Sony sued for Other OS removal

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Sony over the removal of the PlayStation 3's "Other OS" feature which allowed users to install and use a Linux operating system on the console. Sony removed the feature via a firmware update at the start of April, citing "security concerns".

In the suit filed on April 27, Anthony Ventura refers to "intentional disablement of the valuable functionality originally advertised as available" on the PlayStation 3 and says that the company has deceived "millions of unsuspecting customers." 

As reported by IGN, the lawsuit also complains that the removal of the feature was not for security as stated by Sony, but for preventing piracy. It reads, "On information and belief, contrary to Sony's statement, the 'security concerns' did not involve a threat to PS3 users, but rather reflected Sony's concerns that the Other OS feature might be used by 'hackers' to copy and/or steal gaming and other content."

The suit also says that Sony violated "Unfair Competition Law" by preventing users who did not update to the latest firmware from accessing the console's online features.

It then continues, "This class action lawsuit is brought on behalf of a nationwide class of all persons who purchased a PS3 during the period of November 17, 2006 to March 27, 2010 and who did not resell their PS3 before March 27, 2010."

Although no amount is specified, Ventura is seeking compensation and legal fees, which the suit states "is in excess of $5 million."

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There's one thing most people have missed, that will probably get this thrown out of court. If you've ever read a user manual, have you noticed the line that says, “Specifications and design subject to change without notice“?

Hmm, thought not. It means that a device designer and manufacturer are legally allowed to change, improve and remove features as they see fit, and they DON'T have to consult customers. That includes firmware. The PS3 is a gaming console, and is sold on that basis.

Why did no-one sue when Sony removed the PS2 Compatibility? There must have been a PS3 fannyboy out there that wants his tissues money back!

As the first guy said, some people need to get a life, and a ladyfriend. Ventura is obviously a spotty insecure wimp that just wants kudos with his Linux nerds. Linux runs better on a real PC anyway, Linux itself isn't really earth shattering, so why all this bother, possibly for nothing?

I don't care what the license agreement says. I'd be mad if I had a PS3 and used this feature. And it's quite obvious they canned it because of piracy, not "security concerns". The only "security concern" was Sony's pocket.

Also, a license agreement doesn't magically make something OK that would otherwise be illegal, such as taking features away after the sale.

roadwarrior said,
Also, a license agreement doesn't magically make something OK that would otherwise be illegal, such as taking features away after the sale.

Yup, EULA only valid if it puts both parties on equal levels. If a statement places 1 above the other, it is not valid, and can sometimes null the whole thing.

The license agreement for the PS3 is part of what they are being sued over, if you actually bother to read the lawsuit. They are making the (very valid) claim that the license agreement as it stands now is extremely unreasonable for people buying the system. The fact that it allows Sony the inilateral ability to remove features at will is part of the issue here, and a reasonable judge would possibly require Sony to remove those terms from the agreement (part of the suit asks for "injunctive relief", which would allow the judge to order Sony to do this, or reinstate OtherOS, among other possibilites).

ironsight2000 said,
looks like Microsoft should get sued too then going my removal of a feature, Halo 2 no longer has multplayer.

That is a good point. Although I'm sure the terms in the license agreement said that Microsoft had the right to pull the plug at any time. As long as Sony had it in their terms that they could disable any feature of the PS3, they are in the clear. I'm pretty sure the Sony legal team took a look at that before they removed the Other OS.

The user "accepted" the "Sony may remove any feature" license agreement by even turning on the PS3 instead of returning it to the store.

"On information and belief, contrary to Sony's statement, the 'security concerns' did not involve a threat to PS3 users, but rather reflected Sony's concerns that the Other OS feature might be used by 'hackers' to copy and/or steal gaming and other content."

Wait, so hacking your system isn't a security concern for ps3 USERS? Letting people mod games to cheat through or get an upper hand on the people who play legitimately isn't fair? The logic here fails me.

If they advertised it on the box I don't see how Sony can prevail regardless of EULA. Because it's basically deceptive advertising.

Melfster said,
If they advertised it on the box I don't see how Sony can prevail regardless of EULA. Because it's basically deceptive advertising.

If the EULA states that they can make changes to the system software and remove functions without prior notice then they can, you agreed to it in order to use the console.

If they were still selling the original PS3 with the original packaging then it would be false advertising.

Edited by neo158, Apr 29 2010, 4:58pm :

neo158 said,

If they were still selling the original PS3 with the original packaging then it would be false advertising.

Your comment makes no sense. It is still false advertising because it was advertised as having the feature at the time that people purchased those model. The fact that the slim systems don't have this feature is irrelevant to the case.

neo158 said,

If the EULA states that they can make changes to the system software and remove functions without prior notice then they can, you agreed to it in order to use the console.

