January 12, 2011, 1:45 PM — Sony's clearly readying the hounds to foil recent hacks that lay bare the PlayStation 3's once impregnable security routines. But in light of recent rulings about 'jailbreaking', do they have a legal leg to stand on?
Their lawyers certainly think so. They've gone ahead and filed papers against George Hotz, a hacker who helped author and popularize a radical root kit bypass that allegedly disrobes the PS3 by allowing anyone to decrypt and sign PS3 code, including games, operating systems, and Blu-ray movies. (See 'Hackers Get to the Root of PlayStation 3'.) Hotz released a followup video explaining how to implement the hack last Friday.
Hotz, better known as iOS jailbreaker Geohot, revealed on his site last night that he'd been "served" by Sony, prompting speculation about the legal ramifications and causing confusion over whether the paperwork was preliminary or actual notification of a lawsuit.
A quick read of the documents suggests the former. The "proposed order" is just as it sounds: A proposal that the Northern District Court of California find that Sony Computer Entertainment America "has shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its claims for violation of the DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and CFA [Computer Fraud & Abuse Act]...that it will suffer irreparable harm" unless the court issues a restraining order shutting down sites that offer the hack, and impounds any computing technology involved in its creation.
Sony's also asking for damages, attorneys' fees, and other miscellaneous damages.
'Other OS' or Bust
Defendants named in the filing include Hector Martin Cantero (of blog Abort, Retry, Hack), Sven Peter, and a bunch of users Sony's referring to as "[John/Jane] Does 1 through 100." Cantero, Peter, and the rest represent fail0verflow, the hacker group partly responsible for reverse-engineering the PS3's security key generation process.