from the of-course-they'd-do-that dept
So, of course, Sony Pictures had to issue a takedown on the YouTube clip. Because, apparently, no one is allowed to have any fun until they pay Sony.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 18th 2013 12:50pm
Wed, Jun 12th 2013 5:02am
It has been no secret that Microsoft's handling of the launch of their Xbox One console has been controversial at best and a complete debacle at worst. As rumors of mandatory internet connections and fees for playing used games made the unsteady transition to reality, dedicated fans of other consoles mobilized to make sure their voices were heard. Most substantial was the fanbase of the Sony Playstation, who made their wishes for a more traditional and open PS4 known. I had mentioned in that post that Sony in particular had a real opportunity on their hands, assuming they were willing to both stick up for their customers and take the issues against Microsoft head-on.
Well, to some extent, that's exactly what they did at this year's E3 convention, going out of their way to point out all the ways in which they are not doing things the Xbox-way.
During their Electronic Entertainment Expo press event, Sony Computer Entertainment of America president and CEO Jack Tretton says its PS4 will not restrict used games, nor will it require an online connection.Now, to be sure, this isn't a completely unambiguous stance in favor of its customers, but credit Sony for doing what many of our commenters thought they wouldn't: seeing an opportunity in sticking up for customers and running with it. Having said that, there are still many questions surrounding whether or not the Playstation platform will simply be agnostic with used games, leaving that decision instead up to the game developers and publishers. It might seem a better thing for Sony to simply say they won't allow the kind of used game pocket-picking that MIcrosoft is codifying, but that might be a bit too much to ask. After all, Sony needs developers for their platform, too. Besides, as long as it isn't Sony acting in an anti-consumer way, developers that might wish to be restrictive on used games can be judged on their own individual merits. In other words, we'll actually get to see what the market impact of anti-consumer behavior on used games is.
Tretton specifically noted the PS4 "won't stop working if you haven't authenticated within 24 hours," a jab at the Xbox One and its requirement to perform online checks of consoles.
Wed, May 29th 2013 12:33pm
We recently discussed the somewhat mishandled release announcement for Microsoft's new gaming machine, the Xbox One. While a big part of the problem was a lack of firm answers to gamers' questions, it's clear that something is going to change in how the new Xbox handles used games. The rumors vary, but we know that the used games market that has existed for the past several decades is going to be altered to come under stricter control of Microsoft directly. Reception of this news has been cold, but it isn't just Xbox fans reacting.
No, the ultimate effect of Microsoft's actions may end up being a highly mobilized Playstation fandom and a massive opportunity for Sony if they want to grab it. You see, famousmortimer of the popular gaming message board, NeoGAF, decided to bring the wants of the customer to Sony's attention through a simple Twitter hashtag, #PS4NoDRM.
I can say, for sure, that the past week's PR nightmare for MS has not been lost on Sony and they, in fact, do have a used game 'solution' working and have been going back and forth for months on whether to use it. This past week is pushing them strongly into "Yeah, let's not use that."He then suggests that readers politely tweet several high-ranking Sony executives, indicating that they want a free and open used game market, and including the aforementioned hashtag. While he later went on to say that he didn't expect any of this to become much of a movement, that's exactly what it became. Not only did something like 14,000 tweets with the hashtag go out across Twitter, it has become big enough that even the mainstream press is reporting on it.
The campaign has reached dozens of news sites including NBC News. Even now, people are tweeting messages with the hashtag in hopes of getting Sony's attention.Several Sony executives have replied with encouraging tweets, suggesting that, at the very least, they're seriously listening. And listen they should, because that isn't just the sound of gamers typing on their keyboards ringing over the Twitterverse. It's opportunity. Real opportunity.
"It's much larger than I ever imagined," Dodd told me this afternoon. "Honestly thought the post would go about 2 pages." As of right now, the NeoGAF thread has 105 pages and 467,690 pageviews.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 28th 2013 9:59am
According to ET News and This Is Game, Sony told the Korean media that it did not want to "hamper" the mobile gaming industry in Korea.That's a fairly enlightened view, actually. It's one that we've suggested in the past, though. Even as it may be frustrating and annoying to have someone copy you, going legal in response often is not the best strategic response. We've urged companies to recognize that fact, and kudos to Sony for holding back on releasing the legal hounds upon realizing the cost-benefit analysis meant it wouldn't be helpful (and would possibly be harmful to the wider community).
