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Sony 'Anti-Used Game' Patent Explored 435

Posted by Zonk
from the good-rumours-never-die dept.
Sometime in 2000, Sony patented a process that would 'verify a disc as legitimate, register the disc to that particular game console, then wipe out verification data so the disc would be rendered unreadable in other PlayStations'. Despite unrest in the gaming community over this technology, the company has repeatedly stated they have no plans to use it in the PS3. The LA Times explores this persistent debate, examining why Sony developed the tech and why gamers are nervous. From the article: "Whatever Sony's plans, the tempest [over the patent] illustrates the changing nature of ownership as millions of people accumulate vast collections of digital entertainment. Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection." Thanks to 1up.com for the link.
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Sony 'Anti-Used Game' Patent Explored

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  • Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheFlamingoKing (603674) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:37PM (#15707660)
    Maybe because this completely kills the rental business? I for one haven't bought a game in a long time, but I have rented a few...
    • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:40PM (#15707691) Homepage Journal
      Maybe because this completely kills the rental business? I for one haven't bought a game in a long time, but I have rented a few...
      That's it on the nose. How many crappy games did you decide not to buy your own copy of, after renting it for a couple of dollars and being disappointed? If game rental was squashed, if even borrowing a game from a friend was squashed, they'd sell many more copies thanks to people not being able to try things out on the cheap beforehand to find out how much it sucks.
      • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Cadallin (863437) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:47PM (#15707758)
        Alternatively, they might sell none at all, as all the customers go and buy hardware that doesn't implement such restrictions, and has a plentiful supply of less expensive titles. I can see why Publishers might THINK they want this, but unless it is implemented universally (and it can't be really, modded consoles would render this moot for everything except online games, and if you're going to mod your console, you might as well pirate the games) but in reality other companies would offer a more custumer friendly approach and reap the benefits in the market.

        Of course, I hate Sony anyway, so I'm all in favor of them implementing this kind of scheme. Nintendo Wii FTW.

        • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Korin43 (881732) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:37PM (#15708647) Homepage
          Your "Nintendo Wii FTW" comment made me realize that this is actually a good thing. Not because other consoles won't do this, but because other consoles CAN'T do this. Sony patented it, so only Sony can do this (for 10 years-ish, right?).
        • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sorak (246725) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:38PM (#15708653)
          Alternatively, they might sell none at all, as all the customers go and buy hardware that doesn't implement such restrictions, and has a plentiful supply of less expensive titles. I can see why Publishers might THINK they want this, but unless it is implemented universally (and it can't be really, modded consoles would render this moot for everything except online games, and if you're going to mod your console, you might as well pirate the games) but in reality other companies would offer a more custumer friendly approach and reap the benefits in the market.
          Of course, I hate Sony anyway, so I'm all in favor of them implementing this kind of scheme. Nintendo Wii FTW.

          No disrespect intended, but Lassaiz-faire doesn't work. At least it doesn't work in the modern world. I'm sure that, at one time, people may have gone to a dishonest carpenter, felt cheated, told their friends, and eventually killed the carpenter's business based on poor word-of-mouth.

          In today's entertainment market, however, that is not an option. If Rockstar game refuses to make "Grand-Theft-Auto: Branson, Missouri" on any system other than PS3, then people will buy a PS3, and they will gladly buy two copies so they can play it on the new PS3 they buy when their first PS3 spontaneously explodes, six months after being purchased (Tell me you don't know somebody who has had a defective PS2). Also, there is a good chance that Sony will work out some deal with Rockstar games, to assure that the game doesn't get released on any other system.

          As for modding, most people won't do it because 1). The process often requires you to break open the system and solder in a chip, running the risk of turning a $350+ game system into a paperweight, and 2). The DMCA makes it illegal for stores or people with any kind of real skill to solder a chip in. The end result is that, if you want to pay $60 for a chip, and if you know someone you trust with your system, then you can get it modded, but most people aren't that "into" gaming.

          The only thing that can kill a system or hardware is a lack of high quality games, and DMCA cripplling is like spanish fly to the people who make those games.

        • Re:Blockbusted (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @07:35PM (#15709317)
          exactly. If i cant bring Street Fighter 3 Third strike to a friends house to battle for hours... then whats the dam point of owning a video game system?

          Games are for fun, they can bring friends together, create memories and good times...

          If sony wants to take that away from games... so be it. I'm not dragging the console and the game over to a friends house just to play it.

          When will sony create a technology that prevents me from borrowing my friends game controller... and forcing me to buy another just so he can play, rather than bring his over...

          When will they force me to have a SONY ONLY television...

