Sony Continues Suing People Who Help Others Modify Their PS3s

from the no-freedom-to-tinker dept

The story of Sony suing Geohot for jailbreaking the PS3 got plenty of attention, and eventually ended in a settlement (with many people believing the press attention finally got to Sony). However, getting much less press attention is the fact that Sony continues to sue others who help people modify the Sony PS3. Sony has sued a guy in the UK for allegedly selling modchips, though the guy thinks it has more to do with the fact that he published a report highlighting technical problems with the PS3. After all, the lawsuit came just a day after a Sony exec wrote a memo complaining about the report. That seems like a pure case of a SLAPP suit, but the UK doesn’t seem to have anti-SLAPP laws. For shame.

Meanwhile, a few folks have sent over news of Alexander Egorenkov, a German guy, also known as graf_chokolo, who published a guide to Sony’s DRM system. Sony not only filed suit against him, but also had the police raid his home and seize his computers and electronics. Egorenkov claims he doesn’t have the money for a legal fight and will likely end up in jail. All for what? For publishing info on Sony’s PS3 so that buyers could make full use of the hardware they had purchased. Egorenkov recently commented on his own blog that even though he’s probably going to jail, he’s not going to be silenced, and plans to “continue” his work on such equipment after he gets out of prison.

In the meantime, what the hell is Sony thinking? Why is the company being so incredibly aggressive against anyone who wants to modify their (legally bought) hardware? Beyond the ridiculousness of the whole campaign, and the fact that it’s pissing off tons of folks who might otherwise be fans of Sony equipment, doesn’t Sony have better things to do these days? Its stock is falling. Its businesses aren’t doing well. It can’t seem to secure its own servers. And all it’s doing is spending its time suing people for modding the PS3? Really?

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Companies: sony

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Comments on “Sony Continues Suing People Who Help Others Modify Their PS3s”

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Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Who Owns Who

Sony installs malware onto users’ machines. Who goes to prison? Nobody.
Sony advertises products with certain features and then retroactively takes them away. Who is held responsible for this fraud? Nobody.
But just try to modify the device you yourself own, and they’ll send you to prison faster than you can say “corporatist police state”.

Who owns who?

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Who Owns Who

Regretfully, it seems that there is a vocal minority (????) of people who seem to believe in the concept that “Greed is Good”. Anything that corporations do to foster business is considered “legal”. Anything that hinders business should be summarily decreed as “illegal”. Of course due process is now considered “old school” and a hindrance to maximizing corporate profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Customizing Your Car

People aren’t customizing PS3s like they do cars. They are altering the console to allow them to partake in unethical and illegal activities such as playing ripped and downloaded games that they did not pay for as well as cheating at online games which makes leader boards and achievement ladders worthless and makes it unfun to play against people who cheat

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

“makes it unfun to play against people who cheat”

Cheaters always win (war, sports, politics, business, life). So, if you want to win, just fucking cheat. Can’t you learn by example? If not, you can continue to be the loser that you are. If Sony didn’t put rootkits on customers systems they would not have won. They did (cheated) and hence #winning. Welcome to the world.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

People aren’t customizing PS3s like they do cars. They are altering the console to allow them to partake in unethical and illegal activities such as playing ripped and downloaded games that they did not pay for…

Yeah, especially those bastards who are trying to run Linux that they didn’t pay for. /sarc

…as well as cheating at online games which makes leader boards and achievement ladders worthless and makes it unfun to play against people who cheat

While, I pretty much agree that modded consoles shouldn’t be allowed online, I have to disagree with the “unfun to play against people who cheat” part. I have always found it extremely fun to find the programming deficiencies in any game to exploit to my advantage. That’s the fun of playing computer games for me. You know, things like finding the perfect spot halfway behind a wall that you can shoot enemies but they can’t hit you, stuff like that.

Brian says:

Re: Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

Gwiz you are completely wrong, misguided and un educated on this subject,

“CONSUMERS” wish to Load Linux onto their PlayStation 3 console in order to develope and run software other than Sony’s “legal and legitimate software”. It has nothing to do with cheating online.

And you call these legal and legitimate consumers “bastard’s” you see I do not play new DVDs or games on my Playstation computer therefore, I am quite happy for Sony to remove. Theses features that allow users to play new game and dvd titles, and I suggest anyone who complains about the removal of these features that I do not use are bastard’s

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

People aren’t recording videos like they do with cassettes. They’re recording TV shows and movies so that they can engage in unethical activities, such as fast forwarding through commercials, or watching their TV show when they want to watch it, or keeping a copy of a movie that played on TV without paying for it.

anymouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

Wait, you mean like customizing cars to go from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds with a top cruising speed of 150MPH….

