Sony Files Suits Against GeoHot and fail0verflow [UPDATE]


Note: DISCLAIMER: PS3Blog.net, in no way, supports the use of exploitative devices such as this and this post is purely informational. We do not condone piracy of any kind!

According to Geohot and fail0verflow’s web sites, Sony has served them with law suits yesterday evening. PDF copies of three different documents, linked to from their web sites, as well as at the bottom of this post, reveal that Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) is seeking a TPO (temporary restraining order) against both George “geohot” Hotz and fail0verflow because of “their violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).”

failOverflow has since removed any and all information regarding the circumvention technology regarding Technological Protection Measures (TPM), or codes for the PS3 hardware, however geohot still links to his old front page with some informaton and download links.

Geohot was also ordered to “deliver for impoundment any computers, hard drives, CDroms, DVDs, USB stick, and any other storage devices on which any Circumvention Devices are stored in Defendant Hotz’s possession, custody or control.”

On January 11, 2011, Plaintiff Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (“SCEA”) filed a Complaint against Defendants George Hotz (“Defendant Hotz”), Hector Martin Cantero, Sven Peter and Doe Defendants 1 through 100. SCEA has alleged that each Defendant, individually and in concert with the other Defendants, has: (1) circumvented effective technological protection measures (“TPMs”) employed by SCEA to protect against unauthorized access to and/or copying of SCEA’s proprietary PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems (“PS3 System”), and other copyrighted works; and (2) trafficked in circumvention technology, products, services, methods, codes, software tools, devices, component or part thereof, including but not limited to the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (“ECDSA”) Keys, encryption and/or decryption keys, dePKG firmware decrypter program, Signing Tools, 3.55 Firmware Jailbreak, and/or any other technologies that enable unauthorized access to and/or copying of PS3 Systems and other copyrighted works.

SCEA has alleged that Defendants have violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) 17 U.S.C. §1201, et seq.; the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030, et seq.; and has alleged contributory copyright infringement arising out of the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. §501, et seq.; as well as related state and common law claims for violation of the California Comprehensive Computer Data Access and Fraud Act, Cal. Penal Code § 502, et. seq., breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations, trespass and common law misappropriation.

The following is some great information from the documents explaining exactly what the TPMs are, as well as what the hackers did that was illegal.

A. SCEA’s PlayStation®3 Computer Entertainment System And Its
Technological Protection Measures
All genuine PS3 Systems are manufactured with technological protection measures that effectively control access to the PS3 System and prevent unlicensed or copied software from playing on the PS3 System. The PS3 System is designed to run multiple levels of authorized, encrypted code in one or more sequences. Each level features TPMs, which control access, encrypt and decrypt code, and authenticate signatures to enable access to the files within the code. One purpose of the PS3 System’s TPMs is to prevent users from playing illegally copied, pirated games. To that end, every file authorized to run on the PS3 System contains an authentic digital signature. SCEA generates each digital signature using a pair of electronic keys (“Keys”). The PS3 System verifies each signature using one of those Keys, which is encrypted and embedded in the system. The other Key is held by SCEA; it is not distributed and cannot be located anywhere in the PS3 System’s code or hardware, or the code of any authorized video game. The PS3 System will not execute a file unless that file contains an authentic digital signature. Unauthorized or unlicensed video game discs (such as those burned from genuine game discs) do not have an authorized signature code. Accordingly, a normally functioning PS3 System will not run those pirated video games. The PS3 System also utilizes access control and encryption. Those TPMs prevent, restrict or otherwise limit access to certain sections of the PS3 System software and hardware. As a result, the TPMs ensure that the PS3 System functions in a safe and reliable manner. They also protect the encrypted firmware, encrypted digital signature Keys and other encrypted Keys that are stored within the PS3 System. Because the PS3 System and its code are protected by these TPMs, users can neither access nor read the signatures or the Keys, and therefore cannot use those elements to gain access to the System to run a pirated video game. Using the types of TPMs discussed above, the PS3 System allows only the operation of legitimate, authorized and approved software that is licensed for distribution in the region or geographical territory of the console’s sale. By taking these precautions, SCEA has been able to protect its exclusive rights to copy, sell, distribute and manufacture video games. In addition, SCEA has been able to protect its substantial investment – and the investment of third-party videogame companies – in the development, creation, and distribution of the PS3 System and compatible video games.

