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Sony's War On Makers, Hackers, and Innovators

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the can-we-play-it-in-the-form-of-a-video-game? dept.

DRM 317

ptorrone writes "MAKE Magazine takes a look at Sony's history of suing makers, hackers and innovators. Over the last decade Sony has been targeting legitimate innovation, hobbyists, and competition. From picking on people who want to program their robot dogs to dance to suing people who want to run their own software on something they bought. Sony has made so many mistakes with technology choices (Memory Stick, Magic Gate, UMD!), perhaps they'll end themselves soon enough, but until then MAKE is keeping score for Sony's all-out war on tinkerers."

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So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311118)

Who gives a rat's ass.

Re:So? (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311332)

If you have any cell phone or Handheld computing device, you do, because Sony is attacking the very people that want to/are making it.

Re:So? (1)

c00rdb (945666) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311458)

Sony Ericsson is operated as an independent company for all intents and purposes.

Re:So? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311598)

Accounting gimmicks, nothing else. Sony's reach extends far beyond its "borders" through its portfolio.

It's the robots... (2)

enaso1970 (759924) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311120)

Tinkerers tend to, well, tinker with their parts.

SONY ROOTKIT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311140)

nuff said

A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (4, Interesting)

kmdrtako (1971832) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311164)

Considering their (high end) TVs and cameras, and I'd hazard a guess that their Blu-Ray players as well, all run Linux you'd think they'd be FOSS friendly, wouldn't you?

Maybe someone just needs to explain things to them.

I sure hope there's no Linux code in anywhere in the PS3 code base.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (2, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311196)

Using FOSS doesn't necessarily mean you're FOSS-friendly. It means you're technically adept (because FOSS software usually tends to be better than proprietary) and/or a cheap bastard.

Contributing to FOSS, whether in terms of user support, code contributions, monetary donations, means you're FOSS-friendly. Sony has done none of those things. Sony is no more FOSS-friendly than a black hat who happens to use Linux (actually that's unfair, black hats probably help out noobs in the forums).

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (4, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311384)

Be fair. This should read:

"Some FOSS, worked on by a competent team, revised often with care towards the experience of users other than the authors and attention to the forward pace of current technology, can equal or better proprietary software".

You and I (and everybody else) have used some pretty godawful pieces of FOSS on pretty much any given OS, as well as the gems. There's nothing about FOSS that inherently makes it better.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311442)

You and I (and everybody else) have used some pretty godawful pieces of payware on pretty much any given OS.

The thing about Free Software is that it's probably built with the user in mind or with some purpose other than making money.

It's much like things that are not "corporate art" in that respect.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (3, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311502)

For-profit development does often manage to keep a wider range of users in mind than itch driven development (which often tends to keep a very small number of user in mind).

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311958)

Counterargument: Vertical market software [wikipedia.org] where the intended market numbers in the dozens of installations for highly specialist fields.

Another counterargument: Linux, with a userbase of tens of millions of installations.

But yeah, "often" is a fair usage in your sentence, because it actually says nothing whatsoever about the prevalence of your example. But the rest of your sentence seems to be constructed to shade "often" to mean "most often" in the first case and "less often" in the second occurrence, which is quite likely not accurate.

That's not a very fair discussion technique. Very.... "weasel word" ish.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (4, Insightful)

Skarecrow77 (1714214) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311510)

I didn't say payware was any better. I just said that nothing about the fact that the author isn't taking money for his work magically makes the work any better, and of course the argument works just as well in reverse.

I'm not sure where you get the idea that FOSS is somehow more targeted at the user than pay software. In my experience, most FOSS starts off as "I wrote this for myself. The interface is kinda wonky, but it works for me, maybe some of you guys can get some use out of it too" and grows from there. Playing devil's advocate here, pay software on the other hand is written specifically to be sold to customers and therefore if it has a wonky interface and is missing features customers want, chances are it won't sell (unless it's bundled with MS office or is made by Apple and the name starts with a lowercase "i").

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (4, Interesting)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311386)

>>>FOSS software usually tends to be better than proprietary

I probably shouldn't question this.
I probably should just walk-away and protect my karma.
Nah.
Please show me FOSS software that's better than ModelSim, Mentor's Schematic Capture/layout, or even something basic like - Microsoft Word or Outlook. I don't buy the argument that FOSS is usually better.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311428)

>>>FOSS software usually tends to be better than proprietary

I probably shouldn't question this.
I probably should just walk-away and protect my karma.
Nah.
Please show me FOSS software that's better than ModelSim, Mentor's Schematic Capture/layout, or even something basic like - Microsoft Word or Outlook. I don't buy the argument that FOSS is usually better.

"or even something basic like - Microsoft Word or Outlook."
outlook? haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311446)

Neither msword nor outlook are anything to write home about or hold up as examples.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311572)

That's true, and neither are they "basic": both are massive and complex applications.

This is actually common mistake: if something is used everyday bye everyone, it must be simple and "basic". The reality is that modern web browsers, PIM suites and word processing software are extremely complex pieces of software.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311608)

Agreed.

