PS3 "Other OS" Removal Case Thrown Out by Judge

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PS3 "Other OS" Removal Case Thrown Out by Judge

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A judge dismissed all counts except one of the class-action suit protesting the Other OS removal.

Many people bought the PlayStation 3 believing they had the ability to use it however they wished. The option to install a different operating system on the computer - known as the "Other OS" option - enabled users to put Linux or some other open source OS on their PS 3 and basically have a cheap but powerful CPU and GPU combo. Even the U.S. military realized that stringing together PS3s could make you a cheap-ass super-computer. But in March 2010, Sony permanently removed the "Other OS" feature from all PS3s with a firmware update needed to access the PlayStation Network. California resident Anthony Ventura filed a class-action lawsuit stating that the removal was an "intentional disablement of the valuable functionalities originally advertised as available." Today, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg dismissed all but one of Ventura's claims.

Judge Seeborg upheld Sony's right to enforce the End User License Agreement or EULA all customers agreed to upon purchasing the PlayStation 3. "These contracts specifically provide PS3 purchasers with a license, not an ownership interest, in the software and in the use of the PSN, and provide that SCEA has the right to disable or alter software features or terminate or limit access to the PSN, including by issuing firmware updates," Sony said in its motion to dismiss the suit.

But the sticking point seems to be the access to the PlayStation Network, and other features. Judge Seebold made it clear that customers who bought the PS3 with the Other OS option enabled could still use the console as is, they just wouldn't be able to access Sony's network as well as play new games or Blu-Rays.

"All of the counts are based on plaintiffs' fundamental contention that it was wrongful for Sony to disable the Other OS feature, or, more precisely, [to force PS3 owners to decide between] permitting the Other OS feature to be disabled or forgoing their access to the PSN and any other benefits available through installing," wrote Seebold in the dismissal. "The flaw in plaintiffs' [argument] is that they are claiming rights not only with respect to the features of the PS3 product, but also to have ongoing access to an internet service offered by Sony, the PSN."

The plaintiffs maintain that firmware update 3.21 doesn't just forbid access to the PSN, but that the main functions of the console are no longer viable. To wit, if you didn't update, you could no longer play new games, play games online, play new Blu-Rays, or even play some older Blu-Rays. So choosing not to update and keep the "Other OS" option alive means that no new purchases are possible and the usefulness of the product is seriously restricted.

At least the judge wasn't completely heartless. "The dismay and frustration at least some PS3 owners likely experienced when Sony made the decision to limit access to the PSN service to those who were willing to disable the Other OS feature on their machines was no doubt genuine and understandable," he said, but unfortunately those emotions have no impact on the legal scope of things.

"As a matter of providing customer satisfaction and building loyalty, it may have been questionable. As a legal matter, however, plaintiffs have failed to allege facts or to articulate a theory on which Sony may be held liable."

Sorry, people. It looks like console manufacturers can change their products' capabilities after you purchase them with no penalty whatsoever.

Source: Gamasutra

Permalink

So what Sony. We buy a "license"? Last I checked, my PS3 doesn't come with a due date for return. I'm not renting this thing, damnit!

I kind of feel for sony with the whole piracy issue the Other OS feature had, but I mean come on. This is like Honda coming to my house and telling me I have to choose between the back seats and being able to go above 30mph. Its bullshit.

Macgyvercas:
I'm not renting this thing, damnit!

No, you're effectively on an open ended lease.

Sorry guys, if sony wants, they can just brick your ps3 when the ps4 comes out so you have no choice but to get a new one

Macgyvercas:
So what Sony. We buy a "license"? Last I checked, my PS3 doesn't come with a due date for return. I'm not renting this thing, damnit!

I don't speak Legalnese, but I'm pretty sure that isn't what it says. What I got out of this was that when buying the PS3 you basically bought only a License to use the Software or gain access to PSN. You don't own the Software, so basically, I guess, Sony can do to it what they want. The Other OS Feature would, as to my knowledge, have to have been a Software functionality, so, basically they can restrict it.