B. SCEA’s Copyrights And Copyright Licenses
SCEA develops and publishes its own interactive entertainment software video games for the PS3 System. SCEA has invested and continues to invest substantial time, effort and expense in the design, development, testing, manufacturing and marketing of its video games. Those games are highly creative and SCEA has obtained copyright registrations to protect them. For example, SCEA owns valid copyright registration for the following video game software: Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (Copyright No. PA 1-616-055); Resistance 2 (Copyright No. PA 1-619-506), and Uncharted Drake’s Fortune (Copyright No. PA 1-611-286). All PlayStation3 video games are programmed with computer code, referred to herein as PlayStation3 Programmer Tools (“PS3 Programmer Tools”), that authenticate authorized video game software and facilitate interaction with the central processing unit and microprocessors in the PS3 System. A video game whose program does not incorporate the PS3 Programmer Tools cannot be played on the PS3 System. The PS3 Programmer Tools are also incorporated within the PS3 System firmware. SCEA is the licensee of the registered copyright for the PS3 Programmer Tools (Copyright No. TX0007208564) and is authorized to sublicense its rights to use, copy and distribute the Tools to third party video game developers and publishers. SCEA also offers licenses to third parties to develop interactive entertainment software products for the PS3 System. These licensees are authorized to use proprietary PlayStation®3 technology to develop video game software for the PS3 System and to publish and distribute their video games. SCEA receives royalties on each PlayStation®3 video game manufactured pursuant to its licenses with third party publishers.

C. Defendants’ Illegal Activities
Since the release of the PS3 System in 2006, software hackers have attempted to write code to run unauthorized software on SCEA’s gaming system. Until a few days ago, the efforts of these hackers were largely thwarted by the TPMs that secure the various levels of the PS3 System. In late December 2010, a hacking group called FAIL0VERFLOW discovered a way to access certain (but not all) levels of the PS3 System by circumventing the corresponding TPMs. At that point, hackers were given the tools to run unauthorized and pirated software on the PS3 System. Building on FAIL0VERFLOW’s work, Defendant Hotz unlawfully gained access to a critical level of the PS3 System by circumventing the corresponding TPMs. In early January 2011, Hotz publicly distributed the circumvention devices necessary to access that level, providing them to the public via the Internet and releasing software code that will allow users to run unauthorized or pirated software on the PS3 System. Unless this Court enjoins Defendants’ unlawful conduct, hackers will succeed in running and distributing Circumvention Devices that run pirated software on the PS3 System.

Sources are all three legal documents which can be read in full here: Complaint, Motion for TRO, and Proposed Order.

UPDATE:
G4 interviewed GeoHot to see how he feels about the lawsuit, what’s next in store for him, and he thinks he has a chance against a mega giant like SONY:


Written by: Oly - Senior PR Manager


  1. #1 by anonymoose on January 12th, 2011

    SONY is getting desperate…I can’t help but LMAO at this…

    let’s see how this plays out…

    I’m hoping it just stops soon and fail0 & Geo make it out ok…and hope this doesn’t stop the hack tools from being released…

    anti-pirate here…just for the homebrew…just want to throw that in there

  2. #2 by Suplex57 on January 12th, 2011

    they are F***ed.

  3. #3 by Baba0Booey on January 12th, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    What did I say? When this hack was first reported for the PS3…..what did I say? “Sony will put the kibosh on this real soon” low and behold here it is, I have a feeling sony will win this suit as well. The babies complained and filed suit against sony about the removal of “Other OS” and lost, Sony will win this suit as well. It was only a matter of time when these hacking retards stepped on the wrong mine and it went off this time.
    As far as im concerned sony will win this suit as well and they will further nerf the current firmware and more people will complain that this and that features have been nerfed, dont blame sony, blame these idiots who go too far in hacking the current firmware….let it rest, sony has cornered the market and if you hack their deal….you’ll pay, plain and simple.

