Sony starts legal fight against PS3 hackers

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Sony has asked for a restraining order against the hackers who published a jailbreak for the PlayStation 3, freeing it up to run unauthorized games.

Citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, it wants George 'Geohot' Hotz, the hacking group fail0verflow and 100 other assorted participants to take all their 'circumvention tools' offline and their computers impounded.

Hotz published the PS3 root key last week, and then released a jailbreak for PS3 firmware version 3.55.

"Defendants’ publication, trafficking in and distribution of the Circumvention Devices facilitate the sale and playing of unauthorized or unlicensed copies of PS3 System video game software. If these devices are made further available on the market, they will have a dramatic downward effect on the sales of PS3 video games, as unauthorized copies of PS3 System video games will quickly circulate and become prevalent in the marketplace," the motion reads.

"It is already happening. Even now, pirated video games are being packaged and distributed with these circumvention devices. In the absence of injunctive relief, Defendants will continue their illegal activity while SCEA will continue to be greatly harmed by the distribution of these circumvention devices to the public."

This is an arguable point: it's unlikely that a restraining order will do much to put the cat back in the bag. The code and technique are now widely available, after all. But the restraining order looks likely to be just the first move towards a full lawsuit for copyright infringement.

Hotz has posted the papers on his site, here. The case is filed as C 11-00167 JCS Sony Computer Entertainment America v. George Hotz, and will be heard by Judge Richard Seeborg of the Magistrates Court of California.