Sony Sues ‘Jailbroken’ PS4 Seller for Copyright Infringement

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Sony Interactive Entertainment (Sony) has filed a lawsuit against a California man for selling jailbroken PS4 console filled with pirated games. The man, who is accused of copyright infringement and circumventing the PS4's technological protection measures, allegedly encouraged people to "Stop Buying Games."

Since its official launch in 2013, the PlayStation 4 (PS4) remained piracy-free for a long time, but last year things started to shift.

Following the release of a new jailbreak version a few months ago, things took a turn for the worse for Sony. This allowed the masses to tinker with their PS4 consoles which only increased the piracy troubles.

While it will be hard for Sony to put the genie back in the bottle, the Japanese company has decided to take a stand. In a new case filed at a federal court in California, Sony details its complaint against a local resident who allegedly offered for sale jailbroken PS4s filled with pirated games.

According to Sony, defendant Eric Scales was using the handle “Blackcloak13” to sell the jailbroken PS4s preloaded with over 60 pirated games on eBay.

“Defendant is an individual who has marketed, sold, and distributed ‘jailbroken’ PS4 consoles that: (a) contain ‘pirated’ (unauthorized) copies of PS4-compatible video games, and (b) were produced and designed for purposes of, and/or were marketed by Defendant for use in, circumventing technological protection measures,” the complaint reads.

One eBay listing

Sony ordered two devices online and found that they were indeed ‘as advertised.’ The PS4s were modified to run an unnamed exploit which effectively circumvents the technological protection measures that normally prevent people from playing pirated games.

“The exploit enables the PS4 console sold by Defendant to play the 60+ unauthorized copies of video games that are contained on its hard drive,” Sony writes.

In addition to the eBay shop, the man is also accused of running a separate website (now offline) where he advertised his services and products. The website stated that he’s been jailbreaking and modding consoles since 2006, and encouraged people to “stop buying games.”

“On Defendant’s website, where he uses the traditional ‘pirate’ symbol of a skull and crossbones shown below, Defendant states that purchasing his services or products will enable the purchaser to ‘be able to Download and copy any game’ and to ‘STOP BUYING GAMES’,” Sony notes.

STOP BUYING GAMES

With its lawsuit, Sony hopes to obtain an injunction ordering the defendant to stop any infringing activity and to destroy all jailbroken or “modded” PS4 consoles, hard drives, and games.

In addition, the game company requests damages for copyright infringement and for violating the DMCA by circumventing the PS4’s technological protection measures.

To our knowledge, this is the first jailbroken PS4 lawsuit, and it’s likely that Sony wants to set a clear example. With several first-party PS4 games being mentioned in the lawsuit, the potential damages run to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A copy of the full complaint, obtained by TorrentFreak, is available here (pdf).

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