Do you own an Aibo? Don't you wish everybody did?
Conceived only three years ago, the Aibo robotic pet has gained popularity not only in people's homes but also in the eyes of DMCA-case watchers. Perhaps Sony's engineers couldn't keep up with owners' demands that their robotic dogs do more than bark, sit, and fetch pink-colored objects. In walked the hacker known only as AiboPet, who cracked the encrypted Aibo code and created programs that taught the dogs to dance and speak, and enabled owners to view the world through their pets eyes. "If it had not been for AiboPet's information, his invaluable knowledge and his generosity in sharing it with the Aibo community, I would not have purchased an Aibo," one Aibo owner said.
Sony sued AiboPet for violating the DMCA. Aibo-lovers boycotted Sony. Sony conceded to its customers, apologized to AiboPet by rescinding the lawsuit, and the AiboPet-hacked code is back, available for downloading. Now, this doesn't mean that AiboPet didn't violate the DMCA, as this Scientific American article pointed out; rather, it means the Aibo-lovers, aptly described in this New York Times article, won a battle. Drawing on that logic, if Aibo's popularity were to wane, would Sony take up the DMCA arms? Seems that AiboPet is safe only as long as his hacking contributes to Sony's bottomline.