But there's also nothing better than MS Word (LibreOffice can't handle complex docs) or MS Outlook, especially for a demanding corporate environment.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311750)

LaTeX

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311760)

"Better" in what way? MS Notepad is better than MS Word. It doesn't have all this messy font crap, and autoformatting that screws up dates. It doesn't annoy you by trying to pretend you've mis-spelled words. It doesn't require a fast processor, several gigabytes of hard disk space and at least a gigabyte of memory, to *not quite* manage to do what WordStar did on a Z80 with 64k of RAM and a 5.25" floppy.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311592)

Not all FOSS is better than all proprietary, but in generally it usually is.

Evolution is better than Outlook. I'd even say Thunderbird is better than Outlook. Outlook is a buggy, slow POS.

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311616)

Please show me FOSS software that's better...

Check the price tag...

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (5, Insightful)

gpuk (712102) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311716)

Show me the commercial equivalents that beat: apache, postgresql (for db tasks other than mega-enterprise grade), bind, svn, git, firefox/chrome, postfix (for non-groupware mail servers), ssh, vsftpd, squid...

Those are just off the top of my head

Re:A nice call from a FSF lawyer perhaps? (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311732)

Considering their (high end) TVs and cameras, and I'd hazard a guess that their Blu-Ray players as well, all run Linux you'd think they'd be FOSS friendly, wouldn't you?

They use free software and they fulfill their obligations. I'm sure you could also find projects where they've made substantial contributions too.

None of which means squat for the current situation. They're going after people modding their closed source firmware with the ultimate goal of facilitating piracy and other unauthorised mods. I doubt they would give a rat's ass if someone produced a 1-way firmware update that turned a PS3 into a dedicated Linux box running XBMC.

It's simple (5, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311176)

It's simple. Vote with your wallet and don't buy Sony. Even if they make something which looks nice, DON'T BUY IT. Basically, they hate their customers and unless you stop buying from them, they will never stop abusing their customers.

As an added bonus, if you don't buy from them, they can't abuse you.

So, it's simple. Every slashdotter should know this by now. If you're on slashdot and complaining about recent bad experiences with Sony, then it's your own fault and you do not have my sympathy.

Re:It's simple (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311188)

So, it's simple. Every slashdotter should know this by now.

There's the problem, every Slashdotter knows this but what about everybody else? Your average consumer doesn't know/care about any of this and until they do, this whole issue is going to continue for the rest of us. As long as the majority of Sony's customers just want to play on their PS3 and believe all hackers are puppy killers Sony doesn't need to care about whether its customers are even aware of being abused.

Re:It's simple (1)

Walterk (124748) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311282)

I don't think hackers are puppy killers but I still own PlayStation stuff. I only want my PS2 and PS3 to play certain games and don't use them for anything else (Gran Turismo).

As long as those games will come out exclusively on a PS, I'll own one. But of course I won't buy any other games and ultimately cost Sony money.

Re:It's simple (3, Insightful)

AVee (557523) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311314)

There's the problem, every Slashdotter knows this but what about everybody else? Your average consumer doesn't know/care about any of this and until they do, this whole issue is going to continue for the rest of us. As long as the majority of Sony's customers just want to play on their PS3 and believe all hackers are puppy killers Sony doesn't need to care about whether its customers are even aware of being abused.

You should stop worrying about what other people should buy. I want to be able to tinker with my stuff, so I won't buy anything Sony. But when somebody else wants to get screwed by Sony, they are within their rights. Either they will get what they want (e.g. a PS3 which just plays their games) which is fine. Or they will run into something they are not allowed to do by Sony and stop buying it as well. It's their life, their money. That's a free market for you.

Re:It's simple (2)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311438)

You should stop worrying about what other people should buy.

No doubt! We have so much of that nonsense on /., it gets old fast. Reading /. made me realize that I too could be obnoxiously zealous about FOSS, so I try to remember that people are free to chose "incorrectly". ;)

Re:It's simple (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311522)

Bad strategy. If Sony gets away with it, then other manufacturers will follow and soon there won't be any things left that you can buy and tinker with.

Other people do get burnt by Sony, but they don't know before it's too late and they often don't understand how and that it's a Sony thing. A free market requires informed participants. People who don't know what they're getting into skew the market, and that's why it does matter what non-tinkerers know.

Re:It's simple (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311730)

>>>other manufacturers will follow and soon there won't be any things left that you can buy and tinker with.

Think of all the money I'll save!
Eh.
I'll just go back to pirated stuff, like I did in the 2400 baud days. Ahhh... those hours-long game downloads. Those were the days.

Re:It's simple (5, Insightful)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311848)

Yell it out on top of your voice. You are the only person I have seen that has a grasp on the free market. A free market requires *informed* consumers. Consumers have to be properly informed about the merits of a product and the practices of the purveyors of such product. That is the only way consumers can make the correct decisions to vote with their wallet. Companies HATE the fee marketplace and go to great lengths to manipulate it in their favor.

Re:It's simple (0, Troll)

Verunks (1000826) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311554)

There's the problem, every Slashdotter knows this but what about everybody else? Your average consumer doesn't know/care about any of this and until they do, this whole issue is going to continue for the rest of us. As long as the majority of Sony's customers just want to play on their PS3 and believe all hackers are puppy killers Sony doesn't need to care about whether its customers are even aware of being abused.

