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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: Good
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2011 12:31:54 PM , Rating: 2
Can you provide a link or source verifying the credit cards are being used? I have not heard of any other than you and the other poster. Ive had the same result from a gas station attendant so I am skeptical to the Sony leak.

Im sorry to disappoint you but every Sony product I purchased in the last 10 years has died within 2-2.5 years max. Sony is higher priced than anyone else to begin with so its already a premium to purchase any sony product no matter if its their bottom line you should expect Sony quality as it costs more than most other brands. My Sony DVD player cost $149.00 when you could purchase a DVD player for $50.00. Paying an extra $100 it should have had some quality in there.

Of My friends devices.
Outside of that Sony HDTV dead every year for either fan failure or bulb.

Every Sony DVD players Im aware of unable to read disc errors months to 2 years into device purchase. From single disc to multi readers all junk. Several with failed motors.

Sony VAIO laptop dead hard drive within months to failed video within 2 years. Barely ever moved used as a desktop.

I remember Sony from my childhood where you had to trash or give away the product because it wouldn't die. Sony is another way to spell SH*T today.

If you think I'm just picking on Sony I haven't had much luck with Panasonic products in the last 7-8 years either but havent purchased many of them.

RE: Good
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2011 12:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
Forgot my mother in laws Sony Prosumer digital camera which has been replaced twice because it just dies when you power it on it just blinks. Never been dropped just junk pure junk.

RE: Good
By fhornmikey on 6/19/11, Rating: 0
RE: Good
By Mitch101 on 6/19/2011 3:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sony doesnt replace the entire camera TWICE because its batteries are low. I might be inclined to believe the charging circuit went bad on both cameras but suspect it was something deeper.

My buddy Bobby had an issue with horizontal lines on his Sony camera after a year of use and replacing it from a previous Sony that stopped working. He bought a Sony again because he had a few of their proprietary memory cards. Normally you replace a digital camera because the new technology has more to offer not because it fails.

I will admit my PS2 still works but thats the only device that survived of them all but it will fail eventually its what sony products do and if I want to play the games Im going to need another.

But lets add two people I know with PSP's that stopped reading discs. One person said he barely used it because the games never delivered.

If it were just a few devices or just my own devices I might agree that its just a fluke but a good 90% of the failed components Ive seen through myself, friends, and family in the last 10 years have almost all been Sony. Thats not a fluke the company just doesnt care because people will call it a fluke and buy Sony again. Some because they locked themselves in with that proprietary memory they sell.

I certainly hope you dont experience the amount of failure Ive seen in Sony products being as invested as you are.

One thing I learned is if a company produces a product everyone else does but adds a proprietary level to them like Sony Memory stick just stay away from them entirely. They get you to buy and you lock yourself in with the proprietary investment and before you know it your stuck with that company because of the proprietary accessories. Just stay away from companies like this. Its less incentive for them to make quality components because they know your invested/locked in.

RE: Good
By chick0n on 6/19/2011 10:29:56 PM , Rating: 1
I hate to say it but people love to blame the fault back to the manufacture when it's actually the user who broke the item.

I have a Sony camera, i forgot the model but it was a 7 mega pixel one. It has been super durable and I got it for maybe 6-7 years and I dropped it like at least 20 times. one time it fell into my sink (my mistake), it shut off of course, I took the battery out, left it on my air purifier which is pretty much on 24/7. about 2 days later. Whoa, it came back to life.

I got 2 PS, 2 PS2, 2 PS3, 3 TV including 2 HDTV and one CRT from like 15 years ago, DVD player, Discman, Walkman, and all other weird stuff. still works.

Luck ? maybe. but I take good care of my stuff, Sony or not. YMMV ?

RE: Good
By Strunf on 6/20/2011 8:14:44 AM , Rating: 2
The proprietary memory argument is a non-issue, memory keep getting faster and bigger, usually people that buy a new camera also buy the memory for it cause new camera = more pixels, hence bigger files and if you want to make movies you need a fast and bigger memory card anyway. Also if you want to sell or give your old camera you include the memory card in it...