          Fuck Sony. Sony has to be aware of the growing hatred for its entire brand.... they have to be... dont they?
          • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Matilda the Hun (861460) <flatsymcnoboobs <at> leekspin <dot> com> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @08:06PM (#15709461) Homepage
            Probably. Doesn't mean they care. There'll always be a market for overpriced, locked-down game systems in the Myspace generation. They don't pay attention to the technical aspects, they just drool over the new game system. And their technologically-impaired parents, not knowing any better, will buy them the system because they want it. Teh edn.
          • Re:Blockbusted (Score:4, Insightful)

            by WhyCause (179039) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @09:13PM (#15709722)
            When will they force me to have a SONY ONLY television...

            I've long believed that this is Sony's Master Plan, only discussed in ultra-high level meetings with only C*Os present.

            Think about how wide a reach Sony has, in terms of the types of products and services they offer. Today (in Japan, at least) you could buy a Sony movie, to play on your Sony Blu-Ray player, viewed on your Sony TV. Then you could buy the Sony CD of the soundtrack, listen to it on your Sony ATRAC player (after ripping it using your Sony computer), purchasing it all with your Sony credit card while sitting in the house that the Sony mortgage helped you buy. Think about how much money they would make if they could force you to do it. Think about how hard they try to get you to want to do it.

            I'm not generally a conspiracy-theorist, but I can only imagine the pools of drool that form on the table at the aformentioned meetings when thought is given to this topic, and it makes my skin crawl.

            Now, while I wait for Sony's black helicopters to take me away for some R&R at Sony Happy Fun Land, I'll leave you with this last disturbing thought...

            What if you also worked for Sony?
      • Re:Blockbusted (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Odin_Tiger (585113)
        they'd sell many more copies

        Doubt it, unless this was an industry-wide thing. More likely, launch sales would be crap as people waited for reviews, and companies not using the tech would see a significant bump in market share as well.
        • Re:Blockbusted (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:54PM (#15707823) Homepage Journal
          Good point. Also, if we think the reviews scene is clogged with thinly-veiled ads nowadays, how much worse would it get if the reviews really were the only source of info? Say hello to slews of paid-off game journalists, "official" shill magazines in the vein of early Nintendo Power, fake spam blogs, and employees posing as players on message boards. Nothing would be a trustworthy source of reviews anymore.
      • Im sure Sony is glad you're that impulsive but for most of us, not being able to rent or borrow means not buying it at all. I've been burned by hype and advertising too many times in the past to buy a game without at least checking it out first, I would imagine the majority are in the same boat.
    • Re:Blockbusted (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrxak (727974)
      It also kills people bringing over games to a friends house to play it there. With this, you'd have to bring your own console over as well.
      • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Interesting)

        by chrismcdirty (677039) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:54PM (#15707816) Homepage
        It also means you'd have to re-buy your game collection every time your console died.
        • Re:Blockbusted (Score:3, Insightful)

          But if you're really buying a license they should be willing to replace your destroyed content for a nominal "replacement fee" after all you still OWN the license.

          I'm curious how this would effect those of us with multiple consoles or when you upgrade to the next generation. For instance the PS2 plays PS1 games, the PS3 will play PS2 and PS1 games... will the PS4 play PS3 games if all the licenses are stored on the PS3?
          • Mod parent up! (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Firehed (942385)
            You're right... you would still own the license. That whole thing about customers not owning the game could actually come back to bite them in the ass. In fact I'd wonder whether they'd be allowed to even charge a replacement fee? It's not as if the media or license is problematic, it's the thing that tied the license to you - something that couldn't possibly have been your fault when it dies. Arguably they'd also be forced to replace scratched discs, since the game continues to be their property and th
          • Re:Blockbusted (Score:4, Insightful)

            by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:04PM (#15708819)
            But if you're really buying a license they should be willing to replace your destroyed content for a nominal "replacement fee" after all you still OWN the license.

            How much do you want to bet that the "license" (and I use the term very loosely) specifically exempts them from any and all responsibility for replacement? License terms can be anything the vendor wants, and if the license says that you are only allowed to use the game on the console for which it was purchased, you're S.O.O.L, and it serves you right if you give them any money. Now, that wouldn't bother me quite as much if the game only cost five bucks ... for forty, fifty, sixty or more dollars a pop I would simply not be interested. I still think it's a terrible idea for all concerned.

            The entertainment industry in general has been completely unwilling to replace anything for any reason, because they reason that if they replace it for free you won't buy a replacement. Logical enough, if you don't care about your customer base hating your guts and feeling ripped off. Should Sony (or anyone else) implement such restrictions I'll not be buying their products, that's for sure.