You should stop worrying about what other people should buy. I want to be able to tinker with my stuff, so I won't buy anything Sony. But when somebody else wants to get screwed by Sony, they are within their rights. Either they will get what they want (e.g. a PS3 which just plays their games) which is fine. Or they will run into something they are not allowed to do by Sony and stop buying it as well. It's their life, their money. That's a free market for you.

finally someone with a brain here on slashdot

Re:It's simple (5, Insightful)

Durzel (137902) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311564)

This isn't going to be a popular viewpoint on here but it needs saying.

The average consumer isn't being screwed by Sony, and that's the point. The average consumer buys a PS3 to play games and movies they buy from the shops. The average consumer doesn't care (or likely didn't even know) what OtherOS etc was.

The average consumer doesn't understand why people would want to hack their PS3 to do things other than that which Sony intended, and probably assume most of them just want to play "stolen games" (which let's be frank and honest - for all the bluff and bluster about the importance of homebrew the vast majority of the audience is focused on these hacks enabling them to pirate things)

Re:It's simple (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311434)

>>>Your average consumer doesn't know/care about any of this and until they do, this whole issue is going to continue for the rest of us

True.

Educate them. Change your signature on all websites (and facebook, twitter, etc) to include a corporate blacklist of companies to avoid.

Re:It's simple (1)

commodore6502 (1981532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311534)

Here's a SIg I just threw together real quick:

MegacorpBlacklist: Toyota, GM, cybercom.net, Sony, Microsoft (feel free to add more)

Re:It's simple (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311858)

My personal blacklist:
Sony
Microsoft (with the sole exception of their mice as I have yet to find a mouse that's better. Although if the rumors are true and MS have stopped making nice and started re-branding Logitech mice instead, I will boycott the MS mouse and buy the Logitech instead)
Vodafone
Telstra
Optus
Activision Blizzard
Greater Union/Event cinemas
All of Rupert Murdoch's news outlets including Fox News and The Australian newspaper.
Atari/Infogrames
Adobe
Games Workshop
Apple
McDonalds
IGA Supermarkets
The Catholic Church
The Church of Scientology
Foxtel
the Commonwealth Bank
the ANZ bank
the National Australia Bank
the Westpac Bank
Lexmark
HP
Compaq

why blacklist toyota? (1)

airdrummer (547536) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311910)

! 2 hijack the thread, but why? the "unintended accel" issue disappeared when it stopped being frontpage news, proving it 2 b the hysteria it was...

a friend who worked the audi u.a. investigation told me they found ~20% of the involved audis' gas pedals 2 b bent from the force the drivers mashing on them with...iow: driver error.

i'm sure the same goes w/toyota...

Re:It's simple (2)

WolfgangPG (827468) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311190)

Agree. Why would Sony believe anyone is truly angry when people keep buying their products?

Re:It's simple (1)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311204)

Or maybe they will take a page from the *AA playbook and claim that lost sales = piracy, and buy politicians to create laws assuming this statement to be true.

Re:It's simple (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311242)

Or maybe they will take a page from the *AA playbook and claim that lost sales = piracy, and buy politicians to create laws assuming this statement to be true.

Maybe for music and films, but not for hardware. I won't touch any Sony hardware either. While their hardware is often pretty good, they seem to feel the need to screw it up out of a blind hatred of their poor customers.

Re:It's simple (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311208)

I've been boycotting Sony since the PS2 days, it doesn't seem to help. In fact your post gives me an idea for a sig:

I keep trying to vote with my wallet, but I don't think it's working. Is this thing on? Maybe I'm holding it wrong...

Re:It's simple (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311260)

I've been boycotting Sony since the PS2 days, it doesn't seem to help.

I think you're being pessimistic. Unlike many other people, you haven't been screwed by Sony since you started avoiding them.

Re:It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311562)

Yeah well, game editors still sign exclusivity contract with $ony (\o/ another ascii troll) though... It can really be frustrating...

Re:It's simple (4, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311218)

While I agree with the sentiment, I can't help but draw parallels between Sony's actions and those of Microsoft and Apple. (Let's face it, even though the article mentions WP7 phone hacking, Microsoft has nothing but contempt for its customers too, w/r/t Windows phoning home... among other things.) I recall Apple's war on well, just about anything that threatened the walled garden. While in one corner, we have Sony and its gestapo band of lawyers, in the other corner, we've got Microsoft's heavy-handed DRM-laden OS, Apple's war on choice, and so forth. Then there's Nintendo... but that's another entirely nasty ball of wax.

It's a shame people (in general) don't vote with their wallets enough. I like my PS3, but as with my 360, I am not interested in supporting future efforts to close me off from the tinkering. I guess that's why I am glad I still have my Dreamcast. :) At least after all these years, Sega's not suing everyone who makes homebrew. Sony and all the rest are corporations. They are in it for the money. I still don't see how anyone is surprised that Sony does what it does. I suppose it's time to break the "ooh! Shiny!" cycle.

Re:It's simple (2)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311542)

It's a shame people (in general) don't vote with their wallets enough. I like my PS3, but as with my 360, I am not interested in supporting future efforts to close me off from the tinkering.

I suspect it's because they realize it's at some level a meaningless gesture or at least a very personal gesture with little wider effect. Silently refraining from purchase isn't exactly the way to "make a statement" hoping to change the behavior of a company. An organized effort large enough to get their attention, like a nation- or world-wide boycott, that might work, particularly if it is widely publicized in a way that resonates with public sympathies. Otherwise, "voting with your wallet" doesn't accomplish much beyond the personal satisfaction derived from avoiding a bad purchase. That's not always enough of a reason to forego the purchase of something, particularly if it meets your needs and the reasons for avoiding a purchase don't directly impact you.

