Sony demands identities from Google, Twitter in PS3 hacking lawsuit

By on February 8, 2011, 1:30 PM
Sony is threatening to sue anybody posting or distributing the jailbreak code for its PlayStation 3 gaming console. Furthermore, the electronics giant is demanding that a federal judge order Google and Twitter to surrender details of those involved, according to court documents "To the Declaration of Holly Gaudreau in Support of Motion for Expedited Discovery" (PDF: Exhibit J, Exhibit M), obtained by Wired.

For Google, Sony wants the search company to hand over the IP addresses and other identifying information of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video posted on YouTube. For Twitter, Sony wants the social network to provide the identities of a host of hackers with the identities @KaKaRoToKS, @gnihsub, @pytey, @bl4sty, @marcan42, and @fail0verflow.

Thousands if not millions have viewed the hack on YouTube, which was posted by George Hotz, also known as GeoHot. Finding out their identities would allow the company to legally stop any other people hosting and distributing the hack. Last week, Hotz complied with US District Judge Susan Illston's order to remove the YouTube video and the code from his personal website. GeoHot has also been ordered to hand over his computers to Sony by Thursday and to retrieve every instance of his code but Stewart Kellar, his lawyer, is petitioning Illston to reconsider on the grounds that the former is way too excessive and the latter is impossible.

The group known as fail0verflow has not revealed its members' whereabouts. Sony thus can't haul them into court. If Twitter complies, however, it could be very problematic for the group, depending on where they are located, of course. The group is accused of posting a rudimentary hack in December 2010 after finding security codes for the PS3. It was refined by Hotz weeks later when he independently found and published the PS3 root key.

Sony's legal attacks against the hackers that released the PlayStation 3 root key and custom firmware began last month. The hack allows homebrew apps and pirated software to run on unmodified consoles.





User Comments: 37

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TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wow...ya think Sony is in a bit of panic mode right now?

Mizzou Mizzou said:

For Google, Sony wants the search company to hand over the IP addresses and other identifying information of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video posted on YouTube

I'm sorry, but that is completely over the top. To demand identities for anyone that has viewed or commented on the topic is pushing the envelope too far IMO. Note to self ... never buy another Sony product.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Looks like Sony are really on the warpath here...I agree with Mizzou.

treeski treeski said:

Mizzou said:

For Google, Sony wants the search company to hand over the IP addresses and other identifying information of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video posted on YouTube

I'm sorry, but that is completely over the top. To demand identities for anyone that has viewed or commented on the topic is pushing the envelope too far IMO. Note to self ... never buy another Sony product.

My sentiments exactly...

princeton princeton said:

treeski said:

Mizzou said:

For Google, Sony wants the search company to hand over the IP addresses and other identifying information of those who have viewed or commented about the jailbreak video posted on YouTube

I'm sorry, but that is completely over the top. To demand identities for anyone that has viewed or commented on the topic is pushing the envelope too far IMO. Note to self ... never buy another Sony product.

My sentiments exactly...

Amen to that. Did they seriously expect the courts to force google to comply?

Guest said:

hah, yet another company utilizing a scorched earth campaign against "criminals". now we wait till someone like the EFF steps in.

treeski treeski said:

Something tells me that even if the courts did comply, Google never would :P

Guest said:

Wow, I sure am glad I moved my pc into my living room and hooked it to the tv with a 25' hmdi cable instead of wasting it on PS3. Way to go Sony you bunch of greedy @$$3$ I mean really who the hell do they think they are.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

So, when was it decided that hacking your own console was illegal?

Is this is not exactly like jailbreaking the iPhone which was determined to be legal by U.S. Copyright Office?

Cota Cota said:

TomSEA said:

Wow...ya think Sony is in a bit of panic mode right now?

Ask the same to all who cant play online whit out being nailed by hacks, far worse than SONY losing his chances to sell games (wich is more like the chances of 3rd party companies) they are losing the chances of giving a hack/cheat free services for their console, wich is the best defense to keep up Console gaming (I PC game, my bro plays PS3, but not since jailbreak).

Lurker101 said:

I can see the courts telling Sony to get stuffed on this one. The way Sony's going about this is completely unacceptable, and quite childish. It's like a child having a hysterical fit. No doubt Sony will want my IP address, my computer, all of my external hard drives and all of my USB keys because I've seen the code and watched the youtube video.

