDK is piracy? Is buying and playing a game using 'piracy code' also?

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (4, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729426)

Wow - using an SDK is piracy?

Insofar as "piracy" is a common, if somewhat informal, term for acts which violate copyright law, sure. At least, it is if the SDK is protected by copyright, if the work you create is a derivative work under copyright law, and you have neither a license to use the SDK for the purpose nor the protection of an applicable exception to copyright law.

While, absent litigation on the specific cases, there's may be some room for debate, I'd expect that most uses of a leaked Sony SDK to create homebrew PS3 software, and the copying and distribution of such software after it was created, be "piracy".

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (4, Interesting)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729450)

lol! "the piracy code"!

I would normally prefer the term "the copied-game-loading code", which is more correctly neutral, but sometimes I get so irritated by all the lying smartasses who use the term "backup" as a thin veil (and thus discredit the minority of people actually legitimately backing up their own games) that I feel like using a term that is biased the other way just to make it blatantly obvious what most people end up using the code for.

Specifically, I'm talking about the Blu-Ray redirection patches which are still present in the PSGroove code (which is just a version of the PSJailbreak code hex-edited to trivially break, but not remove, this functionality). In other words, the PSGroove is technically a pirated PSJailbreak (not that I care about commercial game copying products getting copied, but there are legal implications to basing your stuff too much on a piracy device). It's a lot cleaner if you just take the required core concept of the exploit and develop an open product around it that shares nothing more than what is strictly necessary with the original.

Wow - using an SDK is piracy?

Torrenting it and then distributing code compiled with it both are, which is what everyone who is using the Sony SDK did. Copyright infringement is copyright infringement. If Sony didn't grant you a license to use the PS3 SDK, then you aren't allowed to legally use it.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729942)

I would normally prefer the term "the copied-game-loading code", which is more correctly neutral, but sometimes I get so irritated by all the lying smartasses who use the term "backup" as a thin veil (and thus discredit the minority of people actually legitimately backing up their own games) that I feel like using a term that is biased the other way just to make it blatantly obvious what most people end up using the code for.

Happen to have some data that shows your claim to have validity?

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730006)

Nope, I just have a lot of practical experience with the group of people who collectively insist that they're "backing up their games", and how the vast majority are obviously pirates. Most are either outwardly pirating (and they just substitute the term 'backup' because it's cool, but otherwise outwardly acknowledge illegally downloading and copying games), or don't try very hard to hide it.

It's also common sense. Do you honestly believe that there's even a tiny chance that most people hacking their consoles aren't doing it for piracy? Especially with the PS3, where there has been an explosion of people who are out to buy or make a PSJailbreak clone, even though there's just about no useful homebrew for it yet.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730356)

I would normally prefer the term "the copied-game-loading code", which is more correctly neutral, but sometimes I get so irritated by all the lying smartasses [..]

How do you sleep at night then? Or does willful distortion not count?

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Informative)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729560)

The open source clones actually specifically disable the "piracy" function, by blocking bluray dvd access. It's admittedly not hard by any means to re-enable it, but it's disabled the way it is for a reason -- they haven't found a way to re-enable or reinstall Other OS yet, and the only "piracy" functionality really left after their alteration is "can run unsigned code."

They should crack down on the github branches that re-enable the piracy functionality, and on the so-called "hermes payload" which is an altered payload with more advanced piracy functionality.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Informative)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729638)

The problem is that all of the code is still there and working, they just changed a single string to subtly break it. Right, this "does the job", but it makes it so ridiculously easy to reenable that it could be considered similar to, say, openly selling a game console cheat device that just happens to enable loading copies if you hit the right button combination, load the right hacked configuration file, or enter the right magic cheat code. It's still dodgy.