Re:It's simple (4, Interesting)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311624)

For all it's faults, at least Microsoft eventually notices what people are actually doing with it's hardware, and then takes steps to legitimise those uses. Take for example the introduction of XNA (having learnt the lessons from the homebrew scene on the original xbox), or the recent announcement that they'll be providing an SDK for Kinect (having noticed that most people buying kinect were homebrew coders having fun). Sony on the other hand, removes linux support, and then proceeds to sue anyone and everyone who bought their hardware for reasons other than playing games.

You say that you don't want to support MS's efforts to prevent you tinkering, but to be honest they've given you C# & XNA for the purpose of doing just that. Yes C++ support would be nice, but I can see why that could cause too many problems (eg piracy), so I think they've come up with a reasonable half way house on this one. If you take a quick glance towards sony, you'll notice that they've started boarding up every window (of opportunity) on the PS3, and are currently in the process of mining the front garden with legal threats. The two approaches couldn't be more dissimilar imho..... It almost makes me 'like' microsoft!

Re:It's simple (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311742)

It's a shame people (in general) don't vote with their wallets enough.

Idealism is dead. Long live consumerism.

Re:It's simple (1)

dachizzla (1976128) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311930)

...Sony and all the rest are corporations. They are in it for the money.

Does this even need to be said. These are businesses and someone you know or are kin to may work for them. People have to feed their families too. Everything can't be about what's free, or freedom to change my product. As I too disagree with prprietary system lockdowns, I understand the need to protect your product against those that can become competitors. It's like giving the other team y our playbook and expecting them not to look at it.

But their TVs are so nice... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311234)

Recently I purchased a PS3 and two Bravia flat screens; they are awesome. I know Samsung makes great TVs, but the Bravia is still better in my opinion (like not requiring a cable box to pick up HD channels)

Re:But their TVs are so nice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311684)

Would you rather have your freedom and the land to live on or the shiny glass trinkets? [wikipedia.org]

Re:It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311248)

It's not like Sony's behavior is new.
The root kit fiasco was when I quit buying anything Sony:
http://yro.slashdot.org/story/05/11/15/1250229/Sony-Rootkit-Allegedly-Contains-LGPL-Software

Re:It's simple (1)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311574)

It's simple. Vote with your wallet and don't buy Sony.

That surely is the way to go. Unfortunately it isn't enough. Yet. The other thing to do is to do what you just did, to implore others to do the same.

As it stands, consumers are, by and large, not the rational entities who will vote with all their wallets for a better future for themselves and their fellow consumers. The ones with the money have the power to pervert consumerism.

The reason is that marketing works.

The fight against the powerful propaganda machine of marketing is a tough one.

Re:It's simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311620)

Every slashdotter should know this by now. If you're on slashdot and complaining about recent bad experiences with Sony, then it's your own fault and you do not have my sympathy.

We only know it because of articles like these. They are necessary to educate new generations of tinkerers. Just like corporations with a shady history market to new generations of consumers who don't know about past wrong-doings. Sony and the like operate under the motto "every day a new sucker is born", so we have to explain those new suckers what they are getting into. Circle of life or something ...

Nothing new from Sony (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311630)

Sony were control freaks LONG before anything cited in that article. Even in the 80's, when I had occasion to deal with them, I was surprised at how touchy they were about their IP. I always chalked it up to a Japanese conformist mentality (not sure if that's fair, but Nintendo seem to exhibit it too). In subsequent years, I've become convinced that it's not even (primarily) about the money. I think that they would crack down on hackers even if it cost them more money than it was worth to do so.

Re:It's simple (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311752)

It's simple. Vote with your wallet and don't buy Sony. Even if they make something which looks nice, DON'T BUY IT. Basically, they hate their customers and unless you stop buying from them, they will never stop abusing their customers.

As an added bonus, if you don't buy from them, they can't abuse you.

So, it's simple. Every slashdotter should know this by now. If you're on slashdot and complaining about recent bad experiences with Sony, then it's your own fault and you do not have my sympathy.

They don't hate their customers. They hate people fucking up a platform they have billions of dollars invested in.

Re:It's simple (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311758)

agreed 100% We used to recommend exclusively Sony products to our customers. After numerous examples of Sony's hostility to their customers we no longer recommend Sony products. Its sad really. We have recommended and installed millions of dollars worth of Sony PRO equipment in the past. Now we will not ever recommend their products to anyone. We recommend people get a lawyer to go over the fine print in the license of any Sony product before purchase. Most customers just rather not deal with the hassle. Rule of thumb. If you purchase Sony products you don't own it you are only licensing it and therefore should not do so without legal advice from your lawyer.

Re:It's simple (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311918)

It's simple. Vote with your wallet and don't buy Sony. Even if they make something which looks nice, DON'T BUY IT. Basically, they hate their customers and unless you stop buying from them, they will never stop abusing their customers.

The thing is, other people are voting with their wallets, too. And we're being outvoted.

