9 October 2018Copyright

Sony files complaint for PS4 copyright infringement

Sony Interactive Entertainment has accused an individual of infringing the copyright relating to PlayStation (PS) software and games, as well as selling “jailbroken” consoles and services.

The digital entertainment company made its allegations in a complaint (pdf)filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California on Friday, October 5.

Legitimate games consist of a large amount of creative audio-visual material, stories, and characters, all of which are wholly original and subject to copyright protection, Sony said.

For example, the US Copyright Office has issued copyright protection for Sony’s PS4 video games, including “God of War” (PA000215052) and “Helldivers” (PA0002117608).

All PS4 games incorporate copyright-protected computer code (TX0008589872), and through licensing agreements, Sony allows third parties to make and publish video games to be played on PS4.

To guard against software piracy, PS4 consoles are designed with particular measures to prevent the operation of an unauthorised video game, the suit explained.

However, Sony claimed that Eric David Scales, doing business as Blackcloak13, has marketed and sold “jailbroken” PS4 consoles which contain pirated copies of PS4-compatible games.

The act of “jailbreaking” refers to liberating a particular device from constraints it applies, such as preventing a console from playing pirated copies of video games.

Blackcloak13’s modified consoles, which are sold through e-commerce platform eBay, circumvent technological protection measures which usually prevent consoles from playing pirated copies of video games, according to the complaint.

The eBay listings allegedly advertise “jailbroken” consoles which allow users to “play any game you want” for free. The games include “God of War” and “Helldivers”, Sony said.

Finally, Sony claimed that Blackcloak13 offers jailbreaking services related to PS consoles through an online platform.

Sony said that Blackcloak13 has infringed its copyright in PS4 games and PS code, in addition to violating the provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by trafficking in circumvention devices and services.

As a result, Sony has asked the court to prevent Blackcloak13 from selling the allegedly infringing products and services. The entertainment company has requested that all disputed devices are delivered to it for destruction.

Sony is seeking all profits received by Blackcloak13 as a result of the alleged infringement, as well as statutory damages and costs incurred.

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