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back to article Suit settled, PS3 hacker donates $10,000 to EFF

The hacker accused of violating US copyright law when he hacked the PlayStation 3 game console has donated $10,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation after Sony dropped the controversial lawsuit. George Hotz, aka GeoHot, announced the donation on Saturday, five days after he and Sony settled their legal tiff. Sony accused …

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FAIL

WTF?

"Just because you buy a product, it does not mean you have the express rights to start altering it in any way you feel fit. "

Yes it fucking does.

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@Gary Holcombe

I bought a car from ford with some very clever code in the ECU. I decided that I wanted to change that code to increase power output. I purchased a handheld unit that plugs straight into the car and it did the work for me. I've also changed the suspension to give it a lower profile. Thus I have changed both the design and the code.

Have I just broken the law as per your interpretation? If I have them I'm glad you aren't in charge of anything.

Yes - hacking the PS3 meant people could break the law and steal games. But the actual act of hacking the PS3 must never be considered illegal.

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Re: Morons

"As for donating money to a organisation against the Anti Piracy teams, well, that says it all really doesnt it."

Nope. And the "Anti Piracy teams": are they your favourite comic book characters? "Oh noes, Anti Piracy teams, corporations will not shower us with shiny unless you jail people!"

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Wrong

"Just because you buy a product, it does not mean you have the express rights to start altering it in any way you feel fit. "

Yes it does.

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Paris Hilton

Shit.

We best get rounding all those circuit benders up!

Casio are going to have a field day.

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You can do whatever the hell you want with...

...the hardware. you can take your PS3 and turn it into a George Foreman grill, you can make it a rather large doorstop, you can fry the internals if you like, Sony doesn't really care. The car analogy never works, and I'll not bother even touching it because it's such a straw man. This is not about hardware or a consumer's rights, this is about software, licensing and circumvention of security/digital protection.

The thought that you can do whatever you want once you buy it, does not extend to the software. It never has and never will. That is why software is licensed. Inconvenient though it may be, without software licensing and copyright, we would have no video games and much of the technology industry we have today would be vastly different.

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WTF?

@Highlander

Have ever even SEEN a modern automobile? Since you apparently just arrived (I took the long way myself) from 1985, Doc Brown, let me clue you in: a modern automobile has upwards of 50 microprocessors. These run (cue shock and surprise) SOFTWARE which monitors and controls systems throughout the vehicle. The person making the "car analogy" SPECIFICALLY said altering the car's software (which people do). Really I have a hard time calling this an analogy, as it is EXACTLY what GeoHot did.

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Anonymous Coward

Quite happy to live without Sony

I've kept Sony at arm's length for some time now since the rootkit debacles, but this entire sad sorry affair has definitely seen me stand firmly in the boycott camp. It's a shame, as they've made some nice kit over the years, but the way they do business is just ridiculous.

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If you dont like it

then don't buy Sony products.

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Unhappy

Well..

Sadly that can be a lot harder than half the cretins on here, shouting about boycotting Sony, think it is.

Sony make a ton of parts of other kit like CD drives that go into all manner of PCs and car AV kit. You really have to study the back of any DVD case or cinema poster to make sure Sony or one of it's many, many subs are not involved. Some obscure indy band knocks out CDs on their own but their record company needs to put out a live DVD, they may well find the only distribution channel big enough would be some tinpot production mob owned by....the big S! Metal

I am not defending Sony, I try hard to avoid buying any of their kit as it's shite, but they are growing larger and larger and avoiding their hideous tech tentacles is getting harder and harder.

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Anonymous Coward

I've been avoiding them since the rootkit debacle

Since the rootkit debacle, the only Sony products I've bought have been second-hand (completing my James Bond DVD collection, beyond that I won't even get them second-hand!).

Which set me thinking "If you buy a locked-down product second-hand, and so don't open the shrink-wrap, make an agreement with the manufacturer, etc... do you have more legal freedom for jailbreaking it?"

