Is it legal to hack my Sony PSP?
i just got a new Sony PSP, way cool, and I found a great web site about hacking the PSP. On the site they say that it's totally legal, but is it? Should I do it? Oh, and what is homebrew?
Let's start with the easy question: it's definitely not illegal to hack your PSP, whether that means you want to take a diamond-tipped drill and put small holes in the screen or whether you want to push it in directions that the developers didn't intend, even running programs not officially endorsed by Sony Corporation for the Playstation Portable (PSP). It's your PSP, after all.
There are limits to this freedom, however. You couldn't pull the "operating system" off the PSP, decompile it to some sort of source code (e.g., a human-readable programming language) then either profit from it or post it to the Internet. That'd be a violation of trade secrets, copyright, and, probably, patents owned by and licensed by Sony too.
With that out of the way, let's tackle the more important question: is it a good idea to hack your PSP?
In my opinion, no, it's not a good idea. Unlike many devices, the PSP has a bad habit of freezing up into an unrecoverable state if it's hacked incorrectly or maliciously, a term that the PSP hackers call "bricking" to refer to the device being about as useful as a brick when that happens. Scary given that you've probably spent $200 or more on the unit.
Don't get me wrong. I am delighted that there are hackers out there who are pulling the PSP apart and figuring out other ways to expand it, and it's darn cool that there are free games and other software available on the Internet for the brave PSP users who are willing to go beyond the narrow confines of Sony's Official and Endorsed Use of the Playstation Portable. More power to them - in fact, I wish Sony supported them in their efforts and it's a bit baffling to me that they have to operate under the proverbial radar.
But when I think of my trusty airplane companion and try to balance the fun and cool factor of downloading a game someone on the 'net wrote for the PSP against the requirement that my PSP stay at an earlier firmware version, one that probably prohibits me from playing most of the recent games released from Sony and its partners, and the fact that ending up with a "bricked" PSP is a greater than zero percent chance and, well, I haven't risked it yet.
You will need to make up your own mind in this situation, obviously, and I am hoping that some of these PSP hackers can pop onto the site and add some thoughts about risk and reward, about how they manage to run home-made ("homebrew" is a synonym) games on their PSP and also keep it ready to play the latest commercial titles, and whether they've ever bricked a Playstation Portable of their own.
Good luck to you. Be careful out there!
Note: This Q&A was written by Drew "flyboy" Crouch of the AskDaveTaylor editorial team.
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Reader Comments To Date: 55
i need help.... is it possible to upload music and photos on a windows 98 computer
Hello, I am one of those "PSP Hackers", if that's what you want to call us. I am not a programmer, I just use the already-made homebrew that's out there, and I have to say, some of it is really fun! As long as you don't toy with the OS, the chances of bricking the PSP are slim to none. I have two PSPs, a version 1.5 and a version 2.6. The 1.5 is used to play old Super Nintendo games, like Final Fantasy III. There is now a version of a homebrew program called DevHook (Google it, make sure you get the latest version) that can emulate other firmwares, therefore enabling any UMD game, regardless of firmware requirements. This, in itself, has no chance of bricking your PSP. The risk comes when you modify or change firmwares. DenHook only emulates the firmware, instead of installing it permanently to the flash memory inside the PSP.
There is also homebrew for the 2.6, but it's severely limited because of something Sony patched, and the only way to run it is to buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, download and install a loader that takes advantage of a hole in the savegame interface. Kinda makes you wonder how much money Sony has made off of us Homebrew enthusiasts, yet they continue to (try) to patch the holes.
hey, just wantedtosay that sony will fix your psp if its bricked as this can happen in normal usage. Also you just use firmware emulators to play later games.
The benefits of free content vastly outway any negatives and makes me feel like a bit of a rebel too =) Chaos Zero's dev hook installer has saved my life!!
It might be a good idea to add a date to the answers, so it would be easier to see if the information is likely to be outdated.
These days there is very little risk of damaging your PSP while enabling or running homebrew on the PSP, probably no more than running the official firmware upgrades from Sony. Most custom firmwares also include a recovery function, making it possible to recover from a brick or partial brick using the USB port. I would still urge anyone looking to upgrade/hack their PSP to read all available documentation before doing so.
Automatic downgraders and custom firmware installers make it very safe and simple to run homebrew aswell as the latest games. We have two PSP's in the house, both running Dark Alex's 3.10-OE firmware. This hack gives your PSP the ability to run the 1.50 and 3.10 firmwares simultaniosly.
