Sony PS3 Hacker Gagged

from the how-dare-you-reinstate-what-sony-took-away dept

A few weeks ago, we talked about Sony’s attempt to get an injunction against a guy who figured out how to hack the Sony PS3 to “jailbreak” it and reinstate the “Other OS’ feature allowing people to install alternative operating systems, such as Linux, on their PS3s, which Sony unilaterally deleted. While jailbreaking smartphones for similar purposes has been declared legal, for whatever reason, if you’re dealing with a gaming console, it suddenly becomes criminal and you can face jailtime. No, it doesn’t make any sense.

However, the judge is buying it, so far, and has issued Sony’s requested temporary restraining order and told the guy behind the hack, George Hotz (Geohot) that he cannot do anything relating to circumventing the PS3s digital locks. He’s not even allowed to link to other people talking about it. Seems a bit aggressive, but isn’t all that surprising. Unfortunately, too many people still believe that simply jailbreaking a device is some horrible crime.

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Companies: sony

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Comments on “Sony PS3 Hacker Gagged”

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47 Comments
Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

While they may seem hacker friendly, in a very large sense they still are not. They still wage constant war on the xbox360 modders. Always trying to implement new methods to ensure you can’t possibly play back ups of your games. And they still offer no way at all to even get a discount if your game disc gets too scratched to play (a problem if you have children who play on the 360). Even in the article you linked it mentions how they want to encourage the hackers for homebrew, as long as it still maintains its copy protection. Friendly in some ways, mean in others.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Gods I can’t believe I’m going to play devil?s advocate for MS… gonna need a drink and a long hot shower after this one…

From what I understand of the 360 hackers, MS is going after the ones who hack it to allow for ‘pirated games’. The modders would tell you (and I do believe it’s a valid point) that the whole purpose is to back up a game to protect against scratching. I’m with you on the stupidity of the disk issue and agree that a replacement should be cost-of-material plus shipping.

But the 360 now allows you to ‘load your game onto the hard-drive’ for storage. I think it’s a great idea with a couple of flaws… the biggest one being capacity. Right now, you can only do the backup onto a ‘properly formatted storage location’, which means one that can only be used with the 360. I formatted a memory stick in my 360 and it takes up the whole storage capacity into a single, unreadable folder. Ok… I get that… it’s a way to make the information usable only on a 360. But, last time I checked, you cannot get large-capacity storage devices (such as a 1.5t USB Hard-drive) to run properly w/ the 360. If you have more than a couple of games, you’re going to need that capacity.

But I’m sure MS will sell you a device that will work with it. For a ‘fair’ price, I’m sure. Using my own cheap-ass memory stick is a better alternative to buying their ?memory unit? to do the same thing? I?m glad they finally realized this.

But the whole thing boils down to this: there are pirates out there who would seek profit on an ?open system? and they are protecting against that. I think they need to find a way to do so without hindering and angering the non-pirate customers (like myself) who just want to be assured that if a round, shiny piece of plastic breaks, I?m not going to have to go spend $50 or $60 just for a replacement. The back-the-disk-up is a step in the right direction… let’s see if the keep up that hike.

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

A couple technical details:
Detail 1) They do limit USB memory usage to 16GB. You can connect devices larger than that, but you can only format up to 16GB of that device for usage with the 360. As you said, it creates a folder that is not readable by anything other than the 360. (Technically there are programs for the computer that will read the contents of those folders that people have developed, but they certainly aren’t by MS).

Detail 2) Unless it was just changed here in the patch on the 19th, even if you install a game to the hard drive, it still requires you to have the DVD in the drive to start the game, even though the game plays from the hard drive. I would still greatly prefer to use burnt back up discs to the original as I am not perfect and sometimes drop a disc. The 360 can be a bit specific about its discs and while you can get tons of little marks and have the disc work just fine, all it takes is one at just the right angle and the 360 will no longer treat your disc as it should. This point is extremely pertinent to people who have kids (thankfully I do not (yet)) and the discs are switched all the time by children who do not yet have our fine motor skills (and even we drop discs sometimes). Even with the game installed to hard drive, needing to put the disc in the drive, get it out, put it back, every part opens up to another chance to scratch the disc in a way the 360 is going to want you to buy another.

Oh, and the feature to install something to hard drive and play from there has been around for at least two years and I believe a bit longer than that (if not since release). However, as stated, unless they Just changed something, you still need to put your disc in the drive to start the game. I will test this when I get home tonight but I am very sure that the detail there has not changed. Also, even though it is reading from the hard drive, it will freeze your game if you eject the disc. They do this to prevent the off chance you might share the disc with somebody at your location who also has their own xbox. So, while I see your point, I believe the finer technical details (again, unless they just changed them) support my opinion still.