  4. #4 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    Awesome. they need to learn a lesson. This won’t stop the hack from hitting the net….but perhaps these cocky bastards will learn now.

  5. #5 by Bal on January 12th, 2011

    Sony filing suit against fail0verflow and geohot != Sony putting the kibosh on the hack. the keys are all out there.

    This suit does seem desperate. I don’t see in any of that verbage where they’re even claiming that those guys did anything illegal. The’re just stating a bunch of facts and saying that it’s going to suck for them. As far as I know, there is no legal protection for private encryption/signing keys.

    Regardless if they confiscate every piece of hardware/software ever touched by every member of fail0verflow and geohot, it’s highly unlikely sony will ever be able to “fix” this.

  6. #6 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    Sony is making a statement for investors. Basically “hey, see we are doing something about it” to the third parties.

    Sony can’t stop this software from hitting peoples homes…but they can make it very hard and more conspicuous. There won’t be any websites boasting custom firmware and things of that nature if Sony wins the lawsuit which will possibly keep the “non-elite” from jail breaking their PS3′s.

  7. #7 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    and lets keep in mind that Sony has shareholders that need to be appeased. Sony is doing the only thing they can legally at this time.

    Also….something in the EULA (keep in mind that things in the EULA are not in stone and can be ruled illegal) has indicated that under certain conditions, Sony reserves the right to basically brick your PS3 completely. Whether this is legal, possible…who knows.

    I do have one other fear to add to the whole PS3 cracking scenario….what if people are able to hack your PSN account now?

  8. #8 by Derrickgott007 on January 12th, 2011

    I’m torn on this one. The PS3 was largely unhacked UNTIL Sony removed Linux support. I’m against piracy in all forms but the homebrew scene can’t be denied. Sony needs to make the approval system easier for homebrew and make it’s own section of the store like on xbox.

    People are going to always hack anything and everything. The only way to combat this is to give the other OS back. Let people play on Linux but keep it separate like it was before. Such as LINUX= No PSN for Linux programs.

    Sony could profit off of this with an easier approval process for indie games. Come on Sony, do the right thing. Stop being so closed minded. the indie marketplace really slowed xbox hacking.

  9. #9 by premiersoupir on January 12th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    I’m with @Derrickgott007: The horse is out of the proverbial stable, so Sony should start thinking about creative ways of embracing the end-user innovation that will attend this development. Freeware game contests? A robust open-source infrastructure like SourceForge but one that Sony controls and into whose licenses Sony writes itself? This could be an exciting time for Sony as well as for users if Sony is flexible enough to handle this in the right fashion.

  10. #10 by Luke on January 12th, 2011 [ 27382 Points ]

    This is kind of dumb. You sold me the device so I can do whatever I want with it. You r going to sue me for it?

  11. #11 by Kane112 on January 12th, 2011 [ 32937 Points ]

    Ah Sony if just scared. Wonder how this will turn out

  12. #12 by Oly on January 12th, 2011 [ 131610 Points ]

    Luke: This is kind of dumb. You sold me the device so I can do whatever I want with it. You r going to sue me for it?  

    Ya I agree.. they sold me 5 gallons of gas yesterday and I can’t use it to burn my neighbors stupid barking dog?
    and what about the shotgun I bought last year.. now they tell me I can’t use it to shoot tin cans in my back yard…
    oh.. and it’s Joe Schmoes computer.. why can’t he use it to watch 9yo girls take baths?

    I swear these stupid conservatives and big business types… leave us alone!

  13. #13 by Kane112 on January 12th, 2011 [ 32937 Points ]

    lol

  14. #14 by Luke on January 12th, 2011

    @Oly it’s Obamas doing!

  15. #15 by xDeFcoN_2FasT4Ux on January 12th, 2011 [ 2160 Points ]

    Honestly, they have the right to hack and do whatever they want with the console, but then going ahead releasing it to all the world is another thing, you should have seen this coming. I hope SONY can do something about this, its really not faie to them at all that this is happening.

