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Sony Takes Legal Action Against Infamous PS3 Hacker GeoHot


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197w ago - Update #5: According to [Register or Login to view links] via [Register or Login to view links], GeoHot and Sony now share same charge as a result of a PS3 OtherOS class-action lawsuit.

To quote: "One of Sony's defenses is rather interesting, as the company claims that it had no way of knowing gamers who bought the hardware would want to use these functions for the life of the system, and the multiple warranties and Terms of Service all said that Sony had the right to remove functions from the hardware."

Update #4: The latest documents reveal Judge Susan Illston has denied Sony's request for expedited discovery, essentially meaning Sony can't send out the subpoenas to other PS3 hackers mentioned previously, however, [Register or Login to view links] reports Sony is now preparing to inspect GeoHot's hard drive.

Update #3: [Register or Login to view links] has now updated his site with the following, to quote: "As of 2:00 PM EST, 1/14/2011, I am not subject to any TROs" followed by legal documents citing a request for dismissal by lawyers representing George Hotz and concluded with more legal documents now granting Sony the TRO although according to [Register or Login to view links] GeoHot laywers are now filing a motion to dismiss the TRO.

So, although there is still a court case to go through essentially what this means is US District Judge Susan Illston [Register or Login to view links] the temporary restraining order telling Sony to prove their case first, leaving the burden of proof upon them while Sony documents now allege George Hotz has a PSN account.

Update #2: Some videos of GeoHot on G4's Attack of the Show which aired at 7PM EST tonight are now available below, with his motion for temporary restraining order rescheduled for Friday, January 14, 2011 at 9:00 am.

Update: While [Register or Login to view links] now classifies the legal action as a restraining order as GeoHot hires a lawyer from Ettorney Law who previously won big cases against the RIAA and MPAA, Research Professor of Computer Science David S. Touretzky at Carnegie Mellon University has now [Register or Login to view links] the GeoHot file archive calling the bluff of Sony's legal team.

It appears infamous PS3 hacker GeoHot aka George Hotz is now in hot water himself along with 27C3 lecturers and fail0verflow members Marcan aka Hector Martin and sven aka Sven Peter and 100 John Does, as posted on IRC and his site Sony Computer Entertainment has now filed suit against him.

Charges include:

•18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(2)(C) - Confidential Information On Computer
•18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(4) - Intent To Defraud And Obtain Value
•18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(5)(A) - Knowing Transmission of Code
•18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(5)(B) and (C) - Intentional and Reckless Damage And Loss
•18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(6)(A) - Trafficking in Password
•18 U.S.C. 1030(a)(7)(B) - Intent to Extort

To quote from his site: "As of 1/11/2011 7:20 PM EST, I have been served with papers, see below...

[Register or Login to view links]
[Register or Login to view links]
[Register or Login to view links]

old front page, with relevant info removed, is [Register or Login to view links]

contact me geohot ... gmail

any legal fund donation things you see are 100% fake as of now, don't get scammed"

Sony claims to have sent GeoHot a $1 donation for his PS3 hacking work, and from the legal docs, to quote: "Upon information and belief, Defendant George Hotz is bound by the Playstation Network Terms of Service and User Agreement (the PSN User Agreement), 14 of which states in relevant part that both parties submit to personal jurisdiction in California and further agree that any 23 dispute arising from or relating to this Agreement shall be brought in a court within San Mateo County, California.

The FAIL0VERFLOW Defendants intentionally circumvented SCEA's TPMs, accessed the PS3 System and trafficked in Circumvention Devices and SCEA's proprietary information, with full knowledge that their unlawful conduct would irreparably harm SCEA.

Indeed, five days prior to appearing at the Chaos Conference, Bushing echoed a [Register or Login to view links] comment anticipating this irreparable harm: Last chance to sell any Sony stock you may have.

By distributing the Circumvention Devices discussed herein, Hotz has caused irreparable injury and damage to SCEA. Russell Decl. at 9-10. Recognizing the harmful impact of his unlawful conduct on SCEA and attempting to leverage his circumvention activities, Hotz addressed SCEA when he posted the Metldr Keys. Bricker Decl. at 22, Exh. U.

In an attempt to obtain employment, he wrote: "if you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me." Id.

Furthermore, in a January 6, 2011 interview with the BBC, Hotz acknowledged that his conduct will catalyze the piracy of video games: "I hate that it enables piracy." Id. at 27, Exh. Z.

Despite feigning disturbance resulting from the proliferation of piracy, Hotz then went on to release 3.55 Firmware JailBreak and the Signing Tool - both components of Circumvention Devices that are designed to facilitate videogame piracy.

