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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 Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 3:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
Sony sold the PS3 as a device that could run Linux, people bought it on that basis

Yeah ummm, like 10 people maybe? Please.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By BugblatterIII on 6/20/2011 3:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
Actually everyone who bought it bought it on that basis. Yes, only a small number of people actually bought it for that purpose, but they existed and they got shafted.

And what happened to those who tried to get the PS3 back to the point where it could do what they bought it for? They got victimised by Sony and prosecuted.

Sony could just have prevented new PS3's from running Linux and we couldn't really complain too much. However to do it for those already purchased should be illegal.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 4:19:46 PM , Rating: 2
They got victimised by Sony and prosecuted.

No sorry, Sony is not the executive, judicial, and law enforcement branch of the world. Obviously laws were broken, and they are being upheld. NOT BY SONY, but by law enforcement. You can only blame Sony for so much here. They are fully within their right, obviously, to prosecute those who insist on hacking PS3's.

However to do it for those already purchased should be illegal.

I agree, but the simple fact is it's NOT illegal. Again, you can only blame Sony for so much here.

My girlfriend had an old iPod. I used to be able to sync music to it using Windows Media Player. Then one day Apple decided they wanted you to use iTunes and only iTunes, so they made a firmware/driver update to kill the Windows Media player support.

So I guess Apple was victimizing me and harassing me or something? Because I couldn't use their device the way I wanted to? You know what, I got pissed but got over it, the world kept turning. It's not THAT big of a deal.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By BugblatterIII on 6/20/2011 5:41:13 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing things.

I didn't say that Sony prosecuted them (try reading the words in order; it helps), but they certainly victimised them.

Is what those guys did illegal? Really? Which country, which law? Were those laws drafted for this specific circumstance? You've heard that jailbreaking iPhones is legal? Why do I bother?

Governments don't understand technology which is why they phrase legislation in such vague and ambiguous terms that it can be used to do pretty much anything.

The reason for the DMCA etc. is that governments are in the business of protecting big business, whereas it's actually us that need protecting.

Your analogy is ridiculous. I didn't say that Sony victimised those who were using Linux on the PS3. I said they victimised those who tried to get Linux to work on the PS3 again.

By the way if someone bought an iPod on the understanding they could sync it as they wished, and they then got forced to use iTunes whether they wanted to or not, then it is a big deal. Not for you if you don't care, but plenty of people would care.

Is there anything else you'd like to misquote?

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 6:03:31 PM , Rating: 2
You can't have people brought to trial or thrown in prison just because you said so. Clearly there has to be SOME legal grounds for arresting someone or suing them. So yes, you ARE making it seem like Sony is prosecuting people. Because you fail to give any legitimacy to their side of the situation and the legalities it entails.

I said they victimised those who tried to get Linux to work on the PS3 again.

And you would be, again, wrong. They are only "victimizing" the ones stupid enough to publicly make a big scene by showing others how to jailbreak the PS3. Do you see hundreds of PS3 users being rounded up and jailed? No.

In fact, there ARE no victims here. Let's just stop with the ridiculous over emoting on this, please.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By BugblatterIII on 6/20/2011 6:14:36 PM , Rating: 2
I've already refuted what you've said; I see little point in repeating myself.

If it smells like a troll and growls like a troll then one must at least entertain the notion that it may indeed be a troll.

RE: Who at Sony is going to jail
By Reclaimer77 on 6/20/2011 6:36:19 PM , Rating: 2
A different opinion isn't a "refute". And you can't just call someone a troll because you don't like their side of the discussion. That's immature and petty.

By BugblatterIII on 6/20/2011 7:41:23 PM , Rating: 2
It wasn't so much your opinion that I was refuting, it was your deliberate misrepresentation of what I'd said, which you continued to do.

You're welcome to your opinion but you're not welcome to misrepresent me. Continuing to do so, in my opinion (which I'm also welcome to) makes you a troll.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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