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Sony lawyers now targeting anyone who posts PlayStation 3 hack


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Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or “distributing” the first full-fledged jailbreak code for the 4-year-old PlayStation 3 gaming console.

What’s more, the company is demanding that a federal judge order Google to surrender the IP addresses and other identifying information (PDF) of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video on a private YouTube page. The game maker is also demanding that Twitter provide the identities of a host of hackers who first unveiled a limited version of the hack in December.

Sony’s aggressive pretrial discovery demands come in its lawsuit against George Hotz. The 21-year-old New Jersey hacker, who is well known in the jailbreaking community, published the finished PlayStation 3 code and a how-to YouTube video last month. The code allows the Playstation 3 to play pirated and homebrewed games.

Sony wants the information “to determine the identities of third parties hosting and distributing the circumvention devices” so Sony can send them a DMCA notice to remove the material “and, if necessary, seek appropriate relief from this court.” (PDF)

“The discovery they call for in my opinion is overbroad,” Hotz’ attorney, Stewart Kellar, said in a telephone interview.

Sony declined comment.

A hearing is tentatively set for Wednesday. Sony filed its documents about 7:30pm PST on Friday.

US District Judge Susan Illston ordered Hotz to remove the YouTube video and the code from his personal website—orders to which Hotz complied with last week. Ahead of an unscheduled trial in which Sony is seeking unspecified damages from Hotz, Illston had concluded that Hotz likely breached the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He did so by publishing or "distributing" a hack designed to circumvent software meant to protect copyrighted material, the judge said.

Hotz, by order of Illston, is also scheduled to surrender his computer gear to Sony by Thursday. Kellar is trying to convince Judge Illston to back away from allowing Sony to examine his drives and other devices.

Sony is also trying to haul the so-called “failOverflow hacking team” into court. But first, Sony needs to learn the identities and whereabouts of the group’s members. They are accused of posting a rudimentary hack in December. It was refined by Hotz weeks later when he accessed the console’s so-called “metldr keys,” or root keys that trick the system into running unauthorized programs

Toward getting the FailOverflow defendants to appear into court, Sony is demanding that Twitter divulge the personal account information (PDF) behind the usernames of @KaKaRoToKS, @gnihsub, @pytey, @bl4sty, @marcan42 and @failOverflow.

Sony claims the hacks will eat into game sales for the 41 million PS3 units sold.

The DMCA makes it either a civil or criminal offense to traffic in wares meant to circumvent devices protecting copyrighted works. Ironically, performing a similar hack on a mobile phone is lawful.

Last summer, the US Copyright Office exempted cell phone jailbreaking from being covered by the DMCA. The decision means consumers may run the apps of their choice on mobile phones without fear of being civilly or criminally liable for a DMCA breach.

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Sony Demands IP Addresses of YouTube PS3 Hack Viewers

Demands that Google hand over usernames and IP addresses of anyone that has posted or published comments in response to the video titled "Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew" (now private).

Early last month we reported how a user by the name of GeoHot, the same user who helped to crack the iPhone, had posted the root key of the PlayStation 3 (PS3), thereby allowing users to play downloaded games directly on the gaming console.

The root key is sort of the holy grail of jailbreaking because it's the signature that tells the equipment, in this case the PS3, that the software about to run is legitimate. With this in hand users could run custom software or pirated games.

GeoHot, aka George Hotz, already published the keys and even made a video of his exploits, but Sony has been working overtime to try and scrub the root key from the Internet.

Hotz posted a YouTube video of his exploits titled "Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew," and even though he's made the video private, Sony has demanded in court that Google hand over the "usernames and IP addresses [of people] that have posted or published 'comments' in response to the video."

And now that the video has been switched to "private" Sony wants "Information and documents sufficient to identify the usernames and/or accounts that have access" to it.

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Sony believes that Hotz violated the Digital Millennium Copyright because he bypassed Sony's technological protection measures for the PS3, and then distributed "illegal Circumvention Devices" – i.e. the root key.

It's all a quite curious path for Sony to take being that the root key is already out there and can't simply be forgotten. If anything it'll make many despise Sony even more, and considering it's still haunted by the DRM Rootkit scandal you'd think it'd be doing its best to stay below the radar on DRM issues.

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I am really getting to the point that I would really like to see SONY short-circuit and burn to the ground.. in fact that is exactly what I am thinking about doing with everything I have from them about now..

No corporation is or should be allowed to grow more powerful than the government nor violate the Privacy Acts.. I think it is time for something to happen.. not sure of what.. but this is out-of-hand and way too far.. Ship their crap back to the island and be done...

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i dunno, but im kinda on sony's side, i love hackers, but Hotz is an ignorant douchebag, but as far as tracking everyone elses IPs... I don't aggree with that, but sony is doing the right thing, if people want pirated software use a damn pc.... sony does alot for the people as it is, ps3 is by far the best gaming console, especially with it having free online and playstation home right out of the box...

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