A Sony spokesperson is quoted by This Is Game as saying, "We were concerned that any prolonged controversy such as this is not beneficial for both the local and the international mobile game development community. Internally, we decided not to pursue any legal action as long as no additional problems arise. Some may think it's because we've settled with Netmarble already, but we are simply choosing not to pursue legal action in a broader view/sense. This does not mean we have settled with Netmarble."
by Tim Cushing
Fri, Jan 4th 2013 4:28am
A newly published patent application filed by Sony outlines a content protection system that would use small RFID chips embedded on game discs to prevent used games from being played on its systems, all without requiring an online connection. Filed in September and still awaiting approval from the US Patent Office, the patent application for an "electronic content processing system, electronic content processing method, package of electronic content, and use permission apparatus" describes a system "that reliably restricts the use of electronic content dealt in the second-hand markets."As Ars Technica points out, this could double as an anti-piracy device, ruling out off-the-shelf media for copying. In addition, the patent mentions using the RFID tag to "decrypt content" on the disc, which could be used to lock up certain content until its paid for. In theory, this would allow secondhand sales, but allow the publisher to charge purchasers a fee to unlock the full game.
The used-game blocking method described in the patent involves a "radiofrequency tag" and a type of programmable ROM chip that are paired with each game disc and can communicate wirelessly with the game system. The tag and chip can be used to store "unique information" about each console the game has been played on. Thus, when the game is used on a second system, the unique information stored on the disc can be compared to the information stored inside the new hardware, and in turn checked against "use permission" data stored on the EEPROM chip itself. As described in the patent, this "unique information" could be a system identifier or some sort of unique user ID that is somewhat portable between systems.
While this kind of resale-blocking technology would seemingly run afoul of the first sale doctrine codified into US law, legal experts seem unsure about whether that doctrine would be enough to overcome the end-user license agreements common to video game sales. After all, the practice of restricting game resale is already taking root through the wide adoption of digital distribution, which prevents players from reselling downloadable games in almost all cases.If this patent is granted and results in any of the above scenarios, we'll have finally reached the point where physical items are just as ethereal (in terms of rights granted to the purchaser) as the "licenses" currently being sold under the name "ebook," "digital download" and "mp3." This would be great news for overreaching copyright holders, not so much for the rest of the public which is being asked to shell out larger amounts for AAA titles with each console generation.
by Tim Cushing
Thu, Dec 13th 2012 11:57pm
The press release mentions that not all of the Epub ebooks sold by Sony come with the onerous Adobe DE DRM. Some of the ebooks, numbering in the “thousands”, use digital watermarks instead.Rather than inject malignant coding that often fails to distinguish between paying customers and file sharers, these German publishers are opting for digital watermarking, which generally works as well as nastier forms of DRM but without the negative side effects. Booxtream is handling the watermarking for Sony, having proved its worth to publishers by providing this service to one of the biggest ebook storefronts of all time, Pottermore.
Apparently several German publishers have decided to go with this low-hassle security, including Bastei Luebbe Verlag, which publishes novels by Ken Follett, Andreas Eschbach, and Dan Brown (it is not clear that any of these authors’ novels are DRM free).
According to Huub van der Pol, the founder of Booxtream’s parent company iContact, the official release of the Harry Potter ebooks saw a decrease in piracy of the series.As Hoffelder points out, you can't make that same claim about DRM-loaded ebooks. In nearly every case, the DRM is discarded easily by enterprising file sharers, or just as often by consumers, who strip their purchases of this handicap in order to move them to other devices -- or simply to make sure the publisher, bookstore or the DRM itself doesn't suddenly decide to render their purchases unavailable or useless. Some customers may download the pirated version even if they've purchased it, just to have an easily portable version unhampered by DRM. Why punish your paying customers in order to temporarily annoy/entertain infringers?