And heck, I know full well that the people responsible for these open clones (at least the original PSGroove and PSFreedom authors) are perfectly capable of rewriting the code to yank out the piracy parts (and save a lot of space; for technical reasons, the payload is pretty constrained), especially seeing as it's been analyzed pretty thoroughly by now. This is why I'm advocating at least taking the (not much) time to make an independently compilable reimplementation that entirely does away with all of the redirect code, instead of just trivially disabling it.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730184)

The problem is that all of the code is still there and working, they just changed a single string to subtly break it
 
Even if the BD code didn't exist, you could probably still copy PSN games. So, no, the problem isn't that some code to access the BD is there, the problem is if you make the decision to pirate content. The software doesn't put a gun to your head and say "Copy games you don't own!".

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729564)

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

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (4, Interesting)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729652)

Sony made it's initial money off a sliver of non-infringing purpose with the vcr (with its ability to record, not play that is). almost all uses of it were infringing but there was the one case of time shifting that was deemed non-infringing and that sliver was enough that the lawsuits were denied.

Soooo, as long as there's a non-infringing use for it, even if 99% of the capability is infringing, it should be allowed as was allowed by the prior ruling.

Of course, as IANAL and the law rarely does what is right (or even remains self consistent) when faced by big money.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Interesting)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729728)

Sony made it's initial money off a sliver of non-infringing purpose with the vcr (with its ability to record, not play that is)

Huh? Sony was founded decades before VCRs were invented, and then probably lost a non-trivial amount of money, at least at first, by pushing Betamax.

almost all uses of it were infringing but there was the one case of time shifting that was deemed non-infringing and that sliver was enough that the lawsuits were denied.

I'm not convinced that "almost all uses" of the VCR were infringing; I'd be astonished if the proportion of uses of the VCR that were infringing is close to that of uses of the PS3 jailbreaks for infringing purposes.

If memory serves, the SCOTUS also explicitly said that the VCR wasn't illegal solely by the reason that Congress hadn't made it illegal, and it was not a Constitutional argument. the DMCA has changed that too.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729868)

No it hasn't. The DMCA is not in the constitution.

You can still challenge the constitutionality of the DMCA on the grounds that it isn't in the constitution in and of itself. Good luck with that of course, but the DMCA still does not have the full power of the constitution.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730020)

No it hasn't. The DMCA is not in the constitution.

Duh. What I said was that SCOTUS's ruling was not "the First Amendment means that it is unconstitutional to ban the sale of VCRs" -- it was "Congress hasn't made the sale of VCRs illegal." Thus if Congress had decided that such a thing would be a good idea, the Betamax case does not mean that such an attempt would be unconstitutional.

Congress didn't decide that for VCRs -- but it did decide that later for other circumvention devices and methods when it passed the DMCA. Because of this, the applicability of the Betamax case to anything relevant to the digital world is very little.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (2, Informative)

xMilkmanDanx (866344) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729870)

you made me doubt myself and while wikipedia isn't the most reliable source, it's quick and usually in the right direction on non-controversial articles.

Sony vs. Universal City Studios [wikipedia.org]

While the ruling wasn't as strong as I remembered, it was about that there were non-infringing uses and not even that there were widespread use of said non-infringing uses, but just the capability of non-infringing uses.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730468)

I'm not convinced that "almost all uses" of the VCR were infringing; I'd be astonished if the proportion of uses of the VCR that were infringing is close to that of uses of the PS3 jailbreaks for infringing purposes.

In Australia, until last year pretty much all uses of a VCR besides playing a tape you've bought or hired did infringe copyright.
In 2009 (or maybe it was 2008 at the earliest), the government amended the law so that taping something off the telly is no longer illegal; now it's only illegal if the tape is watched more than once (and I don't mean per person).

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730138)

>almost all uses of it were infringing

I'm not so sure. . . at the time, Betamax tapes were short (60 minutes max, IIRC) and sorta expensive. The technology was really a better fit for television.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729750)

Yay! This is *exactly* what I would like/why I bought a PS3 in the first place. I'm not a developer, at all, but is there anything you need help with?

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

bysin (173686) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730076)

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.

The act of jailbreaking your PS3 shouldn't be illegal, even if you do so with the intent on playing pirated games.
Instead, copying or playing pirated games would be illegal. It shouldn't be illegal until you cross that line.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729410)

The "decision" [wired.com] cited in the Wired article does not carry the force of law. It's own title says that it is a "recommendation". It is just a policy position paper and doesn't do anything to change the DMCA. That can only be done by Congress, the president, or a federal judge ruling in a case.