If you consider the amount of freeware and abandonware available to a hacked PSP, it greatly incrases the value of the handheld. Also, the ability to run old PlayStation games you already have, should be worth quite a bit.
I would also like to add that software patents are only applicable in the US. As far as I know, no other part of the world respects these patents.
In most countries you may also reverse engineer or decompile software, though the laws vary and are often very complicated.
4-18-2007 - Just to let you know, if you are careful to follow the (incredibly easy) laid out instructions on changing your firmware, all versions of PSPs up to firmware 3.03 (currently) can be downgraded/upgraded to Open Edition (oe) versions of Sony's 1.50 through 3.30oe, allowing for "homebrew" applications to be run. A complete PSP newbie, it took me 2 days of research on a single website (which you can't help but find by googling) to get the software to do the work for me. The software that makes the firmware changes even has built-in safety checks to check your motherboard version, etc. Basically, you've got about as much risk of "bricking" as you would with a standard Sony supported upgrade. The perks: I can now use my PSP as a controller for my computer wirelessly, I can use my PSP to remote control my VCR/DVD/TV, I can use my PSP as an alarm clock, I can use my PSP to jot notes down, to play my favorite old NES, Atari 2600, SNES, N64, and PSX games, as a Calendar book, address book, and to entertain the kids on long drives with movies from home. I can carry all my PSP games on two tiny memory cards instead of a box of disks that can get scratched, I can use it to instant message, check E-Mail, or browse the internet while on the road. I can hook it up to my car and listen to thousands of MP3's instead of carrying my CD collection. Honestly, Sony should SUPPORT the homebrew market, and when people see the power of this VERY well rounded piece of hardware, they won't be able to keep PSPs on the shelf.
Javin, please tell me the name of this site you talk about! If you wont, what do i Google to get what you have?
I have a bunch of movies for my PSP. Is it possible to plug a cord into the psp and use it as VCR to play it on my big screen? It would be cool to take all those movies if I went on vacation and watch them on the TV instead of having to take a VCR. Thanks
hey if you want to run homebrew and play the latest gmes then just update yor firmwear to 3.52 m33 i is totally safe and there is abut a 1% chance of bricking your psp. if you follow the directions you CAN'T brick your psp. 3.52 m33 is made by a russian hack team. m33 it is the new version of OE firmwar.
I learnt about PSP hacking the hard way. I tried out these various downgeade/CFW upgrade teqniques, and it resulted in 4 bricks. I told sony a different story, and they fixed it free of charge (it was under warranty).
Hey i have bricked my psp atleast ten timnes but "panadoras battery" and the "Magic Memorystick".
But Homebrew is a Program of Games, applactions and other devices that are enabled through a ctf (coustom firmware)
but if you have any questions e mail me Drewman123@hotmail.com
what is cso?I play online fifa 08 and a lot of them say cso how and where can i download it¿¿(")_(")
hi i want free psp games how can i download free psp games to my psp and i have memory card stick and i want to download it to my psp how can i do that thanks plzzz send me a messege from this email address thanks its firstname.lastname@example.org thanks
This information is inaccurate. It is in fact Illegal to hack a PSP, Because, they assume it is being used for downloaded Retail games since the PSP in fact has the ability once it has a custom Firmware.
You are a idiot. You have no idea of what you're talking about. Think twice when you say something you jackass. No offence.
Okay, M&M, you can have your opinion and I can have mine. On the other hand, I have also gotten letters from Sony lawyers about hacking PSPs too, so I can speak with a bit more authority about what Sony thinks is and isn't illegal regarding their PSP and similar devices. It's really not about what we think or what we want, it's all about copyright, patent and other laws.
Oh, and learn to communicate with a bit more respect. You'll do better in life. :-)
I've heard you can relatively easily recover a PSP once its bricked, so bricking isn't a total end-of-the-line death of your PSP, just a minor setback.
The only way you can unbrick your system with my knowledge is throw the pandora battery and the magic memorystick, for either fimwares cfw or ofw.
You realy dont have to worrie about bricking psp slim or fat that both have ofw, because the only way you can do that is if you upgrade to a higher firmware and as the upgrade is going on the battery falls out, which leaves you with 2 option, either you pay sony 89 dollars to get a sreferbised one in 2 weeks or fix your battery and creat a magic memortstick to unbrick it.
email me at email@example.com if you need help unbricking you PSP
Is there anyway that i can use a wireless aircard (one that you would use for a laptop) with my psp?