  16. #16 by Trieloth on January 12th, 2011 [ 3426 Points ]

    They both deserve jail time and or a huge fine… if it was Sony i would cut off there fingers and poke there eyes out with there them. Seriously they need to find something better to do with there lives instead of trying to figure out how to steal crap. God i hate theives so much.

  17. #17 by ThugishRugishB0NE on January 12th, 2011

    Same case as the Apple iPhone/iPod jailbreak in which Apple lost against.

    Sony will lose. All they’re trying to do is yield the jailbreak at this point

  18. #18 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    Actually you DON’T have the right to do whatever you want with the console…especially if you had accepted the EULA and created a PSN ID. Not only that…but its also protected under the DMCA which prohibits any alterations or circumventions that bypass DRM technology.

    Sony doesn’t have the whole say in this matter either. Shareholders, third party devs and the movie industry (remember blu-ray keys were hacked also) will influence Sony’s direction.

    I disagree the indie market slowed xbox hacking as well. The ban hammer influenced it mostly, but its alive and not uncommon these days.

  19. #19 by anonymoose on January 12th, 2011

    Eddie: and lets keep in mind that Sony has shareholders that need to be appeased.Sony is doing the only thing they can legally at this time.Also….something in the EULA (keep in mind that things in the EULA are not in stone and can be ruled illegal) has indicated that under certain conditions, Sony reserves the right to basically brick your PS3 completely.Whether this is legal, possible…who knows.I do have one other fear to add to the whole PS3 cracking scenario….what if people are able to hack your PSN account now?  

    PS3 bricking your ps3 = suing them out the ass…I purchased this product..it’s mine…you have NO RIGHT to render my product useless and it’s illegal and EULA is NOT THE LAW…the US LAW is what matters and if SONY ever bricked PS3′s running homebrew they’d need to compensate each individual who’s PS3 is friend. In the end it’s a stupid move and even SONY isn’t stupid enough to do it.

    also SONY will lose this case…just as Apple did…only difference is at least Apple is smart enough to stop the crappy firmware wars and accept defeat…while still fighting off hacking with USEFUL updates when they can…in the end all they SHOULD do is just BAN pirates who play PSN with pirated copies and use cheats…but keep us LEGIT homebrew users out of this…we don’t deserve this crap just because we want our PS3s to be better then they currently are.

  20. #20 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    @thugishrugish its a little different then apples lawsuit. while not much stronger, Sony is attacking violations of the DMCA which involves gaming and the movie industry. So Sony will have alot of corporate backing by going this route. Apple’s lawsuit was simply a lawsuit against jailbreaking.

  21. #21 by anonymoose on January 12th, 2011

    anonymoose:
    PS3 bricking your ps3 = suing them out the ass…I purchased this product..it’s mine…you have NO RIGHT to render my product useless and it’s illegal and EULA is NOT THE LAW…the US LAW is what matters and if SONY ever bricked PS3′s running homebrew they’d need to compensate each individual who’s PS3 is friend. In the end it’s a stupid move and even SONY isn’t stupid enough to do it.also SONY will lose this case…just as Apple did…only difference is at least Apple is smart enough to stop the crappy firmware wars and accept defeat…while still fighting off hacking with USEFUL updates when they can…in the end all they SHOULD do is just BAN pirates who play PSN with pirated copies and use cheats…but keep us LEGIT homebrew users out of this…we don’t deserve this crap just because we want our PS3s to be better then they currently are.  

    *FRIED – not friend lol wth

  22. #22 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    PS3′s “better” than they already are is a matter of opinion and speculation. PS3 viruses, ps3 account stealing, multiplayer hacking…the list of negatives are just as large as the list of positives but I digress.

    EULA is the law until the law deems it not so actually (and this would probably be different in each country). A violation of the EULA can be met with the punishment outlined in the EULA until the law says otherwise.