Once the titles were available legally, and were easy to use, pirates saw little reason to post copies of the ebooks online.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Dec 13th 2012 4:35pm
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Nov 13th 2012 7:30am
When other companies decide to stop supporting something, they don't make older systems useless. Worse, Sony never came out with another DVR in the U.S. market. Why do we have to rent them? How do we get Sony or Rovi to provide at least a software patch to set the clock so the DVR can at least retain 1980s VCR functionality? Sony admits there is no fix. A thread on AVS forums has a bunch of information on TV Guide OnScreen. The TV stations who broadcast the data have been ordered by Rovi to disconnect the data inserters and ship them back.Quite a legacy MacROVIsion has, huh?
Thu, Oct 25th 2012 8:27pm
The PS3 has been hacked before, but Sony was able to inhibit the hack with an update to its own firmware. This is much like the history of jailbreaking on Apple's iOS, where hackers typically uncover a security vulnerability and exploit it, whereupon Apple patches the hole and suppresses the jailbreak.
But the latest PS3 break is being dubbed unpatchable and the final hack. That's because this hack isn't giving you an exploit to use against a programming hole. It's giving you Sony's so-called LV0 (level zero) cryptographic keys.If true, the war is over and Sony lost. Hacker collective, the Three Musketeers, reportedly figured this all out some time ago, but now the LV0 keys have been leaked and it's open season on jailbreaking your PS3 (assuming you're technical enough to implement it). And, while it would be very easy to sit back and comment gleefully on the wonderful spirit of curiosity that propels this kind of work, and to likewise point out the futility of stopping people from tinkering with the products they legally bought, I find a different point more compelling.
Let's hope, when the PS4 comes out, that Sony will give up on trying to lock out jailbreakers permanently, and instead provide a way for those who want to run alternative software to do so in official safety.
When King Cnut famously ordered the tide back and failed, he wasn't an arrogant absolute ruler trying to show off. He knew he would fail, and thereby demonstrated that to hold back the tide was impossible - and, in any case, unnecessary - even for a king.Once I got done snickering at the name King Cnut, I found the analogy perfectly fitting. Hopefully Sony will avoid this war entirely the next go around, though with their track record, I won't be holding my breath.
Tue, Oct 9th 2012 1:40pm
Sony Computer Entertainment America filed a law suit against Bridgestone and Wildcat Creek, Inc. on September 11. The claims are based on violations of the Lanham Act, misappropriation, breach of contract and tortious interference with a contractual relationship. We invested significant resources in bringing the Kevin Butler character to life and he's become an iconic personality directly associated with PlayStation products over the years. Use of the Kevin Butler character to sell products other than those from PlayStation misappropriates Sony's intellectual property, creates confusion in the market and causes damage to Sony.This statement is a tad confusing on first blush. It reads as if Sony is claiming trademark on the Kevin Butler likeness rather than the character itself. As such, it would seem that Sony is making the claim that Lambert starring in any commercial could cause likely confusion among consumers, resulting in them thinking that Kevin Butler is endorsing another product. This is rather absurd though. Primarily because the character Labert portrays has no name and actors portray many different characters throughout their careers.
According to a complaint filed in California federal court, the contract between Sony and Wild Creek was entered into on August 7, 2009 and contained an "exclusivity clause" that prevented Lambert from providing his services or his likeness to competing gaming system manufacturers like Nintendo.This part at least makes some sense. A lot of contracts will contain language that prevents an employee or other contracted company or individual from working for a direct competitor for a specified time. However, to claim that the commercial with Bridgestone, a tire company, meets this definition is a stretch, even if the commercial features a Nintendo Wii. Sony then claims that Lambert's work with Bridgestone is a breach of contract, unfair competition and tortuous interference. These are quite harsh accusations and Sony will have its work cut out for it.
According to the lawsuit, "With the intent of unfairly capitalizing on the consumer goodwill generated by 'Kevin Butler,' Bridgestone has used and is using the same or confusingly similar character, played by the same actor, to advertise its products or services in the commercial."Having seen both a Kevin Butler commercial and the Bridgestone ad featuring Lambert, I find it hard to see the similarities beyond the superficial. The Kevin Butler character plays as an overly-serious and often hyperbolic character to its comedic levels. The Bridgestone ad features an excitable and fast talking character. Aside from that, Kevin Butler was built to be a VP while the Bridgestone guy is merely an engineer in an R&D department.
