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wtf sony?

Holy crap! Sony has gone crazy and a judge is letting them run amuck with subpoenas of everyone and their mother if they ever even whispered the phrase jailbreak and ps3 in the same sentence. I own a PS3 and thought it was a little odd when Sony used a software update to remove functionality they used to market the PS3 (in case you are wondering – they removed the ability to boot a PS3 with a different operating system like Linux). Kind of shady to sell it with features and then remove the features if you ask me. I don’t really use my PS3 for anything more than a media center (which it is great for – actually works better with windows media servers than the xbox360 – strange, but that’s a story for another time) so I didn’t really care too much about losing functionality I paid for.

Well, there was a guy named George Hotz who did care and lucky for PS3 owners he happened to be skilled with technology. He restored full functionality to his PS3 and then told others how to do it on his website. After all we did pay a couple hundred dollars for the hardware and we should at least be able to use the full feature set we were sold, if not be free to use the hardware how we like (since we did buy it). Not so says Sony. Not only do they not agree, they will sick an army of lawyers and the federal court system on you should you try. That is just what they did to George Hotz. Rather than embrace the hacker community to see just how far it could take their system, Sony decided to make an example of Hotz. For a second I have to pause to commend Microsoft for going the other route with Kinect by offering an SDK (although they almost went the Sony route initially). It is really interesting to see how people are already coming up with innovative new ways of using the Kinect hardware.

Anyway, back to Sony. So they have been using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other laws to try to bleed Hotz dry. In an interesting turn (at least to me) Sony isn’t content to stop with Hotz. Wired is reporting that federal magistrate Joseph Spero is granting Sony’s subpoenas for all kinds of information about the people who accessed information about the PS3 jailbreak on Hotz’s website, his YouTube channel, his Blogger site or his Twitter account. The subpoenas are ridiculously broad. For example, the YouTube subpoena demands data to identify who watched Hotz’s videos and “documents reproducing all records or usernames and IP addresses that have posted or published comments in response to the video.” WTF is wrong with Sony? (I guess people don’t just want to copy Apple’s products, they also want emulate their heavy handed legal tactics)

Even though the functionality isn’t a big deal to me, Sony’s crappy attitude about the situation is. Like I said, I own the PS3. I also own one of their XBR series TVs. I’ve been completely happy with both. I happen to be in the market for another TV. Will I consider buying another Sony — not even for a second. Some day I hope they learn that treating their customers like their adversaries has consequences to the bottom line.