Adding NOS systems to push the burst speed up closer to the 180-190MPH range….

Obviously these are all perfectly legal activities and cars regularly cruise highways at 100+ MPH…. No modified speeding cars are ever involved in crashes or other ‘accidents’ that kill people. So, customizing cars in ways that allow them to perform illegal activities and kill people is not illegal, but customizing a PS3 to let some geek climb a ladder faster is????

Am I the only one who’s confused?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

You do realize that what you’re describing is a small subset of the modding community and that there are completely legitimate purposes for modding one’s personal property (PS3)? Just because someone can do something bad w/their hardware doesn’t give Sony the right to do what they’re doing (or for you to react in such ignorant fashion).

wowsers says:

Re: Re: Customizing Your Car

Then they should be prosecuted for the illegal activity and not the act of modification. They are separate issues. What are some other things that people do for both illegal and legal reasons?

Buy/sell alcohol, buy/sell medication, run for public office, buy/sell stock, post stupid comments in a public forum, modify a car, become a preacher/priest, modify a cell phone, eat fungus, and almost anything that is remotely tied to money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Customizing Your Car

If you look into the history of car mods, you’ll find that many lawsuits had to be fought to gain that.

Add to this, the ridiculous extensions to copyright, and overly broad patent interpretations, and you have a modern recipe for technical stagnation.

Sony has not been able to leverage the power of the PS3. I say: let the hackers at it. Then maybe we’ll get some stuff worth paying for.

Cowardly Anon says:

Sony is doing a great job at biting the hand that feeds it. By pissing off people in the PlayStation business, they are losing sales in their other markets.

Case in point, I just bought a new TV. When shopping, my husband and I walked right past the Sony TVs. The sales rep tried to point us to them and I informed him we weren’t looking to give Sony any money, and he said he understood and that he had been hearing that quite a bit.

I really don’t see this ending well for Sony. They had better wake up and understand that they can do NOTHING to stop people from doing what they want. The people out there who do this sort of thing are smarter than most of the people Sony has on their payroll.

Rich Fiscus (profile) says:

Nothing about Sony’s recent decline is particularly surprising. Decades ago they were the lean competitor taking on giant corporations which ultimately fell under the weight of their own hubris. Just like Sony today, those companies failed to recognize the future until it took their legs out from under them.

Once upon a time Sony was a company that learned from their failures. Even something as big as losing the VCR standards war could be salvaged. When Betamax lost to VHS, they adapted the technology to create the 8mm camcorder format. They eventually figured out they had tried to pound a square peg into a round hole and found a square hole that needed filling. Now they just look for a bigger hammer.

It’s no different than what the companies they dethroned all those years ago were doing, except for this. Thanks to the size of modern megacorporations, their hammers are made up of legislators, judges, and even heads of state. Ultimately it won’t stop their demise, but it does mean their death throes will be far more damaging to society than their predecessors.

Sony’s problem isn’t their mistakes. It’s that they forgot the importance of learning from those mistakes. That’s the natural cycle of business.

John Doe says:

I don't understand companies today

Why is it i even illegal to mod your own product? Why is it illegal to tell others how to do it or even help them? Imagine if the automotive industry had the same powers. We wouldn’t have any aftermarket parts whether they be performance or asthetic. We would all be driving any color Ford we liked as long as it was black.

There are tons of jobs and innovation that spring up around mods, just look at what happened in the auto industry. So copyright in this case is not creating jobs, it is killing them.

Rich Fiscus (profile) says:

Re: I don't understand companies today

The reason it’s illegal is because, for the most part, government officials are ill informed about anything technical and unwilling to take the time to become informed. Being uninformed, the first people legislators turn to it comes time to make the rules are representatives of big companies. Like most people, they assume being the most successful means they must be the foremost experts. Plus they make big campaign contributions so it’s good for the politicians all the way around.

With no understanding of the issues, they also have no way of recognizing when the so-called experts are giving them bad advice. All advice is assumed to be good and what’s good for Sony (or whatever company) is assumed to be good for society.

jay says:


its clear all of you dont even own a ps3, this people are downloading games illegally, therefore killing the ps3. Sony have even said themselves, they are not against mod ps3 but its when people are using it for pirated games, before all of you comment and bash sony, use your common sense, also its clear the writer of this article is stupid as well

John Doe says:

Re: stupid

So what should happen to Sony for installing rootkits/viruses, removing key features after purchase and leaking millions of confidential user info over the internet? If people can go to jail for hacking their own hardware, what should happen to Sony for hacking millions of people’s hardware?

jay says:

Re: Re: stupid

other os was removed cause hackers used it as an exploit to hack the ps3. do you even own a ps3? did you even use “other OS” as for the rootkit/virus, if you want to sue sony, you can.