            More generally, these corporations don't really seem to grasp that the value of the entertainment media and software we buy doesn't revolve entirely around jacking a shiny plastic disc into our own personal player (that one and only player that they seem to assume all of us have, would ever want, or should ever be allowed to own.) Squeezing out the ability to share our new acquisitions with friends and family may seem like a good idea from a financial perspective, and in the short term it probably is. A longer view would tell them that removing the social value from their offerings is going to cost them plenty.

            This really isn't only about the money, or the law, as much as the media corporations would like you to believe. It is about control, control of distribution, and control of usage. They feel that they have the right to dictate where and how we can buy their products and, even more destructively, how we can use them. Interestingly, copyright law (at least, copyright law that existed up 'til the time when they paid to have it rewritten) did not provide for this. The law granted us a fair amount of control in terms of how we use the media we purchase. That's been largely eliminated for most people, in terms of both copyright law and technological measures. And so we are boldly going where no man has ever wanted to go.
            • by trezor (555230) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @08:52PM (#15709641) Homepage

              I repeat: What fucking license?

              What papers did I recieve? What papers did I sign? Just where in this huge universe can I actually find this license you are talking about?

              The answers are ofcourse: No, no, nowhere. So what license are you guys even talking about?

              I buy it. The game is mine. Sure, the copyright ain't, but that's an entirely different matter. The game is mine, I own it. Stop perpetuating this goddamn bullshit. Stop being the entertainment industries bitches who are mindlessly brainwashing people who still know better.

              I don't know how stuff works in the US, but here in Norway if I buy anything, it is mine. Anyone trying to pull any tricks on that, can be taken to court.

              As it should be.

              Repeat after me: There is no license.

              This might be mod'ed down to GNAA levels. I don't care. I have plenty of karma.

              • by Mattintosh (758112) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @09:50PM (#15709883)
                I believe I speak for everyone who isn't an industry shill when I say:

                MOD PARENT WAY THE FUCK UP!

                There is no license, not even a click-through EULA attached to this stuff. It's copyright-bound, yes, but not licensed. And I do know how stuff works in the US. I live in the US. This is the way it is. You are not licensing "content" from these companies. You are purchasing a shiny plastic disk with "content" on it, and you are given full property rights, but no copyrights. You can use, abuse, sell, cut, mark, bend, spindle, or mutilate that item however you want to, but you may not copy it with intent to distribute (sell or give, and no, "making sure someone doesn't steal the original" is not intent to distribute). You can copy it for your personal use and the use of those in your immediate social group (family, roommates, etc. - generally those living in your household at any given time).

                The government would be wise to crack down on this sort of corporate abuse of general law. The Romans survived for 7 centuries, 5 of them in a fairly opressive but wealthy empire, and their main reason is that they knew not to fuck with "bread and circuses". As long as you keep people fed and entertained, they won't rise up and kick your ass. It's in the best interest of the American Empire to keep the circuses uninterrupted and relatively uncontrolled. Corporations will probably realize this fact about ten seconds too late, just as the government installs their organizational heads on a chopping block... or throws their suit-laced asses into an arena filled with lions. I'm betting on the lions - and I'll bet they're done before I finish this washtub of popcorn.
    • Re:Blockbusted (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Who235 (959706) <(secretagentx9) (at) (cia.com)> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:44PM (#15707722)
      Amen to that.

      I almost always rent a console game before I buy it because I don't have the kind of money it takes to buy a $70 POS that I'll hate after a week.

      Games are way too expensive to allow those kind of restrictions on them.

      I think a move like that will ensure that only big name titles get purchased and it will choke the life out of smaller games that nobody will want to pay for without the security of being able to sell them if they suck.

    • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

      by qbzzt (11136) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:44PM (#15707723)
      It won't kill the rental business. It will let game publishers sell two types of copies:

      1. Single console copies for the home market.
      2. Multiple console copies for the rental market.

      #2 will cost more than #1, but not so much that Blockbuster will want to leave the video game rental business.
      • Re:Blockbusted (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:50PM (#15707788) Homepage Journal
        1. Single console copies for the home market.
        2. Multiple console copies for the rental market.
        Wait until a formerly new title's hype has blown over and Lackluster Video wants to get rid of their 20 extra copies. Hello again, used market. Even better, hello used market for games with better functionality than new retail copies. Same goes for when someone eventually finds a way to pirate rented games. Hello, 0-day no-strings-attached ISO files that beat legit shelf copies in every way but the DVD sleeve.
        • You think Sony won't force Lackluster to sign a contract preventing them from selling on their used stock?
          • Re:Blockbusted (Score:4, Insightful)

            by IAmTheDave (746256) <basenamedave-sd@NOsPAm.yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:50PM (#15708276) Homepage Journal
            You think Sony won't force Lackluster to sign a contract preventing them from selling on their used stock?
            Right of First Sale doesn't just apply to you and me.

