Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Australian Federal Court extends ban on PS3 Jailbreak

   Sony's injunction against sales of the PS3 Jailbreak mod has been extended by Australian Federal Court until Friday of this week. Sony is seeking a permanent ban on sales of the Jailbreak which will make the device illegal to sell in Australia.

A snippet from today's Sidney Morning Herald is pasted below:

"The judge who first heard the matter, Justice Dodds-Streeton, will again hear it this Friday. Justice Kenny heard it today and ordered that the orders that were previously made by Justice Dodds-Streeton be continued until Friday, when the case would go back before that judge."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sony succeeds in banning PS3 Jailbreak

   Last week, Sony of Australia sought an injunction to halt the sales of the Playstation 3 Jailbreak USB device. The company succeeded in convincing the Australian Federal Court to uphold the injunction and the three Australian retailers named in the case have been blocked from selling the Jailbreak. Tomorrow, Sony will file to make the ban permanent in Australia.

   Snippets from today's article from the Sidney Morning Herald follows below:

"Judge Julie Anne Dodds-Streeton issued the temporary ban ahead of a hearing tomorrow morning where Sony will make its case for a permanent block on sales."

"This is the first time the security of the PS3 has been broken and the injunction requires the distributors to hand all of their stock of the device to Sony. The company will then have licence to analyse the chips and work on a way of blocking them, with Justice Dodds-Streeton's order allowing for even "destructive analysis"."

   Following the article, there are 54 comments as of 10:00AM this morning. Some use the premise of "freedom" and "homebrew" to justify the ability to pirate software. The comments from two mod resellers at the end of the article also explain their fight for the little guy, battling Goliath, and how the Federal Court is setting dangerous precedents.

   The injunction currently only applies to Australian jurisdictions but mod chip sellers in Canada seem to think that they're not affected by the action in Australia. Looking at previous actions in Canada, Sony has already shut down mod vendors in previous years and they effectively shut down Lik-Sang in Hong Kong by filing a lawsuit against the company which was not answered. In that case, Sony won by default judgment because Lik-Sang representatives did not appear in court.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Negative Sentiment Towards Piracy?

   Ever since the story of the Playstation 3 Jailbreak broke last week on Kotaku, the news of the PS3 exploit has been making its way around the world and eliciting lots of comments from readers. Although the commentary is anecdotal, it would appear that readers are mostly against the advent of Playstation 3 piracy. Of course, some readers support piracy for obvious reasons but the majority (publicly at least) seem to be showing bias against the pirates. However, let's look at some of the reasons that pirates use to support their activities:

(1) I'm making backups for archival purposes
Fair enough but if Sony shows up at your door tomorrow, are you going to have every single game that's in your hard drive tucked away safely in your closet?

(2) Games are too expensive
So is a Porsche 911. Try stealing that from the dealership. Houses are expensive too. Go steal one and see how that works for you.

(3) Sony makes too much money
   Sony's Playstation division lost nearly a 1/2 billion dollars last year and they reported a $43 million dollar loss for 1Q 2010.

(4) Game companies make too much money
Electronic Arts is the largest game publisher in the world. They've been losing money for years and their share price reflects the losses.

(5) Who makes money then?
The video game business is in a slump but when economies around the world begin to recover, Sony and publishers should start making money again. However, their revival of fortunes shouldn't give you a license to steal.

(6) If I don't pirate, someone else will
This is true. Everyone wants something for nothing and perhaps it is inevitable that piracy will eventually take over the PS3 business. However, consider that game developers and publishers toil and sweat to make sure their products reach market. That takes money and resources. If everyone pirated software and got a free ride, what is the incentive for developers and publishers to create the best possible product for their customers?

   In closing, the next few days will be a turning point for the Playstation 3. The PS3 Jailbreak is out in the wild and once it is cloned and hacked by imitators, its usage and availability will grow as suppliers get it into the public domain. As long as there is the potential for profit, the Jailbreak will find its way to consumers despite laws that govern the use of security circumvention devices.

PS3 Jailbreak Site Irony

Pirate Hubris

   The PS3 Jailbreak was designed to circumvent Sony's copy protection but it's ironic that their site states the following:

"Beware of imitators and Chinese knockoffs"

   So, pirates are afraid of having their product pirated? Since the Jailbreak is essentially a USB drive with an executable program on it, bootleggers who crack and copy the device will assuredly start selling their own versions of the Jailbreak within days of its release into the market. 
   The current price of the dongle is approximately US$120 but if bootlegs are manufactured, Gaming Exodus would anticipate prices to plunge below US$20 as the market is flooded with imitations and "Chinese knockoffs." This situation would be similar to the days of the original Playstation modchips where massive supplies soon forced prices from roughly $40 per chip to less than $5.

The Jailbreak site's "Engrish" description for the Jailbreak follows below:


* PS Jailbreak is a USB plug and play solution that installs in seconds, keeping your valid warranty seal in tact.

* Easy to use installer and GUI takes you step by step.

* Compatible with all production models FAT and SLIM. Supports all regions: USA, JAP, PAL and KOREA

* PS Jailbreak disables forced software updates and will never brick your console.

* Supports all games (it does not allow backups of bluray movies , dvd movies , or past consoles games)

* Backup games to your internal hard drive or external hard drive through USB, and boot directly off GUI. Eliminating the need for expensive blueray burners and costly blank media.

* Play backups off your hard drives 2x as fast as off the blueray drive. This eliminates lags and glitches to provide you with smoother game play.

* Open up your console to a new generation of homebrew applications. Load homebrew apps/games off any USB hard drive/flash drive.

* Fully updatable with new features/updates by connecting PS Jailbreak to any computers USB port.

* For installation instructions and operation instructions please click here

Playstation 3 Jailbreak Sales Halted

   Sony has convinced an Australian Federal Court to issue an injunction against presales of the Playstation 3 Jailbreak mod which plugs into the PS3's USB port. Based on information released thus far, the Jailbreak allows the Playstation 3 to boot pirated software from a hard drive. Further information appears to indicate that the Playstation 3's normal boot process is interrupted and the software on the Jailbreak allows the Playstation 3 console to mimic the functionality of a development station PS3. An original Playstation 3 game is still required to load the games stored on the hard drive but the potential for rampant piracy allowed Sony to obtain the injunction. Three Australian modchip sellers were named in the injunction:

1) Quantronics

2) OzModChips.com
3) ModSupplier.com

   Although modchips are illegal in most parts of the world, they are legal in Australia. The injunction is in force until August 31. If the injunction is stayed, the PS3 Jailbreak will remain unavailable for sale.

   The Jailbreak website also lists resellers in Canada, Europe, and the United States. Modchips and copyright circumvention devices are illegal in the States and it is unclear if the US-based seller "Shop PS Jailbreak" is aware of the ramifications and legal liabilities of selling an outlawed product. Stay tuned for the drama to unfold.