Legal risks are an important factor to consider in using social media within the business and also external parties using social media outside of the business. Risks from internal use can be easily managed through the implementation of a usage policy which outlines what employees can and cannot do in regards to the usage of the social systems. However the external parties require a much more different approach which can require the business to act swiftly to solve customers’ problems and provide excellent service in order to avoid bad PR.
This article will focus on possible legal risks Datel faces due to the emerging social technologies.
Datel was founded in the 1980s by Miles Gordon and is primarily based in the UK with offices also located in the US. Datel are primarily a game console peripheral manufacturer and are most well-known for their cheat devices. Already this brings the company into a gray area in regards to legality as many of their recent products require exploiting the systems and bypassing security measures put in place by the manufacturers.
So how can social media because legal risks for Datel?
Since the company are involved in a great amount of reverse engineering gaming devices there is the possibility of leakage of information from an employee. This has the potential to impact the business as they open themselves to being sued from the device manufacturers for releasing confidential information related to the system.
External parties are also able to utilize the cheat devices sold by Datel and use them to bypass security protections of games and systems. This can include but is not limited to disabling anti-piracy systems, unlocking paid DLC content and transforming a demo of a game into a full version. These all impact the game developers and can reduce game sales. Whilst Datel may not directly involved they are still providing the products which enable this to happen.
In fact the use of social media by Datel has recently lead to legal threats from Sony. Datel announced (via MaxConsole) that they had exploited the PSP’s boot process and developed a product which puts a Sony PSP-3000 into service mode. This has the potential to allow the PSP to run unsigned (homebrew) code and piracy on the system. Due to this announcement Sony were able to get in contact with Datel and put a stop to the product release threatening legal action. This resulted in the loss of many sales and time wasted on the development of the product. Datel however re-designed their product removing the hardware which enabled service mode on the PSP-3000 and re-released under a new name (more information).
Whilst this particular legal threat didn’t lead to anything, Datel have been involved in a number of other legal situations which have been on the rise over the past few years. The number of legal threats will continue to rise as game piracy and online cheating becomes more prevalent and companies employ fiercer security techniques and DRM in their systems.
More information about Datel’s colourful legal past can be found on their Wikipedia page.