It affirms the right we've always had to reverse engineer which the DMCA never took away. If you jailbreak something and keep it to yourself you are safe from the DMCA. The sticky bit is when you distribute a "circumvention device" so others can accomplish the reverse engineering. Distribute your "device" and you have trouble coming that is proportional to how many legislators are owned by the company you've pissed off.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729806)

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.

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729780)

Time to fire up those "Bait and Switch" and False Advertising counter-suits boys. Have at 'em!

Re:Sony should have lost this already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730506)

This is what I don't get about the anti-Apple stance of Slashdot. You say you ditched your iPhone because you couldn't do what you want with it, but bought an Android phone and .......hacked it..... so you could do what you want. I know you tried to justify it as something else, but that's the end result.

If you prefer Android over iOS, ok. But claiming a stance of superiority for doing the same fucking thing you refused to do on another device is quite frankly bizarre.

The only real question is... (3, Funny)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729192)

The only real question is, can anybody figure out how to fit the source on a T-shirt? If yes, the case is moot, right?

Sort of half joking. In all seriousness, is the source small enough to compress, encode in printable form, and put on a shirt along with instructions for use?

Re:The only real question is... (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730300)

The only real question is, can anybody figure out how to fit the source on a T-shirt? If yes, the case is moot, right?

I take it you're referring to this?

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/DeCSS/Gallery/ [cmu.edu]

A wonderful gallery of multiple representations of the "illegal" DeCSS DVD decryption code presented with artistic merit. For example, the DeCSS code can be represented as a prime number. Does this make that prime number illegal?

Thanks! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729250)

, "PSGroove," "OpenPSJailbreak," and "PSFreedom,"

Okay Sony-- thanks for letting me know what to google for. Can you save me some search time by suing someone who might have a walkthrough or tutorial?

dangerous, but they'll keep trying (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729288)

This is dangerous; it's only a matter of time until we lose the right to use our own hardware how we see fit. Maybe this decision will go that way or maybe it won't, but if not, they'll just try again... and again... and again until finally it does.

Sanity is leaving the computing industry, locked down device by locked down device.

That summary (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729296)

Made about as much sense as what Sony has been (and by the looks of things) and will continue to do to their customers

Re:That summary (3, Funny)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729324)

Which makes about as much sense as my previous post.

I must remember to proof-read posts
I must remember to proof-read posts
I must remember to proof-read posts

I Don't Understand Why... (5, Funny)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729346)

I don't understand why Sony doesn't just send the jailbreak software authors a few select "complimentary" Sony music CDs. They could then simply delete the code at their leisure.

Strat

Re:I Don't Understand Why... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729396)

You seem to assume that these guys are using Windows, with auto-run enabled on top of that.

Re:I Don't Understand Why... (5, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729472)

And would want to listen to the contents of Sony music CDs instead of putting them in a blender.

Lost Cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729376)

No action that Sony could take from this point forward, with regard to the jailbreak, could improve their situation.

Perception, monetary, whatever. No Action!

Endgame? (2, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Endgame? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729872)

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.

In other news, the children of four out of five Sony execs have beans [wikipedia.org] up their noses.

Its the lawyers and Uppest Management... (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730344)

Sony's lawyers are embarked on justifying their salaries and Uppest Management is being fed bullshit by those lawyers because they certainly don't listen to their customers.

If it bothers you so fuckin' much, STOP BUYING SONY CRAP.

Make your own hardware platform, open-source it, product it on a shoe-string.

Negotiate with games makers to port their games to your platform, while agreeing that their existing agreements with Sony will be honored (meaning NO PIRATING their software.)

End result, you have an open platform, lots of expansion capabilities, lots of games, and YOU WIN!

END OF THE WHINING....

It is silly... (5, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#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...

consoles or PC's ? (5, Insightful)

volcan0 (1775818) | more than 3 years ago | (#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 ?

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

slinches (1540051) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:consoles or PC's ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729956)

And before Sony's update, the PS3 was a general computing device.