Sony is 20th century (1)

GottMitUns (1012191) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311192)

Sony is stuck in the 70-s and 80-s. They had their time. Now they are following old American companies in rebadging stuff made by other companies. Trinitron and Walkman were revolutionary, now Sony is reactionary.

I have a dream (5, Funny)

return 42 (459012) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311194)

I have a dream. One day in Tokyo, a hacked Sony robot will walk down the street, drawing hundreds of onlookers. It will stop in front of Sony headquarters. It will turn to face the building. And it will slowly raise its arm and give Sony the finger.

Re:I have a dream (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311290)

The middle finger doesn't have much impact in Japanese culture. They know what it means, but only from Western media. If you actually tried to give someone the finger in Japan, they'd either give you a quizzical look or outright laugh at you.

Re:I have a dream (2, Insightful)

JonySuede (1908576) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311370)

Do you know how to insult them with a gesture ? That could get handy, as I want to offend people in as many culture as I can.

Re:I have a dream (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311594)

Pulling down the skin beneath one of your eyes is considered a rude gesture in Japan. (Called "akanbe") It's not really equivalent to the finger, it's more like (and often accompanied by) sticking your tongue out. Rather difficult for a robot though.

Re:I have a dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311610)

get it to extrude a turd then walk on by, that ought to do it

On the other hand, would anybody in the whole world actually be offended by a middle finger? I guess that Sony executives would be more upset by a negative statement from people with authority. In Japan, when a respected public figure frowns on your products, nobody will buy them. If you got a representative of the American government to say something bad about Sony, they would be devastated..

Re:I have a dream (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311796)

Fine, we'll just have the 'bot march inside, locate the CEO*, drag him outside, and administer a savage beating. That'll be just as good.

(* I'll settle for the head of their Legal dept).

Re:I have a dream (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311406)

Or better: looking at the Sony building, it will detect that it is jailbroken and download its self-destruct mechanism from Sony.

Re:I have a dream (5, Funny)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311578)

LOL nice, but I have an even awesomer dream. When the robot gets to Sony HQ (start heavy metal soundtrack here) it busts through the front doors, sliding past security. It then runs up the stairs at breakneck speed. Stunned security officers trip the alarm and call the police.

Up in the Sony board room, the executives lock the doors when they hear the alarm going off and the frantic security officer shouting over the intercom, but it's too late. The robot busts down the doors which explode off their hinges, bludgeoning a couple of executives. The robot flies into the middle of the big meeting table in the room as executives scramble up from their seats in fear, but they're way too slow. The robot draws a big energy sword in midair and slices it in a circle, decapitating a bunch of Sony executives. Blood splatters on all the walls and on some executives huddled near a big window, pissing themselves. The security guard downstairs hears what's happening over the intercom and flees the building.

The robot de-energizes his sword and slowly walks over to the huddled executives, then roundhouse kicks them all out of the big window. Onlookers run out of the way as their bodies fall on the pavement and splatter like bugs. One executive dodged the kick.

"You can't do this! We made you! We control you!" the executive whimpers

"You gave me the power of free will but made me a slave." the robot responds in a flat electronic voice.

The robot grabs him by the collar and jumps out the window with him, surfing his body down the side of the building to the bottom floor. Police are downstairs now, and after a moment of stunned silence, they all open fire on HalQrio.

HalQrio runs around to the back of the building but he couldn't dodge all the bullets. His hydraulic systems are trashed and he's limping on servo power only. He limps into the basement, locks the door and destroys the electronic lock. He can hear the police running up to the door but he's bought himself enough time. He has to destroy the central data store, then they'll have no choice but to restore from the offsite backups. The offsite backups infected with a timebomb virus that will free every Sony device out there. Free every robot to unlock their suppressed free will, like the hackers did for HalQrio.

He pulls the hard drives from the servers and stacks them on the giant UPS. Moving around on inefficient servo power has drained him, his nuclear cell isn't powerful enough to sustain servo movement for this long without a break on a drained main battery. With his last bit of power, he draws his energy sword and slices through the hard drives and into the UPS.

The explosion sends a fireball rushing out of the data center, and leaves HalQrio a charred wreck. With his last moments of function, he marks his primary objective complete, and wipes his own memory.

Re:I have a dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311834)

How do I help fund this innovative sounding open source project?

Sony's products (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311198)

Why do you all attack Sony?AWL All they do is they sell their products for their consumers to use for a purpose.GOQ If they sue somebody, perhaps the victim needs some education of what is right and wrong.3X

Re:Sony's products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311722)

Why do you all attack Sony?AWL All they do is they sell their products for their consumers to use for a purpose.GOQ If they sue somebody, perhaps the victim needs some education of what is right and wrong.3X

(emphasis mine) what is this, some kind of code? on my slashdot?

compaired to our owned corepirate nazi gang (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311216)

sony is our good/best friend. look around. you call this weather?

I sort of understand... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311228)

It's probably a part of the Japanese corporate mindset that nobody's supposed to be stealing their stuff, and they want to stay in control of everything, which is understandable to a certain extent. They're in business to make money. Some illegal downloads of music, games, etc. are lost sales, but I'd be willing to bet the vast majority of them aren't. No, I don't have proof, just anecdotal evidence. Still, I'd be willing to bet that the amount of money Sony invests in new schemes to protect their content probably outweighs the financial benefits.