The main problem is MS has no way of knowing who bought the game and just wants to back it up, and who downloaded it and went through the process to have a pirated disc. And rather than treat the customer / fan base with respect, they treat everyone as evil pirates.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If they are selling you a license to the game, then it should be the license that costs money, not the license with the disk. If the disk breaks, since you have a license, you should be able to get a free replacement of the disk at the cost of the disk, since you already paid for the license. Why should you pay for a second license when you already paid for one?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Actually, the courts got it right. Until they are able to determine the legality of the situation, it is better to do what can be done to keep things “as they were”. Every day that the hack would be actively promoted, discussed, and pushed by the hacker, the more damage would be done to Sony. It would be very difficult (impossible) to put Sony back in it’s original state if they guy is found guilty.

It also gives Sony a chance to roll out other updates to negate the hack, making more of the boxes immune to it. Remember, tampering with the machines means tampering with the game play, and that can hurt the online experience for everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:Every day that the hack would be actively promoted, discussed, and pushed by the hacker, the more damage would be done to Sony. It would be very difficult (impossible) to put Sony back in it's original state if they guy is found guilty.

“Remember, tampering with the machines means tampering with the game play, and that can hurt the online experience for everyone.”

This is a very narrow-sighted opinion of “hacking”. Cheaters will always exists, no matter what you do. But that is no justification for preventing dedicated and creative users from taking the hardware an the software to incredible heights.

This is vital in the PC gaming world. A game that cannot be modded dies shortly after being released. But games that have the best modding tools/capabilites (Unreal Engine and Id Tech Engine games for example) become massively popular and live forever. Heck, I still play UT99.

I pity console players. They seldom get to experience the awesomeness of playing mods (and modding), and when they come close to it, console manufacturers freak out and block everything. Sad.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:Every day that the hack would be actively promoted, discussed, and pushed by the hacker, the more damage would be done to Sony. It would be very difficult (impossible) to put Sony back in it's original state if they guy is found guilty.

For truth.

Compare the XBox 360 Left 4 Dead 2 experience with the PC experience.

On the Steam forum is a post about an All Mutations Unlocked mod. Mutations are a biweekly-rotated change in the game’s behavior that are available on both platforms, but PC users are also able to launch any mutation from the console at any time.

PC users are also capable of writing new mutations and releasing the file to the community. This mod also happens to include a variety of such mods from other authors altogether in one pack. It’s become quite popular…

…and it’s totally unavailable to 360 users.

It’s not for lack of want. I’m sure Valve would love to let custom mutations run on the 360. They *did* take two community mods and make them official mutations that could be played on the 360.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

OKay – of the largest complaints about hacks being enabled, the vast majority are the Call of Duty online franchise. Which Infinity Ward have already stated that they will not do any patching until Sony sort it out.

The hack was originally meant so that you could restore the ‘Install Other OS’ feature, which the Military was using, amongst other legitimate uses.

People will crack for negative reasons, regardless. That doesn’t mean that you can deny the legitimate usage of the crack to restore lost functionality.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Harm? I find it very difficult to see the harm in this, except to the consumers who had features, they’d paid for, taken away. They should never have disabled the alternate OS feature. If it were still in place, this probably would have never happened. After all, you don’t mess with the kind of people that install Linux on their PS3. You just don’t. You’re wasting your time. They can try to put GeoHotz to the screws all they want, but someone else will just crack it instead and then they’re back to square one. Sony is only going to look bad when this is over, unless they give the consumers what they paid for.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, the courts got it right. Until they are able to determine the legality of the situation, it is better to do what can be done to keep things “as they were”. Every day that the hack would be actively promoted, discussed, and pushed by the hacker, the more damage would be done to Sony. It would be very difficult (impossible) to put Sony back in it’s original state if they guy is found guilty.