If they were still selling the original PS3 with the original packaging then it would be false advertising.

No, EULA does not give them that right. EULA is only valid if both parties are found to be on equal standings. That term in itself places sony above the customer, leaving the customer with nothing in return. Due to that, that clause/statement in the EULA is invalid, and will not hold up in court. ---- At least it wouldn't in Texas.

I have spent over nine months developing a framework for the Cell processor. It is not finished but one has made great strides. Simply put, the Cell CMP is a great processor. The design is complicated and the programming requires more thought then the conventional homogeneous CMP. The Cell comprises of significant improvements and one must adapt if the Cell is removed from the equation. However, it is a great shame that the feature is removed. Programmers developing low level code, should use the Cell as a base, even for an educational experiment. But in the realm of business, especially in a technology business the cost of maintaining features can be, or not be expensive. Even so, one should honor there responsibility and if a feature is advertised then the feature should be maintained, should we live in such a perfect court. But now I should digress and withdraw but come to a conclusion that we all know; a business will always look and put there shareholders interests first (mutually normal and expected) and there customers, even the loyalist of all; come last. Let us hope, that IBM employ some Cell features (Signals and Mailboxes) into there future products. As for the Playstation 3, one should keep the firmware active that allows the Hypervisor to work but at a sacrifice of disconnection to the Playstation network.

C_Guy said,
There are no grounds for a class-action suit because a vast majority of PS3 users either didn't know or didn't care about the Linux functionality. Those that did may have an individual case but that's about it.

I don't know if that generalization is entirely accurate. Every single one of my RL friends knows about this ability and 4 of them even use it to run Linux. I also know for a fact that two of them purchased it partially based on this functionality.

It is an unfair practice to advertise a feature for a products and then take it away. Image if Sony decides to patch the ability to play PS2 games? Would that be fair?

well sony deserve this, and i hope that its gonna be like microsoft restoring install on banned machines via updates to rectify this situation.

Having purchased the slim model which its featureless it doesnt matter to me, but there are people that spent 600 dollars or more on a ps3 and its removing a feature its just unfair.

There are no grounds for a class-action suit because a vast majority of PS3 users either didn't know or didn't care about the Linux functionality. Those that did may have an individual case but that's about it.

As someone told you in the forum thread, the law does not require the the claimants were actually harmed (i.e., were actually using OtherOS), but that they were potentially harmed (i.e., they owned the device in question). For example, anyone who owns a Toyota that has the potential for unintended accelleration can make a claim for damages in the class action lawsuits against Toyota, even if they have never had the problem. And a class action suit only requires 100 plaintiffs, as I mentioned in the post above.

Edited by roadwarrior, Apr 29 2010, 3:56pm :

I just found out the source of the $5 million dollar amount. It seems that federal law requires that as the minimum amount (along with a minimum of 100 potential claimants) for a class action lawsuit.

From an article on MSN about Toyota class action suits: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35776697/

Under federal law, a class action must have 100 or more plaintiffs, damages sought must exceed $5 million and the judge must be persuaded the claims are identical or very similar. If a class is not certified, each lawsuit would have to be pursued on its own.

The PS3 is doing the best regarding piracy of their products, do they really think removing this Other OS will prevent that even more? What about when it was enabled, no one had cracked the PS3 up until now....

I just hope Sony loose.

Udedenkz said,
I hope Sony wins.

If they win, it's an open road for them to remove whatever they want in every product they own...

onesolo said,
I just hope Sony loose.

If they win, it's an open road for them to remove whatever they want in every product they own...

Then maybe PSP-1000 owners should sue Sony for removing IR support!!!

"The suit also says that Sony violated "Unfair Competition Law" by preventing users who did not update to the latest firmware from accessing the console's online features."

That's standard practice for pretty much all gaming systems, including PC software, isn't it? Removal of the Other OS feature aside (load of BS), this is about security and I don't see them having much ground to stand on with this particular aspect of the suit.

Yes, but usually updates like this don't give people an either-or choice of losing one of two advertized features. If you update, you lose OtherOS, if you don't, you lose all online functionality (including already purchased movies) and the ability to play future games.

Edited by roadwarrior, Apr 29 2010, 3:30pm :

Gotenks98 said,
Does this apply to the slim model?

I don't think the slim model advertised the "other OS" feature, in which case no, it doesn't apply to the slim model.

"On information and belief, contrary to Sony's statement, the 'security concerns' did not involve a threat to PS3 users, but rather reflected Sony's concerns that the Other OS feature might be used by 'hackers' to copy and/or steal gaming and other content."

Uh, hacking / pirating would be a security issue. Fail.