            That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection."
            But it doesn't violate anything for people to sell THEIR copy of their music collection. Denying that right through this system denies me the Right of First Sale, and thus denies me my fair-use rights.
            • Re:Blockbusted (Score:3, Informative)

              by qbzzt (11136)
              The Sony - Blockluster contact can include a section where Blockluster waives the Right of First Sale. Blockluster doesn't have to sign it, Sony doesn't have to produce rentable copies of their games.
      • It won't kill the rental business. It will let game publishers sell two types of copies:

        Correction: It would permit publishers create two copies for the PS3. If Sony did go forward with this tactic, it would be in Microsoft's and Nintendo's best interest to steer clear of it, hold up their games, and state proudly "We don't care if you play this game on a friend's console".

        Furthermore, what should happen if a PS3 suffers first-generation flaws, and is exchanged or a critical component is replaced? The g

    • I know that I sometimes bring my games to my friend's PS2s. I still own the license to the game, but I want to avoid schleping my own system whenever possible. I would be veryangry if they outlawed this practice.
    • I don't see that as a limitation. Movie studios already sell special rental versions. I've run into discs edited for content at Blockbuster and stripped of speical features with NetFlix. They can just press special 'unlocked' discs and sell them at a premium to rental houses.

      I think this move would drive customers away in droves, but Sony seems to enjoy seeing how long they can piss in the face of their customers before they go away.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai l . com> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:41PM (#15707700) Journal

    From the summary: "Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. " Well, duh. Staying current on ever-shifting rules is virtually impossible.

    And, lest any defenders of "paying for license" jump in, the rules whether they be the actual rules themselves, or how the providers are choosing to enforce them are shifting.

    If in fact in the past they really did sell only the license to play, watch, etc., there was a wink and a nod for those who owned the games should they choose to sell their games at some point. Now under increasing pressures to maximize profits every stone is being turned for ways to eke out more profits.

    The electronics industry is seemingly insane with their obsession to beat down their consumers. Case in point, we just upgraded all of our cell phones, none of the really worked that well, and the only real options included cell phones with camera builtin.

    We did have a blast the first day with the phones, and even found a couple of trick ways to get our own customized dial tones to the phones without paying for downloads. But, aha, Verizon was on to those tricks, didn't mention the surcharge for sending pictures to each other (actually they at least strongly implied within the "plan" we could send pictures back and forth free ad nauseum), and we found lots of nasty little extra charges to the tune of ~$20 ... all within the one week pro-rated new-phone period.

    This was such an annoying and unexpected treatment, we've all pretty much retired the cameras for any use at all... Too bad, it was kind of fun, and I'd have been willing to even look at pricing plans, had they not sucked me in without any heads up.

    Treat the consumers with respect, and honesty. Ninety-nine percent of them will treat you with money! (The other one percent you really don't (or shouldn't) give a shit about anyway.)

    • Treat the consumers with respect, and honesty. Ninety-nine percent of them will treat you with money! (The other one percent you really don't (or shouldn't) give a shit about anyway.)

      This just might be my new favorite quote.
    • Treat the consumers with respect, and honesty. Ninety-nine percent of them will treat you with money! (The other one percent you really don't (or shouldn't) give a shit about anyway.)

      Huh? You're saying Napster and P2P was starting because the consumers felt like they got dissed yo... give me a break. People want free shit. Bottom line... they'll pay for it only when getting it free isn't worth it (e.g. AllofMp3). Consumers, on the whole, could give a shit about copyright owners... they only care about w
  • Copyright Laws (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Moqui (940533)

    Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection.

    Perhaps it is time to rethink the current legal method of digital ownership. Copyright laws, even the most current ones that lawyers attempt to enforce still are based on earlier, non-digital cases.

    While precedent has its place, maybe it isn't the best method of deriving new laws.

    • The whole idea of "digital ownership" is stupid. If we had the ability to replicate objects, the concept of property ownership would probably be radically different. But we do not.

