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January 13, 2011

Sony takes hackers to court

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by Tom Coyne

Sony has filed suit against a Californian district court, seeking a restraining order against research and development groups who have been trying to discover a way of removing the restrictions on installing code onto the PS3 system.

Sony states that using the ‘jailbreak’ methods and tools to attempt to remove the restrictions, the group is in violation of Sony’s user agreements and is infringing on the company’s copyrights.

The group known as ‘failoverfl0w’ has apparently been in the process of crafting tools to allow users to run third party software on the console. Sony states that doing so will pose a major risk to the PlayStation business.

Interest in developing a jailbreak method for tampering with the consoles restrictions picked up last year when the company removed a popular feature from the console.

In April 2010 Sony removed the ‘Other OS’ option from the console. An option which allowed users to install a third-party operating system such as Linux.

The company states that “Unless the court enjoins defendants’ unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in their attempts to ensure that pirated software can be run on the PS3 system, resulting in the destruction of (Sony Computer Entertainment America’s) business.”

Manufacturers have seen the ‘jailbreak’ system as an issue of contention regarding the protection of their intellectual property. Apple in particular have been a prime target for jailbreaking.

A US court last summer ruled that users did have certain protections to install ‘unapporved’ software on their smartphone handsets.

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