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Datel Faces Legal Trouble Over Lite Blue Tool

January 11th, 2009 by Kris


UK Accessory manufacturer Datel is facing legal trouble from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe over its plans to release a service mode battery that can hack the PSP 3000. The British firm triumphantly announced that it had cracked the mysterious encryption preventing homebrew from running on the new PSP back in November. However, as of January 2009, the device has not appeared in shops. Last week, Datel quietly removed any reference to the “Lite Blue Tool” from its website, instead selling the device as a replacement battery (called the Max Power Digital) that does not put the PSP 3000 into service mode.

Today, we received official word from the company, advising customers about the reasons for the delay:

“Due to legal action by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe we are currently not able to fulfil orders for the Lite Blue Tool Battery. Any orders received for this product have not been processed and no charges have been made. We will inform customers about availability of this product when this situation has been resolved.”

It is likely that SCEE has based its case against Datel on the argument that the lite blue tool contains proprietary source code owned by Sony. For example, Sony could claim that by copying the software key required to unlock encryption on the PSP 3000, Datel is infringing on their copyright.

Reverse engineering is a tricky concept for the courts to figure out, and Sony may very well have a stong case against Datel. At least in America, however, the courts have often sided with the reverse engineer, rather than with the original manufacturer. For example, in the first such video-game related case, the US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals found that reverse-engineering a console to look at source code did not infringe on the maker’s rights. Incredibly, this ruling would have allowed Atari to run its own games on the NES console without authorization (except for the fact that Atari obtained the code through fraudulent means, and not entirely by examining Nintendo’s chips under a microscope).

All is not lost for Datel and the Lite Blue Tool, however the fate of the device is likely to be tied up in the European Courts for some time.

Posted in PSP News, Homebrew, Lite Blue Tool |

3 Responses

  1. 1
    Blizz Says:

    It’s no surprise to me that Sony is suing Datel. The company has been a constant thorn in the side of Sony as well as other large video game companies with its knock-off accessories.

    If Sony doesn’t win this legal fight, I would be very

    What is a judge going to say? “Hey , that’s cool you can sell a tool that lets people pirate games and steal profits from this other more reputable company.”

  2. 2
    Bob Says:

    It shouldn’t matter, personally I don’t want datel selling these pandoras because I don’t want the psp brit hacked, or else developer’s will just completely give up, so far the only system that you can’t softmod (no opening required) is the ps3 and 360, and everyone knows theirs hard-mods out for the 360. I fell like it just more obvious that people are pirating psp games.
    Thing is, if datel didn’t ’steal,’ anything in developing their hardware, just looking at the psp under a microscope and developing tools around that isn’t exactly illegal, and I wouldn’t want somone winning a court battle unless something was obviously stolen (cough ps3/xbox 360 same building fiasco)

  3. 3
    Athena Says:

    I honestly dont think that just because some people hack their PSP/DS and pirate games devs will stop making games, lets be realistic here. Alot of the homebrew you can get for hacked psp/ds adds far more functionality to the device. Perhaps nin and Sony should think about adding homebrew functionality to their systems out of the box. Who knows, some of homebrew might even so popular that they adopt it.
    The point is tho people are always going to find ways to hack handhelds/consoles and crack pc games.
    Piracy is fulled by several things, such as price/quality of game. I play PC games mainly and find the lack of demos for games (that i cannot return) are appauling and some games don’t even come out fully working (see Bioshock(PC) GTAV (PC))
    Companies like valve have managed to reduce piracy of their software year on year, I think this is because they spend their time listening to what people want out of games systems/online delivery and have kept that in mind when creating steam.
    And to be perfectly honest, most handheld games are overpriced IMO

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