Sony Breaks Out the Lawyers Over PS3 Hacks

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Sony Breaks Out the Lawyers Over PS3 Hacks

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It appears that cracking the PS3 is about six different shades of illegal, and Sony isn't going to stand for it for a moment longer.

Sony isn't just using technological tools to fight piracy; it's also getting litigious. Following the circumvention of pretty much every security measure the PS3 had - culminating in the root key for the console appearing online - Sony has sued George "GeoHot" Hotz and the Fail0verflow hacker group.

Sony's core complaint is what you'd expect: That Hotz and Fail0verflow's actions are illegal and have done significant harm to the company. Sony has grouped all the defendants together, alleging that they used elements of each other's work in order to crack the PS3, as well as working directly in concert. According to documents filed with the court, the defendants have, among other complaints, violated the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and contributed to copyright infringement.

Sony is seeking an injunction against the defendants, which would prohibit them from cracking the PS3 and from distributing any software or other materials that might enable others to do it. Not only that, Sony wants anything used in the cracking of the console - things like computer hardware, hard drives, and even the code the defendants used - impounded and destroyed. Finally, Sony wants any money that the defendants have made through the cracking of the PS3, or distributing cracked firmware or similar materials.

To this layman's eyes, Sony's case seems pretty solid, but even if the company is successful in securing an injunction against Hotz and Fail0verflow, it's unlikely to put a major dent in PS3 piracy. The defendants may have gained some notoriety over the last few weeks, but they are hardly the only people working on cracking the PS3. Until Sony fixes the security problems with the console - which it claims it is able to do - it's going to have a piracy problem on its hands, and lawsuits aren't going to stop it.

Source: Gizmodo

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*sigh* I wonder if KB will be doing an "Anti-Piracy" ad...

I can't say I blame Sony for filing a lawsuit. It's piracy, the guys at Failoverflow can't pretend they didn't know they were breaking a rule somewhere.

Sony brought this on themselves. When they removed OtherOS once GeoHot figured out how to run unsigned code, he basically said "Right, you want to play it that way? I'm game."

Yes it's entirely possible that he would've continued hacking it anyway, but it certainly seemed he had no intention of doing what he has now done. Still, time will tell who wins this battle.

EDIT: Thought I better add that I neither condone nor condemn GeoHot and Fail0verflow before I get accused of supporting piracy.

I don't like what Failoverflow are during since it helps piracy, but I hate that you are not legally able to do it. Whatever you want to do with a product that is legally bought, should not be up to other the decide.

they AREN'T suing for damages? I thought that practically standard in these sort of cases - you know 'this hack allows [projected number taken from the air] people to pirate games and circumvent our software, costing us $[exponentially inflated number] - which we demand from these guys. Now. Everyone who make games for the PS3 will also want to talk to you later - there's an infinite number of claims that they want to make against you!'

Or something...

You have to wonder, eh. Their security system (at least by my somewhat limited knowledge) seems to have been heavily based on the chain of trust. This means that they didn't do a whole lot of work to secure the system from outside hacks, and I would go so far as to postulate it's because they were trying to save some money while writing the security system (especially after seeing the cost for the finalized hardware specs in 2005/2006: Blu-Ray, Cell proc, emotion engine, etc). This becomes more evident when you know that the PSP signing keys were just sitting around in the PS3 firmware (so, instead of implementing the PSP or equivalent security system on the PS3, they just added the keys so it's very basically signed and handed over).

I wonder how much of what they "saved" is going to be pissed away on lawyers. That said, it's Sony after all, I'm sure they have several hundred obscenely paid lawyers on call at all times. I'm sure they'll paint this as "to prevent piracy", so as to justify these completely insane (and surely expensive) actions. Bonus points if they use this in a press conference to imply that the new found openness of their device has, in fact, hurt them.

Suing people won't fix it, Sony. The information's out there, and all you're going to do is prove that the Streisand effect is very real, and very much a consequence of your actions.

Addendum:
This is always mentioned, but didn't removing OtherOS break consumer protection laws in the EU? Didn't Sony classify the PS2 and PS3 as personal computers to skirt around some shipping tax, also in the EU? I sincerely hope they get bitch slapped by the courts, this shit can't stand.

.

Ahhh, I feel better having gotten that out.

Maybe they could provide a legitmate outlet for homebrew and modding groups such as this and use them to the PS3's benefit as a powerful and multi-purposed computing device? I know what they have done really oversteps the line in terms of sony's security BUT i don't think this looks good for the company and i don't think they should dangle a carrot infront of a whole bunch of people and then get pissy when someone bites it. The OtherOS debacle and removal of functionality to a small section of the community it caused has had some pretty heavy unforseen consequences.

Asking a group of tinkering obessives NOT to try and hack your "Un-Hackable" machine is like asking a dog not to chase a ball. It's something you can't really sue out of the community, like an endless game of whack-a-mole they will just keep coming.