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@AC

Sony wouldn't give a shit if someone released a crack which irrevocably turned a PS3 into a Linux media player. They wouldn't give a shit if you cracked your own PS3 and didn't disclose the key.

What they absolutely give a shit about is crackers disclosing keys that facilitate piracy on their multi billion dollar investment and they have the law on their side in the matter.

For all the idiots supporting Geohot, I bet only a fraction of them even own a PS3. I can't think of many reasons for an owner to support their console being exposed to endemic piracy, and PSN to griefers and cheats. Both of which are natural consequences if Sony had sat back and done nothing.

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Vic
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Hmmm.

> They wouldn't give a shit if you cracked your own PS3 and didn't disclose the key.

Their affidavits to the Court say the very opposite of that statement.

Of course, they might be lying...

Vic.

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@Vic

Hogwash. The DMCA is to prevent circumvention of copy protection to facilitate unauthorized access to copyright material. It wouldn't even apply for some guy who figured out how to irrevocably turn their PS3 into a dedicated XBMC device.

Also, common sense should tell you that Sony would react in massively different ways depending on the threat to their revenues. A handful of XBMC conversions is background noise. Endemic piracy represents hundreds of millions of dollars of lost sales and the latter is exactly what Geohot was facilitating. Hence the reaction he received.

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Vic
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@Xym

> Hogwash.

Ah. Reasoned argument. What a refreshing change.

> The DMCA is to prevent circumvention of copy protection

I've not disputed that.

What I've disputed is whether or not this was a DMCA violation - and, as no court has adjudged it to be so, it is currently not. that's the whole point of "innocent unless proven guilty"...

I've also disputed whether Sony would care if you modified your own box. You told us in no uncertain terms that they would not. Sony has told us in equally uncertain terms that they would.

If you are actually speaking on behalf of Sony, perhaps you'd like to tell us in which capacity you are employed by them? And if you're not, why should we believe what you say on an Internet forum, rather than what Sony has said in a sworn affidavit to a court?

> Also, common sense should tell you

Common sense would tell you that a plaintiff should first demonstrate grounds for filing a case - such as, for example, being the rights holder. SCEA haven't done this - indeed, in numerous other places, they have been very clear that it is SCEI who are the rights holders.

Common sense, as you would have it, really doesn't apply.

Vic.

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@Vic

You don't get it. Sony would have no legal recourse if someone modded a box without contravening the DMCA. The DMCA is specifically there to prevent people circumventing content protection & obtaining unauthorized access to protected content, not to stop someone who figures a way of irrevocably turning a box from using Game OS to Linux for example.

It's also quite obvious that Sony's reaction is directly related to that as well as the threat the "hack" posed. For example someone else was blathering about how MS is cool with Kinect hackers conveniently ignoring that Sony is cool with Move hackers. Such hacking doesn't pose a threat, doesn't contravene the DMCA so they don't care.

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Vic
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And iterate :-(

> You don't get it.

Well, one of us doesn't.

> Sony would have no legal recourse if someone modded a box without contravening the DMCA

By Sony's argument, that is a null set; they claim that any rooting of the box - in any numbers, for any purpose - is a contravention of the DMCA.

They are probably wrong - but that doesn't stop them launching a huge lawsuit against anyone they *accuse* of being an infringer. Such is the case with Hotz - he has *not* been found guilty of anything, because he has not been tried for anything. He has stipulated to something because he is just some kid that doesn't want to be dragged across the country by a multinational with a penchant for jurisdiction-shopping.

> The DMCA is specifically there to...

Nevermind what you think it's there for; it's *being used* to stifle that which you say it is not there to do. The US legal system permits this sort of abuse, simply because it is often ruinously expensive to win in court.

> It's also quite obvious that Sony's reaction is directly related to that

That is not obvious at all.

ISTM that Sony's reaction is designed purely to cause fear. They know they screwed up the security, and they're attempting to use financial muscle to intimidate anyone who might benefit from their screw-up - whether such benefit would be lawful or not.

> so they don't care

Once again, you're speaking on Sony's behalf, and in opposition to their sworn affidavits. Would you like to clarify your position within Sony?

