The PS3 USB modchip, PS Jailbreak, is apparently real – real enough, at least, for Sony to have been granted a temporary injunction from Australia’s Federal Court to block the importation and sale of the devices through the end of August.
News of the first PS3 copy protection crack first surfaced about a week ago in a YouTube video showing a game backup being played from the PS3 HDD with the use of a USB dongle. It has since been reported that the USB device is being sold in both China and Australia with a price tag exceeding $150.
The injunction means that Sony will have until the end of this month to convince the courts that the PS Jailbreak is illegal and should be permanently restricted. If the case fails to develop, the device will be allowed to go back on sale beginning September 1st.
In addition to the temporary ban on sales, the Federal Court has also ruled that Australian distributors of the USB dongle must turn over all of their remaining stock to Sony officials until the injunction expires at the end of the month, and possibly for a longer period of time if the case continues.
One particularly interesting detail in this case is the mystery surrounding how Sony managed to get the court to approve the injunction despite a 2005 Supreme Court case which ruled that the sale of modchips was legal in Australia. It is possible, however, that the court has labeled the PS Jailbreak as a “circumvention device”, which is prohibited under the nation’s Copyright Act.
While Sony has managed this small legal victory, they’re bound to be facing off soon with more than just the manufacturers of the PS Jailbreak. Since the chip used in the USB device has been identified, similar devices, and possibly some free alternatives, are now said to be in development.
It’s also likely that Sony will be taking their own measures to combat the devices, including banning moded consoles from PSN and updating PS3 firmware so the chips won’t function.
While I, personally, wouldn’t pay the high price and risk a PSN ban for one of these devices, I can definitely see how the reported 2X faster load times for PS3 games could be a tempting thing. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens next with this case.