    What I believe Sony is doing right now is narrowing down the jailbreaking demographic. Right now, its going to be so easy that the least educated person will be able to do it in minutes. The more hurdles Sony places in the path, the less people that will ultimately jailbreak.

    And as I said before…if the movie industry backs them and if Sony uses the loss of the blu-ray master key as its push, it may very well end up victorious. the DMCA is a world wide strongly enforced law and can be harshely implimented under certain circumstances by a wide array of governments.

    The whole “Sony is stupid” arguments need to be avoided in this debate anyways. A multi billion dollar company is anything but dumb. Yes mistakes can and will be made, some more serious then others, but it doesn’t bring any factual data to this debate.

  23. #23 by premiersoupir on January 12th, 2011 [ 17020 Points ]

    Eddie: And as I said before…if the movie industry backs them and if Sony uses the loss of the blu-ray master key as its push, it may very well end up victorious.the DMCA is a world wide strongly enforced law and can be harshely implimented under certain circumstances by a wide array of governments.

    I don’t think that Blu-ray is especially relevant to the argument, even if Sony claims that it is. After all, Sony’s DRM that “wouldn’t be broken for ten years” (as they proudly proclaimed before releasing the BR specs) was cracked day one. Granted, people didn’t have the mater keys until now, but people were readily able to crack individual disc’s keys just as fast as the titles were released. BR DRM hasn’t even slowed film piracy; all it does is annoy consumers.

  24. #24 by Oly on January 12th, 2011 [ 131610 Points ]

    What Eddie said!!

    Bring it Eddie!

  25. #25 by L/L on January 12th, 2011 [ 4782 Points ]

    Yep, damage control. But this won’t change anything. And yes, there will be sites out of Sony’s reach that will boast custom firmware. There are sites out there we know all too well that have made it somewhat of a sport to evade government and multi billion dollar businesses such as the movie industry. The “internets” is a very open place :P

  26. #26 by Luke on January 12th, 2011 [ 27382 Points ]

    Eddie you said you have money issues, maybe you should be sony’s lawyer.

  27. #27 by Eddie on January 12th, 2011 [ 44532 Points ]

    @Oly and @Luke what? I was just talking out my arse lol.

  28. #28 by marco on January 12th, 2011

    can you be my friend

  29. #29 by Oly on January 12th, 2011 [ 131610 Points ]

    Eddie:

    @Oly and @Luke what? I was just talking out my arse lol.  

    ^

    Well u are def a smart arse then! lol I was basically saying I agree with mosta what u said!

  30. #30 by Baba0Booey on January 13th, 2011 [ 5938 Points ]

    the DMCA is a world wide strongly enforced law and can be harshely implimented under certain circumstances by a wide array of governments.

    Not true, the DMCA is an american law and a majority of countries outside of the US dont recognize it. Countries such as sweeden, germany, the UK, even here in canada we dont recognize the law. We have a variation of it so to speak, what you speak of is an american law and is only enforceable within the united states.
    Proof of this can be taken from thepiratebay.org, they are constantly being being trheatened with the DMCA to no avail, simply because its an american law, not a global global law

  31. #31 by JCMoorehead on January 13th, 2011 [ 550 Points ]

    As soon as it was revealed they had got in I knew a lawsuit would follow. Logically it’s what they deserve, they knew the risks when they started hacking into the console. They know it’s against the terms and conditions so really they can’t have an argument against Sony’s reaction.

    Will it change anything? Not a damn thing, someone made a comment above that Sony should capitilise on this. Start monitoring homebrew and have competitions for developers. I agree, in an ideal world this is probably what would happen but unfortunately someone also brought up another good point, Sony has to answer to someone, that someone isn’t only going to understand scaremongering and potential loss of money. They aren’t going to see the benefits of that course of action so they’re just going to go down the lawsuit course every time.

    On that side, you can’t blame them as such. As cool as this is for hobby developers people are going to use it for piracy and only for piracy.

    This entire thing is going to be remarkably messy and go in cycles until the end of time. It’s going to be a case of one upsmanship between Sony and the Hackers with us consumers caught in the middle.


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