Well, with Pandora's battery there is a 0% chance of perminantely screwing up your psp. Pandora's battery recovers the psp to official firmware 1.5 so you can upgrade it again.
Pandora's Battery works great but dose anyone know if there is a way to add computer hardware into a psp. Like ram to actully to some cool stuff with it? I'm thinking is would be impossible but knowing some of the stuff people do in this world why not find out.
i am not good with computers if any1 can help i would apriciate it i just want 2 cheat on medal of honor heroes fo psp i kno how 2 make pandora battery but like i said i suck with computers and i need help making a magic memory stik so plz reply i live in connecticut
Hacking your PSP is different than loading custom firmware. Hacking it usually includes taking it apart/physically modifying it, to changing the entire system to something that isn't even close to the original. Putting any custom firmware on it is not hacking it, it will not brick your PSP if done by the directions of the programmers and it will let you play games that you downloaded or made yourself. However, SONY want you to pay for games that they sell, so if you are making your own games, you won't be pouring you money into their pockets, making them very unhappy. So, they started this thing where "CFW will brick your PSP", "CFW is illegal and you shouldn't use it". I use CFW, and I have never been bricked even once.
I another one of those PSP "hackers', which is quite derogatory to our title. A "hacker" is some one who finds a glitch in a set of programming code and exploitts it for the bad. "hacktavist" would better desribe the majority of us. I am a PSP developer, and i make free games/enumulators/IRshell for all to use. The good part of having CFW is so that $0ny doesnt have the Corporate ankle weight around you. $0ny does the same thing as us. wel technically, we do the same as them because the Pandora battery is a reverse engineered battery made to boot into service mode because the PSP recognizes x0fffffff as service mode.
mmmmmmmmmmmLETS SEE SO HACKING IS NOT ILLEGAL SINCE IS MY PSP RIGHT WHY PEOPLE DONT UNDERTAND WHAT WE HACKER DO TO THE WORLD WE ARE NOT TRYING TO RUIN NO ONE WE JUST TRYING TO HELP OTHERS I TINK THAT HACKERS ARE THE BEST AFTER ALL THAT HOW I LIKE MANY PEOPLE CAN PLAY SUPER MARIO BROS3 ON THEIR PSP.!!!
Ok .. now after reading all comments im kinda confused that Psp hacks are harmfull beacuase im getting psp slim after a month n i cant think to buy games in $ ( UMD games) .. soo i want just buy the psp for games (latest or old ones) , some music and thats it .
soo tell me where i can find the Free PSP games that have free of virus , spyware , adware .
next , is the antivirus in the desktop pc have latest uptodate virus defination can detect the virusus or malware in PSP games that is downloaded ?
Im another one of these "PSP hackers" While bricking your psp is a possibility it most likely wont happen. and with a mms "Magic memory stick" and a pandora battery you can unbrick your psp so there really no worry. I have bricked my psp before and fixed it. It was really fun modding my first psp and is still fun today when i mod my friends psp (for money of course :P)
eh... i offered to 'mod' somebodys psp for $$$ ... he sold his instead when i told him he'd need a higher capacity memory stick... nobody i know atall has a psp... hell the 1000 [phat] one i have w/ custom firmware was given to me free after i complained to a friend that i wont be able to mod my slim.. (didnt feel upto making a pandora battery). The phat being mentioned had 2.? firmware at the time... downgrading was really easy, also custom firmware installation and emulator installation... no brick, although i did alot of research first and was really cautious, as i respected the bricking potential... ALSO (worth a mention) i cracked the screen on the phat and replaced that easily aswell in a half hour or so... no need to fear anything regarding messing with your psp aslong as you respect the directions :-p
is this 'thread' dead yet? lol
Is hacking your psp good
for my opinion no..........................
because when i hack my psp 2000 it started to delete some saved file from my old psp 2000 the piano black one
but my father allows me to buy new one psp 1000 oh i wish psp 3000 but my father said its to expensive
i understand my father but now my psp 1000 is okay because i think it will break again my old psp 2000 is still their its now in repair shop 3 days to need to get my psp2000
its not good if you or someone who downgrades your psp is brain dead downright lost at directions. Mine was converted to cfw 5.0, downgraded to 4.01, upgraded again to 5.0 and now settled at 4.01 and it never encountered any brick. All you need is pandora and the magic stick.
