Judge dismisses Sony 'Other OS' suit

PlayStation 3 maker will not be held liable for decision to remove console functionality that inspired hacker attack.

Sony picked April 1, 2010, to remove the "Other OS" functionality from the PlayStation 3, and it resulted in turbulence that went well beyond any misguided April Fool's joke. The move set off a chain of events that resulted in hackers permanently jailbreaking the PS3 and tearing apart the PlayStation Network, costing Sony more than $171 million and compromising personal information for millions of customers.

RIP Other OS. Most of us never even knew you.

The good news for Sony is that it won't also be liable to those who expressed their outrage over Other OS's removal through more legitimate means. Late last week, a Northern California judge tossed out the remaining charges in a class-action lawsuit filed against the Japanese company over the firmware update that removed Other OS functionality from the PS3.

The suit, which was initially filed in late-April 2010, claimed that Sony breached its sales contract, as well as "the covenant of good faith and fair dealing," by removing the Other OS feature from the system. It sought to include all PS3 owners who purchased the console between November 17, 2006, and March 27, 2010.

The court's decision to dismiss the class-action suit in its entirety comes after most of the initial charges against Sony were tossed out earlier this year. The one remaining point in question relied on the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. At that time, the court allowed plaintiffs to continue pursuing its claim that it was illegal for Sony to force users to choose between installing the firmware update that removes the Other OS feature or losing full access to the PSN.

Now, the court has deemed that the plaintiff could not prove that PS3 owners had a right to expect continued access to the Other OS option past the console's warranty period.

"The flaw in plaintiffs' analogy 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 judge wrote. "A somewhat fanciful, but more apt, analogy would be if Toyota sold hybrid vehicles with an advertisement campaign touting that Toyota owners would have access to a recreational driving facility, a no-speed limit amusement park for cars."

"Then, at some time thereafter, Toyota instituted a rule that its hybrids would not be permitted in the park unless the owners allowed the battery feature to be disabled. In those circumstances, Toyota hybrid owners who declined to authorize disabling of the battery feature would still have fully-functional hybrid vehicles, capable of running on an electric motor or a gasoline engine, as appropriate under the conditions. Similarly, PS3 owners who declined to install Firmware Update 3.21 still have fully-functioning devices, capable of either being used as game consoles to play games on optical disks, or as computers, with the Other OS feature."

The Northern California judge concluded his opinion by noting that while it may have not been the best move as far as engendering good will among customers goes, the plaintiffs failed to make an argument as to how it was illegal for Sony to have removed this functionality from the PS3.

"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. 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."

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Discussion

204 comments
Quezakolt
Quezakolt

What did that judge smoked? He makes no sense.

Atheno
Atheno

OH well, I never used the OTHER OS, and I'm on my second ps3. Got both of my money values worth.

m4a5
m4a5

And then people wonder why I haven't gotten a PS3; they aren't worth it...

zaxafreon
zaxafreon

@painkilla357 Your using one right now :/

theKSMM
theKSMM

That sounds like a good ruling. Hopefully would-be Sony customers will remember Sony's transgressions as they proceed into the PS Vita era and beyond. The PS3 is the only modern piece of consumer electronics that I have used which has actually lost functionality since it was released, and Sony's running roughshod over their most loyal customers in an attempt to stop a relatively small number of bootleggers will not be forgotten.

JohnF111
JohnF111

@Sun_Quan You never owned Other OS, you had the right to use it under permission from Sony get over it.

megakick
megakick

Sony gives then takes away.

QOSMSTR
QOSMSTR

So they are not liable for their own decisions? Sounds like BS to me...

IcedEarthaholic
IcedEarthaholic

I actually pray there IS an appeal to this nonsense, I think the judge made the decision far too hastily. While I am having to upgrade to a PS3 slim due to my original PS3 dying on me, I am certain the law firm holds the data of the PS3 system # that I had before this fiasco occurred. It's ridiculous to think that this is okay, and that corporations have permissions to run ragged all over us. I think it's safe to say that after this, I might not buy a Sony gaming product for a long time.

crossdudu
crossdudu

Companies, I have a protip for you: Never announce important changes on your hardware or software or even a new product on April 1st. Specially if it'll piss people off, because it'd only make them madder.

dark_minun
dark_minun

Let this be a lesson to you, boys and girls: If someone rips you off, do the most destructive, violent, completely illegal thing possible rather than filing a lawsuit.

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

@Psychokillaz Ok, I see what your point is about a consumer's right to decide but once you agree to the TOS agreement that SONY originally asked you accept or decline then those rights get limited. There was a possibility that this situation could've happened and yet people still went ahead and accepted.

