Action against Sony for blocking Linux on the PS3 broadly dismissed

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Staff member
Jan 24, 2011
The US District Court for Northern California has broadly rejected a class action launched in response to the removal of the 'Other OS' (Linux) option from the Playstation 3. As Groklaw reports, the judge agreed with arguments advanced by Sony's lawyers that hardware acquired by a user need only support console functions during the one year guarantee period. Sony explicitly excludes software functions and Playstation Network services from this guarantee period and reserves the right to amend their functionality at any time. According to the judge, the user acquires usage rights for the software only. The judge thus rejected the complaint that Sony Computer Entertainment America had breached the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and Civil Code §1770.

By removing the 'Other OS' option, Sony may, however, have breached the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) which makes unauthorised changes to computer systems a criminal offence. Sony's lawyers had argued that no-one was forced to install firmware version 3.21. The plaintiffs disagreed, stating that the update forces users to forego either the 'Other OS' option or the PSN services responsible for the majority of console functions, including instant messaging, online parties, access to patches and additional functions. The plaintiffs now have 20 days to launch an appeal.

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