Feeds

Sony sued for dropping Linux from PS3

Console downgrade 'unfair and deceptive'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
China: You, Microsoft. Office-Windows 'compatibility'. You have 20 days to explain
Told to cough up more details as antitrust probe goes deeper
Windows 7 settles as Windows XP use finally starts to slip … a bit
And at the back of the field, Windows 8.1 is sprinting away from Windows 8
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?