Emil said:

Rick said:

So, when was it decided that hacking your own console was illegal?

Is this is not exactly like jailbreaking the iPhone which was determined to be legal by U.S. Copyright Office?

It was only determined for phones recently, not for any other devices.

Guest said:

You do realize Sony is panicking because their alternative to this dudes hack is to start putting serial numbers on ps3 games in which case serial number will have a limited amount of uses, no letting your friends borrow your games, no trade in value for your games when Ur done with them, no buying used games if u don't want to pay full price. Yeah Sony is scared, so their doing all they can to avoid what their alternative measure could possibly be which do u want them to control it or serial numbers.

treeski treeski said:

Guest said:

You do realize Sony is panicking because their alternative to this dudes hack is to start putting serial numbers on ps3 games in which case serial number will have a limited amount of uses, no letting your friends borrow your games, no trade in value for your games when Ur done with them, no buying used games if u don't want to pay full price. Yeah Sony is scared, so their doing all they can to avoid what their alternative measure could possibly be which do u want them to control it or serial numbers.

This "alternative" would only give people another reason to choose Xbox 360 over PS3. It's hardly an alternative.

Guest said:

Sony, the masters of public relations.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"So, when was it decided that hacking your own console was illegal?"

Problem isn't just hacking your own console. It's hacking copyright protected root keys and firmware, then posting it on the Internet for potential millions of PS3 owners to enable that same hack. If the guy had kept it to himself and never told anyone, we'd obviously never know about it and it wouldn't be an issue.

But hackers just can't help themselves. They hack more to get the notoriety and adulation of their hacker fans than creating any convenience for themselves.

There's no doubt in my mind that Sony is going to have a fair amount of success in it's lawsuits just as with the recent phone hacking rulings. However, demanding the IP addresses of everyone who looked at the hacker video is asinine.

Guest said:

haha nerdrage

in greece games cost 70euro so good 4 us

i dont own ps3 but this is just rofl

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This is absurd to say the least and I have no idea how Sony thinks this will help them in anyway besides terrible PR. I never imagined the day where Microsoft would embrace the hacking/homebrew community but Sony tries to villanize and shut them down.

Rick said:

So, when was it decided that hacking your own console was illegal?

Back in 1998 when the DMCA was passed and signed into effect. Since everything in the digital age is tied in with licenses or some form of encryption corporations believe they have sole ownership and consumers have zero rights from my understanding. The passing of it was one of the biggest mistakes by our government and completely anti-consumer.

Guest said:

You do realize Sony is panicking because their alternative to this dudes hack is to start putting serial numbers on ps3 games in which case serial number will have a limited amount of uses, no letting your friends borrow your games, no trade in value for your games when Ur done with them, no buying used games if u don't want to pay full price.

If they did this, they would effectively be forfeiting this generation of consoles so I don't think they would attempt it. However it would not surprise me if next generation of all consoles has some form of strict DRM built into it for various reasons including this.

TomSEA said:

Problem isn't just hacking your own console. It's hacking copyright protected root keys and firmware, then posting it on the Internet for potential millions of PS3 owners to enable that same hack. If the guy had kept it to himself and never told anyone, we'd obviously never know about it and it wouldn't be an issue.

Just because Sony doesn't know about it, doesn't mean they would be okay with it. Probably more relieved since it isn't spreading but that's about it. And I never got the impression that Hotz was doing these hacks for malicious reasons, but rather to open up these closed systems and let us actually be able to fully utilize them the way we see fit. He made it clear he doesn't support piracy on the PS3 and didn't enable it in his jailbreak from my understanding.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sony should just ban the consoles from PSN and leave it at that. No games company will ever win the war against piracy, and for me and many others the most enjoyable part of gaming is playing online anyway.

aj_the_kidd said:

I would hate to see what would happen in the future if Sony is sucessful in its little hissy fit demands, I would imagine allot more companies will be able to use this case as part of their lawsuit

treetops treetops said:

Good maybe now game companies wont focus on consoles as much anymore since they aren't as secure. What do they expect out of a 6 year old console? It comes down to our rights, do we have the legal right to have our privacy protected when using google or twitter?

Ahmed90 Ahmed90 said:

another company yelling in court .. GREAT now just wait and see new Sony console DRM or sth

Tanstar said:

slh28 said:

Sony should just ban the consoles from PSN and leave it at that. No games company will ever win the war against piracy, and for me and many others the most enjoyable part of gaming is playing online anyway.