Re:consoles or PC's ? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729992)

One of the reasons Sony initially put OtherOS capabilities into the PS3 was so that they could claim that the PS3 was a "General Purpose Computer" and dodge a bunch of European taxes... If I was a citizen of one of those countries I would be asking why they are not now suing Sony for those back taxes and/or the reinstatement of the OtherOS functionality.

get ready for your subpoena (4, Funny)

aethogamous (935390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729516)

...or who may have knowledge of the distribution or sale of this software.'"

I think by now this includes everyone on slashdot...

Re:get ready for your subpoena (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730112)

You know, they should enforce their will with a ring of PS3-controlled orbiting brain lasers. It would be easier than wasting their time with all this "law" business.

PSFreedom? Where? (1)

Tester (591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729566)

Unlike what the summary says, I see nothing about PSFreedom in there. It seems to be mostly about PSJailbreak which if I understand correctly is a dongle, so there is a commercial side to it. If I'm wrong, please correct me.

Re:PSFreedom? Where? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729702)

It's in there - not sure which page,, but here's a quote from eXophase:

"Similarly, a motion also contests that “SCEA has served DMCA “take down” notices to sites hosting this illicit software, but as yet has been unable to verify the identity of those behind its copying and distribution,” in reference to PSGroove and its variants."

Source: http://exophase.com/ps3/sony-motions-for-subpoenas-targeting-psjailbreak-devices-psgroove-software-18591.htm

Screw these guys, I'll mirror (3, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729616)

I don't even own a PS3 (or any console for that matter) but I have about had it with this DMCA crap. There isn't any Sony copyrighted code in the crack is there? If somebody can point me to a good description of how to jailbreak one of these damned things I'll host it on my homepage and then toss the gauntlet down to Sony. I'm a humble librarian but one benefit is I can use a page on our server. Ever seen how rabid the library world gets when the word 'censorship' gets tossed their way?

Way I see it I can't be subject to a Sony EULA since the only Sony product I own is a fairly basic receiver. If there is no Sony code copied into the crack I can't be subject to copyright. And a text page describing something can't violate a patent. With the right disclaimers trademark is out. So that leaves it a pure DMCA play and I really don't think the bastards want that going to court. They will use em when they think they can get an instant takedown from a frightened ISP but I ain't one of those. Our lawyer happens to be the district attorney so we don't have to instantly fold at the threat of lawyering up.

The most defendable position would be detailed instructions on how to crack a PS3 for the purpose of installing Linux back on one. So has that been accomplished yet?

Haven't stuck a finger in the system's eye since my minor role in the Cuecat [beau.org] fiasco a decade ago. Looks like it is time to stand up again.

Re:Screw these guys, I'll mirror (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730162)

I don't own a ps3 either, nor am I a gamer. However, as one who regularly blows away or dual boots OSs, I wonder how long it's going to take for other hardware vendors to go mental like this. It's an intriguing battle to watch, and I'll enjoy seeing Sony auger in in flames.
    http://www.physorg.com/news148749271.html [physorg.com]

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/news/2007/10/ps3_supercomputer [wired.com]

That's the history. You need newer stuff to do this. Bon chance. My hat's off to you.

Fsck, now Sony's gonna sue me. Crap.

Re:Screw these guys, I'll mirror (1)

Astronomerguy (1541977) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730276)

Let me know if you want a Canadian mirror. I'm good to go. I also have a USA-based site that I'm willing to offer space on as well. As a pissed-off PS3 owner who used Linux on my PS3 and who uses my console for communication, I'm willing to stand and protect my rights as a property owner against a company who took away advertised features, from a durable good that I own, after I had paid for it. Fuck the fucking fuckers, says I. Ironically, I won PSP Go this week. I'll be goddamned if I'll buy anything from the PSN. That PSP will be used for music, Skype and movies only, and maybe a game demo. $ony can kiss my ass if they think I'll give them one more red cent given their obvious contempt for their consumers.

