Archive for the ‘Tech Lawsuits’ Category

Sony vs. Geohot Judge: Why Is This In California?

A couple of weeks ago, former iOS jailbreaker and current PS3 hacker, George Hotz aka “Geohot”, released (in coordination with the fail0ver team) code to crack the PS3′s hardware and software encryption thus allowing home brew software to be installed and run. Sony naturally wasn’t all to happy, and just recently responded with a lawsuit asking for unspecified monetary damages as well as the complete removal of any and all traces of Geohot’s crack from the internet (good luck with that Sony).

With that said, today began the first in a series of court appearances for Geohot and Sony in a California court, with the focus of this morning’s early meeting being to determine whether or not Geohot had to surrender all of his electronic gear as the case moves forward. Thankfully, common sense did play a small role in the court room today, with the presiding Judge Susan Illston questioning Sony’s argument that the case should be tried in California because Geohot (from New Jersey) received funds from PayPal (located in California) and posted the hack and code on Twitter and YouTube (also from California). Illston said that if Sony’s argument were taken seriously, the entire world’s problems and legal battles would be under her jurisdiction. As such, she put off any pending decision on Geohot’s electronic devices and further trials in California on hold until a later, unconfirmed date.

Score 1 for common sense. 0 for Sony.

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Lawsuit Filed Over Samsung/T-Mobile Delayed Vibrant Updates.

Over the last few months, Samsung has been in hot water within various user forums for their slow to non-existant updates for their in-house Android devices. The Samsung Behold II/Android 1.6 fiasco was a large blemish in Sammie’s past. And the latest device, the Samsung Vibrant, appears to be another developing one with an XDA forum member by the name of MicBeast launching a class action lawsuit against not only Samsung, but T-Mobile as well.

The case: Samsung and T-Mobile are deliberately delaying Android updates to push people towards upgrading hardware sooner (at higher costs).

It will be interesting to see how far the case actually gets. Expect Android fragmentation, custom skins, and other update-related topics to move to the forefront of Android forums and the tech world as a whole if the case moves forward. We’ll be following this closely and report to you as it unfolds.

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[Update] PS3 Hacker GeoHot Sued By Sony.

Infamous PS3 hacker and former iOS jailbreaker, Geohot, has found himself in the wrong end of the law, with Sony shaking the big stick. As of roughly 7 o’clock tonight, Geohot has officially been served, according to his website. And no surprise here — the lawsuit names Geohot’s posting of private PS3 encryption keys in coordination with the fail0ver team (among other things) as the reason(s) for this legal endeavor.

Hopefully the courts have more common sense than Sony and see it’s not the tool (or creation of the tool) that is illegal. It’s how it is used.

Update

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As Jordan has highlighted below, it’s not a full on legal bloodbath quite yet — instead it’s a restraining order asking for all traces of the hack/crack/keys to be expunged from the web. (That will never happen.)

Oh the Irony: EMI Found to Have Illegally Distributed Music on RapidShare. #emi #filesharing

Since the dawn of Napster, the topic of filesharing and p2p downloads have been an extremely hot topic. Focusing on the music industry, there are two major sides: (1) The major music labels and (2) End users/consumers. We already know each respective side’s stance — Major music labels hate new types of technology such as p2p, filesharing, and basically anything innovative and exciting. Consumers love to share. The former has constantly criticized the latter for doing just that. But as it turns out, irony can strike in the most surprising places.

The biggest example of this “irony” recently surfaced in the three year long EMI vs. MP3tunes lawsuit where the current defendant, MP3tunes owner Michael Robertson, somehow managed to obtain a bevy of secret EMI internal e-mails. The most alarming revelation in the emails — according to German website Heise.de, EMI was willingly and frequently using p2p/filesharing networks to illegally distribute MP3s…
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Apple Throws 12 More Patent Infringement Claims Into Motorola Lawsuit. #apple #motorola

If Motorola had any hopes that Apple would take it easy on them concerning their 12-patent strong lawsuit, the latest addition of 12 additional patents for which Apple hopes to seek compensation for comes as a rather blunt statement. The new patents themselves mainly deal with Google’s Android operating system, with 21 of the 24 total infringement claims against Motorola pertaining to just that. The remaining 3 patent infringement claims focus on set top boxes and DVR devices.

Further driving home the point that Apple is taking a much more serious legal role, it’s been revealed that Apple hired several more lawyers, including a tenacious, former Intel lawyer tasked with protecting Apple and their slew of patents.

Looks like this is going to be another drawn out, bloody battle for the record books.
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Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed. #matthewcrippen #xbox

Lucky for us, that Xbox modding trial involving 28-year old Matthew Crippen that we covered a few days back has taken a turn for the best — the prosecution dropped the case. It all ended before it even really started thanks to the prosecutions first witness, Tony Rosario.

During his testimony, Rosario mentioned that once Matthew was actually done with the modding aspect of the deal, he inserted a pirated game into the device to make sure that it worked. Only problem is that Rosario neglected to mention that in pre-trial motions. The prosecutor, Allen Chiu, also failed to pass along the new testimony to the defense once he did in fact find out about the pirated disc. Shortly thereafter, Chiu moved to have the judge dismiss the case based on “justice and fairness”.

What’s ironic is that if all Chiu was really after was “justice and fairness”, the trial would have never moved forward in the first place. Either way, it’s good for Crippen. With his legal troubles now behind him, he plans on going back to school. Good luck Matt.

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RIM Attempts to Kill the Competition, Files Lawsuit Against Kik Interactive. #rim #kik

The whole RIM vs. Kik slap fight just got a lot more serious today, with RIM pulling out the big guns (read: lawyers). The two are officially going to court after…wait for it…patent infringement. Before we delve any deeper, we’ll start with this — There’s a basic cycle that companies born into a free market society go through, which more or less follows the path highlighted below:

  • Birth — Market yourself as a new exciting startup that is better than “the big guys”. (read: more consumer friendly)
  • Compete with and start to gain market share against big competitors.
  • Surpass the old, outdated competitors and become “the leader” yourself.
  • Fail to innovate, grow complacent in your ways, and begin turning into the old “competitor” that you replaced so long ago.
  • Have your company and service trumped by a new exciting startup.
  • Sue said startup for patent infringement, copyright theft, and anything else you can find to keep yourself in business.
  • Repeat

With that out of the way, hop inside to continue on…
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“Fair Use” Can’t be Claimed in Matthew Crippen Xbox Modding Trial. #xbox

For one 28-year old Matthew Crippen, his days of Xbox modding and enjoying free air will be coming to a close. Unfortunately for fair use advocates everywhere, an out of touch, incompetent judge stated that Matthew cannot use the “fair use” argument simply because the DMCA doesn’t have a specific exemption for it, and that any exemptions mentioned for mobile phones do not apply. Unfortunately for Matt, this judge is wrong on many levels. And because of that, he could be looking at 3 years behind bars…

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Paul Chambers Found Guilty For Menacing Tweet Claiming to Bomb an Airport. Fined £3,600. #twitterjoketrial

Earlier in the year, Paul Chambers (@pauljchambers found himself sitting at Robin Hood Airport in South Yorkshire, grounded because of snow. In his frustrations, he shot off a quick tweet saying “Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week… otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!” Now obviously, that wasn’t the best course of action given the touchy state the world is in these days in regards to bombs and public modes of transportation. But a “serious” threat…?
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