Sony Announces Settlement in GeoHot PS3 Hacking Case
Update: GeoHot has now confirmed that he sent the remainder of what was given to him (approximately $10k) to the EFF (who revealed that he is now under a permanent gag order) and that he has no plans to do any 'anonymous' hacks on Sony products.
Today Sony's Senior Director of Corporate Communications & Social Media Patrick Seybold has announced a settlement in the GeoHot PS3 hacking case, with the ruling issuing a permanent injunction against George Hotz barring him from hacking or collaborating with efforts to hack any Sony product moving forward.
To quote: Joint Statement
Sony Computer Entertainment America ( “SCEA” ) and George Hotz ( “Hotz” ) today announced the settlement of the lawsuit filed by SCEA against Hotz in federal court in San Francisco, California. The parties reached an agreement in principle on March 31, 2011. As part of the settlement, Hotz consented to a permanent injunction.
Both parties expressed satisfaction that litigation had been quickly resolved. “Sony is glad to put this litigation behind us,” said Riley Russell, General Counsel for SCEA. “Our motivation for bringing this litigation was to protect our intellectual property and our consumers. We believe this settlement and the permanent injunction achieve this goal.”
“It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier,” said Hotz, I’m happy to have the litigation behind me.” Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites.
In the action, SCEA accused Hotz of violating federal law by posting online information about the security system in the PlayStation 3 videogame console and software that SCEA claimed could be used to circumvent the security system in the console and allow the playing of pirated videogames. Hotz denies any wrongdoing on his part. Hotz’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction was still pending before the federal court in San Francisco but a preliminary injunction was issued requiring Hotz to take down the postings challenged by SCEA.
“We want our consumers to be able to enjoy our devices and products in a safe and fun environment and we want to protect the hard work of the talented engineers, artists, musicians and game designers who make PlayStation games and support the PlayStation Network,” added Russell. “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”
From the PDF file: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED AND ADJUDGED by consent of the Parties that Hotz, whether as an individual or as a principal, officer, director or employee of any business entity, and his agents, servants, employees, distributors, suppliers, representatives and all other persons or entities acting in concert or participation with Hotz who receive notice of this Judgment, shall be and hereby are permanently enjoined and restrained from:
A. Engaging in any unauthorized access to any SONY PRODUCT under the law;
(i) reverse engineering, decompiling, or disassembling any portion of the Sony Product;
(ii) using any tools to bypass, disable, or circumvent any encryption, security, or authentication mechanism in the Sony Product;
(iii) using any hardware or softare to cause the Sony Product to accept or use unauthorized, illegal or pirated softare or hardware; and
(iv) exploiting any Sony Product to design, develop, update or distribute unauthorized softare or hardware for use with the Sony Product.
According to the settlement documentation, however, GeoHot can hack Sony products again providing he pay a fine of $10,000 and up to $250,000.
Despite the settlement in GeoHot's case, Internet hacking group Anonymous have stated that they plan to continue with their Sony boycott efforts.
In related news, Mathieulh has now tweeted the NPDRM SHA1, to quote:
Mathieulh pac-man DX just hit right now with cracked activation. Someone has this info and is using it. what a coincidence your tweet is.
Finally, George Hotz stated the following on his blog of the ruling: As of 4/11/11, I am joining the SONY boycott. I will never purchase another SONY product. I encourage you to do the same. And if you bought something SONY recently, return it.
Why would you not boycott a company who feels this way about you? There is much more to come on this blog.
I'm curious to what the permanent injunction includes for Hotz. Either way, he'll have to continue hacking anonymously for legal reasons. We'll probably get one of his lackeys bragging about their e-peens whenever he does something again.
This isn't good news for anyone. George has agreed to never hack a Sony product again, or do anything "unauthorized" with them either. His best bet would be to boycott them altogether as the agreed penalties are quite stiff.
As for other hackers, this doesn't help them at all. No legal precendence was set that says says hacking your console is legal. This was a win for Sony as I honestly thought they were going to lose. The fact that they settled tells me they may have saw a loss as a likely outcome.
I don't entirely blame geohot for he decision to settle as the stress of a lawsuit, even one you're likely to win, would be quite the heavy load to handle. That said, I'm pretty disappointed that he collected a legal defense via PayPal under the guise of sticking it to Sony and riding it through to the end. Anyone who donated hoping that collectively we could win this case against Sony gets screwed. Additionally, people will be reluctant to support such a case in the future (against another hacker) since they were already burned once.
In the end, this is no better than the outcomes of lawsuits against MP3 downloaders. The mighty corporation gets to flex their muscles and use the laws in ways they were never designed to be used. The small guy gets crushed and despite being innocent has no choice but to settle and move on with their life.