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.
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.
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.