Also, it's the same thing with Games, you don't own that software either, you just have a License to use it. Owning Software has quite a few implications, they pretty much only can sell you a License, otherwise you could just start making copies and sell it...and Sony could also only sell it to you, otherwise it would pretty much have to be open-source.

I still think this sucks, they are afterall taking away features that were used to advertise the console. But what are you gonna do? Taking them to court didn't work, so don't buy the next Sony console.

FogHornG36:
Sorry guys, if sony wants, they can just brick your ps3 when the ps4 comes out so you have no choice but to get a new one

Actually, that would be intentional disablement of functionality.

It's shit like this, Sony...

Does this apply to Europe too or would that be a separate legal case?

Iglock:
It's shit like this, Sony...

Does this apply to Europe too or would that be a separate legal case?

That would depend entirely on the EULA and if Sony claim specific jurisdictions for any legal matters therein.

Greg Tito:
Sorry, people. It looks like console manufacturers can change their products capabilities after you purchase them with no penalty whatsoever.

Of course, going by the judges decision, that isn't what they did - they just forced consumers to choose which set of capabilities they wished to continue with... being a dick move but not illegal.

Well this is poor customer service (as the judge remarked) but it's legal because they warned you of it in the EULA. Not sure if you can read the EULA online (probably but I haven't ever checked), but it might be something you want to start doing if you're using a console for such extra purposes.

Main point..read the EULA. It's boring and full of legal jargon, but it is in fact important

FogHornG36:
Sorry guys, if sony wants, they can just brick your ps3 when the ps4 comes out so you have no choice but to get a new one

Hah, yes. They can legally screw you over. Make no mistake, if the revenue from pulling such a stunt would outweigh PR damage they would do so.

It's just that bricking hardware remotely isn't widely accepted yet. They're waiting for other players on the market to do this first so Sony doesn't get that much flak.

Remember how 8 years ago having always-online DRM in a single-player game was kind of like Saddam Husein getting a Nobel Peace Prize?

It just has to catch on, that's all.

this is why you file this shit anywere but cali. i swear if hed filed this in Texas or hell Colorado sony would be in for some deep shit.

Fuck... this judge is not going to be very popular... and he's a moron.

Taking away access to the PSN for continued use is fine as the PSN is Sony owned, but when you are forced to give up one original feature for another where you payed for both features is just plain wrong. If you could still play disc based games that would be fine, but what this judge did was set a very dangerous precedent.

He basically said that Sony (and by extension Microsoft) can do anything they like and we have no power over it.

captcha: issued snaker

Okay... thanks. I've been issued a weapon to kill Solid Snake!? :s

Obvious decision is obvious, its not like large multinational corporations don't have legal departments who write Eulas for living. Sorry, but not liking something doesn't mean you can sue, you actually have to legal grounds. No Judge is going to over turn the entire bases of the software industry because you think Sony are being mean

ecoho:
this is why you file this shit anywere but cali. i swear if hed filed this in Texas or hell Colorado sony would be in for some deep shit.

If the EULA specifies that all legal action has to go via California state judiciary then he had no choice.

Yes, EULAs can do that in any country where they're accepted as binding legal documents (as any binding legal document can do the same).

RhombusHatesYou:

Greg Tito:
Sorry, people. It looks like console manufacturers can change their products capabilities after you purchase them with no penalty whatsoever.

Of course, going by the judges decision, that isn't what they did - they just forced consumers to choose which set of capabilities they wished to continue with... being a dick move but not illegal.

Which is where the judge is incorrect. By not taking away the other OS, backwards compatibility and so on they have also hindered its other original advertised function, which is play PS3 games.

ecoho:
this is why you file this shit anywere but cali. i swear if hed filed this in Texas or hell Colorado sony would be in for some deep shit.

Unlikely, more and more judges seem to be willing to accept those end user liscense agreements and a real contract, its bullshit.

FoolKiller:

RhombusHatesYou:

Greg Tito:
Sorry, people. It looks like console manufacturers can change their products capabilities after you purchase them with no penalty whatsoever.

Of course, going by the judges decision, that isn't what they did - they just forced consumers to choose which set of capabilities they wished to continue with... being a dick move but not illegal.