Vic.

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@Vic

"Once again, you're speaking on Sony's behalf, and in opposition to their sworn affidavits. Would you like to clarify your position within Sony?"

No, it's called empathy. I can understand their motivations in this regard which are obvious. I've been hugely critical of Sony on plenty of occasions but this is not one of them.

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Vic
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Ah.

> I can understand their motivations in this regard which are obvious

So you're simply assuming that they agree with you, even though they told the court something entirely different.

I get you.

Vic.

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Stop

i am going to buy a PS3

but not a new one, that's for sure. i'm a gamer and there's games on the PS3 that are exclusive to the platform, so i'm more or less forced to get one if i want to play those games, but there's a nice 2nd hand market, i'll stick to those.

didn't buy any other Sony products anyway, to me they are just plain evil.

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Anonymous Coward

Did this horse break its leg at Newbury?

"This money goes to the EFF in hopes that America can one day again be a shining example of freedom, free of the DMCA and the ACTA "

Good luck with that.

As for all anyone implying financial repercussions of Sony's bullying, yes, it is true: Sony sold 3 TVs and 5 PS3s less than the previous month. They are devastated and would do anything to improve their PR to gain back the half dozen lost customers. Oh wait, a dozen were born while I wrote that.

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Anonymous Coward

Nah

They're loosing alot more sales than that... There's an awful lot of hate around for Sony nowadays. I myself have more talked people into NOT choosing Sony in the past month.

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Sir

"Oh wait, a dozen were born while I wrote that"

So are you saying there are now a dozen born every minute instead of one?

Bow down to your corporate masters, peon.

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Sony Already On My Boycott List

They break the driver for stereo mix (record what u hear) on purpose with their Vaios.

FU Sony, hope you go broke.

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Pirate

geohot stfu

he just can't keep his mouth shut - he better not do another rap though!

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Unhappy

All this self righteous whining...

...is pretty pathetic, IMHO.

Hotz broke the 'Other OS' system by showing how to use it to take over the PS3, enabling pirated games to be played. Sony had little choice but to disable the option (or modify linux on the PS3 and somehow lock you into that version!) - IT WAS HOTZ'S FAULT

However Hotz and a cohort of entitlement-deficient idiots decides that Sony is really mean, so he decides to crack the security on the main OS too - and publishes the results. What can Sony do? Try to fix the damage and try to stop this prat from doing it again - What did he expect?

The only, only reason you could possibly champion Hotz is if you want to play pirated games. He is personally responsible for the loss othe other OS and homebrew scene; if you are one of those claiming you bought your PS3 for the linux, then blame him.

Just accept that it's an entertainment console, it's subsidised on the basis that you'll buy games for it, the manufacturer threw in an extra feature, and this idiot broke the lot. Screw him, not Sony.

/Rant Over

//No, I'm not a Sony employee!

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Sir

"Hotz broke the 'Other OS' system by showing how to use it to take over the PS3"

Yes, but wasn't that because the other o/s feature was effectively crippled?

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To the Self-Righteous Whiner

Sony removed the OtherOS feature from their new slim models BEFORE GeoHot even started working on this.

Try again.

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The slim system was never sold with OtherOS, nothing was ever removed from them

Hotz caused the OtherOS to be removed from the phat systems. Sony gained nothing financially by removing it from the phat systems and it was not costing them a penny to support. OtherOS was removed from phat systems specifically in response to Hotz hacking the hypervizor - before OtherOS was removed.

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Crippled?

"Yes, but wasn't that because the other o/s feature was effectively crippled?"

OtherOS allowed people to install Linux or other operating systems on their PS3. It was "crippled" in the sense that the OS ran over a hypervisor which placed certain limitations on what hardware the OS could see. However the OS could use things like the CPU, 6 SPUs, physical memory, hard disk, USB ports, bluetooth, video out etc.

The chief gripe was that graphics performance was fairly poor, but there were ways it could have been massively improved without cracking the hypervisor, e.g. by putting all the SPUs to work in a Mesa driver. Same for audio / video.

