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Telling users how to remove restraints on consoles they legally own may cost a German man his freedom. But faced with a damning Sony lawsuit, he says the company should "just kill" him as he won't give up his quest to free users.  (Source: Icon Productions/Paramount Pictures)

Those who oppose Sony's tactics are encouraged to support a boycott and/or to donate to Mr. Egorenkov. Anonymous and other groups have also called for ongoing attacks on Sony's online properties in retaliation.  (Source: Google Images)
Sony harassment of the modding/hacking community continues even as it faces a record number of intrusions

People often ask what exactly Sony Corp. (6758) did to convince hackers groups like LulzSec and Anonymous to hack the company 19 times so far [1][2][3][4][5][6][7].  An answer may lie in cases like that of Alexander Egorenkov.

Mr. Egorenkov, a young German and associate of the team of German hardware hackers fail0verflow helped people jailbreak the PlayStation 3 by authoring the "Hypervisor Bible" [torrent] a guide to Sony's PS3 software protection layer.  Mr. Egorenkov, who goes by "graf_chokolo" online, says his goal was simply to allow people to make full use of the hardware they legally bought.

Sony initially encouraged Linux (OtherOS) installs on PS3s, but with the launch of the PS3 Slim killed the support and issued patches that blocked existing machines from utilizing the newly disallowed Linux.

When famed U.S. iPhone hacker George "GeoHot" Hotz and the folks at fail0verflow hacked the PS3 and reallowed Linux via jailbreak, an outraged Sony lashed out.  Harassing Mr. Hotz with court-aided intrusions into his private online accounts, Sony similarly worked to punish Mr. Egorenkov for trying to free users from Sony's restraints.

They convinced German authorities to raid Mr. Egorenkov's home and seize his personal computers and electronics.  They also filed suit against him in Hamburg District Court (Docket no. 310 O 24/11) for 1M € (appr. $1.43M USD) in damages.  The court ordered him to take down any copies of the "Hypervisor Bible".  

Mr. Egorenkov refused to comply.  He uploaded a backup copy of "coolstuff.rar", which Sony's lawyer Peter Ruess says includes "copies, decrypted copies and reverse-engineered information of files belonging to the confidential core firmware used in the PlayStation3 which is distributed by our client."  

Backups were given to friends to prevent Sony's efforts to permanently remove the guide.

Sony motioned for Mr. Egorenkov to be found in violation of court order, which a Hamburg judge affirmed.  A defiant Mr. Egorenkov writes that Sony would have to kill him to keep him silent.  He writes:
The SONY's lawyer asked me why I'm doing what I'm doing, because of my hatred for SONY? He cannot understand why I'm doing it, because he is paid for what he does. I'm not. I don't hold a grudge against SONY even now Hatred clouds your mind, keeps you from more important things. I have a better use for my mind and knowledge.

So, SONY you failed again, you took my equipment but my mind is still free and you canot control it. You failed again. They are just tools, I can get new ones and will continue my HV reversing and bringing back PS3 Linux which you took from us. If you want me to stop then you should just kill me because I cannot live without programming, HV and Linux kernel hacking You know who am I and where I live, so come and get me !!!
(Capitalization edited for readability.)

Well, unlike GeoHot who was fortunate enough to earn a reportedly favorable settlement with Sony, Mr. Egorenkov was not so fortunate.  He's reportedly bankrupt and has been ordered to go to prison in Germany if he can't find a way to pay up for his court costs and damages to Sony.

He writes on his blog:
Hi guys, no money left anymore. Going to jail soon probably because I cannot pay court costs.

But I'm ready to stand up for everything I said and go to jail for that too. It’s not important to win, more important is to show them that we are ready to fight, that they cannot scare me off easily. Yeah, I'm ready to go to jail for my believes and my principles.

Most of people probably think that all computer and kernel hackers are weak kids, hiding in a cellar, eating pizza whole day, writing software and looking for attention Maybe, but that’s NOT me. And I will get out eventually and continue my work. My work means very much to me.
(Capitalization edited for readability.)

People interested in supporting Mr. Egorenkov's efforts to retain his freedom are encouraged to donate here.

It's sad the inconvenience to gamers that the recent attacks on Sony have caused.  But one has to wonder if Sony isn't partially to blame for it, given its belligerent stance towards its most tech-savvy users.

This behavior stands in sharp contrast with rivals Nintendo (TYO:7974) who has long cast a blind eye on jailbreaking and pirated software and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) who at worst banned modders from using its online service, but more recently has taken a gentler stance working with top Windows Phone 7 jailbreakers to offer a (legal) jailbreak at "a small fee".

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RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By Philippine Mango on 6/18/2011 11:02:44 PM , Rating: 4
The corporations aren't taking over.. The problem is, the government is a little "too willing" to help those who help it. If the government was small and stayed out of people's business, things like this would never happen, no matter how much money the companies had. Government is the reason we have what are so called "powerful" corporations..

