back to article Sony expands legal offensive to more PS3 hackers

Sony has stepped up its legal offensive against customers who jailbreak its PlayStation 3 game console, filing a series of motions that seek the identity of people who did nothing more than view YouTube videos showing how the latest hack worked. One court filing demands that Google turn over the IP addresses and usernames of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    glad they're taking security seriously

    now if only sony can track down and sue into oblivion whoever put a rootkit on my Alicia Keys CD.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Been in trouble with the police much?

      That sounds like you have a criminal record there, mate.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Have they lost their minds???

  3. Michael C

    This can only end badly

    ...for Sony!

    With recent rulings about jail breaking phones being considered completely legal, and the fact this jailbreak in no way shape or form permits piracy (only the possibility someone might "one day" lead to piracy because of it, something the major hacker in question here speaks openly against), and given Sony clearly defines this is a "computing platform" and not even an appliance, there's NO WAY a court is likely to rule this hack was illegal.

    Sony should give up, apologize, move on, re-enable the Other OS option outright, and get working on that PS4, as the only likely way they're going to prevent a lot of game piracy is if a new console is on the horizon and it beats the crack code out the door (odds are, cracking the PS3 game DRM is going to be a much harder step, especially doing so and allowing the console continuing access to PS Home and online gameplay)... and hopefully they won't make the same mistakes again.

  4. Cunningly Linguistic

    Sony are gonna be screwed...

    ...if it turns out that most of the Youtube viewers were in the UK.

    1. Miek

      or alternatively ...

      ... A load of UK gamers loose their PSN privileges.

  5. Steven Hunter

    Sweet Jebus Sony...

    What the hell is wrong with you? Are you *trying* to make me hate you?

    Because suing your customers is such a great idea... Just ask the RIAA!

    1. cannon


      sony are one of the key members of the RIAA & MPAA, CRIA, SOUNDEXCHANGE, BPI, PRS, IFPI, ASCAP, MPA, FACT, AFACT, ETC.

      Sony are one of the main fecktards in the media industry as they continually dictate harware specifications to monopolise business.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        They're called "industry standards", you monumental cock

        And if someone didn't "dictate" them - by which I mean "make the most popular form factor" - then we wouldn't have VCRs, DVDs or Blu-rays.

        Now, if you were to mention certain *software* specifications like DRM, then we would have a conversation about Sony's outright bastardry.

  6. mstargard

    Sony, again?

    Attacking customers is not a good idea.

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    You know, I first read that as "Sony expands legal offense". Thinking about it, that's what the title should be!

    The one with a non-Sony non-walkman in the pocket.

  8. Highlander

    Discovery requests...ugh!

    This is one of the things about litigation in American that sucks. You have a discovery phase during which you can literally ask for the world and the other parties have to respond or explain why not to a judge. The problem is that if you don't ask for something during discovery, you can't go back later to get it, so litigants always over reach and ask for things that they don't really need. There's also an aspect to it where litigants use discovery requests to place undue burdens on the opposition. Sadly it's a legal tactic that American lawyers know well and use regularly in every kind of case from simple custody cases to major intellectual property cases.

    As much as people will leap on this to bash Sony, this is Sony's lawyers doing what lawyers get paid to do - using every legal weapon at their disposal to win their case.

  9. Martin Usher

    Could this be why I don't own any Sony equipment?

    (and I used to work for them back in the days when they just made good stuff)

  10. OldDogNewWalk

    Just confirms my opinion of Sony

    A bunch of w@$#ers

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    American Dog, we make torture you!

    Where can I subscribe/comment so that Sony sends me a nastygram and forces my local law enforcement to waste money and play personal toyboy to their "law and order" department?

    1. JarekG

      I think

      ..we should all send email to $ony with our information, save them money and time.

      Can you imagine if thousands of people did would be funny...

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Sony off my shopping list.

    This is quite outrageous behaviour even for rootkit suppliers, Sony. This is a complete over reaction and heavy handed bullying like this should be punished by cutting off their money supply.

    No cash coming from me Sony Execs, anyone else care join in the boycott ?

    Boot-note: console game whiners not invited as you were stupid enough to buy a PS3 in the first place.

  13. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I think I'll stick with Nintendo

    They always manage to feck up security somehow but are at least dimly aware that suing a random selection of people that may or may not include their customers is a silly idea which doesn't make for good PR and puts even more people off future purchases.

  14. Mark Jonson

    Maybe Sony is on to something here...

    Perhaps they have those mind-erasers from Men In Black. The suits from Sony will just put on their sun glasses and mass-erase the memory of everybody they subpoenaed. Sadly, here in the US the courts would probably let them do it.

  15. Subban

    Good job Sony.