Finally, SCEA will likely prevail on its claim under 1030(a)(7)(B), which prohibits intent to extort from any person any money or other thing of value by threatening to obtain information from a protected computer without authorization or in excess of authorization or to impair the confidentiality of information obtained from a protected computer without authorization or by exceeding authorized access. Hotz violated this provision when, in the same post in which the published SCEA's Keys, he attempted to obtain from SCEA thing of value in the form of employment: if you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me."

[Register or Login to view links] has also posted some additional court documents and the following, to quote: "My Wikileaks Fax machine just finished dumping the finished E-filings for today by Sony, with the official Court Stamp and Signings, and included now is what SCEA wants to claim in damages and their reasons, and dates of when the info was released by Team Fail0verflow and Geohot and various other info like sharing of work via twitter, posting youtube videos, etc."

From [Register or Login to view links]: "Ah, so Sony decided to sue everyone under US law. Guess I won't be visiting the US in a while..."

From [Register or Login to view links]: "Looks like Sony decided to ignore the facts and sue us all for it. See http://geohot.com/."

GeoHot on IRC: (IPs/other users/etc removed)

geohot: [Register or Login to view links]
geohot: they expect me to be in SF tomorrow at 9am :/
geohot: they also say i am taking donations, which i am not
geohot: and that i have a twitter, which i do not
geohot: moving to spain :P
geohot: old index page and jailbreak.zip has been restored to geohot.com
geohot: i assure you i am takely this matter very seriously
geohot: after reading the documents and consulting with my legal team, i have decided to repost the information and jailbreak
geohot: the tro is proposed, not signed
geohot: if the court signs off on the tro, i will comply with the courts decision
geohot: whats ironic is the program to get the metldr key was run under otheros
geohot: 100% legally
geohot: on 3.15
geohot: nothing was circumvented









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Comments 262 Comments - Go to Forum Thread »

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PS3 News's Avatar
#262 - PS3 News - 186w ago
Some more legal doc updates (courtesy of [Register or Login to view links]) are attached below, which include GeoHot's laywers response refuting Sony's claims that the "blickmaniac" PSN account belongs to him.

jmthiphop's Avatar
#261 - jmthiphop - 187w ago
i think he has been already employed by Sony's Security division.

pig098's Avatar
#260 - pig098 - 187w ago
Quote Originally Posted by B4rtj4h View Post
That was not George that made that account... it was me! I was visiting him...

Not really much to stand on there... who is gonna claim that it was George himself that made the account? Maybe his friend made it -.-?

Yea... i bet they use the same logic in other court cases... "i know you found the evidence under my bed, but i am telling ya... it was my friend" Come on dude...
Quote Originally Posted by geowrian View Post
I'm really not trying to be mean here, but you have no idea what you are talking about. In particular...

Ummm you are wrong. If Sony does win, Geo can get some jail time.. they are all in the documents.

But i agree with you on one thing... the case is still very early.

What i really find funny is that this guy is having a time of his life in South America with all that money he received for "legal fees".

geowrian's Avatar
#259 - geowrian - 187w ago
Quote Originally Posted by zagan View Post
Geohot won't get out of this and will get wiped on the floor, that is the end result of this court case. His lawyers are clutching at straws trying to get out of this case but it won't work.

I'm really not trying to be mean here, but you have no idea what you are talking about. In particular:

1) This is still in the early stages. they are still in the discovery stage, with a neutral party facilitating the transfer of items and information. I hardly think that qualifies "His lawyers are clutching at straws trying to get out of this case..."

2) I'm not quite sure how jail time comes into the equation here - he was not arrested nor accused of committing a crime at this point. He is being sued. You can't go to jail just for being sued. Actually, anybody can be sued for anything...it really doesn't mean anything until the judge makes a final ruling (and then appeals can kick in).

3) This is a civil suit, so there is no "fee" for him to pay, other than normal court fees. Beyond that, he has to pay his lawyer's fees, but that's a business contract, not a judicial fee. Additionally, you can't go to jail (in the US) for an inability to pay. If he has the ability to pay and a court order to do so, that's different. But if he cannot afford to pay it, he's not legally required to pay it over personal needs. Actually, if SCEA wins and the court orders a huge sum to pay, he could just claim bankruptcy and likely get it discharged. Then SCEA can't even come after him.

4) By that logic, there's really no reason to support anybody challenging a DCMA suit. I agree that the DMCA is horrible and should be rewritten, but that doesn't mean money going towards defending people accused of violating it is being wasted. Maybe there are better DMCA-related causes, but personally, I want to see how this plays out.

Neo Cyrus's Avatar
#258 - Neo Cyrus - 187w ago
Typical Sony and their "Lose millions to make thousands and scare some people" tactics.

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