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Sony has threatened to permanently banish all PlayStation 3 users from the its online game network if they use jailbroken consoles.

Customers who don't want to lose access to the PlayStation Network “must immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices,” Sony Social Media Manager Jeff Rubenstein blogged on Wednesday. “By identifying PlayStation 3 systems that breach our guidelines and terminating their ability to connect to PlayStation Network, we are protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve.

Wednesday's ultimatum comes five weeks after Sony accused more than 100 hackers of copyright infringement for publishing the means to unlock the game consoles. Although Sony claims the legal action was necessary to prevent pirated games and software from running on the PS3, the company has yet to provide evidence that any of the defendants did so, or advocated doing so.

Sony's lawsuit alleges violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it illegal to circumvent technology intended to prevent access to copyrighted material. Three weeks ago, the federal judge hearing the case tentatively ruled that Sony was likely to prevail on those claims and ordered well-known jailbreaker George Hotz, aka, GeoHot, to turn over all code and computers used to develop his hack.

More recently, Sony has expanded its legal offensive to other PS3 hackers by requesting subpoenas that, among other things, would force Google to identify people who viewed videos posted to GeoHot's private YouTube channel.

The PlayStation Network is the sole source of bug fixes and firmware updates for the consoles. ®

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