The First Rule of PS3 Hacking is Don’t Talk About PS3 Hacking

California ruling stops PS3 hack discussion in its tracks

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Normally, when you buy an item from a store, and complete the purchase by leaving the premises with the item you purchased, the transaction is over.  If you want to take your new item home and, well, do whatever you’d like with it, you’re free to do so; and if you’d like to discuss your exploits, you can  do that, too.

As long as you don’t own a PlayStation 3.

A ruling by a California Judge issued a restraining order favoring the Sony corporation over the rights individual owner — surprise, surprise —  and now, George Hotz is no longer allowed to disseminate information about how he hacked his PlayStation 3.  Further, the ruling also requires Hotz to turn over his computers to Sony, a move that’s just as disappointing as the restraining order.

So not only is Hotz not allowed to reveal his hacking methods, which feels an awful lot like free speech infringement, he has to turn over equipment that Sony has no legal right to, all because the trend of favoring big money over the rights of the individual owner continues unabated.

In fact, the judge in question — US District Judge Susan Illston — initially had reservations about trying the case in northern California because Hotz lives in New Jersey, meaning there was confusion about jurisdiction.

Nevertheless, that didn’t stop Illston from issuing a dubious ruling that serves as a blow to an owner’s individual rights, infringes on Hotz’ free speech rights, and serves a boon to entertainment corporations everywhere.  No longer do the Sonys of the world have the burden of proving piracy, they can simply rely on the court system to rule in their favor when they are threatened with a future they can’t control.

Forgive my confusion, but doesn’t Hotz, you know, own his PS3?  Did he not buy it with his own legal tender?  If so, he should be able to anything he wants to it.  If Hotz wants to relieve his bodily waste inside of the device, he can.  If he wants to take it home and smash it into a million pieces, he can do that to.

But the one thing he cannot do, apparently, is hack the device — too bad it’s not an iPhone — and then discuss how he did it.  Mind you, Hotz was not found guilty of piracy or hacking.  Sony was merely trying to stop him from spreading the word on how to rid the PS3 of Sony’s oft-maligned DMCA, which means the only freedoms Sony cares about are the ones that protect their bottom line.

While we’re not allowed to discuss how to hack a PS3, we can discuss Google+Search&aq=f&oq=”>how to build bombs, or to kidnap children, if that’s your thing.

The bright spot in all this, if there is one, as CruchGear points out, is good luck on stopping the flow of information.  Now that the details for PS3 hacking have been unleashed on the Internet, it’s going to be hard, if not impossible, to put that particular genie back in the bottle, like so:

It’s just unfortunate a US Judge would so willfully disregard a person’s right to free speech, regardless if Sony liked the content of the message or not.

The First Rule of PS3 Hacking is Don’t Talk About PS3 Hacking
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  • homehh

    I guess I gotta think twice fo I buy something now days. Wouldn’t want to get sued or nothing like that for hacking it :)

  • Chris Richardson

    If you do hack it, don’t talk about it on an open forum. ;)

  • H. Scott

    What Geohot and other “HACKERS” are doing is affecting users who also spent hard earn money on their consoles. Who wants to play a game online and risk getting their gamer history erased? Who wants to play an online match against people who has an unfair advantage over you? I don’t, but that’s the issue that these hackers create. They’re sabotaging the PSN/online experience. I applaud Sony for trying to get hackers to think twice before ruining other gamers peace of mind while using PSN (which is Sony’s, not gamers, online system).

    • Chris Richardson

      Is going to be used for hacked games?

      • Adrian

        Not every jailbroken PS3 is going to be used to hack games.. but you just need to play against one hacked PS3 with malicious code to get totally screwed. And trust me, there are enough immature players out there who would do it for the kicks!

  • GamerDude212

    it would be easy to say…”if you pay for it,you should be able to do whatever you want with it”.. thats all but true..yes you could relive your bodily fluids or even toss it from a moving train..but when you purchase the system or any product..its the physical ground that becomes your property..”EXAMPLE: i buy a ps3 and add my ID…then i name my system…shark<—that with custom body modifications are allowed..(at your own risk) but tampering with the systems software whether it be to rename its startup or play pirated games is not allowed..i mean..ask yourself this..if you were sony and someone like geoHotz hacked your system and then posted it so the world could see..would you not get mad,upset,pissed,annoyed? would you not want this particular person to pay in some way or another right? i think people need to stop assuming that they are allowed to hack things that are protected….it had all those safety measures for a reason..