Didnt Apple install some sort of software to track people on their iPhone? dont see you complaining.

Sony any leaked anybody’s info over the internet and if they are guilty of it, they will be fined, simple

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: stupid

The reason they put computer and personal security-screwing rootkits in CDs and later on video games and USB drives was supposedly to combat piracy.

Guess what – you don’t get to fight piracy using my personal info or property, especially when I’ve BOUGHT the damn product you’re selling.

I’m surprised SONY’s permitted to operate within the US or Europe at all. Their current and past behavior over the past 5-10 years has shown a complete disregard for customers’ personal info and property. Fines and sanctions are too good for them.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: stupid

Other OS was removed because Sony in their Japanese business Logic were afraid that it would be used to access the system in a way that might, I emphasis might, enable the system to be used for purposes that Sony did not want.

Yes I own six(6) Playstation 3’s, 1 is at home (and if Mike ever wondered who the PS3 that accesses TD from Aust is… *waves*), the other 5 at work where 3 run Other OS and 2 don’t. Out of those 2 that don’t, one is what could be called stock standard and is used for specific testing purposes, whereas the other one has been fully modded (or hacked as you call it) without the consent of Sony, for legal purposes. [look at my profile and you might understand what I would use them for]

If Sony want to come after me with legal C&D’s, writs, whatever, I’d look forward to it especially knowing that they have no legal standing to do so.

Interesting that you talk about Apple and the iPhone, the phone that is now legal to be modded, which Apple at one stage called hacking (and still do) and tried to make illegal.

And NO they didn’t install some software on the iPhone to track you.. It was already built into the phone, as it is on all smartphones (or even symbian phones) that have GPS capability.. makes my work life easy and also why I don’t own a smartphone just an older Nokia 6300 with GPS removed.

Your original comment in the thread here alluded to people downloading games illegally, strange that this NEVER occurred until after the Other OS was removed, and in fact is very rare for it to happen now. Though it happens every minute on the XBOX, Nintendo platforms. As for the so called online cheating, this was only able to be done because of poor security on Sony’s part via the PlayStation Network, and not because of any mods at the time. Hmmmm Maybe that’s another reason why it was hacked…

Niall says:

Re: Re: Re: stupid

I’m fairly certain that removing OtherOS hardly slowed down the serious hackers, whilst annoying many genuine fans. (USAF? ๐Ÿ™‚

Trying to stop piracy is no reason to act like total douches with your customers, removing desired features, installing ILLEGAL rootkits, or suing people for doing what is probably legal in their jurisdictions.

In the end, ‘hacking’ a PS3 or a car or whatever can lead to significant legal, ‘ethical’ uses. Just because the unethical uses exist doesn’t mean that modding should be banned.

Brian says:

Re: Re: Re: stupid

There was no exploit on the PS3 console until months after the Other OS feature was removed so therefore, Sony did not remove the “Other OS” feature Because hackers used it to exploit the system that is a false and an uneducated claim.

The feature was removed by Sony for the same reason backward compatibility was removed by Sony. They never earned revenue or profits from these features so they remove them,

Sony Would like you to use the PlayStation 3 console. Only in a way that maximises their profits not how you the consumer choose to use your console

jaycee says:

Re: Re: stupid

i will try and explain, sorry for the confusion.

People download games and not paying for it, will kill the console, sooner or later, developers will say, why should i invest money on your console without getting any return? Imagine Call of duty black ops for example, sold over 10million copies, imagine 20% of those 10million downloading it illegally? Also this hackers enable god mode, making harder for genuine players to play

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: stupid

wow, gasp, 20% pirated rather than bought, and they’d still sell eight bloody million copies. idiot.

if they can make a loss on that they’re doing it wrong! (or, more likely, practicing holywood accounting).

for future reference, black ops is basically a gimped modern warfare 2 clone with new maps. (the number of features they Broke in splitscreen is apauling.)

Eugene (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 stupid

Hell, not only do those games *not* have horrible DRM, but if the Minecraft servers identify that you’re using a pirated copy (and foolishly logg in with online mode), all that happens is you get a pleasant message asking you to buy it if you like it.