    I dislike Microsoft with a passion, I run Linux and refuse to have any Xbox for eg. Cut my nose off to spite my face maybe, but I stuck to my principles.

    I own a PS1

    I own a PS2

    I own 2x PS3 (neither is jailbroken)

    The chances of me owning a PS4 are heading rapidly towards zero.

    Sony is actually making me look favourably at Microsoft...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It works

      "The chances of me owning a PS4 are heading rapidly towards zero"

      You owned a PS1, it was hacked, they sued. Then, you owned a PS2, it was hacked, they sued. Then, you owned TWO PS3, it was hacked, they sued.

      Actually, I would conclude that the chances of you buying one (or more) PS4 are close to 100%, and thus I can understand why Sony carries on: it works, you bought 4 Playstations.

      1. Subban

        the required title

        I do not recall anything like this drama over the PS1 and PS2, nothing more than the usual try and ban the modchips.

        This with Sony and the PS3 is a completely different kettle of fish. trying to get the details of people who watched a video clip ffs. The insanity is off the charts.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    anyone who commented on a posting...

    Certainly, my name is Mister Sony Fukov....

  17. Phil Hare 2

    I love the PS3 in my house

    I'm really glad Sony let me pay them all that money so I could borrow it from them.

    This makes Jobs and Ballmer look positively customer focussed.

  18. Lol 1

    You can sue me...

    Dear Sony, I watched & commented on the youtube video. I live in the UK. I don't actually own any Sony hardware, save one walkman I got for my 12th birthday. That was a long while ago.

    Anyway, I'm sure that won't deter you. If you could see your way to suing me in Japan and to seek my extradition (I'm sure my government would happily comply,) I'd be really grateful.

    I fancy a holiday.

  19. Edward Clarke

    And across the pond in Norway

    They're investigating Sony. "Norway to probe Sony's PS3 Linux 'downgrade'"

    Get the popcorn and watch the entertainment.

  20. Carol Orlowski

    Sunshine Bus

    Has the sunshine bus just rolled into town or something? It seems to be full of dribbling freetards.

    1. Santa from Exeter

      Rollin, rollin, rollin


      yes it has just rolled into town, and it's full of Sony execs who think they own the world.

    2. hplasm

      Don't worry-

      They've saved your seat by the window.

  21. Andrew 99

    money talks

    so there I was in the shop, surrounded by sony tv's. I said, no Sonys. I'll take the samsung there in the corner.

  22. Asgard
    Big Brother


    This Authoritarian corporate witch hunt against anyone who has viewed data is getting insane. What kind of world are we allowing where even the Thought Crime of learning how the PS3 works is now considered a punishable offense! ... policed not by criminal law but by copyright law, yet punishment is punishment none the less. Its handing Sony a means to victimize and bully people. WTF, its just a games machine, FFS!

    There is no way in hell Sony will stop this information spreading. None what so ever. Therefore they cannot be doing this to stop the spread of information, so what they are doing it simply to punish anyone who dares to look at the information so they then send a fear message to others. Its done to send a message to everyone who views this public flogging that they will be next if they also dare to look at the data. Are we to become so scared of the corporate police (their lawyers) that they can frighten us all into complete compliance with their wishes!

    If the thing is in my house, I own it. Every atom of it. End of story. They do not have a hook into my life, my home. I will not be policed by them. This insidious slide towards corporations policing us is insane.

    1. Octopoid

      "If the thing is in my house, I own it. Every atom of it."

      Try bridging your electricity meter. In fact, these days you're not even allowed to open up one of your plugs, unless you happen to be CORGI registered. Most of the creaky old laws about who can watch things you record from your live broadcast television are still in place. There are hundreds of items in your home that are illegal or prohibited to adjust or use in certain ways.

      Still Sony have clearly gone insane trying to sue people for viewing or commenting on Youtube. I hope they lose this case very badly, and no-one else trys anything like it again.

      However, I'm not sure the "I should be able to do anything with the PS3, hassle free" argument really does hold up. Microsoft will ban you very quickly for hacking their device, and if you do play hombrew games on the Wii you spend as much time looking for the latest patch fix as you do playing the games. Almost every update ever released for the Wii has been almost entirely comprised of anti hacking patches. Other than these ridiculous court cases, significant resources being devoted to anti-jailbreaking is pretty much par for the course.

      It's just generally a bad time to be into homebrew on consoles, which is a shame. I've personally just ended up going back to playing with Windows / OSX / *nix stuff. It's just easier than constantly doing the battle of the patches, or waiting for the "console banned" message to show up.

      But, yeah - here's hoping any case brought against people who just watched a video fails badly, and fast.

  23. westlake

    Boycott this.

    The PS3 has sold 47 million units. There are about 69 million PSN accounts. 17 million PlayStation Home social networking accounts. Then there is the $50/yr to be raked in from each PlayStation Plus account.