It's comforting to know... (0, Troll)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729706)

That I have already purchased my last Sony device, several years ago; a first gen PSP. I think I'm done with you now, Sony. This idea ranks up there with Network Walkman. Sony and it's products are second rate crap with pretty plastics. You'd be much better off with an XBOX-360 or a Wii. Although Wii seems to be pissing me off with their download content and similar OS "downgrades". All done with Sony. You buy from them.

Re:It's comforting to know... (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729834)

Pretty much my position. I have gotten a couple of games for the PSP, but I haven't gotten any for the PS3 in over two years, and probably never will. (I got a PS3 originally to run Linux on it...)

Sony's just stayed nasty at a time when some other companies have been starting to open up.

Re:It's comforting to know... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729984)

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

Re:It's comforting to know... (1)

tqk (413719) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730386)

I'd assumed that was a given from the beginning. However, these things *used to be* "Openable".

Their hardware is being legally/judicially attacked by their vendor.

Ya build a supercomputer, and ya find the guys ya bought the hardware from want to brick it at their earliest opportunity. WTF? Is that legal? We're talking PRC here, yes?

Why isn't this called cracking computers, which is illegal?

PS3: "It only does everything"...* (2, Interesting)

Pezbian (1641885) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729714)

* ...everything but what we originally touted.

Scary you can build a supercomputer from PS3s and immediately have the system bricked without notice. True, if it were doing anything important it would be built from different stuff, but consider this: cellphones and a bunch of other devices made in China update firmware automatically. If China had enemies, they have a potential backdoor killswitch to disable these devices. Clever.

So why can't we start making things like that? (I don't care where you are. The same strategy applies and would rock.)

Pyrrhic victories don't need laws, just lawyers! (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#33729850)

"We don't have legal ground to stand on, but we'll keep you in court until you are out of money. Doesn't matter if you were right or wrong; all that matters is that you bleed to death."

Re:Pyrrhic victories don't need laws, just lawyers (1)

byuu (1455609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730314)

It worked great with Bleem!, of course they were going to try again.

rawr, i sony mad! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33729934)

Attorneys for Plaintiff
SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC

TOWNSEND AND TOWNSEND AND CREW LLP
JAMES G. GILLILAND, JR. (State Bar No. 107988)
TIMOTHY R. CAHN (State Bar No. 162136)
HOLLY GAUDREAU (State Bar No. 209114)
Two Embarcadero Center, 8th Floor
San Francisco, California 94111
Telephone: (415) 576-0200
Facsimile: (415) 576-0300
Email: jggilliland@townsend.com; trcahn@townsend.com; hgaudreau@townsend.com

JENNIFER Y. LIU (State Bar No. 164618)
SONY COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT AMERICA LLC
919 East Hillsdale Boulevard, 2nd Floor
Foster City, California 94404
Telephone: (650) 655-8000
Facsimile: (650) 655-8042
Email: jennifer_liu@playstation.sony.com

prank calls, news letter sign-ups, funny faxes, fantastic letters? sony, why so serious?

Re:rawr, i sony mad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730116)

that's real advanced. i bet you're a fucking teabagger too.

Re:rawr, i sony mad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33730122)

Gee, I'll bet lawyers have never had to deal with anyone as smart as you before

Streisand Effect (1)

Asterra (1087671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730216)

Enough said.

Development will move on to countries where Sony can't bully.

And you know what made Sony so upset as to sue everyone they could think of? I'll tell you: MKV playback support.

Dumb shits (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730224)

"or who may have knowledge of the distribution or sale of this software."

So like everyone in the entire fucking world, then? Good job, Sony. I don't have a PS3 and I don't ever plan to have a PS3, but you've just ensured that I'll find this software and keep it handy, just because you don't like it enough to sue some John Does over it.

Note that this only gives them permission... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730324)

...to serve subpoenas. If you receive one you can (and should) contest it. They will then have to convince the judge that there is good reason you specifically should be ordered to obey this particular subpoena, and if such an order issues they will have to pay all your expenses.

What to do when business is bad? (1)

kawabago (551139) | more than 3 years ago | (#33730354)

Sue your customers of course! Does SONY REALLY want to follow in the footsteps of industry leaders such as SCO?
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