Sony’s Japanese site has posted up a warning to users of custom firmware. Judging from a hasty pass through the Google Translate mangler, the statement seems to be basically warning that the use of firmware that isn’t officially released by Sony is illegal as it contravenes the license agreement for the system software on the PlayStation 3.
They refer to CFW as “malware” and warn that using it might result in the inability to use the Sony Entertainment Network. The warning also points out that custom firmware voids your warranty.
The warning urges those who use custom firmware to stop using it immediately and “please delete” the offending software. We’re not sure that tactic is going to work but the PSN bans are surely a deterrent of some kind.
Of course, custom firmware, while certainly infringing on the license agreement you agree to upon activation of a PSN account or installation of PlayStation 3 firmware, isn’t quite as nefarious as some might have you believe. There are many uses for custom firmware beyond the traditionally accepted one of software piracy.
I think it’s perfectly reasonably for Sony to attempt to clamp down on the use of CFW because of the impact of piracy, although I think those license agreements we all agree to are often purposefully obfuscating the truth of their contents with overly wordy or complicated statements. I also think it would be a shame to discourage some of the other uses for custom firmware – homebrew development and experimentation, for example – simply because a few greedy pirates refuse to pay their way in the world.
It would be nice to see Sony work with custom firmware developers and homebrew enthusiasts to find a middle ground that enables the more interesting side of software customisation and still allows for Sony to prevent copyright theft on their hardware. That’s got to be better than simply labelling it all “malware”, hasn’t it?