      However, the ability to replicate bitstrings is not only a part of digital technology, it is essential for its operation. The characteristics of physical objects lends itself well to the concept of property; the characteristics of information do not. On this basis, I reject the notion of "intellectual property", "digital ownership
      • Copyrights are limited. You accept the premise of copyright, but reject the limits. But... to accept the premise of copyrights you also accept that someone can own the rights to control how a digitally recorded work is copied. So you in fact accept digital ownership and intellectual property really just trying to make the statement "I don't like how long people can have copyrights for" sound really intellectual.
    • Re:Copyright Laws (Score:5, Informative)

      by stubear (130454) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:41PM (#15708204)
      The article os full of shit, there is no license when you purchase movies, music, etc. Copyright laws are like any other law, and no other laws act as a license between the individual and the state. Intellectual property has not changed with the advent of the digital world. It's easier to distribute but this doesn't mean the copyright holder should lose their right of distribution. in fact, this the most important right that needs to stay the same. While I agree that things like this Sony contraption should be considered illegal to manufacture, I do not weep for those who are busted for illegally distributing intellectual property.

      I really wish people would actually ready USC 17 instead of relying on what they heard about copyright law from a blog on the internet. The conversation to address and improve upon copyright limitations in the digital world would be so much easier.
  • So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordEd (840443) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:43PM (#15707714)
    what happens if my playstation dies and I buy a new one? Do I get free replacement disks, or do I go buy a console that isn't a slot machine for games?

    • Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sRev (846312)
      Right. If I'm buying this license, I feel I should be entitled to my purchase for the duration of my life. I had my car broken into twice in 6 months, losing tons of CDs. I should be able, as a licensee, to receive a replacement copy of all those CDs.
      • Re:Exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        I had my car broken into twice in 6 months, losing tons of CDs. I should be able, as a licensee, to receive a replacement copy of all those CDs.

        Try it.
        Dig out your receipts, get the police crime reference and contact the publishers/RIAA.
        It might cost you a small amount, but technically you should be able to do it.

        In the world of software, usually you can get replacement media for a restocking and admin fee.
        Even in the world of games, you can do this.

        If they won't do it with all this clear evidence then you
    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Necroman (61604) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:27PM (#15708092)
      I couldn't agree more.

      I'm on my third Playstation 2 right now, and if I had to rebuy the games every time I got a new console, I'd have some yelling and screeming to do.

      First PS2 was stolen when I was moving out of the dorms in college.
      Second PS2 (which I bought I week before, replacing the first PS2) broke. I was living in a hotel for a summer internship and the maid service that came through knocked it off the desk I had it on.
  • by grapeape (137008) <mpope7@NOSpam.kc.rr.com> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:47PM (#15707760) Homepage
    With the overheating and lens problems of the 1st and 2nd generation consoles from Sony, doing this could and probably would become their worst public relations nightmare. Also cant forget homes with more than one console, I have had 2 ps2's in the house at one time, and still have two GC's one for the kids and one for me, do they really expect me to buy two copies? They might as well have labeled this one "Patent For Future Class Action Suit". Of course I would love to see them try it, since a good bitchslap has been months overdue for them. I give 2 weeks after release before the first lawsuit fly.
    • Quite. My home has TVs in all four bedrooms and the living room, and quite honestly, the hassle of unplugging the system and all of its cables to move it around is more than a little bit of a PITA (not to mention the issues when different members of the family want to play different games at the same time.)

      That's why when the PS3 comes out, my family intends to buy six (one for outdoors by the pool too). Now, I know that my son and daughter have very different opinions about what makes a great game, as do my wife and I, but there are games that appeal to all of us, and for those games to only work on one of the consoles is going to royally suck. Are we supposed to play it exclusively on the living room console or the pool console? What about late at night? What if some of us want to play the game, and the rest of us want to relax in the living room in peace and quiet?

      In the end, the only solution is going to be to buy multiple copies, and I don't know about you, but I think that's an outrage as it is. It's bad enough that we have to buy seperate copies for use on the PS2-based system we have wired up in the back of both my wife and I's Hummers, for when we're taking the kids out on longer trips. We were thinking of including the Hummers's PS2s as another pair of consoles we were going to upgrade to PS3s when the PS3 comes out, but on hearing this, it sounds like it would be a complete waste of money.

      With gas prices being what they are, the notion we should pay for six (or eight, if we're to include the Hummer PS3s) copies of each game on top of everything else is quite simply asking too much. Where are we supposed to find the money?

  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:49PM (#15707784) Homepage Journal
    Apparently Dawn C. Chmielewski of the L.A. Times had some sort of seizure causing her to type the following insanity:
    Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection.

    No. Absolutely wrong.

    When you buy a copyright protected item, you own that particular thing. You need zero license to make standard use of that particular thing you purchased. Thus, the lack of EULAs on console games, works on DVDs, music on CDs, novels, and even the L.A. Times itself. The reason it's illegal to make and distribute copies isn't that you somehow agreed to some license. The reason is that copyright specifically denies you that right.

    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:09PM (#15707942)
      When you buy a copyright protected item, you own that particular thing.