THAT is how you make money from pirates. Money that Minecraft doesn’t even need, because it’s clearly doing awesome without raising a finger to stop piracy of their game.

The fact of the matter is, for all the illegality of it, pirates are non-buyers. They’re outside the economic ecosystem. If ten people buy your game but 200 pirated it, that doesn’t mean you lost 200 sales, it means your game sucks! Because guess what? If your game was 100% pirate-proof, you’d STILL only have ten sales!

Blaming pirates for lost sales is just a face-saving tactic by shitty developers and content creators.

Alan says:

Re: Re: Re: stupid

That’s the same argument used by some studios against making pc games. I understand where they are coming from but do not entirely agree. When sharing games on the inter-tubes happens more with console versions there will be nowhere else to make games for and I wonder how the argument will change. I’m waiting to see what happens with The Witcher 2’s GOG version. It was released with no DRM whatsoever. Didn’t find any article about the profitability of it yet.
God mode in a multi-player game is just so not right when there are mere mortals in the mix. There should be a god-mode only club.

JMT says:

Re: Re: Re:

Nobody ever said or implied they were, so I have no idea why you would make such a silly comment.

A company will only become or remain successful be convincing people to pay for their products and services. Any action that discourages more potential purchasers than it attracts should be avoided. Sony don’t seem to realise this.

David Muir (profile) says:

I own a PS3

I was pretty happy with my purchase decision. I hate people who cheat at games and make it very difficult to play “by the rules”. However, Sony really has pursued a foolhardy strategy here. From a purely selfish perspective, I truly hope Anonymous or the rest of the hacker community gives them a pass and leaves the Playstation Network alone this time… but I have to agree with everyone else… their actions are absolutely kicking a hornet’s nest (or worse).

abc gum says:

Under what law or statute in Germany is this guy going to be charged and why does the German government suck up to Sony?
I fail to see what sort of offense against society this guy has engaged in which warrants jail time, seems to be more of a civil matter where one party takes their little bitch session to court. AFAIK, civil matters do not result in jail time – that’s retarded.

Anonymous Coward says:

Good for Sony, afterall, it is protecting its IP.

Sure, it upset some folks that bought the PS3 just to run another OS on it (Linux…) when Sony turned that off with a firmware update. But you know the reason why? Because those few that ruin it for all were pirating movies and games.
And the others are cheats that ruin gameplay for those that are honest.

So whine and hack all you want, but protecting commerce means enforcing the laws. You do understand economics and industry, right? Or do you feel you are entitled to everything?

Eugene (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You know what, you’re right. I’m not entitled to the things I buy. Obviously they’re not mine to do with as I please, nor can I, as an independent and free-thinking adult, be trusted to make responsible decisions about how to use the things I own. Clearly all my purchases are just leases bestowed open me by our generous and benevolent corporate masters, and they have every right to take those things away from me whenever they wish.

And judging by the retarded shit you say on the internet, I sure hope the manufacturer who built your keyboard does exactly that.

David (profile) says:

Are you really surprised?

In 1984, my aunt gave me a Sony Watchman TV, when I graduated boot camp in the Navy. It was a great device, perfect for barracks life, so I could watch TV, without disturbing the guy in the next bunk.

Since then, they have gone downhill. Not necessarily in quality, but rather in their scarcity view of the world. They added themselves to the list of vendors I will not use or recommend to friends or clients (as a technology consultant), because of their business practices.

vastrightwing (profile) says:

Open letter to Sony

Dear Sony,

I stopped buying your stuff years ago because of they way you lock your equipment down. Now I add to my list of reasons about the way you treat us as human beings. I can’t buy any of your products when I know that not only do you restrict what we are allowed to do with it, you actively bully people who try to make your equipment useful. Unconscionable!

hmm (profile) says:


Sony stock isn’t just “falling”, all the major holders are actively trying to find ways to dump their entire stock without crashing parts of the market.

Sony is currently a corpse but doesn’t know it yet and every well respected investor is staying the hell away from the funeral……

Few weeks left and Sony will be filing for bankruptcy/protection from creditors etc worldwide, they just aren’t prepared to go public with the death of the company just yet……

cward24 says:

Mr. Egorenkov

This is a sad situation. Mr. Egrorenkov’s master’s thesis entitled “Distributed Time Virtualized Emulation Environment , time dilation factor ” is pretty impressive. It seems just like the thing that Sony would need to make their PlayStation Network to run better than ever. But instead of working with Mr. Egrorenkov Sony seeks to put him behind bars and suing him beyond belief. So much for innovation from Sony.

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