NOW, that said, if people want to sue, here's an interesting link:

http://lists.ozlabs.org/piperm...v/2010-February/007202.html

>> Please be assured that SCE is committed to continue
>> the support for previously sold models that have the
>> "Install Other OS" feature and that this feature will
>> not be disabled in future firmware releases.

soniqstylz said,

Uh, hacking / pirating would be a security issue. Fail.

Yes, but it is not a threat for end users, but for Sony's wallet. That is the point they are trying to make.

It seems many people don't understand what a class action law suit is. If you think Anthony Ventura will receive $5 million or more if the case is won, read this for better education: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_action.

Likely, everyone who purchased a PS3 during that time period will get something like a few dollars, if the the suit is won.

AltoidBox said,
It seems many people don't understand what a class action law suit is. If you think Anthony Ventura will receive $5 million or more if the case is won, read this for better education: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class_action.

Likely, everyone who purchased a PS3 during that time period will get something like a few dollars, if the the suit is won.

"would be able to get a few dollars", and they can make you jump over 1000 hurdles before you get that few dollars. Plus, a good enough lawyer team will have these things setup where they get divided among all "possible" recipients, and then come the 1000 hurdles. Then the people footing the original lawyer fees, and the lawyers make out like, well like government.

This is bull**** on Sony's part. Sony was pushing the "other OS" feature like crazy when it was first available.
I hope the class action suit gives Sony a kick in the sack.

I knew this was coming from the moment that Sony pulled this boneheaded move. Did they really think that people were going to sit still while they removed features that they bought and paid for? Not only that, but Sony's update amounts to extortion: give up OtherOS or give up ALL online functionality (including movies that you have bought from their online store).

I bet Sony`s lawyers are going over the small print with a fine tooth comb and will probably find some clause stating they where perfectly within their rights to do what they did.
Don`t get me wrong, i hope they don`t and the other OS feature is reinstated. What happens if this guy wins? will there not be a deluge of similar cases...
It`s the blood sucking lawyers who win in all this, again

If hes suing for $5,000,000 then I expect him to share that fee with the millions of people who actually brought a PS3.

Anarkii said,
If hes suing for $5,000,000 then I expect him to share that fee with the millions of people who actually brought a PS3.

It's a class action lawsuit. That's what happens. Why are so many people clueless about this?

Memnochxx said,

It's a class action lawsuit. That's what happens. Why are so many people clueless about this?

Because this site is populated by a large number of uneducated children.

Memnochxx said,

It's a class action lawsuit. That's what happens. Why are so many people clueless about this?

In fact, if the entire class collected, it would be less than $1 per person.

If you read the filled suit, it gives plenty of examples where Sony has prompted this featured, including just about every SCE executive, and also points out Sony options "not to update" could cause a big problem down the road.

If an out-of-date ps3 ends up on the blu-ray AACS Host Revocation list, watching a newer blu-ray movie would disable your blu-ray drive completely (copy protection built in to blu-ray drives).

+1 on the dollar amount. If he wanted it to be reasonable, he should have sued for legal fees + the original price of the PS3 that he paid. That would at least remove the idea that he is after a "fast buck".

jerzdawg said,
+1 on the dollar amount. If he wanted it to be reasonable, he should have sued for legal fees + the original price of the PS3 that he paid. That would at least remove the idea that he is after a "fast buck".

Do you understand the point of a class action lawsuit? Anyone who wants to join in can (as long as you qualify), and you will receive part of that 5,000,000. It'll go quickly.

Well, it's true. Imagine you buy a car that includes.. integrated GPS. One day, you decide to update the firmware and the firmware disables the GPS, for which you paid more money to have. That's an easy lawsuit right there

Julius Caro said,
Well, it's true. Imagine you buy a car that includes.. integrated GPS. One day, you decide to update the firmware and the firmware disables the GPS, for which you paid more money to have. That's an easy lawsuit right there

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

Edited by neo158, Apr 29 2010, 12:26pm :

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.


It was meant to play games, but it was also meant to play video, music, pictures, Blu-ray and the other OS option. If you remove one of those features, doesn't that technically mean it doesn't do everything that it was supposed to do?
If they removed the ability to play video, is the argument not the same as the other OS option? I can imagine people would be annoyed at that, although it can still play games.

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

Its a perfectly valid analogy. The car still drives, even after the update. It just doesn't have GPS anymore. Which was originally paid for.

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

The point is, it was still an advertised feature - I still have my box with the OtherOS feature listed on it, surely removing an ADVERTISED deature (especially on the product box of all places) is also ground for complaint?

Although I never used the OtherOS feature and probably never will, I feel this action may help Sony see sense that they shouldnt just take away features if and when they see fit.

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

Okay how about they updated the firmware which disables the consoles ability to play Blu-Ray movies. Same sort of case as removing the consoles ability to boot from another OS (using Other OS). Still plays games though right?