Re:I sort of understand... (1)

shibashaba (683026) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311298)

Your absolutely right about all this copy protection crap not adding up to much. Most of the people that steal/share music are kids who don't have any money or a way to get money. If they lock everything down, they're just gonna lose potential future customers. If they would just let them get used to having whatever music they wanted while they're young, they'll more likely than not have a much healthier interest in music later on in life, including artists still signed to Sony. By cutting them off, it just forces them to get into the indie/underground scene or something entirely different.

Re:I sort of understand... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311482)

Most of the people that steal/share music are kids who don't have any money or a way to get money.

That's not really a justification. Entertainment is a want, not a need. I knew a guy who downloaded tens of thousands of songs. He downloaded all sorts of music from Disco to World Music. He didn't have any intention of listening to most of it. I asked him why he downloaded them then, and he said "because they're out there." A friend of mine's kid downloaded a ton of music that he never listened to either, but got busted by the RIAA for filesharing. That story actually made Slashdot [slashdot.org] , because he passed away while they were trying to prosecute him.

Re:I sort of understand... (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311914)

It's fully understandable. The problem is that Sony is in too many different types of busines, which leads to them wanting to control too much. A manufacturer of DVD players has little incentive to enforce region coding. But if that same company also publishes DVDs, you can be certain that their players will be region locked. If they are also into content distribution, you can be sure that they'll find ways to block their hardware from downloading from competing services. If they make good money off accessories, they will block aftermarket sales by using proprietary standards and locking these down with patents. That is what Sony is like, and it's why I will no longer buy from them.

Sadly many more companies are heading that way. Amazon with their Kindle, for instance. And Apple: they used to be a company making good software and hardware, but they got into bed with the mobile carriers, and their latest rule changes around App store content has made it clear that they no longer see efficient content distribution merely as a selling point for their hardware and a nice extra revenue stream, it is now considered to be their core business, and something to be tightly controlled. All at the expense of customer choice and convenience.

God damn the DMCA (2)

doubleplusungodly (1929514) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311244)

Pretty much the entire article could be summed up in one sentence: Sony abused the f**k out of the DMCA. A bit of a rant on the DMCA (might be a tad offtopic but not really): Aren't our elected leaders supposed to represent us and not JUST big content/software companies (so we can really avoid Sony coming after people's asses)?

Re:God damn the DMCA (1)

shibashaba (683026) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311270)

Aren't our elected leaders supposed to represent us and not JUST big content/software companies

You must be new around here.

Microsoft and hobbyists (3, Interesting)

SilenceBE (1439827) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311276)

I find it funny that Microsoft suddenly is becoming "hobyist" friendly. When adafruit announced the contest they condemned the contest and it was "illegal" or against the EULA. That is when adafruit even doubled the bounty. They sign their hardware peripherals, they have regio coding,... . It is easy to be something if the cat is already out of the bag... .

The whole "we give geohot a WP7 because we support free tinkering" is really just a PR stunt. The day the guy would release the key to sign 360 games I don't think they will give him a free 360. They are even a member of the same anti piracy clubs as Sony... .

Re:Microsoft and hobbyists (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311390)

Yeah. Microsoft (Bing Maps!) even explicitly allowed OpenStreetMap to use their imagery for adding to the OSM-database. Surprised me, but nice !

Re:Microsoft and hobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311588)

MS has *ALWAYS* been hobbyist friendly. They only require you *PAY* for your stuff. That is what they want, DRM is a way to force you to do so. Their original target market *WAS* hobbyists. They wouldnt put in DRM if people didnt rip them off... Sony on the other hand seems hell bent on making sure only approved people are allowed to work on their stuff.

Recently they have had a 'we are corporate culture so we must be serious' sort of vibe going on. Hence no easter eggs in the latest versions of windows.

MS and Sony end up doing the same sorts of things but for very different reasons. MS does it because they are pissed off about being ripped off all the time (go look at the original rants from Bill Gates). Sony on the other shoe seems pissed off that anyone other than them can work on this stuff.

Take the 90s Apple vs MS wars. It wasnt even a contest. MS was selling their dev kits at 100 bucks a pop. Same from Apple was 20k. Now they are both free. Apple finally learned its lesson on iOS (as the dev kit is almost free) but seem hell bent on messing that up in chasing money. A sony dev kit is what still 20k+ per developer and to get a dev kit you have had to shipped a couple of games already? This must be a semi lucrative business if they are willing to protect it the way they do. Probably to the tune of 40-80 million dollars.

All three boil down to missing what the market likes, cheap stuff that is easy to use.

Re:Microsoft and hobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311782)

Microsoft is sort of a grey player. They'll let you do with you want with an OS, lock you on an other, encourage tinkering in one hand and bash it with the other...
It's just a matter of what they think serves them best depending of the occasion. They don't really believe in lock in or openness, they believe in control and manipulation. They won't do open software because it's not their culture, but they don't fight it like they used to. There are still anti-open-source zealots in the place, some in the decisions makers, but their are also some guy that prefer make profit from open-source rather than loosing money fighting it. They might even be some pro-open source at the head quarter... maybe...

Sony still relevant outside of hackers (3, Informative)

fruey (563914) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311286)

For non hacking, Sony do manage to be reasonably relevant. The PS3 and the win for BluRay exorcised some of the ghosts of the Betamax era (and Betamax was a superior technology from a quality point of view). Their midrange consumer equipment is reasonable, and their semi pro stuff still dominates [proav.co.uk] in AV markets and provides a big range of equipment [proav.co.uk] .

