A trial in Spain has just wrapped up over the legality of PS3 jailbreaking. In a verdict that isn't exactly what Sony expected, not only was jailbreaking ruled perfectly legal, the court also ordered Sony to pay up to the defendant because of the company's unlawful efforts to stifle sales there.
PSJailbreak is a product allows users to easily hack their PS3 firmware so they can play homebrew and other unauthorized games. Well, Sony didn't really like that because it gets no money from the sale of PSJailbreak or any of the unauthorized games - "unauthorized" being a blanket term that includes illegally pirated software -so it decided to start suing the stores that sold them.
But the Spanish legal system has dealt a big can of whoop-ass to Sony, saying these stores did nothing illegal, and didn't owe Sony anything. In fact, the defendant in the landmark case filed a countersuit against Sony, saying the PS3 manufacturer actively interfered with its business and prevented sales of the legitimate product. And guess what? They won. In the end, even though Sony was the plaintiff in the case, it's the one that must now pay.
In the final verdict, Sony was also criticized for removing the "Install Other OS" feature of the PS3. With that feature, the PS3 was advertised as an open platform in which users are free to download and use any software they want. By removing that feature and then going after the PSJailbreak device, Sony acted in deceptive practices, said the court.
The monetary ruling to the store owner is likely to be pretty minimal, but it's really more about teaching Sony a lesson to stop meddling in how the private shops operate their business.
It's a definite victory for consumers and third-party businesses. But you gotta wonder how the closed-door meetings at Sony are going right now. We imagine it's a lot of facepalming and random swearing.
Dec 17, 2010