Please immediately delete all third party software you have installed on your computer. After all, it’s not as if you actually own the hardware you paid for, and can do what you like with it…

herbert says:

@ #7. you’re talking like a complete idiot! once a piece of equipment has been bought, the buyer should be able to do what he/she wants with it, albeit invalidating the warranty. no one rents the ps3 or other consoles, they are bought!
after stating that she could not hear the case in California, she has obviously been pressured into siding with Sony and changing her mind. Typical! money talking as usual! i doubt if they will find anything illegal on his computer or HDDs. he has nothing wrong. the aim of what Hotz did was to enable people to run Homebrew, not illegal games. Sony dont know what to do so are taking this ridiculous route to try to stop what has already been put everywhere on the net. updates from Sony will result in all PS3s being bricked, if they are not very careful.
had Sony not removed the ‘other OS’ option, which they had used as an advertising incentive to encourage purchasing the PS3, this wouldn’t have happened.
why should a person not be allowed to sell on their unwanted games and the (now 2nd hand game) buyer not be able to play it, without giving more money to Sony? Sony (and others) have done their best to stop this from happening as well.
you dont need permission from Ford to change things on your legally purchased car, or permission from them to sell it on. the buyer of the now 2nd hand car doesn’t have to get permission from the maker to buy it or drive it, do they?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

In modifying the console, they change the game playing experience for anyone they play online with. Their console may be faster, they may be able to load mods or make the game play different as a result of their hacks, which would lower the value of the product for other, completely legal users.

In modifying the console, they should no longer be able to have online game play. The online experience is something people pay for, something that they value, and no punk ass hacker should be allowed to screw that up.

At the end of the day, Sony chooses to have a closed market place. If you aren’t buying into it, they don’t buy it. If you want to mod your sony box, more power to you – just don’t use it online anymore.

Matt Ronas (profile) says:

CENSORSHIP

While the court investigates, or after the case is ruled upon, he should not be gagged. I don’t understand, how can spreading knowledge ever be fought in the courts under these types of circumstances. He doesn’t work for Sony, he didn’t sign any agreements, and whatever ELA there was is not legally binding. Sharing knowledge is not the same as executing it. It’s freedom of speech, people should be able to discuss whatever they want.

Jason says:

Re: Re:

The problems ISN’T the anti-circumvention clause. The problem is the completely retarded overbroad definition that the courts have given to the anti-circumvention clause.

The clause as it was written was intended to restrict access to software to enable rightsholders to preserve copyrights. Simply put, you’re restricted from breaking controls that bar access to the software. You’re NOT restricted from breaking controls that bar access to the hardware.

In fact, anti-circumvention was never intended to extend their control to hardware, Further, the DMCA explicitly intends to protect “interoperability”, that is, the right of hardware owners to use other software with their box.

What has happened is that console manufacturers have now included software to control access to the hardware and now make the claim, “Well, this hardware-restricting-software is copyrighted software, so IT should be protected, too!”

The problem is that the court has been fooled by the smoke and mirrors of circumvention verbiage to extend rights, namely the right to control the user’s access to their own hardware, that SHOULD NEVER be under the bailiwick of copyright law.

The courts need to hear, in clear understandable language, that circumvention of hardware-restricting measures is NOT a violation of the anti-cirucmvention clause, which specifically means to prevent circumvention of access controls to SOFTWARE. DMCA anti-circumvention specifically refers to that which, however effective, actually means to effect access control to software, and NOT that which is designed to effect access control to hardware.

Allen Tower (profile) says:

Fight Back

What people need to do is Sue Sony fight back tell these companies that they have no right to say what we do with products that I legally buy. If I want change the software, hardware, throw it into BBQ Whatever. It’s is mine I bought it I did not rent or lease. People Need to stop complaining and do something, everybody here who wrote something and owns a PS3 Should go spend the 50 to 100 to file a lawsuit and sue Sony for this! Also File a compliant with every government faction you can. We need to Stand up For our rights!!!

anonymous says:

Bad Judgement

I could see the judge putting an injunction in place, this is standard practice until the trial, but requiring Hotz to give up his equipment, to Sony??? Sony’s not impartial in any way, and I wouldn’t put it past them, considering their petty past actions, to plant something on his computer. This judge is smoking California weed. If anything, give to computer to a 3rd party investigative team, impartial to the outcome.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually Hotz, first started cracking the PS3 in its otheros, sony removed that feature to protect itself from a perceived jailbreak at the time, which oddly enough they though would lead to cheating and piracy.
Mr Hotz then worked very hard to crack the system and once he did he told media outlets, he would “release thier (not his) security key system keys and how to use them to the internet, unless the put back other os” Not happy with the lack of response, he posted instructions AND the keys themselves to the net.
in other news, Mr. Hotz released a statement saying, he doesn’t believe in piracyand cheating but knows his work will go into piracy and cheating once everyone knows how to do it.
just saying…

vastrightwing (profile) says:

Sony, do I have this right?

So you’re saying it’s ILLEGAL and wrong for someone to mod their PS3? Is this any way related to hacking consumer’s computers so they can easily get a virus? Or put another way, it’s OK for you to dangerously hack your consumer’s PCs, but it’s not OK for consumers to do the same thing to your hardware? Please reconcile this for me. Thank you.

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