Anyway Geohot basically shut the door on the feature by breaking the hypervisor which would have allowed a Linux app to take control of the entire machine. It's not hard to see how thought Sony thought this was a viable attack that allowed pirates to install custom firmware so they disabled Other OS. On the one hand they could piss off the handful of people who actually used Other OS, on the other they save their entire platform from endemic piracy, modding etc.

It's not hard to see why they did what they did. It's also not hard to see who is to blame for the feature being removed - everyone's beloved hero Geohot. He couldn't keep his big mouth shut or comprehend the outcome and Other OS went the way of the dodo.

Funny part is most of the people crusading for him almost certainly never used Other OS (I did BTW), and probably don't own a PS3 either. I doubt many legit PS3 owners would savour their platform turning to shit because of piracy.

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Grenade

Simple reasoning...

Sony have started to realise that whilst they are pushing a public image of a 'don't touch our stuff or we come down on you HARD' (whether you agree with that interpretation or not), their direct rival, Microsoft and the XBox 360 are getting huge kudos for the possibilities that Kinect has opened up to the community.

Now that MS are also offering the Kinect SDK (or will be - I've lost track) they are getting more and more interest and being viewed in a much more developer-friendly manner. Sony, on the other hand, are dealing with the fallout after one oik and his attitude have generated after he opened up the piracy lock that no-one will admit they want to abuse, and all call out the word 'homebrew' like it's some magical word when all they really mean is that they want to steal stuff. Skirting around it by not actually admitting piracy and all whining doesn't really convince anyone.

This approach always gets me a huge list of thumbs-downs, but I completely believe that anyone should be able to do anything with the hardware that they have purchased, and that they should be able to install what they like - provided they don't use any of Sony's software, link to Sony's network, or play anything that is specifically written and licensed to Sony's OS. Why did you buy a PS3 in the first place, if not to play the games or use Sony's software? If you don't want to use Sony products (software) then why buy Sony's hardware with pre-installed OS?

And before anyone thinks of me the wrong way - I actually can't stand Sony. Their desire to force their own proprietary formats for memory cards, connectors, etc had me refusing to buy their products years ago.

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Er?

"Sony have started to realise that whilst they are pushing a public image of a 'don't touch our stuff or we come down on you HARD' (whether you agree with that interpretation or not), their direct rival, Microsoft and the XBox 360 are getting huge kudos for the possibilities that Kinect has opened up to the community."

Oh please. It's not hard to find hackers using Move controllers too, e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtSCwLtcL9c. Console makers don't give a crap that people use their peripherals on PCs and so forth. They make a profit regardless, and hacking such devices is not in violation of the DMCA. i.e. I could hack a Move controller all day long but I'm not circumventing copy protection.

But people hacking consoles is another matter, and console makers are consistent there too. Microsoft bans users in huge waves for running modded hardware. They've launched criminal complaints against hardware modders. Nintendo is no different. It's not hard at all to find reports of actions brought by all major console makers which is not surprising since all consoles rely on copy protection.

If someone were to produce an exploit for the XBox 360 which used Kinect as an attack vector, the perpetrator could expect a very swift and heavy legal response from Microsoft just as fast as Geohot did.

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I can't be fucked to think up a title

What's to stop someone leaking information like this anonymously anyway. How did Hotz get caught?

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I completely disagree with this guy..

“This money goes to the EFF in hopes that America can one day again be a shining example of freedom, free of the DMCA and the ACTA (anti-counterfeiting trade agreement), and that private interest will never trump the ideas laid out in the constitution of privacy, ownership, and free speech,”

Guys like this complain about Chineese companies stealing IP off American companies, but yet, when they would like a service which they are not prepared to pay for or not supposed to have, they'll will do the same as the Chineese, i.e steal.

The idea that a single person, is more important then the mass is ludicras. In addition to that, he fails to see that he was stealing someone else's time and ideas, just because thousands of people work on something, put alot of time and effort, that doesn't make it bad, or is that me?

