Sony has filed a lawsuit against the hackers who figured out how to bypass the PS3's security keys and then posted the keys online for the public to see and use. The keys allow users to run software that has not been approved by Sony such as custom firmware, homebrew programs and pirated games. Sony Computer Entertainment America has called out George Hotz, the original iPhone hacker, and the hacking group who made the discovery, fail0verflow, in the lawsuit. George Hotz recently appeared in court with his attorney to file a response.
In Sony's initial claim, they seek "injunctive relief and damages, accusing the hackers of breach of contract, tortuous interference with contractual relations, trespassing, common law misappropriation, and violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Copyright Act, and the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act." On top of all that, they are accusing the group of conspiracy on the grounds that they worked together and encouraged others to break the PS3's security measures.
Sony is also requesting a temporary restraining order that would prevent the accused from continuing their efforts to circumvent the PS3's security barriers. The restraining order would keep them away from anything necessary to further their hacking efforts, mainly their computers and PS3s. (What if they just really want to play LittleBigPlanet 2?)
The plot thickens as George Hotz and his attorney appeared in court this week to address the restraining order in a statement. "This case is not about Sony Computer Entertainment America LLP attempting to protect its intellectual property or otherwise seek bona fide relief from the court. Rather, it's an attempt for Sony to send a message to any would-be individual that attempting to use any hardware it manufacturers in a way it does not deem appropriate will result in harsh legal consequences, irrespective of any legal basis or authority for such action."
Check out George Hotz discussing the matter on last night's Attack of the Show.
Some of the complaints Hotz's attorney had with Sony's suit was that it was filed with a Northern California court when George Hotz lives in New Jersey. Another issues was that Sony cited Hotz had agreed to the terms of service and user agreement that come with signing up for the PlayStation Network. Hotz, however, under a sworn affidavit claims he never made an account. Thirdly the attorney points out that Sony's claim that Hotz is financially benefiting from the PS3 is false as the only "donation" was made by Sony.
The attorney ended with, "Sony, through its marketing of the PlayStation computer has touted its versatile ability to do more than play video games, and yet, this is the crux of Sony's argument as to why the system cannot be treated like the computer that it is. The PlayStation computer has the ability to play films on Blu-ray discs and other media and it has the ability to access the internet and play music and a myriad of other features. All of these additional features can be enhanced by an end user's ability to install and run third-party software on the PlayStation computer. Instead of pointing out the possibilities in innovation and enhancement to the PlayStation, Sony has instead chosen to quote internet chat boards and other unauthenticated hearsay sources to demonstrate the 'truth' of the matter asserted: that 'jailbreaking' the PlayStation computer has no use other than to play pirated, copyright-protected, video games."
Both sides have interesting points, and Sony certainly has to do something to protect the PS3. Learning more about the technology, and eventually hacking might be an inevitability but Sony has to take necessary steps to make sure the integrity of their product is safe. Are these lawsuits the right actions?