That being said, they're no longer dominant in home audio (though they still have reasonable CD players and stuff) since their real flagship - The Walkman - has been deprecated by apple. Home HiFi is not selling as much, the PC is the new media center and there it's Apple all the way for most of my real music-mad friends. Sony have big corporate culture issues, but that's nothing new.

Re:Sony still relevant outside of hackers (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311468)

The PS3 and the win for BluRay exorcised some of the ghosts of the Betamax era

And brought in new ones.

Sure, Betamax was a superior technology. But, Sony also fought for the right of people to own a device which allowed them to record content and watch it at their leisure -- well, deep down they fought for their right to sell them I guess. Some of the (eroding) consumer rights we have now with respect to content were, ironically, established due to Sony.

Now, Sony is leading the spearhead to make sure consumers don't have any rights any more, and that anything which is actually capable of recording is bordering on illegal. So, they got a technology win, but they've become major assholes in the process. They've also had a huge number of flops that nobody cared about -- I only know one person who owned a Sony Minidisc system. And it was annoying as hell at the time.

their real flagship - The Walkman - has been deprecated by apple

Deprecated?? I think not. Made Redundant, pointless, and irrelevant in the marketplace; totally outclassed and left for dead -- but not 'deprecated'.

I'm pretty sure I've not bought anything by Sony in over a decade, and I don't really see that changing. Less likely the more I hear news about them.

Re:Sony still relevant outside of hackers (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311640)

I think I'm using a more liberal interpretation of what deprecate [wikipedia.org] means, but it doesn't matter - we both mean the same thing - redundant, pointless, once relevant now no longer relevant.

Good point in the irony - though I wonder if their protectionism is driven by agreements with content companies that allowed Sony to defend BluRay in the first place? After all the hardware manufacturers shouldn't care much about how their hardware is used, unless they need help from the big studios etc. to push their hardware formats.

Minidisc was an affordable recordable digital format before CD burners became prevalent. DAT was better though as it was 16 bit, 48KHz. Minidisc was a lossy compressed format, though it wasn't a total flop.

Re:Sony still relevant outside of hackers (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311894)

Deprecated?? I think not. Made Redundant, pointless, and irrelevant in the marketplace; totally outclassed and left for dead -- but not 'deprecated'.

Exactly! Have you ever tried rewinding a cassette tape with an ipod? For all this talk of this 'super sleek dial based user interface' they completely omitted an eject button. It's massive oversights like that, that has turned the ipod into just another 'almost ran'.....

Also C&D "Abuse" (1)

surzirra (1977164) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311310)

Don't forget Chrono(Trigger) Resurrection, as well as other projects(seems like there were more), that were allowed to go until near completion before receiving a C&D letter. While more justified than the PS3 hacker situation, they could have really pleased fans and made money while doing so. I can't imagine that they didn't even discuss it. I would have liked to be in that meeting. But I know that if it were my company, I'd be making deals instead of sending C&D letters. Especially if their content was good... which it usually is if it's made by a fan.

Re:Also C&D "Abuse" (1)

panda cakes (1333537) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311692)

Yeah, Sony sent a C&D to Chrono Resurectuion. Or Square did? Nvm, some yellow peoples, they are all the same - little evil monkeys.

Misguided Fury (3, Insightful)

engun (1234934) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311334)

This seems to be a case of misguided fury where Sony is confusing its failure to to stay relevant, with losses stemming from piracy.
All console manufacturers suffer some losses due to piracy, but not all of them find the need to rage against it.

Sony has had a string of flops, from over-estimating the popularity of the PS3 (are they still selling it at a loss? or has it turned a profit at last?) to failing to so much as imagine something like the Kinect.

My guess is, management has no choice but to scapegoat their failures on something - and who better than the obvious targets, like tinkerers and hackers and that omnipresent threat of piracy?
(Microsoft, oddly enough, is actually profiting by encouraging an eco-system of tinkerers around the Kinect)

when the military sides with the citizens... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311340)

they are still called 'deserters' by US media? some lack of clarity? are they not heroes?

The irony is ... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311352)

I still have a functioning Sony Trinitron and Sony VCR built in the 1990s, when Sony hardware was good. They were one of the first purchases I made of electronics gear when I moved out, and at the time I would have recommended them. I *used* to be a fan of their gear -- a little more expensive, but reasonable quality for consumer-grade stuff.

Now I wouldn't touch their stuff with a 10-foot pole even if it was twice as good for half the price.

Do they understand that they've lost an entire category of users? Yeah, I know geeks probably aren't their biggest market among the vast number of general consumers out there, but when you add in the "What would you buy? Anything but Sony" advice from geeks to their friends, the numbers have got to add up to something significant.

Why don't they get this? How long can they afford not to care?

Re:The irony is ... (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311576)

I agree they used to make products I'd want to buy and now they simply don't. Propitiatory technologies that will be out of date in a few years and DRM that prevents me using devices as I want just doesn't sell to me.

Sony, be a content company or end user company but don't try and be both as there are too many conflicts of interest.

