We asked you to email Sony CEO Howard Stringer during our last call to action and Sony responded by shutting off his email address. Many of you then sent emails to the next email address we posted, Nicole Seligman, Sony Executive VP and General Counsel. Your action was effective — it was an important part of the overall public pressure put on Sony to back off.
And back off they did. Sony ended up settling its lawsuit against George Hotz (aka geohot). Hotz has agreed to not use Sony devices in an ambiguous "unauthorized" fashion — in fact, he's boycotting Sony anyway — and the accusations brought up in the case by Sony remain unproven. While Hotz shouldn't have to endure even this, which amounts to a gag order, Sony was stopped well short of what it was hoping to get. Hotz is now free to move on, but Sony is stuck with a fresh batch of bad publicity and no money or legal precedent to show for it.
You did a great job of letting Sony know how unacceptable their behavior has been. Here are excerpts from just some of the 300+ emails you've sent so far:
“I would like to let you know that I think your company's behaviour towards free software developers is atrocious and disgusting. I will buy no further Sony products until you cease this action.”
“With the removal of OtherOS and now your attacks on the hackers trying to restore the functionality I paid for. I will be selling all my Sony equipment on ebay and will no longer be recommending any of your products to my friends and family.”
“You should be encouraging imaginative uses of the PS3. Each time someone in the free software community expands the PS3's capabilities, the machine becomes desirable for more people.”
We're not out of the woods yet. Geohot is boycotting Sony over their behavior and we should too. Sony had alleged violations of the DMCA, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and other copyright laws against Geohot for jailbreaking the PS3. Sony was granted a number of subpoenas to access information on anyone with even a remote curiosity about the jailbreak, including server logs of geohot's personal website to the records of anyone who watched the video “Jailbroken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew”.
Another PS3 hacker, Alexander Egorenkov, or graf_chokolo, had his home raided by the police and is now being sued for €1 million. Just recently, representatives of Sony went to his home again and confiscated his equipment.
It's bad enough that Sony has put restrictive measures against developers in the first place by making jailbreaking necessary. Sony should be encouraging the software development community around the PS3, instead of throwing its legal weight around.
Keep in mind that one of the goals of PS3 hackers is restoring the ability to install other operating systems, a functionality that Sony removed after it was promised to buyers. Some of these PS3 owners have joined a class-action lawsuit against Sony. Interestingly, this lawsuit alleges Sony violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by removing the OtherOS function — the same law Sony uses against hackers who enable OtherOS. The cases against these hackers are still fresh, but Sony's war on hackers has been going on for a long time.
So, let's keep the pressure on! Do you oppose Sony's actions? Are you boycotting Sony? Let them know. Email Nicole Seligman, Executive VP and General Counsel at Sony (firstname.lastname@example.org) — as always, please BCC or CC us on emails at email@example.com! Check out our anti-Sony stickers in the store while you're at it.