      That particular instance of that thing, yes. If you buy a copy of a book, you own that paper and ink and binding glue.

      You need zero license to make standard use of that particular thing you purchased.

      You need zero license to make NON-standard use of that thing either, as long as that use is legal. You can run your brand new copy of "The Da Vinci Code" through a crosscut shredder and use it as confetti, if you like. In fact, I recommend this.

      The only things you CAN'T do by law with a purchased copy of a copyrighted work are those actions expressly forbidden by the copyright law.
    • That's pretty-much exactly what I thought.

      Until such time as I am required to sign (in ink) something to the effect that I agree not to sell, give or otherwise transfer the item in question to a third party, I can do whatever the hell I want with it, short of making infringing copies.

      The day that that happens, is the day I stop buying copyrighted works and start planning a revolution instead.
      • Until such time as I am required to sign (in ink) something to the effect that I agree not to sell, give or otherwise transfer the item in question to a third party, I can do whatever the hell I want with it, short of making infringing copies.

        That may be true for most things, but it is not true for software that includes an end user license agreement. Remember, you don't need to sign, in ink, to have a binding contract.
  • hm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:51PM (#15707796) Journal
    I don't get why the bothered patenting this, they will not, and could not, use it. People would leave the company and it would die instantly. going round to a mates house "oh, I got this ace game, but my PS3 is too big to carry with me and it won't play on yours... but we can look at the box". Not only that second hand games are a great source of revenue (despite what some people think). Over the last 2 days I've traded in about 6 games and bought two new ones, one itself was second hand (metriod DS) the other was new (new mario DS). So nintendo has really won because they get a sale they otherwise wouldn't have had and when I eventually trade in metriod/mario I might buy another new game... the market keeps going. They might not make as much money because people aren't always buying from them, but for me, if I didn't do that they wouldn't have got anything. Besides, I'm now going to buy a Ninty Wifi adapter for my DS so I can play online (even though it doesn't work on linux) so they will get even more money.
    • An alternative is to just use any normal wireless router. The DS uses standard 802.11b for its online stuff. You don't have to use the proprietary wi-fi USB adapter, the DS can also connect with any standard 802.11b/g access point.
  • by Elros (735454) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @03:51PM (#15707800) Homepage
    Would some sort of hack to bypass the check/overwrite be possible. I realize that we have no example to work on, but I highly suspect that if Sony were to put this in a console, it would get bypassed in no time.
    • It would completely depend on how they implemented it. There is pretty much NOTHING that can't be bypassed/spoofed/hacked... it's just a matter of how long it takes and how much it costs to do it.
    • Until console makers start vacuum sealing their consoles and making circuit boards out of special materials that vaporize when exposed to nitrogen, OF COURSE it can be bypassed.
      • Vacuum/Helium boxes to work in solve that problem - I recommend Helium, vacuum gloves are a pain to work with. Takes about 1 sheet of plexiglass, $10 of fittings and a $20 baloon canister of helium.
  • $600 for the PS3 and $70 per game, and now when my system dies in a year I have to buy it all again?
  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:02PM (#15707891) Homepage
    The article is incorrect.

    In ordinary transactions, when you buy a copy of a copyrighted work, you buy it outright, you do not license it. Software is the only area in which licenses in
    such transactions are really known. Even there, there is lively debate in the legal community as to whether or not the licenses are actually in effect. Cases
    have gone both ways on the software issue.

    Remember, a license is either implied or express, and if express, either oral or written. In these kinds of transactions, they'd pretty much have to be express
    and written. They would resemble software EULAs in their content, length, and visibility. I have a lot of DVDs and a lot of CDs. I've never seen licenses in any
    of them. Note that a (typically exaggerated or inaccurate) statement of law such as 'public performance is prohibited' (see 17 USC 106 for the law that says so)
    is not a license. If you download music in some lawful fashion -- from iTunes, for example -- then you're likely doing so pursuant to a license agreement that
    would've been quite prominent. This is necessary since downloading is reproduction, and would otherwise infringe. Implied licenses exist for works that are put
    up on web sites authorizedly.

    I also would point out that the article is wrong when it says that it's illegal to sell used music. It is perfectly legal and quite commonplace. Caselaw and 17
    USC 109 make it noninfringing to do so.

    Frankly, if this is the caliber of their reporting on these issues, I wouldn't bother wrapping fish with their paper.
    • I also would point out that the article is wrong when it says that it's illegal to sell used music. It is perfectly legal and quite commonplace. Caselaw and 17
      USC 109 make it noninfringing to do so.


      FWIW, she said selling COPIES of your music collection is illegal.
  • When I buy a game, I buy a license to use that game. This license allows me to access the content using one of the defined accessing devices (i.e. game consoles).