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

However, as it originally advertised the "other OS" as a feature, it's a simple case for law suit. Easy win, however I do not see how the compensation amount can be justified, unless he was a business and was using them as servers.

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

But some people have purchased a PS3 because they wanted it to play games AND run Linux. If that was the case, then their PS3 was intended to run Linux AND games, and thus it no longer does what it was intended to.

Joey H said,

But some people have purchased a PS3 because they wanted it to play games AND run Linux. If that was the case, then their PS3 was intended to run Linux AND games, and thus it no longer does what it was intended to.


Nope. Linux was never advertised. It was an extra that was only discovered when it was purchased.

neo158 said,

Bad analogy, if you buy a car that includes a GPS and firmware disables it, then you have grounds for a complaint, as it doesn't do what it was intended to do. The PS3 does what it was intended to do, even after the update, play games.

Why does one sellable function have more worth than another? A car's main function is to transport from point A to B, not give you navigation information. Your argument supports that a car maker can disable the GPS as its not its primary function!

testman said,

Nope. Linux was never advertised. It was an extra that was only discovered when it was purchased.

Then how do you explain it being printed on some of the original boxes?

testman said,

Nope. Linux was never advertised. It was an extra that was only discovered when it was purchased.

Linux is not included you have to install it yourself. And i'm pretty sure the other OS thing is on the box. I still have my original PS3 box so I'll check it when I get back home.

Bottom line, the feature was advertises and now has been removed. A lot of other stuff was not advertised when the PS3 launched because the ps3 was incapable of it at that moment (DIVX playback, DVD upscaling, etc). So I guess they could remove THOSE features (unless they advertise them in the boxes of the newer models).

Remember when apple had to CHARGE people to enable the wireless N functionality of their WiFi chips because it was not advertised at first and some ridiculous law somewhere apparently forced them to charge users?

Well it that made sense, suing sony for removing an advertised feature makes even more sense.

I never used it, so I dont care. But they shouldn't have removed the feature at all.

Edited by Julius Caro, Apr 29 2010, 1:33pm :

testman said,

Nope. Linux was never advertised. It was an extra that was only discovered when it was purchased.

Sony's reps announced the feature when they announced the PS3. It is in the user's manual as well, and as other people have mentioned, it was listed on the box as a feature. It was also well publicised on practically ever tech site around, including this site.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OtherOS#History

testman said,

Nope. Linux was never advertised. It was an extra that was only discovered when it was purchased.

I cannot tell if you are being sarcastic or not. Sony had already allowed different operating systems to be installed on the PS2 in order to sell it to Europe as a computer (to avoid a game console tax).


The situation with the PS3 was identical, and known well beforehand that it would be supported. I'm curious how the Air Force feels about this, with their 2,500+ PS3 super computer (er, game machine if they accidentally update its firmware).


Link: http://www.informationweek.com...e.jhtml?articleID=221900487

Edited by pickypg, Apr 29 2010, 3:24pm :

yeah, the money seems a bit excessive, but I kind of agree with the point. Maybe he should just sue them to add it back in if he really cares that much, and forget the cash

what said,
They're chasing a quick buck.
Actually, there are some minimum damage amounts you have to use to be accepted by courts, otherwise they'll make them try talks first, etc etc.

Punchy McHurt said,
yeah, the money seems a bit excessive

The money in a class action suit is meant to be divided up between all of the members of the class. In this case, that would be EVERY PS3 owner who "purchased a PS3 during the period of November 17, 2006 to March 27, 2010 and who did not resell their PS3 before March 27, 2010". That is likely quite a large number of people. If even 100,000 users applied for the suit, that $5,000,000 would only mean about $50 each. If 1,000,000 users applied, they might only get $5 each. And that is before legal fees are taken into consideration, so it would probably be much less than that.

Edited by roadwarrior, Apr 29 2010, 1:42pm :

roadwarrior said,

The money in a class action suit is meant to be divided up between all of the members of the class. In this case, that would be EVERY PS3 owner who "purchased a PS3 during the period of November 17, 2006 to March 27, 2010 and who did not resell their PS3 before March 27, 2010". That is likely quite a large number of people. If even 100,000 users applied for the suit, that $5,000,000 would only mean about $50 each. If 1,000,000 users applied, they might only get $5 each. And that is before legal fees are taken into consideration, so it would probably be much less than that.

true, the lawyers would probably take at least $4,000,000 in fees anyway

Punchy McHurt said,
yeah, the money seems a bit excessive, but I kind of agree with the point. Maybe he should just sue them to add it back in if he really cares that much, and forget the cash

So he pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to get Other OS reenabled? That's a waste... once you go into a high-stake lawsuit, you have to go all out or you may end up losing financially. That's the U.S. Court system for you.

I say good for him. He has an impeccable case.