RE: Good
By Uncle on 6/19/2011 2:02:33 PM , Rating: 2
Sony is trying to be like apple in the electronics field. Years ago sony had QC, not anymore. Their on par with E-machines but not quite as reliable.LOL and any other third tier products. Can't wait for them to go under, so we can all go "told you so".

RE: Good
By abhaxus on 6/19/2011 5:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
You are either lying, or have the worst luck I have ever heard of when dealing with a major electronics brand.

Like them or not (and actions like this certainly don't make me want to support them), Sony is a reliable and innovative brand. The only brands I can think of off the top of my head that have had better reliability in my 5 years of managing an electronics store are Panasonic and Sharp. I never recommend to people to buy Samsung products with moving parts, or LG plasma TVs, or anything from JVC or Philips. But I own or have used Sony products continuously in store demo situations and can say 100% that I've never seen a Sony TV or computer fail in an environment when they are left on 12 hours per day, 365 days a year. Can't say that for any other brand (other than Panasonic). Samsung blu-ray and DVD players are notorious for being horrible products, the only category Sony dabbles in in CE that I wouldn't buy are their HTIB produts with built in BD or DVD drives.

I'm sorry you had horrible luck, but to say that Sony makes horrible products is really outlandish. That's like saying you aren't satisfied with the quality of Macallan 18 year single malt. What are your standards?

RE: Good
By Bad-Karma on 6/20/2011 3:24:04 AM , Rating: 2
I used to be a firm believer in Sony's ES line of AV gear. But I had two multichannel amps go out within a year or two of their purchase. One just up and failed, the other had a relay that would start rapid switching all on its own. It would just start switching from static & segmented audio about every 1/8 of a second, Wouldn't recover until the unit was powered off and completely cooled down.

Had a 5-disc DVD player die just outside of a year of purchase; tray actuator failed.

When digital cameras first hit the seen my wife picked up a Sony Mavica at the AAFEs in Ramstein (remember the 3.5" floppy model!). 3 months of use and the LCD went almost completely dark. Couldn't use it and Sony refused to cover it under warranty.

The first Amp was replaced under warranty, the second (the replacement) became fodder for my Mossberg. The DVD changer and the Camera went to the local landfill.

Sony conned me out of enough of my cash, they are banned from my household.

However, I still have a couple of Discmans laying around in storage from when I used to deploy a lot in the 90s. I'm pretty sure they still work. Although I doubt I have any actual music CDs left anywhere in my collection!

RE: Good
By Strunf on 6/20/2011 7:59:50 AM , Rating: 2
SONY products have never failed me, my SONY DCR-PC110 bought in 2001 still works fine, the battery however only lasts 10min now... my Cyber-Shot PSC-P150 from 2004 is also just like new!

Also you say your VAIO had its hard drive dead, SONY doesn't make hard drives... not finding them excuses, its just a fact that hard drive fail, I had drives from samsung, wd and maxtor fail me, only Seagate drives haven't... yet!

RE: Good
By nikon133 on 6/20/2011 2:01:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry but your experience in this case is only anecdotal. For example, my Panasonic stereo died within a week of I should come to conclusion Panasonic is crap. But than again, replacement stereo is working fine for years, likewise my two Lumix cameras. Neither experience is enough to prove specific brand's build quality.

Within people I know, there are more than few Bravia TVs, Sony audio/video appliances, Vaio computers, gaming consoles and cameras. We are all tech people (mostly IT) and discuss tech gadgets more often than not... And Sony is well regarded, but such is Samsung, LG, Pana, Toshiba. And my Sony experience is just fine, everything Sony I have (laptop, PS2, PSP, PS3) are not giving me any grief.

All this negativity towards Sony is getting old and tired. I'm not supporting many of their policies, but then again I'm not madly in love with MS, Apple, Samsung (with their Android updates, for example) or any other big corporation. At the end of the day, they are all very similar, following their own guidelines for biggest possible profit. Only difference is, some are more successful, some are less.

"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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