Sony sued for dropping Linux from PS3
Console downgrade 'unfair and deceptive'
A PlayStation 3 owner has filed a proposed class-action lawsuit against Sony that accuses the console maker downgrading millions of devices by removing their ability to run Linux.
The lawsuit takes aim at Sony's highly controversial move last month to disable "other OS" support from older PlayStation 3 consoles. The decision was announced a few months after the prolific hacker, George Hotz, aka geohot, devised a way to effectively jailbreak the console with the help of that Linux feature and a soldering gun.
Sony claimed it was neutering the devices for "security reasons," but a more transparent explanation would have been they didn't want to face the wrath of game makers and film studios who were worried their content would be much easier to copy. Those concerns are probably justified, but the end result for many PS3 owners is their devices suddenly lost the ability to run Linux.
Sony has long touted Other OS as a feature that distinguished the PS3 from other consoles. Imagine if iPhones suddenly lost their multitouch capabilities.
"This disablement is not only a breach of the sales contract between Sony and its customers and a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, but it is also an unfair and deceptive business practice perpetrated on millions of unsuspecting consumers," the complaint stated.
"Plaintiff chose to purchase a PS3, as opposed to an Xbox or a Wii, because it offered the Other OS feature as well as other unique PS3 features (such as the ability to play Blu-ray discs and access the PlayStation Network), despite the fact that the PS3 was substantially more expensive than other gaming consoles."
Removal of the Other OS capability is achieved by installing software update 3.21. PS3s will continue to run on older versions of the software, but effective April Fools Day, they were no longer able to access a host of features, according to the complaint, which was filed in US District Court in the Northern California District. Those features included the ability to sign into the PlayStation Network and to run many newer games and movies released on Blu-ray.
The suit, filed on behalf of PS3 owner Anthony Venture, of Santa Clara County, California, seeks class-action status, which would allow millions of other PS3 owners to sign on as well.
The controversy is the latest to demonstrate the pitfalls of digital rights management, which anger a device's most dedicated fans as they do a poor job of protecting copyrighted content.
Meanwhile, geohot has said he's working on a workaround to the PS3 neutering. Stick around. This battle royal has plenty more rounds to go. ®
re: the suit has no legs
Stellar attempt at understanding contract law. EULA's are not necessarily legal documents, and have been shown time and time to be unconscionable . You can sign a 'legal' document saying it's ok if someone shoots you, but the person who does it will still be arrested. A contract can't override basic laws or rights.
For your examples, Nintendo switched from MP3 to AAC, you can move back if you like without degradation to the product. Your NAS would have carried on working as-is if you'd kept those codecs - you weren't forced to get rid of them. Sky is a subscription service and completely different rules apply (not to mention you could get out of your contract if they changed substantially).. NXE I can't comment on having had no experience of it, but if it's true, why are you happy to be shafted by Microsoft and think that it's ok?
The key thing here is that Sony *forced* people to make a choice - PSN or "Other OS". You could not carry on regardless and refuse to make the choice - it was made for you. Default answer was "no PSN".
If Sony win, what is ultimately being said is that Sony can remove any feature they like, be it BD player, gaming ability, bluetooth and hold you to ransom to do it. Not sure why that's so hard to understand?
re: Missing the point
Not to mention Sony saved a mighty bit on import tax to the EU due to them being able to classify it as a "computer" due to it's OtherOS feature...
You could drop a missive to your local government official, querying whether said removal of functionality now retroactively downgrades the system from "computer" to "games system", and as such renders Sony liable for millions in unpaid VAT?
(Yes, I am that big a bastard, after all, I learned from the best!)