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By tecknurd on 6/19/2011 3:08:40 AM , Rating: 3
Wow, you need to get out because it seems you do not know how the society works. In order for corporations can get powerful is through customers which are the people. Governments have nothing to do with corporations getting powerful. If you do not want a corporation getting powerful is either do not buy their products or sue the company when a product of theirs harms you. Though mailing a letter to a company can also help bring the company back to ethical land.

The government will only step in when the said company crosses the line too far.

Did Sony did something wrong? Yes. Did customers do anything about it? Nope. Who is the blame? The customers. Do you really think the government will step in when it is the customer to blame.

I have not bought Sony products, so I can not be the one to sue Sony. People that have bought Sony products can sue, but they hacked to bring Sony down instead which is a criminal act. The government frowns on any attack like hacking, so why would the government help the customers. I feel bad for the other customers that did nothing bad, but got stuck in the middle of this "tantrum war."

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By jamesjwb on 6/19/2011 7:02:14 AM , Rating: 4
I'm sorry but this relies on corporate behaviour being well publicized. If the public knew exactly what went on in most corporations, and not the marketed smily face BS, they wouldn't buy from them. Fact is it's hidden and made very hard to find. If we had a mass media worth a damn we'd be well versed on what scum bags most corporations are and many would cease to exist.

By snakeInTheGrass on 6/19/2011 11:09:45 AM , Rating: 3
Frankly it's the job of government to protect their own citizens, unless you're thinking that Sony customers should form a lynch-mob and take out the execs. The corporations have been bending the laws in their favor for years (hundreds of years - telegraphs, railroads, etc. come to mind, and I'm sure there were businesses back in Rome buying off their senators too...), and unless 'the customers' can buy off the lawmakers more effectively, the companies win.

Activity after activity has been criminalized - not companies doing bad things, oh no, but anything that people do that might cross what companies want to see happen to maximize their profits, people's rights be damned. This guy gets shafted and thrown in prison for being unable to pay fines / court costs while companies losing customer accounts / installing rootkits on people's machines gets at most a bit of political rhetoric and a blind eye turned to it.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By HoosierEngineer5 on 6/19/2011 11:51:07 AM , Rating: 2
I have boycotted Sony for 25+ years. Any day now, I expect them to be quaking in their boots.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By Jalek on 6/19/2011 4:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
Corporations realized back in the 1980's that they can get caught doing anything, and in six weeks consumers will have forgotten.

Can people even stay focused on a boycott for even a week under the 24/7 corporate news barrage today?

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By ekv on 6/19/2011 7:45:57 PM , Rating: 2
describes Obama's health-care meetings perfectly

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By bupkus on 6/19/2011 11:06:34 PM , Rating: 2
describes Obama's health-care meetings perfectly
Start your own thread somewhere else. This is about Sony and their customers' rights.

By superstition on 6/19/2011 1:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
False dichotomy.

Corporations and government are two sides of the same coin.

By superstition on 6/19/2011 1:28:15 PM , Rating: 3
"If the government was small and stayed out of people's business"

I know the small government fallacy is popular, but I suggest looking at it carefully. What it generally is is a bit of cognitive dissonance inducing rhetorical trickery designed to hand the keys of the economy to plutocrats.

Government needs to be able to meet the needs of its citizens. How large it is depends upon that. A government that is too "small" (inefficiently inadequate) will fail just as much as a government that's too "large" (inefficiently bloated).

This large vs. small stuff is a distraction. What really matters are the details. Example: "Is the government, via the judiciary, able to keep up with the fast pace of technological development by moving cases through at an adequate pace, with adequate results?"The answer to that seems to be no. Tech cases often drag on for too long and members of the judiciary often struggle to deal with highly technical issues. Well, the judiciary tends to be the least corrupt branch of our government, so if it's failing, good luck with the rest of it. Congress is primarily filled with plutocratic carnival barkers, and the White House is invariably occupied by people with dictatorial (and plutocratic, of course) aspirations.

The American health care system is extremely mediocre, largely because government is not involved enough. A large majority of citizens wanted a public option, but our government, being in bed with corporations, decided that what the public wanted didn't matter. America is falling behind the rest of the world in many areas, and it's not because our government is "too large". It's because it's not doing enough to keep us competitive. Instead, corporations/banks/Wall Street are bleeding us dry and have been for many years. An ignorant public that shops at Wal-Mart, thus enriching the Chinese -- is only partially to blame. Our government is supposed to be made up of people who are educated and distinguished enough to represent the common folk well, better than they represent themselves. They're supposed to safeguard the people against corporate outsourcing and other corruptions.

Instead, though, they do the opposite because they're inextricably tied to the corporations/Wall Street/banks. And their loyalties, far from lying with the public, lie elsewhere -- and not only in America. Multinational/globalized business is making nations increasingly little more than mirages used to fool the public, while the money continues to flow away from the US or gets trapped with super wealth hoarders.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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