We published the story about the Playstation 3 (PS3) Finally Hacked & Exploit Released back in January 2010. The exploit of course developed by the very prolific hacker and jailbreaker extraordinaire Geohot.
He became notorious way back in 2007 by fulling unlocking the iPhone and then again in 2008 by jailbreaking the iPhone running 1.12 and 1.13 firmware.
At some point he also turned his attention to rooting the Playstation 3 and broke through the OtherOS leading Sony to disable it. The latest news is Sony is going all out against him for breaking the DMCA, for copyright infringement and a string of other accusations.
A federal judge ordered prolific hacker Geohot to turn over his computers and hard drives and to stop publishing the tools used to root Sony’s PlayStation 3 after finding his hack was likely a violation of US copyright law.
The temporary restraining order was issued on Thursday by US District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco. It’s a major victory for Sony and a setback for hacker hobbyists who believe they should be permitted to modify hardware they legally own. It comes in a lawsuit Sony filed two weeks ago against New Jersey-based Geohot shortly after he deduced the security key Sony used to lock down the PS3.
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The ruling also comes as a defeat to 21-year-old Hotz, who two weeks ago, argued he wasn’t subject to the suit because he doesn’t have sufficient ties to Northern California, where the action was brought. Shortly after release of the order, his attorney vowed to fight on.
“Needless to say, we’re disappointed about the issuance of the TRO, but this doesn’t end the question of personal personal jurisdiction of Mr. Hotz, and we still intend to go forward with that motion,” San Francisco-based lawyer Stewart Kellar told The Register. “Suffice it to say it is burdensome to my client for him to give up his computers and hard drives for the order.”
It’s a tricky area as people assume once they’ve bought the hardware (the PS3 in this case) they own it and it’s their to do as they please with. Whilst that stands correct for the hardware, it does not for the software or bootloader on the machine – that is merely licensed to the user and still belongs to Sony.
So what Sony are claiming is George does not have the authority to reverse engineer the software or release the cryptographic key used to sign games to the public and by doing this he has damaged their business and therefore revenue.
They are also bringing the the DMCA into the the mix (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which never ends well.
Sony’s complaint claimed that by publishing the means to bypass the protection measures built into the console, Hotz violated provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Illston said Sony had “submitted substantial evidence” showing the hack constituted a DMCA violation and that Sony was likely to “suffer irreparable harm” if it wasn’t curtailed.
Sony’s suit names some 100 other people from a hacking collective known as fail0verflow, who in late December revealed the key used to sign PS3 games and demonstrated how to use it to run homebrew apps on the console. A few weeks later, Hotz independently deduced the “metldr” key, which allowed him to root the PS3. Sony’s complaint also alleges the hackers violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
The PS3’s use of IBM’s Cell processor makes the console ideal for tackling brute-force cryptography attacks and other parallel computing operations. Once upon a time, Sony included a modified version of Linux with the PS3. Sony eventually disabled the so-called OtherOS after Hotz devised a way to use it to gain full memory access to the console.
Hotz was among the first to jailbreak Apple’s iPhone so it would work on carrier networks other than AT&T’s. Last year, the US Copyright Office exempted iPhone jailbreaking from the DMCA so that they can run apps not officially sanctioned by Apple.
The PS3 is a very powerful piece of hardware locked down by a proprietary OS so that it can’t be ‘misused’ according to the definitions enforced on the users by Sony. As is normal with consoles, the console itself is actually sold at a loss (especially in the early days) and the companies make money from selling games. Now if somehow comes along and cracks the copy protection on the games and the console and allows everyone to play pirated games – their business model is screwed isn’t it?
And the US courts have already ruled that jailbreaking your iPhone is legal, so why not the PS3 as well?
I hope Geohot gets his computers and hard-drives back soon as having your stuff hauled away is one of the worst things that can happen.
Source: The Register