Victorious_Fize
Victorious_Fize

This sucks. :( Damn you Sony and your abusive relationship! :cry:

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

@x_hunter00 and Firefox and Yellow Dog Linux is not owned by Sony yet they tried take away access to them. Facebook and the Internet is not owned by Mircosoft but I was making the point of them taking away access to it through Windows not not allowing you online like Sony did. Who is to say a blu-ray players main function is to watch blu-rays? Maybe I like making VCDs or have a big DVD collection or like to watch AVI or MP4 etc format videos. If you buy a product with a certain feature, that feature should always be available unless they want to compensate you. The comsumer should be the one who decides why they bought a product and for what feature they like to use most. After all the phats with the Other OS were double the price of slims.

mos2000
mos2000

Even though I can relate to the frustration, this was not a legal matter; being as stated above, gamers had the option to keep the functionality as long as they did not go on PSN. I think the better thing to do was for these gamers (who bought the over-priced machine at the time) if Other Os was their selling point; just sell their hardware and drop support for Sony all together. Sony unwisely extended an olive branch to a group of gamers they truly did not understand nor was adequately prepared for to deal with when issues came about. The only thing they could do is restrict access to PSN due to this ignorance. Lesson learned for both parties: Sony - you know nothing about PC-like modding or system support - stay away from it! Adept Gamers: Sony knows nothing about PC-like modding or system support, stay away from them!

x_hunter00
x_hunter00

@Psychokillaz Ur analogy makes no sense! Facebook isn't owned by Microsoft so how would they be able to restrict your access to FB and plus Sony owns the PS3 and the PSN. If the Blu-ray player's main functionality is too play blu-ray discs then whats the problem if they take away non blu-ray functions?

MERGATROYDER
MERGATROYDER

Suit had zero ground. Much like the suit based around the PS3 not having Backwards Compatibility with PS2 games on all PS3 units.

edant79
edant79

Alright, here is the bottom line...If the removal of "other OS" is a cause of complaint for you toward the PLAY STATION 3,... then you are a whiny pansy! Granted, this is not my opinion, but more or less a fact of reality. You can thumb me down all you want, but the reality of which, is that Sony and its recipient gamers would prefer that you no longer buy Sony products in order to keep our gaming community "pansies free". Thank you for your cooperation...

shadowalucard18
shadowalucard18

i still dont see the problem lol, but i know one thing i got my ps3 for games

shadowalucard18
shadowalucard18

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Ghost-11-
Ghost-11-

Not surprised. The cases were a joke to begin with. Just a sleazy way to try and make quick buck.

AndreasNV
AndreasNV

iz so sad that sony manage to screw up on things like this ... all they do is golden, n then they make silly mistakes

Zer093
Zer093

While I don't like that Sony more or less forced users to remove that feature, it isn't illegal, so there is no case. Besides, they're doing it to prevent another hacking incident, which was a huge deal. But I can't help but feel that the judge doesn't know what he's talking about and that odd analogy didn't help. But he's more experienced in law, and I'm sure he researched the matter, so that he came to the right ruling. If he didn't research the matter, however, there better be an appeal.

SDiMera
SDiMera

I don`t see any reason to start a complaint it was an additional feature nice to have. But in the end it is an game console. Besides what do you want to do with Linux on a PS ? Is it not more functional on a pc?

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

I never used it. I never planned to use it. I haven't missed it. That said, it sucks for those who did.

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

@ALCHEMYSTO id normally agree but this is the exception for a bullshi* argument with no reason, i dont ever recall seeing a commercial advertising the ps3 because of a different OS it was for games

MW2ismygame
MW2ismygame

well i can see why people would be mad that they lost B/C and they lost a feature because of a group of people violating the tos and if that was what most people complained about i would agree but no its "oh nooes wee dont has lunix what ever shall we doo we hope you die sony for pulling a feature that made the ps3 into a pc" i mean its tiresome i feel for the people mad at hacking and loss of B/C but if its just because of LUNIX please toss off with the complaining will you ?

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

If only everyone that is this emotionally involved in brand loyalty, could put all that energy into real relationships with other HUMANS, maybe poverty/divorce rate/violence would be a lot less. - Seriously, these days people seem more emotionally involved/attached to branded electronics than spouses/significant others. LOL

