I make no secret of the fact that I champion Sony products. Putting aside my views and usage of Linux and FOSS, for me there is no other first choice for entertainment solutions in the home. I am a good customer too, I regularly make purchases on the Playstation store (most recently PSX Crash Bandicoot for the wife) and would never consider running unlawful copies of anything on it. I support the Bluray format, I re-purchase titles which I already bought on DVD and every piece of hardware I own for the PS3 is the official brand and not 3rd party (I even purchased the HDMI cable from the Sony store costing me £60)
For me (and millions of others of good customers like me), I am rewarded with having my Linux feature taken away under the guise of claimed security concerns and now in the wake of the console being busted open regardless, if reports are correct then Sony is to pull a Microsoft by remotely delving into my console to check it hasn’t been tampered with. Sony had this to say:
Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 System terminated permanently
Going on to say:
By identifying PlayStation 3 systems that breach our guidelines and terminating their ability to connect to PlayStation Network, we are protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve.
Now regardless of the fact that I don’t have a hacked system, I consider any invasion into my home to be completely offensive. I know, I’ve probably already agreed digitally to this intrusion albeit by way of the t&c/Eula, but that’s not the point. The Fire Brigade will smash my front door in if there is a fire, I don’t expect them to do it on the off-chance there may be one.
Taking Sony’s side
Now that my rant of the day is over, I will try to look at this from Sony’s point of view and I believe I can understand their actions. I’ve seen devs report that coding the PS3 presents more of a challenge than its competitor Xbox, so Sony would hardly endear itself further to them if they left the issues of the hack as the responsibility of the software devs themselves. Piracy is claimed to cost the industry millions, but there are compelling arguments to both prove and disprove that, would devs suffer piracy losses? Thats one Im sure everyone has an opinion on.
But what of the benefits of an open system?
I’ve covered my views on this before, so I won’t go over old ground, but suffice to say in the face of a vibrant pre-owned market, coupled with services like Lovefilm, I do have to wonder how many sales are actually lost through sharing software, look at how many isp offer “unlimited usage” with one hand and then sucker punching you with “fair use” with the other. For me, my unlimited data seems to stretch as far as 25gig a month, then it appears it’s no longer unlimited and out rolls the “fair use”. Consider how much gaming could be downloaded with even 25gig, not much I’d wager and then adding a few streamed HD movies on Lovefilm and its quickly eaten away. As far as I can gather, fair use applies to most if not all UK ISP’s, so that’s a very large group of users who just don’t have the facility to go on a downloading free for all….infringing or not.
Sony defends its Linux removal – court seems to largely agree
So after briefly looking at both sides, we consider again the Linux issue. It is being reported that the case brought against Sony by a user seeking class-action status for the removal of “other OS” is not going too well, with the judge reported to have said:
Plaintiffs must therefore either allege that Sony made some express representations as to the continued availability of that feature, or they will have to show both that there were implied representations as to continued availability and that an express warranty claim may legally proceed even where it is based in part on such implied representations.
In short, read your EULA/T&C – what you get today you might not get tomorrow and I can’t recall any promise made by Sony that their flirting with Linux was anything more than a transitory feature. It’s a shame too, but I’ve covered that before. There seems to be some mention made in regards to older models of the PS3 which did originally support “other OS” then lost it, but I’d guess from the general feeling that there is no case to answer as far as Sony is concerned.
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