    The games. The MOVE controller.

    The Blu-Ray disks. The Netflix streams...

    The PS3 makes a fine - and highly rated - compliment to a family's big screen - 3D capable - Sony HDTV and home theater audio system.

    Pissing off the geek costs Sony nothing. Talk of a boycott is so much hot air.

      Thumb Up

      RE: Boycott this.

      Precisely. For every person that says they will boycott Sony because of this, there are 500 that realise the PS3 (and their tellys, blu-ray players etc.) is actually a bloody good piece of kit and don't really give a toss about who they sue.

      For the money, the functionality of the PS3 can't be beaten - and if you are really that bothered about having OtherOS, head to eBay and pick up an old fat PS3 for a 120 quid, easy.

    2. Scottie Taylor

      Re: Boycott this

      "Pissing off the geek costs Sony nothing. Talk of a boycott is so much hot air."

      Wrong. Pissing off the geek costs Sony plenty. It costs them repeat and return customers. It costs them new customers. It costs them revenue. It costs them integrity and reputation. There's lots of things that it costs Sony when they piss off their customer base.

      For instance, since last year when Sony took away the secondary OS capabilities with the update I haven't bought a new PS3 game or blu-ray disc. Haven't even turned on my PS3. I fix appliances and electronics for a living. My customer base quite often asks my opinion on good brands for new TVs and home entertainment equipment. Since then, my answer has routinely been to avoid Sony whenever possible. Figure that if one or two customers ask me out of a dozen or so a day, spread across almost a year, that's a few hundred sales potentially lost right there and new customers they don't get. I love to buy new gadgets and I admit my bank account suffers for it at times from me buying something I want on a spur of the moment. And since Sony's bit last year, I've bought exactly zero Sony products. I avoid them like the plague.

      The boycott does happen. It may not be wide spread and probably never will be. I doubt everyone in America will throw up their arms in disgust and throw their Sony products into a great big bonfire to burn in effigy. However, it is happening, person to person, place to place. There are people who are boycotting Sony, telling others to avoid Sony.

      I'm one person and I've personally told well over a hundred to avoid Sony and why. I've spread the message. I've refused to buy their products. I'm aware my actions are a drop in the bucket for Sony, completely insignificant. But that's over a hundred potential sales lost. It adds up eventually..

    3. David Hicks

      Boycott affect them? Maybe not

      However if I cease to give them any of my money, I know I'm not funding this bullshit.

      So it would be nice to see this behaviour boycotted out of existence, I'm well aware that will never happen.

      It's enough for me that I'm not helping them harass people and destroy ownership rights.

  24. Carol Orlowski

    Rotten Eggs Begone...

    Hopefully the courts will throw the book at them. 10yrs for DMCA offenses like this... Not so cocky now huh?

    EPIC FAIL indeed. Seems they earned the Dropped the Soap in the Shower trophy.

    1. hplasm

      Xbox broken again?

      Gives you some free time to troll.


  25. DJGM

    A rather famous saying sums up Sony's litigous actions . . .

    (In simple terms so the PS3 fanbois can understand.)

    Locking. The. Stable. Door. After. The. Horse. Has. Bolted.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I get it now

    "filing a series of motions that seek the identity of people who did nothing more than view YouTube videos showing how the latest hack worked."

    That's what they meant when they said that future games would be motion controlled.

  27. Gary Holcombe

    Good on Sony!

    Good! I hope Sony and the courts throw the book at these people. Lets get something straight here, these people who jailbreak things are NOT customers, they are just socially inadequate geeks who have nothing better to do with their time, apart from squeezing their spots.

    At the moment, many of the online games now on the PS3 are unplayable because of morons hacking into the system. Ive also heard of people borrowing games from rental shops and illegally ripping the disks to their HDD's.

    This hack has caused a HUGE amount of problems for genuine gamers across the world, and I really do hope Sony win this one.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      you sir

      are an idiot. the failoverflow guys (silly name aside) are a damn sight smarter than you and all your fanboy 'broskis' put together. between them they've bought a hell of a lot of PS3s and contributed to encouraging more people buying them by increasing the number of things you can use them for.

      there's simple way to stop the people cheating, ban the fucking cheaters. dont faff on with expensive customer irritating law warping court cases, just ban ever fucker your mods see cheating and everyone is happy.

      btw no ones going to bother paying to rent games and then arsing about ripping them when they can just grab them off bittorrent, whoever told you that is full of shit.

  28. blofse
    Black Helicopters

    I was waiting for the law to catch up with the internet...

    ..and it seems things have started.