If you are attempting to modify your psp without doing your homework, then read the post above me.
I also played alot of games and my save games were never deleted/tampered when the upgrade/downgrade event happened.
Whats good about the hack? Well, try this, you have 10 games you wanna play, wanna buy a stack for that?:) I could mention more, but im too tired of typing.
Well, I have 3 days with my new PSP 3000 and I wanted to know if there's a way of hacking it. I have a 1gb memory stick would that support the hacking process or do i need a greater capacity one? My cousin's friend hacked my cousins psp (the oldest one) and it was perfectly done, he had a 1gb memory stick but he decided to buy a 16gb one. Now he has all this nintendo 64 and gba stuff. I want to hack mine but is there any risk on doing it? I have my warranty for one year!,but would the warranty be blowed off if i hack the psp?
all i want to now is i want to hack my psp slim to play ISO's is it legal or not is it legal to play iso's (internet downloaded games) in my PSP please answer send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Well Honestly Most or acctually all psp in our country (slim or phat) are running in custom firmware, most have a 4G memory or more since most game are in iso. or cso. format download from the internet.
Pls i need your help on how i can hack my PSP without any problem. Pls i am waiting for your reply or send details to my E-mail address: email@example.com. Thanks for ur concern. KENNY GEE SILVER.
it is perfectly legle if you
1. dont sell it(PSP) or give it away.
2. You dont sell or give away the actual software or firmware in the PSP this includes cloning it and giving it out/selling.
I recommend foar any one who is going to download games to
1. dont use Psp 2000+ as they are harder to hack and are worth more if they break i recommend buyin a second hand PSP1000
and lastly 2+ GB memory card to have 2 games as they normally take between 600MB-1.2GB in space
I am going to buy the PSP 3000 in 5 days or so ... i have seen tons of UMD ISO Games that can be downloaded through torrents! can these ISOs be copied onto the Memory Stick and played with the help of Emulators without "BRICKING" the PSP!
does the emulators work properly for the PSP 3000?!
the PSP 3000 is pretty costly in my country and the UMD games too...(Rs.1000) , so would it be a usefull gatdegt , considering downloadable ISO games and having funn!?!?
im one of those psp hackers and i just want to say that i have 2 psps and one i use for trying out new hacks and one for bricking it on purpose.
the one i brick is the one where i find new ways to unbrick and so far i've never fully bricked it.
There are many 2 ways to brick a psp. one way is to mess with the flash files wich is bad so dont likley hood of bricking is 75% of the time. Second way is to simply hack it the wrong way by doing something not insructed by the hack your trying to do. hope this was helpfull
Just got a psp3000 and was given a lot of psp games.iso but cannot find them on the psp? Is there something I need to d/l for the psp to recognize the file...I'll keep searching for ansers.holla.
is their a site out their that can do this automaticly and how do i make a pandora battery with my 1gig memmory card.
is it possible in the near future for the psp 3000 to be hacked?
What does hacking a psp do.
Hacking the PSP is legal but not legit. it is illegit to hack the PSP (sony don't like it). but it's not illegal to hack the PSP, it is what you do after words. for example playing sony games and Nintendo games and other copyrighted games is illegal unless you bought it. I partialy hacked my 3000 with chickHEN. I download games I paid for and ones I didn't I don't care because I hate Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft, apple and all the other rich greedy companys but I like there consoles. so I don't care.
I hacked my psp about 5-6 months ago, and shall i say it was most definetly worth it. let me put the pros and cons for you.
Pros: The ability to download Any game(s) from sites (Pspiso.com for example) and drop them into your memory stick to play them. The ability to play GBA, DS, GBC, and many other consoles by emulating them.
Cons: Bricking - Well i really do not (and i really stress this) DO NOT put Bricking a psp as a con..... really. lets say the chances of bricking your psp were 10% (thats extremely high, average its really 2% at most.) And ooops......... my psp wont start up again what shall i do, you can easily recover your psp back from a bricked state... yes i said it you can, simply load an de-bricker for your psp by followoing tutorials and boom your psp is back to normal.
