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Sony expands legal offensive to more PS3 hackers

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Sony has stepped up its legal offensive against customers who jailbreak its PlayStation 3 game console, filing a series of motions that seek the identity of people who did nothing more than view YouTube videos showing how the latest hack worked.

One court filing demands that Google turn over the IP addresses and usernames of anyone who commented on a posting by video hacker George Hotz to a private YouTube page. A second filing seeks personal account details for a variety of Twitter users, including @fail0verflow, a group that in December demonstrated how to unlock the then-latest version of the PlayStation firmware.

The discovery request, which was reported earlier by Wired.com, comes in a lawsuit Sony filed last month alleging that Hotz and fail0verflow members violated provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which bar the hacking of the PlayStation's anti-circumvention technology. The federal judge hearing the case has tentatively ruled that the hack likely violated US copyright law, and has ordered Hotz to surrender his code and computer gear.

A court order is necessary to “Promptly determine the identities of third parties hosting and distributing the circumvention devices so that [Sony] can serve them with DMCA 'take down' notices and, if necessary, seek appropriate relief from this Court,” Sony attorneys wrote in a motion filed on Friday.

So far, Hotz is one of only three PS3 hackers being sued by name. A remaining 100 defendants are named as anonymous John Does. Sony's fishing expedition is likely aimed at gathering enough information to identify more individuals.

More information from Wired.com is available here. ®

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