I think the problem is that because this hack is of the root key, Sony has no way to determine which consoles are hacked without inspecting each one. They don't show up as different to the PSN and there is no hardware in the build of the PS3 that lets them monitor the root key. If it just took a firmware upgrade to fix or detect Sony would just relock the consoles or not let them access the PSN. Glad I don't play MMP games on the PS3! I play RPG and Action games on my PS3 and save the MMP games for my PC

Guest said:

Sony,

Get a life you douche-bags. I will not buy another Sony product if they have such hissy-fits and demand to take everyone down.

In closing,

Sony, Eat a **** ****.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Next up they'll be requesting the IP address of everyone who's watched porn on the internet.

Guest said:

Good show.

Just lock them up.

What's up with this sue / due process nonsense ?

Leeky Leeky said:

I never got the impression that Hotz was doing these hacks for malicious reasons, but rather to open up these closed systems and let us actually be able to fully utilize them the way we see fit. He made it clear he doesn't support piracy on the PS3 and didn't enable it in his jailbreak from my understanding.

Would the work of this hacker have made it easier for someone else to come along and change that though?

Or would it be just as much work to re-code everything to allow piracy?

I still think they should have given this man a job, not slated him. I never did like Sony consoles anyway, least I've found a decent reason for it now.

Next up they'll be requesting the IP address of everyone who's watched porn on the internet.

Not much point if everyone admits it first!

Guest said:

So, you go to the store right?

And you see a Sony Product. Wow, Sony they must be good? you look at the price tag and to your surprise its $14,000

Wow? a Sony 3D Television for 14,000? Hrm...

What's this over here? an LG for $2,000 Wow it looks brighter, and Clearer...oh my, and it has cheaper warranty and better accessories around my Budget.

Sony has already set their Demise in Motion.

Companies like LG, Toshiba, Dynex , Sceptre.

Have pretty Good products out there, For way Cheaper, and Since they actually read their customers reviews, they offer extended warranty on the parts that break easier.

What has sony done?

I'll tell you, Sony has increased prices on their products - but not increased quality. They brand themselves as top of the line, but you're better off buying mid of the line because it resembles what sony will never be, A Consumer Friendly Company.

Sony has its accomplishments, But in this digital age they can only go so far.

I like Microsofts approach, Atleast they understand what is coming in the future

Guest said:

Sony, they think they are a company who have a right to defend their interests agains people who steal what's not theirs, and for one I'm right behind them, people like you come across as you want something for nothing, and I'm fed up of reading "glad I didn't get a PS3 glad I've got a PC" .. lol .. People who jail break and copy game are no more than thief's stealing other peoples stuff, they might as well go and steal the CD's from the shops, it's no different ..

Guest said:

There's a difference between intellectual property and Physical Property.

DUH,

UMADBRAH?

Guest said:

Stealing is stealing .. DUUUH

aj_the_kidd said:

Guest said:

Stealing is stealing .. DUUUH

There really is no grey area with you is there, its either right or wrong, black or white no in between.

Guest said:

I bought a Sony digital camera many years ago, back when 3.2 megapixels was still a pretty decent resolution. So I go out shopping for a memory card for it and found myself forced to purchase 256mb Sony proprietary memory stick which cost twice as much as a generic one with twice the space on it. Haven't bought a Sony product since and I haven't seen anything but more and more reasons to continue my boycott ever since.

Guest said:

So you wouldn't mind someone hacking into your bank account and removing some of your hard earned money

Guest said:

I don't like piracy having friends in the gaming and music industry who rely on retail sales for their livelihood, but the far reaching scope of Sony's attempted crack down is ridiculous. I hope Google, Twitter, and Youtube all tell Sony to get bent.

aj_the_kidd said:

Guest said:

So you wouldn't mind someone hacking into your bank account and removing some of your hard earned money

Having access to my bank account and having access to locked PS3 functionality via root key are on completely different levels. Thanks for the laugh though, it was a good way to start the day

Guest said:

Who do they think they are? trying to sue everybody they suspect?? **** sony. People will view and comment and sony can do nothing about it. Google will never comply, lol if they did it will only affect their clients who use the search engine.

sony could have avoided the hacking if they didn't act like a douche on geohotz ps3 jail-breaking. next time I will think twice about buying a sony product.

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