PlEASE "hack" ur psp its the best thing you could do in ur life.
i dunno how to hack my psp 2000
Hacking a PSP can have good results, and if you DO end up bricking it, you can unbrick it easily. Although I haven't hacked my PSP (yet!!!), I have a friend that did. He put 5.50 GEN D3 on his PSP and played Assassin's Creed on his SP via ISO. But if you don't want to risk the 1% risk of bricking your PSP, you can still play some homebrew via the HBL (Half-byte Loader). Simple; put Patapon 2 Demo on your PSP (100MB), the HBL in the root of your Memstick (ex: "X:/" (assuming that X is your PSP drive)), Get some Homebrew and Viola!!! Some Homebrew on your PSP with 0% chance of bricking!!!
Anyway, back on topic. Hacking your PSP has useful stuff such as:
-CXMB plugin (WAY cooler PSP menu)
-Ability to play ISO games
-Play most old Sony, Nintendo, and other games on your PSP
-Custom text in your PSP menu and internet browser
-A lot more that I'm gonna have to figure out!!!
If you have any questions/comments, e-mail me at "firstname.lastname@example.org" (without quotes!!!)
There is something to be said for hacking a psp currently I've 'hacked' 4 of them but, I have bought every game that I have played on my PSP, why?
because it may be seen as getting free stuff but, downloading a game for free comes with the realisation that eventually quality of games will suffer or possibly not be developed at all because of Piracy.
I make an iso backup of my games and play them from my memory stick, for the obvious reasons of performance - battery and loading times - and I also run emulators for which I use games that I purchased at full price when I was a child and - on this point I know its probably illegal but they are also being illegal in the fact that forcing me to pay again for games I have paid £40+ for 10 years ago adding in inflation I have already paid about £80 in today's money for games that I paid £40 for.
hacking is not illegal, piracy is
please email back to me. i want to learn how to hack a game its self, for free if posible. if you dont know that is ok because i have more important things in life to figure out. plus this is only in my free time any way
recently i hacked my psp 3004 To Version 6.20 TN-B
via patapon 2 demo.
the problem is i cant create the folders like
PHOTO/MUSIC/VIDEO. it says it already exists..
so i made a 'PHOTO' folder on my pc and copied it to my psp and it worked, for 'MUSIC' & 'VIDEO' as well.
but after i copied them..they just disappeared from..i mean i was able to play it on my psp but when i connected it with my pc i was not able to see those PHOTO/MUSIC/VIDEOS.
Regarding the original question "is it legal to hack my sony PSP?", when I first read your question, I got surprised that any one would ask that UNLESS you LEASED your PSP equipment, if you OWNED it, as if you PAID for it and you are the OWNER, I dont see why not?, in that case, you can do anything you want with equipment you OWN, if you destroy it or throw it out the window will you go do jail? nope, no one will care, its your loss, so if you hack your PSP its a much lesser action than the former example therefore no one will care, as I said before, its your own equipment you are free to do with it, if you were NOT free to do as you wish with things you own, then you probably are RENTING it from places like RAC (Rend a Center).
I'll be soon hacking my psp 3000 and i have already downloaded the hack all i need is the adaptor and i am wondering if i should hack it as i don't noe how to make a magic memory stick and a pandira slim battery plz reply
I also wondered that what i heard from my uncle is true as he said that i have to sent it to a shop to hack it and the person in the shop will remove something or add somethig after removing the whole psp and fix it back is that true??
Hay i was upgrading my psp 3001 version 5.50 Gen c full to 6.60.Then i drop it and the batter the battery came out from the psp.I tuen the psp on green lights flashes but nothing appears on my psp's screen.how to i fix this problem e-mail at email@example.com
You don't even need a mms or Pandora Battery. I modded my PSP 3000 with a CFW update (a file that the PSP thinks is a sony update, but installs a CFW). You don't even need to downgrade it, the update actually required the newest update.
I used GODPRO-B Updater if you were wondering, just Google it.
To answer psp036's question, you can unbrick a PSP with a Magic Memory Stick (mms) and Pandora Battery. (You can make your own, but a Pandora Battery requires physically opening a battery and cutting a wire). Just Google it for directions.
I had a psp 3000 that was 6.60, and now it is soft modded and says 6.60 PRO-B9. Just added software. i have emulators and such for 6 systems (nes etc.) and it plays psone isos. i have not ever tried to go on sony psn network with it, as i dont know if id get a ban for it. when i turn it on, it still says and acts factory. I have to run the fast recovery to put it to modded so as i can see the emulators and psone games.it works great. have had no trouble and i played many great psp titles on it. and attn:FERNANDO LOUIS SOH **NOONE OPENED IT UP FOR THAT, as it is a soft mod . took less than an hour
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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