Sony warns PS3 jailbreakers of impending ban

Sony has spoken on the subject of 'jailbreaking' a PlayStation 3 console without the aid of legal documents for the first time, issuing a warning to users that they risk being banned if they install third-party software.

Despite protestations from many in the community - including George Hotz, who first released a custom firmware for the console and who is now being sued by Sony for his troubles - that the use of third-party software on a console they personally own is not inherently wrong, Sony is going all-out to put the genie back into the bottle.

Lawsuits against those who mention the cracked private key that allows third-party software to be signed haven't worked - instead triggering the so-called 'Striesand Effect' - and neither have technological measures against the jailbreakers - in fact, they just seem to have made things worse.

The company now thinks it's come up with a solution to its woes: as the original crack allegedly came about due to Sony removing the Other OS functionality from the console, it's going to try the same trick again - removing core functionality from consoles that have third-party code installed.

Sony's first official statement on the matter can be read below:

"Unauthorized circumvention devices for the PlayStation 3 system have been recently released by hackers. These devices permit the use of unauthorized or pirated software. Use of such devices or software violates the terms of the “System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System” and the “Terms of Services and User Agreement” for the PlayStation Network/Qriocity and its Community Code of Conduct provisions. Violation of the System Software Licence Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system. In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of International Copyright Laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.

"To avoid this, consumers must immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems.

"Circumvention devices and game piracy damage our industry and can potentially injure the online experience for you, our loyal PlayStation customers, via hacks and cheats," explained Sony's social media manager Jeff Rubenstien. "By identifying PlayStation 3 systems that breach our guidelines and terminating their ability to connect to PlayStation Network, we are protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve.

"Rest assured, this message does not apply to the overwhelming majority of our users who enjoy the world of entertainment PlayStation 3 has to offer without breaching the guidelines detailed above, and we urge you to continue doing so without fear."

The move will likely anger the growing community of hackers and tinkerers who believe that, once the console has been purchased, it should be theirs to do with as they please. While there's no denying that Sony has a right to defend itself against piracy, punishing those who seek only to restore missing functionality is likely to end badly.