    Does the license dictate that I can only access it using a single specific console? Can the license dictate it? If it does not, am I entitled to getting additional media (since, quite obviously, it does not play on any access devices save a single one)?
    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:53PM (#15708309) Journal
      A license can dictate that, but a sale cannot. You didn't buy a licence, for a license is a contract. You picked up a box, put it on the counter (real or virtual) and exchanged money for an object. You can do what you damned well please with it (provided it doesn't violate any other laws).

      The digital realm has offered companies the opportunity to claim that you are only licensing the content, not purchasing a product. That's a legal battle yet to be fought, but given the dollars and players involved, I foresee first sale doctrine being nullified - at least for all digital works - within the next decade.
  • This should serve as a method to reduce prices. It has got to bring them down in two different ways:

    1: Because more games will be sold due to the inability to share games with your friends, and the ending of the Used Game market, game manufacturers and sellers can reduce prices and still make the same profits. In addition, the lower prices will further increase sales as they induce people to try games they would not have purchased before due to the lower prices. The risk of a bad game experience is red

    • Pricing is perceived value and the rate people are willing to pay for an object, not the relative value to an item which no longer exists.

      Have you stopped using gasoline because the price has tripled? Will you get a reduction in cost because the ethanol laced gasoline provides fewer miles-per-gallon due to lower energy density? Of course not. Supply and demand drive prices, not value.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:23PM (#15708060)
    Slow news week for consoles? WHy not dredge up an older anti-Sony story - no need to worry about it being killed already by Sony previously saying they wouldn't make use of this technique. Bring it up again so that people will THINK they will!

    It's all about the FUD and this is the minimum weekly dose.
  • From the article:
    Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection.

    The fact that you're buying a license in many circumstances is irrelevant to the issue of whether copying violates copyright law. A simple analogy should explain it:

    When I buy a book, I am buying the book, not simply a license to read the book. However, because the book is co
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:29PM (#15708111)
    Why this is an issue at all is because Sony simply isn't trusted any more by just about everybody! We don't believe what they say they'll do, that they'll keep any promises that don't have their feet held to the fire, or that they won't try to screw us out of every list dime (pence, lira, yen, won...) in our pockets. That's why this is an issue despite any and everything Sony says to the contrary.
  • Other reasons? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tenton (181778) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:32PM (#15708131)
    So, nobody thinks that this might be used for developmental purposes or beta testing? Perhaps for developmental systems (and software for a dev machine) or for beta testing? That's always been my first guess on what the purpose of this was.
  • by CherniyVolk (513591) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @04:39PM (#15708180)

    That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection.

    This is inherently not true. Otherwise, garage sales, individual sales and even medium sized business sales would be illegal. Pawn shops, and record shops who, I garuntee do not pay royalties to noone on resale of digital content (whether it be a game medium or CD/DVD). For the price they buy it from the customers, it's often more expensive to download the CD (even on 'illegal' networks) than the return on selling one to a pawn shop (you might get a 0.25 cents from a pawn shop).

    There is nothing illegal about me selling my Metallica Master of Puppets CD to a friend; in contrast, there's nothing illegal about me giving it to him either. There's nothing illegal about me buying a CD, and throwing it in the trash (to imply that the whole idea of 'you only get a license' is BS, becuase you OWN a physical peace of merchandise. In contrast, when you finance a car, the bank OWNs the car, and they have legal right to REPOSESS the car in the case of non-payment. Record companies have NO right to reposess a CD from any individual who has purchased one, so ownership of that property is more than just a license grant.)
    • A car loan is a lien (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Migraineman (632203)
      The bank doesn't own your car. You do. The bank has a lien [reference.com] against it. The bank does't want to own your car ... they just want to take it from you when you fail to pay the loan.

      The lien exists such that you can own the car, and such that the county/state/fed government may tax you appropriately (which is actually the reason a lien exists.) The gub'ment wants your money, and they can't take it from *you* by trying to tax a bank located in another state/country. But that a completely different (but rel
  • The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connect system identifies gamers via Friend Codes. These codes are generated as a function of the game card's unique serial number and the DS's unique serial number (likely the MAC address). If you try to use the same game card in two different DSes, say moving from a regular DS to a DS Lite, you will wind up with a new Friend Code and be unable to use the old one (as a game card cannot be tied to more than one DS at a time).

    It's a similar mechanism with the notable and welcome differen
  • "Whatever Sony's plans, the tempest [over the patent] illustrates the changing nature of ownership as millions of people accumulate vast collections of digital entertainment. Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection.

