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Sony Takes Legal Action Against Infamous PS3 Hacker GeoHot


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189w 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
#242 - PS3 News - 180w ago
Another update: [Register or Login to view links]

The latest court documents obtained by PSX-SCENE reveal that the subpoena for information on Geohot's PayPal account may be limited only to parties who sent money and reside in California and only funds that were sent prior to the legal fund donations.

THE COURT: Okay. All right. Well, then, I'll limit it, as requested. I will limit it to documents sufficient to identify any source of funds in California that went into that PayPal account -- any PayPal account associated with
geohot at gmail dor com for the period January 1, '09, to February 1, '11. And ask the plaintiff to redraft their subpoena accordingly.
There is also some clarification in the court transcript as to what Sony will be looking for on Hotz' personal computer.

That's right. We're just trying to establish that that computer somehow hooked up to the PSN; the PlayStation Network. Additionally, we're looking for information, such as any of the Sony Developer Kit tools that might be contained on that computer. That information would only be distributed by Sony Computer Entertainment America, and would establish contacts between SCEA and Mr. Hotz.

...at the end of the day, he would have something belonging to SCEA that he should have licensed.

And one of his contentions is that he's not aware of Sony Computer Entertainment America being in California. And we believe that the SDK -- the developer's kit -- would contain information showing him that SCEA is in California.

costocart's Avatar
#241 - costocart - 181w ago
"...that allow Playstation owners to gain complete control of their consoles..."

Logic is only a state of mind...

tsampiras's Avatar
#240 - tsampiras - 181w ago
only in America..

PSPSwampy's Avatar
#239 - PSPSwampy - 181w ago
Remember when Sony sued Geohot and demanded that YouTube hand over the user info of all the folks who posted comments to Geohot's PS3 jailbreak video? Well, score a victory for SCEA, as the judge overseeing the case's jurisdictional discovery process has ruled that Sony can get what it wanted - information from: Bluehost (who hosts Geohot's website) regarding who downloaded the jailbreak, Twitter regarding any tweets made by Hotz, Google Blogspot regarding comments made on his blog, and the aforementioned YouTube user data.

Keep in mind that Sony's getting this information to show that many of the downloaders and commenters are from Northern California and that Hotz's hacking efforts were aimed at Californians - meaning the case should remain in the Bay Area instead of moving to New Jersey where Geohot hacked his PS3.

With this new information at its disposal, Sony's better equipped to oppose Hotz's motion to dismiss in a hearing early next month, but this doesn't mean the company will succeed in its bid to keep the litigation a West Coast affair. We'll have to wait and see if this latest victory helps Sony win the war. Stay tuned.

Source: Engadget.com

WheedWhack3R's Avatar
#238 - WheedWhack3R - 182w ago
I can't stand this or defend $0Ny anymore. In light of recent events and the legal stuff over from $0Ny violating the privacy act signed into law by Bill Clinton , I just sold my ps3 and Bought an LG Bluray player. I traded the other for an XBox 360 with Kinect and it kicks the crap out of the PS move! That fascist hypocrisy of a company $0Ny just lost a paying customer for good!

They are like politicians, They wear their suits on upside down and talk out of their rear. They have gone too far. The real reason they are afraid of graf chokolo and the other people that $0Ny is sueing is that they helped reveal to the world that the P$3 is built on stolen technology that $0NY was trying to hide.

LG will get my business from now on. I will miss out on Uncharted 3 and a few other games I was looking forward to buying but in light of what has recently happened, I can't morally support a back handed fascist company out for world domination. Besides that Knowing what features were removed in the past, The LG blu ray playing tech lawsuit will result in $0Ny removing Blu Ray playback from their system software in future updates.

First they steal Linux, then backward compatibility, then various features I loved, and Now I find out all along $0ny was selling stolen tech and making fools out of the consumer. I was put off from getting an XBox due to RROD, but now that seems to be fixed and plus the games are cheaper on that platform. I am loving halo 3, Prey, mass effect 2 without glitches and the glitch free Orange box.

I am not ever buying from $0NY again. Just the thought of it makes me sick anyway back to Halo3. Don't buy from $0Ny cause the Ps3 will be illegal in the UK, and all of North America soon, I feel bad for the devs that planed on releasing software for it.

They better get full compensation from $0Ny for this BS Dictators that bribe the courts do not deserve our respect or money!! Supporting them is a crime!! I wont be a part of it any more! once again they lost another costumer!! $0Ny... right here buddy, right here.

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