"Mr. Lambert is one of the actors who appeared in the commercial as a Bridgestone engineer," say the defendant. "Bridgestone denies that 'Kevin Butler' appears in the Bridgestone commercial discussed herein and thus denies that he speaks or does anything whatsoever in the commercial."This is certainly not the first time something like this has happened. Many years ago, Wendy's had a very successful advertising campaign starring Clara Peller as a little old lady asking a generic fast food chain the famous question, "Where's the beef?" She lost her job with Wendy's after she starred in a Prego commercial uttering the phrase: "I found it. I really found it."
Bridgestone indicates that it intends to fight the lawsuit by showing that Sony has failed to register any mark on "Kevin Butler," that the character has not acquired secondary meaning and that there is no likelihood of confusion among consumers.
Explore some core concepts:
|12:10am:||Getting Access To Your Own Data Sounds Like A Good Idea, But So Far It Hasn't Been Easy (6)|
|8:04pm:||Bic Loses Its Mind Over Parody Customer Service Letter (37)|
|5:00pm:||DailyDirt: Here Comes Santa Claus (14)|
|4:08pm:||Tech Company Officials Meet With Obama Officially About Healthcare.gov, But Focus On NSA Surveillance Instead (20)|
|3:01pm:||Unfortunate: ACLU On The Wrong Side Of A Free Speech Case (238)|
|2:04pm:||Wall Street Journal Calls Snowden A Sociopath; Argues For Even Less NSA Oversight (41)|
|1:14pm:||Copyright Troll Malibu Media Has Filed Over 1,100 Lawsuits This Year Alone (63)|
|12:07pm:||Copyright Strikes Again: No Online Access To UK Internet Archive (49)|
|11:03am:||Ed Snowden Sends Open Letter To Brazil... Which The Press Blatantly Misrepresents (38)|
|9:59am:||Digital Exports Dwarf Other Industries, So Why Is The USTR Ignoring Them? (23)|
|8:42am:||Tone Deaf NSA Officials Tell Reporter It's Time To Reform The First Amendment (56)|
|7:20am:||You Don't Own What You 'Bought': Disney And Amazon Play The Role Of The Grinch In Taking Back Purchased Film (73)|
|5:23am:||UK Government Is Working In A Snowden-Free Bubble (15)|
|3:24am:||US-Israeli Security Company Selling Mobile Phone Surveillance Products To Agencies Around The World (19)|
|12:07am:||CERN Announces Nearly All High-Energy Physics Articles Will Switch To Open Access -- The Largest-Ever OA Initiative (11)|
|8:03pm:||Blogger Offers To Pimp Restaurants If They Feed Her And Her Family Food And Drinks (41)|
|5:00pm:||DailyDirt: Tis The Season To Catch The Flu (8)|
|4:04pm:||TPP Negotiators Completely Ignored Public Interest Groups At Last Negotiations (12)|
|2:59pm:||IBM Sued By Shareholders For Cooperating With The NSA... Decimating Sales In China (27)|
|1:54pm:||CBS Airs NSA Propaganda Informercial Masquerading As 'Hard Hitting' 60 Minutes Journalism By Reporter With Massive Conflict Of Interest (59)|
|12:50pm:||59 Bootleg Beatles Tracks Released Officially -- For All The Wrong Reasons (30)|
|11:50am:||Judge Says NSA Bulk Metadata Collection Likely Unconstitutional, Issues Injunction (64)|
|10:43am:||Facebook Is Tracking When You Write Something... And Then Decide To Delete It Rather Than Post It (69)|
|9:52am:||US Copyright Office Supports Artists Getting Paid Multiple Times For Same Work, Harming New Artists To Benefit Established Ones (89)|
|8:49am:||Disappointing: Google Releases... Then Removes Great Privacy Feature From Android (55)|
|7:37am:||UK Welfare Project Boss Says He Didn't Use Open Source Because It 'Wasn't Available' Two Years Ago (35)|
|5:35am:||Non-Political Ad For Political Game Banned For Being Political (29)|
|3:33am:||In News That Will Surprise No One, NSA Has Cracked Mobile Phone Encryption To Listen In On Calls (35)|
|12:00pm:||Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt (34)|
|12:00pm:||Eileen Burbidge's Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week (9)|