Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PS3 Jailbreak Battle Continues

I just ran across this article on the battle over the PS3 jailbreak released by GeoHotz, famous already for multiple iPhone jailbreaking tools.

The interesting thing about this case is that the iPhone jailbreaks were ultimately permitted. The DMCA, which broadly prohibits circumventing manufacturer security measures, includes a provision requiring periodic review of the technology environment and permitting fine tuning of the law in response. In the last review, the panel decided that smartphone jailbreaking was permissible. It still voids your warranty, but you won't end up in court for it now.

So why should the PS3 and other gaming consoles be treated differently? The panel specifically addressed smartphones only, but an analogy could easily be drawn for gaming consoles. If the underlying purpose of the smartphone exemption is to legitimize end users' attempts to escape monopoly-reinforcing functionality-reducing "security" measures, then gaming consoles are a prime candidate for a similar exemption. Sony actually went so far as to remove (via firmware update) the ability of PS3 users to install Linux on the machine, which was a highly publicized feature at launch. PS3 users sued, and that case is moving through the courts as well.

Arguments in the case are still about jurisdiction and venue, but once the trial reaches the merits of Sony's claim, this could get very interesting very fast.

EDIT: It would seem Sony isn't stopping with GeoHotz.

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