Boycott Sony

Why are we asking you to take action against Sony?

Sony is using legal actions to harass and intimidate individuals who are modifying their own PS3 systems. Defective by Design supporters are boycotting Sony. Here's the full story:

  • Sony sold the PlayStation 3 as a general purpose computer, capable of running the GNU/Linux operating system, but running in a restrictive mode that didn't allow complete access to the powerful hardware.
  • Sony stated, "It was fully intended that you, a PS3 owner, could play games, watch movies, view photos, listen to music, and run a full-featured operating system that transforms your PS3 into a home computer." In return, George Hotz (known in programming circles as geohot) announced his efforts to give PS3 owners complete access to their machine's powerful hardware.
  • Sony then proceeded to betray their customers by removing the ability to run custom operating systems at all, "due to security concerns."
  • In January 2011, Hotz released the cryptographic keys needed to reverse Sony's restrictions and run custom software on the PlayStation 3.
  • Sony promptly brought a lawsuit against Hotz.
  • Then, another PS3 hacker, Alexander Egorenkov (graf_chokolo) had his home raided by the police and sued him for €1 million. Sony followed-up by confiscating his equipment.

The outcome of this? A pattern of harassment from Sony, attacking Hotz and other PS3 developers.

Our response? Hundreds of emails in support of Hotz and others to the CEO of Sony, Howard Stringer — who chose to shut off his own email account, rather than listen to customers.

We followed this with by sending even more emails to Sony VP, Nicole Seligman. This campaign 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 Hotz. In the settlement, Hotz has agreed to not use Sony devices in an ambiguous "unauthorized" fashion. The accusations brought up in the case against Hotz remain unproven; and Hotz is boycotting Sony.

While Hotz shouldn't have to endure this kind of 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.

We need to continue to put pressure on Sony until they stop threatening users and developers for making use of their freedoms on hardware they own.

Please join the fight and boycott Sony today.

More Reasons to Boycott Sony

Sony's harassment of hackers and disregard for computer users' freedom should be enough of a reason for you to boycott them, but we will share with you some more reasons, anyhow, below.

Sony's purposeful installation of malware on customers' computers

  • The company shipped CDs secretly including rootkits, malicious software designed to hide DRM processes from the user and the operating system. Sony then tried to deny that they had done anything wrong. Details here.

Sony's Server Insecurities

  • On April 18th, 2011 Sony's PlayStation Network servers were compromised. These servers held personal information for approximately 77 million account holders, including credit card information on around 10 million subscribers. It took Sony over two weeks to let their customers know of the security breach!
  • On May 2nd, 2011 Sony announced that its Online Entertainment servers were also compromised, exposing over 20 million more account holders information!

Sony is issuing takedown notices for extremely short clips of songs used in YouTube videos

Sony is lobbying against your rights

Previous blog posts and actions

Comment on Sony Articles

Help comment on Sony news articles and blog posts. Direct them toward our campaign and let them know that we need to continue holding Sony accountable for their attack on users.

Boycott Sony stickers

You should not buy a Vaio until Sony stops its Vaiolence against free software developers. But what if you already own one? Cover it with a logo from the FSF store so that it is not visible at all.