    • Chris Richardson

      I’d get pissed, but that’s the price of making modifiable equipment. Sony just wants to do as little anti-piracy work as possible.

      • GamerDude212

        kinda sucks you know? this may result in a rushed next gen system..then we all end up on the end of the bad rope.

  • LiquidSean

    Problem 1.) Your freedoms are only granted as long as the are are not impeding on the rights of others, in this case Sony.
    Problem 2.) Sony has you agree to not exploit the PS3 through its license. So being parallel to what you’re saying about the first amendment, should NDAs be unconstitutional?

    • Chris Richardson

      Out of curiosity?

      • Adrian

        You’re asking that question?

        Sony is not a Non-Profit Organisation. It does not give away free consoles and games. Sony is a company making consumer products and providing services.

        A jailbroken PS3 might allow a few geeks to install their own homebrew software on the PS3 for their enjoyment. Legally that is still wrong but personally, I don’t object to that. However, it is pretty much safe to say that the majority of hackers would be using a jailbroken PS3 to play pirated games/movies. To say otherwise would be sure naivety.

        The easier it is to play pirated games on ANY console is bad news for everybody. Firstly, if the situation is so severe, game publishers would be reluctant to release games on a hackable console. The console maker would lose profit and is forced to design a next gen hardware thereby reducing any reclamation of investment. The gamer is then forced to buy the new hardware since games would be rare… unless, in the case of the PS3, it is hacked to play PC/Wii/XBox games.

        Supporting this kind of hacking is like saying it’s good to live off other people’s hard work and investment for free.

  • http://www.arcanasphere.com MrAndrewJ

    If there is a positive side to any of this, it was reportedly Microsoft’s reaction. The gaming news sites are reporting that Microsoft gave him a Windows 7 phone with their blessings to hack open.

    This is a terrible thing for Sony to do, but hopefully his future is brighter than it is bleak.

    • Adrian

      Don’t assume that Microsoft is playing the good noble guy here. XBox Live bans players periodically for hacking their games. Now, according to this silly writer (indirectly), every gamer who has bought his own game fully owns it and is allowed, under the pretence of free speech etc, to do whatever he wants with it.. so pray tell why XBox Live would punish these ‘hackers’? Could it be because these hackers ruin the game, sorry for the pun, for others?

      • http://www.arcanasphere.com MrAndrewJ

        Microsoft should ban hackers whose only source of self esteem is to cheat at games. So should Sony.

        I stopped doing online FPS’s for the most part due to atmosphere found in them. I have no sympathy for cheaters. I have marginally more sympathy for people whose self worth revolves around the same games.

        However — someone who shows the drive and intellect to modify the way his computer runs in order to do what he wants his computer to do is… well.. That’s what computers were designed for! I’m not talking about the PS3 equivalent of script kiddies — I’m talking about someone who appropriates the cycles and workings of his computing device to accomplish his goals.

        I come from the day of LOAD “*”,8,1. When I got sick of LOADing “*” on other peoples’ games I started writing my own. I have been gaming since 1982, and programming since ’84. Arguing that one person’s achievement is wrong because of someone else’s omg cheatz! not only looks incredibly shallow to me, but shows absolute disrespect for how a large number of our computing systems came to be.

        • H. Scott

          If what you do with your system hurts or hinders regular gamers enjoyment, THAT IS WRONG! I don’t care about the intelligence one needs to hack any computer. JUST DON’T SCREW UP MY ENTERTAINMENT!

  • R.B.

    The temporary restraining order against GeoHot is not entirely a matter of free speech. A TRO is usually enacted in cases where the reach of the situation might conceivably pollute the juror pool. Since this is a high profile case, every measure must be taken to insure that he receives a fair trial. This works both ways, as Sony could easily condemn his actions as detrimental to all PS3 owners, but so too could GeoHot further damage an ecosystem that is purely owned by Sony.

    As for his personal electronics being seized, this is common for disclosure in this type of suit. Both parties will have access to the data and evidence discovered by this seizure.