This guy is so dense light bends around him.

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Who is the real criminal?

Sony (a court provent criminal corporation) is the only criminal in this case. Sony as no right no dictate what i can do with the hardware I OWN PERIOD. it is not open to discussion.

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Vic
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Not so.

> Sony as no right no dictate what i can do with the hardware I OWN

Whilst that almost certainly *ought* to be the case, it is not.

The DMCA gives all sorts of rights to people who should not have them. But it is the Law in the US.

Vic.

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Actually it is open to discussion

Actually it's the DMCA that dictates people in the US cannot circumvent copy protection except for some well defined purposes and specifies the penalties that can receive if they do. The DMCA applies to obtaining unauthorized access to copy protected content. Tools which enable that access and their authors are likely to get sued.

A hacker living there could quite happily hack away on a protected box and as long as they were not stupid enough to develop a viable circumvention, brag about it and openly disseminate it, there would be no issue. Unfortunately for Geohot that's exactly what he did. It's his own dumb fault really. He could have done so anonymously, he could have sought to done it under exemptions for academic freedoms.

It's no good wailing that Sony is within it's rights to use the law. Microsoft have used it, Amazon have used it, DirectTV have used it. Basically anyone with protected content has used it to clamp down on cracking tools.

It's funny how people don't get this. And EU countries have equivalent laws in enactments of the anti-circumvention measures of the copyright directive. I expect I'll collect some more thumbs down for pointing out the bleeding obvious to people who prefer to pretend such laws don't exist.

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Sony and their kit

Sony makes mainstream quality kit. This means it is made to JUST outlive the warranty. This wasn't always the case. I have an old boom box (ghetto blaster, portable stereo system, etc) tape deck with aux inputs. It's never been a great thing, in fact the speakers were a total loss right out of the box. I now have some pioneer car speakers in there that sound great in comparison. It's not so much a problem with their hardware as it is with their firmware. Sony can't seem to find their ass with either hand as far as software seems to go. My last free cell phone was a great case in point. The Ericsson division seems to think that rebooting your phone every other day to be able to switch cell towers is not a bad thing. they never released a fix for that in the 2 years I was contracted to that phone. Another prime example is all the epic fails on the PS3 updates requiring more updates to fix the problems introduced by the last update. Sony is becoming the new Microsoft in the fact that they are using their consumer base to finish testing products and finally end up with a 80% completed product after 5 years when they move on to the next "great thing".

And yeah... by some of these commentards' logic, I'm a criminal for replacing the crap speakers in my boom box with better speakers. They can shove it.

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Anonymous Coward

Money down the drain

The EFF is a bunch of con artists. That was ten grand thrown down the toilet.

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Flame

Just don't buy Sony kit

I don't. I haven't found a compelling reason to spend money on this company's products, especially as I have no idea what they're doing or why.

You can tell where these people are at with their disc players. BluRay is all about source protection, as a technology it doesn't work at all well compared to existing DVD (or even HD-DVD) technologies. That's not important, though -- you just sell enough people on it and they'll believe anything.

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What?

Blu ray works perfectly well. Stick disc in and it plays. What more do you want? I'd add that both DVD and HD DVD have copy protection schemes and HD DVD and Blu Ray share AACS as their copy protection scheme. Use of BD+ which is a stronger scheme that turns cracking into a timesink is not widespread enough which may explain why it hasn't been particularly effective.

Anyway if you want to rip content from Blu Ray buy AnyDVD HD.

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Vic
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Re: What?

> Blu ray works perfectly well. Stick disc in and it plays

Not if you have a PAL-only TV, it doesn't.

Vic.

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@Vic

Another utterly meaningless statement from you. PAL TVs play content from Blu Ray media perfectly well.

Perhaps you're complaining that studios are releasing content at 24fps and TVs with only 25fps suffer minor pulldown judder. Blame the studios and consumer preference for 24fps for that. There is nothing in the spec that mandates movies should be 24fps and indeed the spec supports 25fps, 30fps, 50fps and 60fps too. As indeed did HD DVD.

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