    Well, that's what the media monopolies claim you're buying. The courts haven't agreed that this is binding on the buyer
  • I am not only out the what, $1000 console, but also the games worth hundreds or thousands of dollars? This sounds line the grounds for a whale of a law suit, but of cource, that leaves the consumers screwed and a dirtbag^^^^^^^lawyer rich...
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:07PM (#15708411)
    We here at Sony have no plans for being evil or for implementing this technology. We are merely exploring the technology of being evil for academic and esthetic reasons. Do we look like the kind of company that would use technology against our own customers? Don't worry about this. You should only worry about digital rights management if you actually have any digital rights, and you don't.
  • by Jason1729 (561790) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:08PM (#15708416)
    How many times do you see commercials for movies that say "own it on DVD". Of course the average person doesn't realize it's just a license when the ads lie and say you own it.
  • by Sir Holo (531007) * on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:16PM (#15708501)

    FTA: Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection."

    No, no, no, how can the LA Times get something so basic so wrong?

    Buyers of legal copies of copyrighted works are buying the physical copy, and have a right to sell that legal copy to someone else. A book, a CD, a DVD, an Excel CD. It is called The Doctrine of First Sale.

    Sony would of course prefer that you didn't know this. But now you do.
  • by dclocke (929925) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:21PM (#15708534)

    Few people realize that when they buy software or music or movies, they are actually buying a license to use, watch or listen. That's why it violates copyright laws for people to sell copies of their music collection.

    Fine. But there's a big difference between selling copies of CDs (or games) in your collection, and selling the only original copy. I've heard rumors for a while that RIAA, MPAA, and other groups were planning on going after the used music/movie/game industry. Since when are you required to own a product for life once you buy it? As long as you transfer all copies/licenses to a new party, you should be able to give or sell any media you have purchased to someone else. And there is no reason why record companies, game publishers, or movie studios deserve another cut of that purchase price (I've also heard rumors that record companies are trying to squeeze some percentages out of used music sales). This is getting ridiculous.

  • by AriaStar (964558) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:25PM (#15708560) Journal
    If people can't borrow games from friends or sell their games when they've finished them, or would have to buy all games new if they need to replace their system, they may as well bow out now. Who will pay for this?
  • Uh ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ScrewMaster (602015) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:39PM (#15708661)
    Despite unrest in the gaming community over this technology, the company has repeatedly stated they have no plans to use it in the PS3.

    In other words, the gaming community is upset because Sony says that it isn't planning to use this technology.
  • by merc (115854) <slashdot@upt.org> on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @05:53PM (#15708750) Homepage
    I don't buy Sony products.

    (Not flaimbait, I'm quite serious.)
  • by BigGar' (411008) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @06:26PM (#15708965) Homepage
    Even though Sony itself says they don't plan on using this technology, I can think of a couple of other reasons they may want to have patented it.

    1) Altruistic reasons. Sony is a nice company and they don't want other companies to screw their customers in this fashion. (My opinion: unlikely)
    2) Licensing revenue. If other companies want to screw their customers in this fashion at least Sony will get a cut of the action. (My opinion: very likely)
  • This is illegal. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday July 12, 2006 @09:12PM (#15709715)
    >> register the disc to that particular game console, then wipe out verification data so the disc would be rendered unreadable in other PlayStations.

    So what happens if the console breaks or its CD drive wears out and you have to buy a new one? all of a sudden you can't play your own collection of games anymore, even though you've bought a licence to use the software.
  • by ofcourseyouare (965770) * on Thursday July 13, 2006 @12:58AM (#15710663)
    If you want a statement from a Sony exec which suggests that indeed they may be considering blocking used-game sales, check out this from last week's story "Sony Talks PS3 E-Distribution Initiative"...

    "As part of Sony's plans for the launch of its next-gen PlayStation 3 console later this year, the company has started planning the PS3 E-Distribution Initiative...Gamasutra got a chance to talk to the project's John Hight... (who said) "On the business side, it also lowers our cost of sales and eliminates inventory risk. It should help curtail used game sales and piracy."

    The way he puts it in this interview - "curtail used game sales and piracy" - implies that used game sales and piracy are kind of the same thing without actually saying so. Perhaps preparing the ground for the big change...
  • by hansreiser (6963) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:42AM (#15711104) Homepage
    Then their changing it from a purchase to a license has no validity. I buy a box, if that box has a note in it stating after I have paid for it that I did not buy it, the note means nothing.

    Of course, this assumes rule by law not by social position, and I leave it to the reader to decide whether our courts rule by law or by social position.....

The universe is like a safe to which there is a combination -- but the combination is locked up in the safe. -- Peter DeVries

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