week and a half ago, George "geohot" Hotz and the team of firmware
hackers dubbed fail0verflow (Hector Cantero, Sven Peter, "Bushing,"
"Segher," and other anonymous members) released the root keys for the Sony PS3 via
a smart phone hack. Those keys allow virtually any app to be run on the
PS3, a critical step to re-enabling the Linux support that Sony
Needless to say Sony was less than enthused. Claiming the release would
promote piracy; Sony yesterday filed a restraining order [blog]
against geohot and the members of fail0verflow citing Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act violations and copyright
Today they followed up that up with a full copyright infringement lawsuit [Scribd]. The suit was filed in San
Francisco District Court.
Sony claims that geohot, in circumvent its copy protections. It says that
the geohot and the other named defendants:
lawyers, but as Jay-Z says we "know a little bit". But all of
these charges seem pretty tenuous.
The DMCA accusation is weakened by the Library of Congress's recent addition the DMCA, stating that in the
cell phone arena it is permissible to:
Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to
execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole
purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been
lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.
If it is
permissible for cell phone apps, it seems unclear why it wouldn't be similarly
permissible for gaming consoles.
Similarly, the Computer Fraud accusation seems tenuous, given that geohot and
others reportedly owned legally purchased PS3s and thus should be authorized to
Lastly, the California Computer Crime Law violations seem somewhat hard to
prove, given that Sony will have to establish their business was being
significantly harmed via the distribution of the root keys.
Still Sony is a company with a lot of money and power so geohot, et al better
retain top notch legal aid and better find someone(s) (quickly) to bankroll
that legal campaign. Of course, given all of his clashes with Apple,
we're guessing Mr. Hotz has a pretty good lawyer on retainer.