    The youTube stuff seems like a test case for me. If you think about it if they allowed this to stand (and not throw it out straight away like it should do) then that pushes that it's a criminal intent to look at content - i.e. premeditation before a crime - but proof when you actually comment that you have intent.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I think you can get into trouble if you are seen to have criminal intent - e.g. go to a gun shop, look at guns, talk about shooting people, etc.

    This is a bit of a problem however because surely you are allowed to say 'hey that's cool' or 'omg!' without getting in any sort of trouble. You don't watch Mafia/Action films where they show killing people and when you comment on it, you have no intent of going though with anything - you just say it's cool (which is ironic isn't it mr sony aka MPAA? Circular suicide potentially :-) ). Also you may just be looking for PS3 material and land on this page - there is absolutely no intent there. Also a lot of people wont understand the full implications of what is being displayed, and a lot of people are minor's and therefore there is no contractual meeting of minds. In fact I bet 99% of PS3 owners have not read the latest terms and conditions and 100% agree even though they are effectively being blackmailed (i.e. agree or you cannot play this anymore, you cannot sell it for the same value or refund it ether outside of warrantee)...

    I think this feels to me that it is not an intent issue and therefore the case should be thrown out. A couple of things - you buy hardware, you have a right to do what ever you want with it after. You don't rent the device, your not under contract so you should have the right to modify however you see fit (so rooting should be allowed if your capable); just because people comment does not mean it is real (sometimes it's a showing off type thing - the internet is less tangible so comments are likely to be more extreme and that should be taken into account).

    Big coorp's and now gov's (thanks to Tunis/Egypt, gov's are now scared) will want to quash things as much as possible. Enjoy the freedom while you can....

    They seem to have the opinion that the line must be drawn with the free, intangible internet. It does seem worrying that the line is getting closer to being a small circle of what you used to be able to do but cannot any more. Take twitter blogging - they are closing the freedom of speech down.

    Nothing wrong with SSH tunnels and international proxy's, let alone anonymous web browsing and firewall stealth modes...

    Because I have commented here, does that mean I could be sued? I have no intent - I don't use a PS3 for the main reason that it is too closed. A little linux box under the tv does the trick for me.... but because I have a viewpoint that is in disagreement with a big coorp, I now must hide :)

  29. IsJustabloke

    I refuse to enoble a simple forum post!

    I've never understood Sony's philosophy about anything. I've never bought sony kit. IT always seems very expensive for what it is, granted some of it looks quite sexy, and some of it seems well built although a lot of it isn't, but its never really struck me as good VFM.

    They often seem to take standard functionality and then wrap it all up in some kind of proprietry doodad that cost twice as much as the non-proprierty version. EG memory sticks versus SD cards, same underlying tech but totaly incompatible formats.

    And nowadays it seems barely a day goes by without hearing some tale about how SONY are gonna sue the arse of the world + uncle.

    This stuff DOES cost them customers because every convo I have with friends where we talk about this sort of stuff, sony are *always* on the end of a slating.

  30. JBH

    I paid for it, therefore I own it.

    Therefore I'll do what the hell I like with it.

    End of discussion.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Sony suck

    After having to deal with sony support for laptop issues at a previous employer, I can happily say that Im not buying Sony kit until they sort themselves out.

    Ive got a PS3 and an Xbox, so theres no incentive for me to buy games on the PS3.

    Sony USED to make awesome equipment, reliable, steady and you knew you were paying good money for good kit. Nowadays, they have gone the way of the c*ck and just produce shite.

    Im sticking with Samsung. Cheaper, better quality and no random suing people.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go Sony! Go!

    Maybe if you sue enough geeks we can finally get rid of the DCMA.

  33. Sam Therapy

    Are Sony completely fucking insane?

    After the negative publicity they received for the rootkit fiasco, they want to try this stunt?

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Maybe I'm just evil...

    But I think that given the scummy way that Sony in particular handle their business, merely attempting to influence others to cease buying Sony products seems too honest & fair. I like to take a more (personally) satisfying approach to hurting their sales by sabotaging the display models of their TVs in-store. It only takes a few seconds to access the picture quality menu settings & make their sets look like garbage in comparison to the competition; but that negative first impression will stick with many potential customers for years to come.

  35. SpaMster

    World gone mad

    If Sony manages to sue a bunch of people just because they've watched a youtube video, the world has officially gone mad. Surely they'd need more evidence than "You commented on a youtube video"

  36. JaitcH

    Sony shoots self in foot and forgets U.S. law has it's limitations

    How dumb can an otherwise seemingly normal company get. They get lazy in their security precautions and when someone discovers the magic key they pretend they can re-secure the device with lawyers doing the job.

    Another point is that U.S. law is limited to the jurisdiction of the U.S. territories and that many governments don't have protection provisions in their legislation.

    Really very short sighted.

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