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

I'm sure if Microsoft removed a minute feature of the xbox dashboard, these same "pro-sony" posters would have issue with it. Remove your bias of console choice, and accept that many people bought a ps3 with that feature in mind. No where when they purchased the console were they told it would be removed. If something you enjoyed on ps3, something not a "nesessity", say Home, was removed. Would you be happy or sad about that? - Then go online and everyone says something like "They never sold you Home, so :P" no you would be mad, and rightly so. I am NEVER IN AGREEANCE for companies to REMOVE previously advertised features. For any reason. Let alone with NO compensation. - Consumer rights, that what this comes down to more. And I love how all people(especially the fanboy cliche) are so obsessed, they defend companies no matter what. I would've never imagined that people would stand up for a companies rights over a persons.. but that day has come. *cheers*

oldman54
oldman54

@bignick, @rarson, etal. Sony did not advertise falsely and they did not remove an advertised feature. The PS3 owner removed the other OS by continued access to PSN. The legal question is: Did Sony lie about the capabilities of the original PS3? Could it access PSN? Yes. Could it run a different OS? Yes. Sony did not sell anyone PSN access. They sold a machine which was capable of PSN access. Sony did not sell you an "other OS", they sold a machine capable of using an alternative OS. You chose to no longer have the other OS capability by making a choice. If you lost the capability to run Linux then you chose PSN over Linux. So @bignick, make a big flowchart before You vote next time, just to be sure You understand the real issues.

monson21502
monson21502

@foufoufun0 if the can run a update and rid of the OS why didnt they do another update to proctect our password and CC info? that should be the first thing they protect.... they are just lucky that the hackers did it to prove a point and not to steal accounts and cc info.... its all good though i have seen alot from sony this gen and they WILL NOT get another penny from me .... ever! my ps1 broke,.my ps2 never could play a dvd all the way threw, my 60 gig ps3 got YLOD, and all this other crap was the straw that broke the camels back for me.

_Roo_
_Roo_

@DrKill09 He say's over the internet made possible by corporations, on his electronic device of choice built by corporations, on the web site of a corporation, using the energy brought to you by a corporation. You have the nerve to call people who actually have a clue how the world works whores and pretend your somehow better than others because you in your infinite wisdom see the evil the rest of us miss. While at the same time enjoying the fruits of that 'EVIL'. You are the worst type of hypocrite.

azumabob
azumabob

At the risk of double posting... @bignick217 - Updates do not require PSN access anymore, and although games do get patched by internet access, you can get a disk sent to you personally by the game company under laws on saleability. This is how Nintendo have done updates in the past and it is still completely viable. The issue is not whether PSN is a function that you require to access internet enabled games, there is no implied online functionality expressed without accepting Sony's terms and conditions being met. This is the same with all Internet multiplayer games, you have to agree to someones terms to game online at all. Also unless Sony is providing your Internet access you do have alternatives, Xlink Kai allow gamers who do not wish to agree to these terms to play LAN games over the net. I used to use Xlink all the time for PSP so I know first hand that it is a perfectly viable alternative. The real issue is whether you were advertised PSN as a terms free multiplayer service that had no limitations in the box with your PS3, and clearly that is not the case. People have a right to make their case and they have done so, but their are laws that we all have to live by and Sony have done nothing illegal. PSN is not a part of PS3, it is a service that you can either use or not. I agree that it is inconvenient to not be able to access both Other OS and PSN but PSN wasn't sold as a part of the package in the box the PS3 came in.

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

Pretty soon Windows is going to tell us they are removing our DVDR from our PC's and if we do not take them out due to maybe hacking worries that we can no longer use Facebook or log into any browsers on the internet. That is what $ony just did. Or say you buy a Bluray player and a year later they tell you that it will no longer play VCD, or DVD or any format other than Bluray even though it did when you bought it. They force you to remove that feature if you ever want to watch another BluRay on it again. Samething

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

Awesome.. so Sony and now any company can just advertise anythign they want to make sales and revolk those features after the warranty periods. Good job court system. Keep giving rights to corporations over those of the public!

bignick217
bignick217

@azumabob And the fact that many of the games that are sold on the PS3 require online access. With CoD and BF3 having 90% of the games content in online multiplayer that requires PSN access. Or how about some of the MMO's like Final Fantasy XIV that will require PSN in order to play any part of it. Or how about many games companies requiring "Online Passes" in order to have full access of the game. Even things that are only available in single player. Such as RAGE which required online pass activation in order to unlock the sewers in the single player campaign. Everything is getting built into the online side of the PS3 and other consoles. Oh and lets not forget Sony releasing games that are broken on release needing patches in order to play out of the box. Remember Fallout New Vegas? Again with the updates requiring online PSN access. So again, without the PSN, it is not a fully functional system. When most games being released these days on PS3 are so dependent on PSN just in order to function properly, it does make it a very good point of contention for consumers to go into an uproar regarding removing features and either they accept them or be excluded from an even more important feature. They're strong arming people into doing what they want, and it's not right in any sense. People have a very valid reason for fighting back against Sony's choice.

azumabob
azumabob

@DrKill09 - Get a grip mate, its a game console and a free service, don't use it if you are an anarchist. Go and live in the woods raping squirrels.

