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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 Gondor on 6/19/2011 4:54:25 PM , Rating: 1
Right you are. Man bought a product and tweaked it to his desires. If you went and bought (say) a car, then tuned it to gfet moe HP or to run on LPG or whatever, its manufacturer has exacty nothing against yiou. They might not support your "modding", your actions might void the guarantee but in the end you're free to do whatever you please with your propery - heck, you could just torch your car if you felt it would look better that way. Yes, maybe converting your gas-guzzler to LPG might make the manufacturer look silly, yes perhaps getting 150 extra HP out of that same engine might make the manufacturer look silly, yes perhaps something else you do with THE PRODUCT YOU BOUGHT might make the manufacturer look silly, but ultimately that's a personal decision. It's not as if the manufacturer couldn't make a better product - they simply chose not to, for whatever reasons.

Just who exactly does Sony think they are ? They are in the business of selling products. Their customers paid whatever they are charging for their products. They are using the products they now own in whatever way suits them. What's that got to do with Sony ? They chose to cancel Linux support on PS3. Fine, that's their perogative. But if/when a user finds a way to reinstate Linux support, in spite of Sony's efforts, that has nothing to do with them (except that it goes to show just how inept Sony's engineers really are - if you want to do something, do it right the first time).

I hope mr. Egorenkov gets out of this mess unharmed, with no finacial (or other) implications. I also hope Sony gets bitchslapped by some court big time for their bullying tactics (just like M$ did). They aren't the be-all and end-all of the electronics industry so such practices will only harm them in the long run.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 3:32:07 PM , Rating: 2
Just who exactly does Sony think they are ? They are in the business of selling products. Their customers paid whatever they are charging for their products. They are using the products they now own in whatever way suits them. What's that got to do with Sony ? They chose to cancel Linux support on PS3. Fine, that's their perogative. But if/when a user finds a way to reinstate Linux support, in spite of Sony's efforts, that has nothing to do with them (except that it goes to show just how inept Sony's engineers really are - if you want to do something, do it right the first time).

Is it SO hard to figure out? They don't want their PS3's being used to play/stream/upload etc etc pirated media. Which, if we were really honest with ourselves, we would admit is the primary reason anyone would want Linux on a PS3 in the first place.

They were probably pushed or leaned on by the RIAA or somebody to remove the OtherOS feature. Wouldn't surprise me one bit.

RE: Good
By The0ne on 6/20/2011 4:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, seriously. Linux users are all hackers and pirates! I mean come on, how many kids know how to use Linux in the first place. So that means anyone smart enough or brave enough to tackle Linux is a scum in their own right.

And lets not forget these ahole hackers and programmers "claiming" to like what they do. Seriously who the fck loves programming (I do, so I'm a ahole by right)? And who loves programming and loves doing at work and then bringing it home (again, me..damn I suck).

Come on DT members, suck it up and protest to ban this malevolent trade that is programming! It's nothing but pure evil like Scientology. You are so damn right, it surely isn't hard to figure out why people would want something they own to do what they want with it.

Let's both pray that when you try to show your kids that a hot wheels car can be fun off the tracks that you don't get sue as well.

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 4:50:55 PM , Rating: 2
Way to put words in my mouth? Please, spare me the melodrama.

Programming? Why would a Linux based PS3 be the best, or even as good, of a programming platform compared to a PC?

Your argument has no merit. If Sony thought "programming" was all people would use it for, they never would have removed the OtherOS feature. It's not hard to figure out.

RE: Good
By The0ne on 6/20/2011 11:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
Of course it's not hard to figure out. Consumers are stupid aholes. Didn't you hear a word I said. And to bring you back to topic of PS3, why wouldn't anyone that knows how not do it? It's great hardware for the money...hell, it's a bargain outright! You play games, movies, steam movies, have it as a server, play music and you know that thing where tons of PS3 compute stuff. That sht should totally be ban!

But again you're right. Sony knows for sure consumers are aholes and uses their products for illegal purposes, all of them in fact. What were they thinking giving people a taste of what they could have and them blamed them for having to take the very "feature" away.

Btw, if it's not programming...what else is there to do with a PS3? Cup holder? Yea...thought so. This isn't melodrama, it's me supporting your opinions clear and through. I just wanted to make sure we're on the same page. I really really wish I was Sony. With this kind of thinking and getting away with them with consumers like you, there's no telling what I do. I'll probably turn into a Steve Jobs or something!

RE: Good
By The0ne on 6/21/2011 12:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
You know what, I couldn't stop laughing so I'll end it here. You're not ever going to convince someone like me to NOT tinker with things I paid for and rightly own. It doesn't matter if Sony doesn't know about it, knows about it and bans the practice, I will tinker with my gadgets. Hey, I'm a fcking engineer, sue me for wanting to break or enhance my own stuff. What I do shouldn't be none of your damn concern or right to ban, whether you're aware of it or not.

I repeat the last term because there are lots of stuff people do with their own gadgets that were not part of the companys "features."

RE: Good
By Reclaimer77 on 6/21/2011 1:31:33 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not a "consumer". I don't own a PS3, I'm a PC nut. Consoles can't do anything for me that I can't already do sitting here. And I love to tinker too, that's why I build my own machines instead of calling Dell or whoever.

You can do what you want to the PS3, put Linux on it, I don't care. Again, Sony only made this decision because some asshole ruined it for everyone and used the OtherOS feature to jailbreak the PS3. Which is clearly illegal.

A federal judge already slapped down the lawsuit for killing Linux in the PS3. Just in case you didn't know. Since you simply refuse to accept the legal side of this debate. It's called the Computer Fraud and Abuse act, maybe look it up.

Also people KNOWINGLY accepted a firmware update that removed OtherOS. How is that Sony's fault again?

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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