Sony may have just inadvertently contributed to the pocketbook of a hacker collective affiliated with last year's traumatic PlayStation Network outage. In a blog post today, Atari Teenage Riot member Alex Empire revealed that the band has donated money earned through a licensing deal with Sony to Anonymous-affiliated website FreeAnons.org.
The licensing deal in question pertains to the Germany-based digital rock group's "Black Flags" track, which is available online. Sony Computer Entertainment has used the track as part of its PlayStation Vita "Never Stop Playing" advertisement campaign (embedded below), which is in heavy rotation due to the system's launch in February.
According to Empire, Atari Teenage Riot has had a litigious past with Sony. In 1999, Sony apparently lifted one of the group's tracks to promote a camcorder in Southeast Asia, without first obtaining permission. "Even though the thing got settled in court kind of, I never felt they paid what they owed," Empire said.
Empire also noted that, as per the terms of its licensing agreement with Sony, the company cannot prevent the band from using "Black Flags" in Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street promotional material.
In 2011, Sony entered open hostilities with the online hacktivist community, and it left the corporation severely bloodied. Last April, a hacker group breached various Sony databases, including the PSN, Qriocity, and Sony Online Entertainment, and in the process compromised more than 100 million accounts. The attack resulted in a six-week service interruption for the PSN, and it carried a price tag of more than $171 million.
Sony had not responded to a request for comment on the matter as of press time.