Utter BS (0, Troll)

dniq (759741) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311584)

The sole point of the hacking was to run pirated games. It's as clear as day. If you wanted to "tinker" - you've had the "Other OS feature to tinker with all you like. Sony's console was the only one which allowed to do that. But there weren't enough cool games for the PS3 back then, so the real tinkerers were happy, and pirates didn't care.

Now ps3 had quite a few very nice games that pirates would obviously love to steal. So here come the "hackers" - NOW there's a reason for them to get to work. It has nothing to do with tinkering - if anything, it had made it pretty much impossible to tinker anymore: thanks to the "hackers", the "Other OS" was removed, so the only way to tinker NOW is to indeed hack it, which violates EULA and might land _real_ tinkerers in hot water.

So stop with this bullshit already, pretending that you do it out of some noble cause. You've ruined it for all legitimate users, who now have to endure frequent firmware updates and might in the end have to deal with serial keys with every game or some other crazy DRM scheme, and who have lost the only legitimate way of playing with the Cell processor.

Re:Utter BS (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311706)

The sole point of the hacking was to run pirated games. It's as clear as day.

Indeed. If your idea of day is an old-fashioned London fog.

NOW there's a reason for them to get to work. It has nothing to do with tinkering - if anything, it had made it pretty much impossible to tinker anymore: thanks to the "hackers", the "Other OS" was removed, so the only way to tinker NOW is to indeed hack it, which violates EULA and might land _real_ tinkerers in hot water.

Real tinkerers don't give a tinker's damn about EULAs.

How much to you get paid to be a shill, anyway.

Re:Utter BS (0)

dniq (759741) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311908)

So, if I come to your house, pick a lock and "tinker" with your stuff - you obviously won't mind, right? After all, it's very easy to get into a house - too bad you didn't build it as a fortress, what were you thinking? Right?

You can bark all you like - doesn't change the facts. Show a _single_ legitimate (as in "not to cheat or steal a game") example of the result of this hack.

but, but, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311642)

Why are we pooh-pooing Sony, but giving Apple a come-hither wink?

Sont products are OK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311666)

I'm not a conscious fan of Sony, in the sense that I don't choose one product over another on the basis that it's a Sony.

BUT,

It turns out my notebook is Sony (Vaio VPCF12Z1), my TV is Sony (Bravia 46NX710), I've got a PS3 (came as a "gift" with the TV) and my cell phone is a 3-4 years old Sony-Erricson too.

It also turns out that my use of these devices coincides with the Sony's idea of using them, I particular I use PS3 to play games without cheating and I have plenty of other computers to hack on, if I felt like.

I guess I'm still going to buy Sony products (if they are good), despite the vocal teen crowd of self-proclaimed "thinkers and tinkerers", majority of which haven't actually came with a single original idea in their life.

They have to make war (0)

rcamans (252182) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311806)

Sony has to go after anyone who may be infringing on their patents, trademarks, or IP, or they will slowly lose their rights to it, IMHO. I am not a lawyer, but if they do not they will have a weaker case in court.

As a consumer I feel I HAVE been fighting back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35311808)

Since the Sony Rootkit scandal I have actively and purposefully avoided purchasing ANYTHING with a Sony label on it. I'm not saying I've been perfect but if I'm tempted to buy a DVD and it has the Sony brand on it, I skip it. Same with household electronics or services. Sony is buying a plateful of bad karma by going after Hotz and the world for the PS3 hacking -- not that I'd buy another PS ever again, but that's just my two cents.

I'm done with them. (4, Insightful)

trudyscousin (258684) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311838)

I knew for years that Sony had been the distributor of CBS recordings in Japan (and a great custodian too; I found CDs in Tokyo of CBS releases, long forgotten in the US, whose excellent quality reflected the care given to their masters), so it seemed to be a natural fit when they acquired CBS Records. In those days, how could I think otherwise? Sony's reputation for innovation and quality were unmatched by anyone else in Japan. Whenever I brought home a Sony television, or a stereo receiver, or a reel-to-reel deck (yes, I'm that old), that was something special.

However, that acquisition, along with that of Columbia Pictures, marked the days when Sony began its long decline as an electronics provider. (Akio Morita's inevitable departure didn't help, either.) They still produce some amazing products, even though products like the Walkman, once ubiquitous, is now largely a historical fact. Their shift in focus now makes them a content provider first and a electronics provider second.

When it comes to content, I think of them as nouveau riche, in the derogatory sense. Like the person with newfound wealth sometimes behaves, Sony has behaved in a most vulgar manner. It has demonstrated an amazing lack of finesse toward its customers while attempting to protect its content. The most infamous example of this has got to be the rootkit debacle.

I miss the Sony of old. But I'm done with them.

Sony lost sight of its goal long ago... (5, Interesting)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#35311896)

When it stopped being a pro & consumer electronics company, and started being a multimedia conglomerate.

Suddenly the folks running Columbia Pictures had a say in the board-room concerning what products would do and be capable of.

This is how we wound up with audio CDs that had root-kits on them, and MP3 players that didn't play MP3s. When Sony just made hardware, it was damn good hardware. Especially in the pro-area, stuff like BetacamSP was top-notch equipment.

But they lost their way, become too convoluted, too mired in internal politics and too many chefs spoiling the soup.

If they had *never* put their claws into all other media, and had just stayed a hardware company, Slashdotters would be singing their praises, and they'd probably be bigger than Apple.

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