The case only looks solid if you don't look too closely. Neither fail0verflow nor GeoHot have ever asked or accepted any kind of money for their work, not even donations. A lot (most?) of the hackers don't live in the USA, and despite what the PSN Terms of Service state, I doubt anyone can be sued under the USA jurisdiction if they bought and used the product in another country. And that's assuming the hackers have even signed up for PSN (thus agreeing to the terms), which is not likely.

And, since none of them have ever endorsed piracy, and never even released the secret Sony encryption keys (they did, however, point out the vulnerability, which others then used to find the keys) that are the the root of the piracy problem, I foresee a lot of problems for Sony on this one.

I wonder how long Anonymous will take to DDOS Sony for this...

Scrumpmonkey:
Maybe they could provide a legitmate outlet for homebrew and modding groups such as this and use them to the PS3's benefit as a powerful and multi-purposed computing device?

Yeah... if only there had been some way for homebrew developers to install their own software on the PS3, something like a separate partition on the HDD for Linux or some other OS... Oh, wait. :P

While there is no justification for piracy (like the PS3break dogles), fail0verflow only became active after OtherOS was removed, and only because they wanted to bring it back. OtherOS was the best anti-hacking security protection Sony ever devised. Once it was gone, the consequences were predictably inevitable.

Well.....that didn't take long.

Modus Operandi:
The case only looks solid if you don't look too closely. Neither fail0verflow nor GeoHot have ever asked or accepted any kind of money for their work, not even donations. A lot (most?) of the hackers don't live in the USA, and despite what the PSN Terms of Service state, I doubt anyone can be sued under the USA jurisdiction if they bought and used the product in another country. And that's assuming the hackers have even signed up for PSN (thus agreeing to the terms), which is not likely.

And, since none of them have ever endorsed piracy, and never even released the secret Sony encryption keys (they did, however, point out the vulnerability, which others then used to find the keys) that are the the root of the piracy problem, I foresee a lot of problems for Sony on this one.

God I don't know what Sony were thinking when they hired expensive lawyers they should have just asked some guy off an internet forum. They not stupid and they aren't going to waste large amounts of money on a case that they don't stand a chance of wining. Just because someone publicly didn't profit from illegal behaviour that doesn't mean they didn't privately do so. After all most criminals don't publish their illegal actions online.

Modus Operandi:

Scrumpmonkey:
Maybe they could provide a legitmate outlet for homebrew and modding groups such as this and use them to the PS3's benefit as a powerful and multi-purposed computing device?

Yeah... if only there had been some way for homebrew developers to install their own software on the PS3, something like a separate partition on the HDD for Linux or some other OS... Oh, wait. :P

While there is no justification for piracy (like the PS3break dogles), fail0verflow only became active after OtherOS was removed, and only because they wanted to bring it back. OtherOS was the best anti-hacking security protection Sony ever devised. Once it was gone, the consequences were predictably inevitable.

That's kinda what i said in the rest of my post, look i even mention "Other OS" and "Unforseen Consequences" : P

I think the point is not that they HAD other OS it's that they had it then took it away. Getting people used to a more open PS3 then pissing those same tinkers off by going "Woops did we say other OS? we meant FUCK YOU". Also their security systems on the PS3 have been shown to flat out suck, the contempt from the hacking groups once they found out how inadiquate the security could be must have been a real stinger for Sony.

When I read this I just imagined "Announcing the PS4, with paper thin security that an 8 year old could hack. Printed on the paper is the following: if you break this security, we'll sue you for damages. Don't like it, tough luck - we've got money/lawyers".

Fair enough that Sony want to blame someone for breaking their security, but taking such an aggressive action isn't going to deter hackers/piracy, it's only going to encourage it.

Hopefully someday companies will figuring that intentionally removing functionality from your product is not a good long-term business strategy.

killamanhunter:
I wonder how long Anonymous will take to DDOS Sony for this...

Probably about as long as it took for them to take down Scientology.

*spits out coffee*

Wait, you mean they have done that yet?! What has that little internet clubhouse been up to? Taking down a server for an hour or so? This is sad...

OT: Breaking out the lawyers is an expected move. Granted, they had this coming when they started bragging about how it was practically uncrackable. Not condoning any type of a crime, but you don't go past the bear den singing loudly and not expect to wake something up. And the more they blow something like this out of proportion, the worse it will get.

linwolf:
I don't like what Failoverflow are during since it helps piracy, but I hate that you are not legally able to do it. Whatever you want to do with a product that is legally bought, should not be up to other the decide.

Here here to once I own the product I own the product so it's mine to do as I please. If I choose to "mod" it with a hammer that's my choice. Can you imagine Honda coming after everyone who has put a performance chip in their car to bypass the original fuel injection mappings that the Honda engineers put in their on board computers? I think not. It's what you do after you make the mod that's the problem. Pirating software or in the Honda's case street racing. Not everyone who mods their Honda is going to street race, but if they do and kill someone, who is at fault the street racer or the manufacturer of the chip?

Sue them...Of course. That's the answer to everything nowadays!