DrKill09
DrKill09

You know what? Fine. Enjoy getting **** in the ass by corporations you consumer whores! :roll:

azumabob
azumabob

This in not false advertising because, like the Judge has reasoned, the customer can keep those features as long as they don't continue to access Sony's separate service PSN. They did not buy PSN when they bought their console. They didn't even rent PSN or have any option to join PSN without express permission of Sony. They got that permission by agreeing to Sony's terms on how Sony want to run their optional service, its all in the paperwork that customers received with their PS3. They never advertised free PSN for anyone who refuses the terms of service therefore it is not false advertising. If they had advertised that all users could expect PSN use whether or not they agreed to the terms of service then you would all be right about this being false advertising, but they did not do that. The facts speak for themselves and the judge could clearly see that, no-one ever bought PSN access, as it is a free service provided entirely at Sony's discretion.

josephreynii
josephreynii

I liked how this article talked about PS3's, Toyaota's, and batteries...I like all those things because they are all shapes.

bignick217
bignick217

@moviequest14 Please don't ever vote man. Because you obviously have no clue as to what the actual issue people are having is. It doesn't have anything to do with security or whatever short sighted sticker you want to slap on to this. It has to do with false advertising. It doesn't matter if it affects you personally directly or not. It doesn't matter if you personally care about the feature in question or not. It has everything to do with the fact that the PS3 was actively advertised as having the feature. This specific advertising had an impact influencing certain individuals into buying the product as a result. Again, it doesn't matter in the slightest if you weren't one of the people who bought the console with that advertised feature being a determining factor in your choice of system. The only thing that matters is that it "was" a determining factor for some and "was" actively advertised by Sony as an available feature. And the removal of said feature does impact certain members of consumers. Again, it doesn't matter if it doesn't affect "you" personally. What matters is that it "does" affect members of the consumer base. This is known as "False Advertising" and in case you're not aware, it is against the law. Not only that, this could (while not comfortably) fit into the "Bait and Switch" category.

bignick217
bignick217

Personally, I don't own a PS3, but my girlfriend does. This issue does not directly affect her as she has no interest in Linux, but she is of the same oppinion as many on here that this move by Sony is rediculous. It doesn't matter if it affects her directly, it only matters that it was advertise, played a roll in some consumers choice of system and was summarily removed. Bottom line is as soon as you give them room to do it once, what's to stop them from doing it again. What if the next thing they remove does affect you directly. Would you still be so willing to just let Sony do whatever they want? Do you get the "whole" point of this issue yet? Also, you'd be surpised how often the "Security" claim gets thrown around for making decisions when really security has no bearing the on the decision what-so-ever. Just because they cry security doesn't mean they are talking about your security. I have yet to hear of anyone hacking PSN accounts using a Linux OS installed on a PS3, and you'd be hard pressed to find such info yourself.

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

@tommyas I stopped reading after you said removing the Other OS did not piss off the hackers. That is one of the stupidest comments of all time. Also playing backups is pirating. That never happened on the Other OS. Geohot found a way it "might one day" work if you were a brilliant hacker and could get into the hypervisor. Which means basically no one. Then they killed the Other OS due to that wannabe not even a pirate hack. Because of them killing it the hackers went ape sh!t and hacked it fully. Now you can install OtherOS on the Game OS even on a slim PS3. You can play backups of any PS3 game or install Multiman. All the Other OS had was old emulators from Zerogame. The PS3 probably would not be fully hacked like it is now if they did not pull the Other OS is the point. They brought this on themselves and it did not prevent hacking it made it much worse.

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

@moviequest14 YDL 6.2 in the Other OS is much much much more than a browser. I do have 2 though Opera and Firefox running in mine among a ton of other stuff

rarson
rarson

@Coco_pierrot "Many of you failed to see that in the agreement you all said yes to... say that they have the rights to remove something if the consumers doesn't use the PS3 as it should be. Pirating, taking the network down and ruining only play isn't using the PS3 as it should be." I can't believe 12 people gave you a thumbs up. 99% of the people who use and want to use OtherOS functionality aren't doing any of those things, so why should they be punished?

rarson
rarson

The judge obviously isn't a gamer. He doesn't realize that by choosing OtherOS over PSN, you're losing the ability to play multiplayer-only games, so it IS impacting more than just "access to an internet service". I bet this case gets appealed.

rarson
rarson

@moviequest14 An operating system is not a browser. Besides, OtherOS was an advertised feature. That's the argument here. Sony removed a feature that they advertised. If you bought the PS3 based on the ability to download PSN titles, and Sony later removed that functionality, wouldn't you mind? Sony could say "It doesn't matter, you can still buy games on disc." Would they be correct? Furthermore, nobody is saying Sony "chose to be hacked", but they certainly didn't maintain adequate security, and that's their fault, not the fault of people that actually bought the hardware (the people who are being punished by Sony's "fix" of this mess).

moviequest14
moviequest14

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]