Which is where the judge is incorrect. By not taking away the other OS, backwards compatibility and so on they have also hindered its other original advertised function, which is play PS3 games.

im sorry but i beleave a few states require that if you file in that state thats were they MUST be tried. you just need to know how to work the system:)(oh and dont file class action file civil and yeah they fucked:)

Obviously my statement was flawed, sorry for not being knowledgeable about everything. But then again this is the internet where people come to show their superiority over others. Back to the OP, still kinda sucks this ended up this way.

FoolKiller:

RhombusHatesYou:

Greg Tito:
Sorry, people. It looks like console manufacturers can change their products capabilities after you purchase them with no penalty whatsoever.

Of course, going by the judges decision, that isn't what they did - they just forced consumers to choose which set of capabilities they wished to continue with... being a dick move but not illegal.

Which is where the judge is incorrect. By not taking away the other OS, backwards compatibility and so on they have also hindered its other original advertised function, which is play PS3 games.

Well no, not legally speaking. That function is still there, all they need to do is install a firmware update... that will fuck all the other functionality up.. but it's still there. By forcing the choice on the consumer Sony covered their arse.

NinjaTigerXIII:
So let me get this straight, that judge just stated that nobody actually owns a PS3, we all just bought a license to use it.

Says so right in the End User Licencing Agreement. Hell, the name should have been a give away.

I fear this decision is going to lead to worse things in the future.

Not really... the decisions that make this all so anti-consumer rights were made years ago.

Wow a judge that has a head on his shoulders wow I am amazed.

He pretty much stated exactly what was needed to be said you bought the hardware you own the hardware do with it as you please. The software is licensed if you want to upgrade then you will need to agree to the eula again. So they are legally not taking any functionality away from the system if you leave your ps3 at the firmware with the other OS option then you can continue to use said option and can continue to play the games that will run on that system. If you choose not to update then that is your choice. like any other firmware upgrade.

On the other hand the PSN on top of that is a service supplied by Sony. Which is why it has its own Terms of Service that you agree to and when it changes they send you a message or have you agree to an TOS then too. Such as when they added in the class action lawsuit parts. To use this service they require you to have the latest system software installed on you system.

The big take away here is you own your hardware cut it up repurpose it. Do whatever you want with it. The software/Firmware on the other hand is owned by Sony and licensed to you which is where they can come after you for cracking it etc. (Truthfully this is pretty much the way all closed source licenses work and even a lot of open source licenses they just allow for modification and redistribution but usually require you to leave in some comment or other thing that says who originally created it.)

NinjaTigerXIII:
So let me get this straight, that judge just stated that nobody actually owns a PS3, we all just bought a license to use it. I fear this decision is going to lead to worse things in the future.

Nope the judge just said

These contracts specifically provide PS3 purchasers with a license, not an ownership interest, in the software and in the use of the PSN, and provide that SCEA has the right to disable or alter software features or terminate or limit access to the PSN, including by issuing firmware updates,

read carefully he is saying nothing about the hardware he is talking specifically about software and firmware.

If you want to write custom firmware of you own design that would allow you to run another OS go for it but to do it legally you cannot have any part of sony's firmware in it. You would need to write it from scratch or from an open source cell based processor model and flash the chips and it would not be able to interact with sony's firmware.

EDITS for further explanation and to fix spelling and syntax mistakes

FogHornG36:
Sorry guys, if sony wants, they can just brick your ps3 when the ps4 comes out so you have no choice but to get a new one

um, no, if they did that with mine(all assuming i still had it mind you), I'd throw it out, pawn the games and go PC. just bricking a system cause they think they need your money is a sure way to not get it, least not from me.

Hey, the judge says the concession is that if you got a PS3 based on those features, then you waive your right to play new software or access the network. If you're futzing with OtherOS, then odds are you didn't buy your PS3 to do either of those things. Otherwise, you can accept the legally-binding EULA and waive your right to use OtherOS, and use it as, you know, a REGULAR PS3.

Sorry folks, nothing wrong here, no shenanigans. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to IP law. You should have known about this when you opened the box and read the EULA; if you thought it was shenanigans then, you should have returned the system.