I figured they'd do the smart thing and work with them, but no...

WIll it go very far?
I dunno. Look at how a US court said it was legal recently to jailbreak the iPhone. Technically, isnt this what the Fail0verflow team were doing? Trying to circumvent the security measures in order to install their own software etc?

My guess, sony has no legal leg to stand on. Intends to scare cooperation out of the groups with dudes in suites.

When i readt the title the first thing i taught of was ''Release the hounds!!!'' followed by the earth trembling with thousands of lawyers.

In actuality, the fact that Sony is suing riles me up, but what really pisses me off is that I know they can get away with it and win the lawsuit. Sony wants to play rough, I'm game. I'd love to go help those nice people at fail0verflow's side.

albino boo:

Modus Operandi:
The case only looks solid if you don't look too closely. Neither fail0verflow nor GeoHot have ever asked or accepted any kind of money for their work, not even donations. A lot (most?) of the hackers don't live in the USA, and despite what the PSN Terms of Service state, I doubt anyone can be sued under the USA jurisdiction if they bought and used the product in another country. And that's assuming the hackers have even signed up for PSN (thus agreeing to the terms), which is not likely.

And, since none of them have ever endorsed piracy, and never even released the secret Sony encryption keys (they did, however, point out the vulnerability, which others then used to find the keys) that are the the root of the piracy problem, I foresee a lot of problems for Sony on this one.

God I don't know what Sony were thinking when they hired expensive lawyers they should have just asked some guy off an internet forum. They not stupid and they aren't going to waste large amounts of money on a case that they don't stand a chance of wining. Just because someone publicly didn't profit from illegal behaviour that doesn't mean they didn't privately do so. After all most criminals don't publish their illegal actions online.

That was uncalled for. He has a fine point there. This case is kinda flimsy, but you are right in your premise. Sadly the fact is the law supports it, no matter how much you try to say it's been twisted or it's not right, that's the law.

ok, im glad that geohot worked on this and got it, he may have been in the wrong for this but sony has been too.
the limitations of the ps3 is one of the reasons i only own a 360 and am developing for it. maybe sony will be more open minded next time.

oh and yay buttons

I can't help but imagine that this lawsuit will probably fall flat on its face.

To all those that argue "I bought it I should be able to do what I want with it" I have a question for you. If I hacked my console/game in order to cheat online why should I be punished for it? After all it is my game, my console so why can't I just hack it in order to give myself an edge online.

albino boo:

Modus Operandi:
snip

God I don't know what Sony were thinking when they hired expensive lawyers they should have just asked some guy off an internet forum. They not stupid and they aren't going to waste large amounts of money on a case that they don't stand a chance of wining. Just because someone publicly didn't profit from illegal behaviour that doesn't mean they didn't privately do so. After all most criminals don't publish their illegal actions online.

So whoever has the high-paid lawyers is always right? I know that's how the legal system often sees it but I'm amazed it's public opinion now.

deltabrain:
To all those that argue "I bought it I should be able to do what I want with it" I have a question for you. If I hacked my console/game in order to cheat online why should I be punished for it? After all it is my game, my console so why can't I just hack it in order to give myself an edge online.

Cheaters should be banned from participating in the online services offered. And that's what happens. They shouldn't be sued.

OT:It was expected but not this soon xD..
---
Off Topic...
more on the PS3 Piracy Scene

There is nothing they can do. Nothing at all. In the end hackers always win. I'm so glad this happened because of all that "piracy killed PC gaming" bullshit. Now every system is hackable.

deltabrain:
To all those that argue "I bought it I should be able to do what I want with it" I have a question for you. If I hacked my console/game in order to cheat online why should I be punished for it? After all it is my game, my console so why can't I just hack it in order to give myself an edge online.

It should be legal. But remember the online portions of a game are not really yours. You aren't running the server. If the guys running the server (Sony) want to ban you then it's on them and they have every right.

Sony's executives realized they jumped the gun when they said that they could release Firmware updates to fix this in their recent press conferences. After actually speaking to their technical people, they realized that all is lost and all that's left is to sue for damages.

I got a PS3 Slim for Christmas and was disappointed that I couldn't install OtherOS. I did know that going in, but I wasn't about to spend an extra 300$ for a used original PS3.

Sony, you brought all this on yourselves when you removed the "Other OS" option.

Its funny, you say the other OS posed a major security risk, you remove it, then the hackers hack the PS3 because you removed it.

linwolf:
I don't like what Failoverflow are during since it helps piracy, but I hate that you are not legally able to do it. Whatever you want to do with a product that is legally bought, should not be up to other the decide.

But you need to realize that in current age EULA,that we don't buy the product.
we are just leasing it for an indefinite time.

ie they can do whatever they want whenever they want :)

So much for consumer is king motto xD..

Logan Westbrook:
Until Sony fixes the security problems with the console - which it claims it is able to do - it's going to have a piracy problem on its hands, and lawsuits aren't going to stop it.

To me this says that they cannot fix it.

Go get them, Sony.

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