    One TRO is not a ruling governing your everyday rights, especially free speech. These steps are in place to strengthen our personal freedoms. I believe everyone has the right to use his own property in any way that is not detrimental to another’s rights or safety.

  • angryinadk

    This just makes me not want to buy anything with that 4 letter curse for a name. their products suck. The last three items I purchased failed just after the warranty ran out (cam corder, TV) or never worked out of the box (dvd player). Their customer service sucks so bad I threw the dvd player away after spending more time on the phone than the player was worth with a customer “service” rep. The guy was a disrespectful idiot. I knew more about the product than he did. He had a poor attitude. If he worked for me he would have been fired on the spot. I wonder if this judge has read the constitution? She certainly did not apply it. Crappy products, crappy service, crappy legal determination.

  • Guest

    Good luck in stopping the information, Sony should know better, in the era of social networks, trying to stop information is the best way to spread it.

    Unfortunately, corporations still let lawyers, who don’t have a clue and still think that terrorizing is the best approach, dictate their corporate policies.

    It is worrying though that corporations can now abuse the legal system to over reach and infringe on constitutional rights. What is even more worrying is the lack of uproar when cases like this happen, thus further eroding constitutional rights.

    In addition, the situation gave an opportunity to scammers to market, a “patch” through networks like YouTube , ‘patched” that are nothing more than attempts to collect personal information (email, cell number…) to later resell to spammers

  • Guest

    You mean DRM, not DMCA, in the phrase, “…spreading the word on how to rid the PS3 of Sony

  • Eric Fink

    So once again the courts have enacted rulings that infringe on our rights and move us closer to a police state. Railing against the lack of respect for the common person seems to be the only avenue we have left to express our rage and discontent with our leaders who are the lackeys of big business. I fear for my children and grand children, the America i grew up in has been replaced by “Big Brother” monitoring us and using the excuse of “anti Terrorism” to remove our constitutional guarantees and rights. Like the people of Egypt and Iran we must protest and try to take our government back from the professional politicians who prey on us year after year. Vote against all incumbents every time until we get someone in there who will do what is right for us, the common persons of this once great country. Until we do this we are condemned to repeat the failures of yesteryear and sink deeper into the fascist regime we are becoming.

  • TW

    not surprising, given the move of our courts toward the corps regarding AT&T’s recent victory, or the unlimited ability of corps to fund election ads.
    but i guess hate speech is ok, after all, it keeps us all divided and therefore more powerless against the corps, allowing them to do anything they like.
    power to the people!

  • Kinseryu

    Regarding your confusion;
    Yes well; he owns a PS3 but when you buy it you are accepting certain rules that everyone in the world don’t know they exist, and actually there is a rule that you can do anything to your PS3 except when it comes to hacking (Killing someone with your PS3 is illegal by the way); problem is, I don’t think these rules comes with the packet when one is buying a PS3.

    Same happen with common accessories that are legal to buy, such as “A heavy piece of metal (silver is preferred), A long highly conductive wire, a Huge Capacitor, and a Huge battery”.. but is illegal to build an EMP bomb with it, or is legal to build it, but illegal to use it in certain zones? (I don’t know)

    Also happen with Weapons, as there exist illegal weapons, you can legally buy the parts of that “illegal weapon” and build your own Super Illegal Rifle.

    There are rules for everything, we just don’t read it.

    Have you ever read the commonly ultra highly annoying known “User License Agreement” or the one that says “Term of Service”..?

    Well there is actually one for the “Firmware” as well, that have the PS3, I don’t think the PS3 itself.
    but modifying the content of this Firmware “and” use it for illegal purposes.. I “think” it’s prohibited.

    I haven’t read it myself, but if you want to take your doubts out, you are welcome to read tons of pages.


  • Me

    Does the term EULA mean anything to you? Even your soul comes with a EULA. Ever read one? Maybe you should before your think you own something.

  • Danielle

    This is the most one-sided article i’ve ever read….i think george should kill himself…the ps3 is my beloved system.

    • http://www.webpronews.com/ Chris Richardson

      So you’re saying GeoHotz shouldn’t be able to do whatever he wants with an item he purchases? I guess you shouldn’t be able to modify your car after you buy it, either, right? Don’t tint those windows!!!! Or how about cutting holes in your jeans? Or changing the colors of your shoe laces? Because it’s all the same.

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