NinjaTigerXIII:
So let me get this straight, that judge just stated that nobody actually owns a PS3, we all just bought a license to use it. I fear this decision is going to lead to worse things in the future.

In case you haven't noticed Eulas have been around for 30 years and they all pretty much say that you don't own it but merely a license to use it. The judge is simply restating the law as is hasn't been for the last 30 years or so.

niqw:
Hey, the judge says the concession is that if you got a PS3 based on those features, then you waive your right to play new software or access the network. If you're futzing with OtherOS, then odds are you didn't buy your PS3 to do either of those things. Otherwise, you can accept the legally-binding EULA and waive your right to use OtherOS, and use it as, you know, a REGULAR PS3.

Sorry folks, nothing wrong here, no shenanigans. You don't get to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to IP law. You should have known about this when you opened the box and read the EULA; if you thought it was shenanigans then, you should have returned the system.

Yay! Someone who agrees with what I've been saying all along.

You can mod the shit out of your Xbox/PS3 all you like, but that means you can't access the service provided by Sony/Microsoft because the modding isn't something they want you doing. And they have the right to do that, because it's their service.

And this is why, I feel completely justified sticking with nintendo products. I've never owned a Playstation console and I probably never will if this is how they treat their customers.

So long as the function to play PS2 titles I own isn't taken away, I won't scorn Sony for this. I'll just give them a disapproving look and send them to bed without dinner, the bastards.

Sucks for the minority who wanted to use the PS3 as a computer for Linux etc.

Really sucks for the majority who were just wanting free games.

Macgyvercas:
So what Sony. We buy a "license"? Last I checked, my PS3 doesn't come with a due date for return. I'm not renting this thing, damnit!

If you'd read the article, you'd notice that he said you liscence the PsN, not the Ps3. If you wanna claim you own the PsN, then enjoy taking on legal responsibility for the hacks

FoolKiller:

RhombusHatesYou:

Greg Tito:
Sorry, people. It looks like console manufacturers can change their products capabilities after you purchase them with no penalty whatsoever.

Of course, going by the judges decision, that isn't what they did - they just forced consumers to choose which set of capabilities they wished to continue with... being a dick move but not illegal.

Which is where the judge is incorrect. By not taking away the other OS, backwards compatibility and so on they have also hindered its other original advertised function, which is play PS3 games.

Incorrect. The games bought up until the release of the firmware are still playable. Therefore, the ps3 can still play the advertised games. Playing all future Ps3 games is one of the optional features that people who bought a Ps3 did not pay for, merely speculated on. People can no more claim illegality to Sony restricting acess to those game than if those games had been cancelled.

Unsurprising and the right call. If Sony started charging to re-activate it then he might have a case but it was thrown out while the reason for it being deactivated wasn't even mentioned in the article. The other OS feature was being used primarily as an exploit for pirates and other nefarious means like cheating in game.

It's highly unfortunate to those very few who did use the other OS feature for legitimate means but the console's primary functions are left completely intact and unaltered. It was a move that Sony had to make and if that sentences them to evil corporate overlords in your eyes then do everyone a favor and stop complaining about it and just start buying Nintendo or Microsoft consoles or PC only.

midpipps:
If you want to write custom firmware of you own design that would allow you to run another OS go for it but to do it legally you cannot have any part of sony's firmware in it. You would need to write it from scratch or from an open source cell based processor model and flash the chips and it would not be able to interact with sony's firmware.

Yep, you'd have to flush every bit of firmware, possibly right down to all the controlling firmware for the motherboard. Not only all the Sony code but all the code licenced to Sony by 3rd parties... You'd have to rewrite practically every piece of firmware on the thing to even start going forward.

*looks at nephew's PS3 sitting next to him*

Fuck, now my fingers are itchy.

The plaintiffs maintain that firmware update 3.21 doesn't just forbid access to the PSN, the main functions of the console are no longer viable. To wit, if you didn't update, you could no longer play new games, play games online, play new Blu-Rays, or even play some older Blu-rays. So choosing not to update and keep the "Other OS" option alive means that no new purchases are possible and it seriously restricts the usefulness of the product.

So what about this whole part? They still going to have a case with this? Because if that goes through and wins, then that'd be a huge deal.

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