Lawyers representing George Hotz (geohot) have moved for a dismissal of Sony's case against him, citing lack of jurisdiction in California.
The only evidence it has put forth to prove Mr. Hotz has entered the PSN Agreement is an improperly authenticated screen shot of a PSN Network account with the username “Geo1Hotz.” Declaration of Gilliland Exh. A. Mr. Hotz does not own or have access to this account.
Mr. Hotz does not live in Rhode Island, does not use the name “Geo1Hotz” which, in contrast to Mr. Hotz‟s common handle, utilizes capital letters and a numeral, and Mr. Hotz was not born in 1995 as in the screen grab. Id. Sony further falsely states that Mr. Hotz is “reffered to online as „GeoHot.‟” This is untrue. All exhibits submitted by Sony purport to show that Mr. Hotz goes by the internet name “geohot” without any capitalized letters or numerals.
In the present case, Sony cannot demonstrate that Mr. Hotz‟s activity could even arguably be construed as expressly aimed at California. To the contrary, the sole alleged tortious activity alleged in this action involves Mr. Hotz-- who is located in New Jersey-- purportedly improperly accessing portions of his own Playstation Computer-- which is also located in New Jersey. Sony's primary allegation is that Mr. Hotz violated the circumvention provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) by allegedly circumventing control access to the Playstation Computer.
Sony also includes various other inexplicable claims for good measure, including Mr. Hotz violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the California Computer Crime Law for allegedly "exceeding access" to Mr. Hotz's very own Playstation Computer, as well as for Mr. Hotz purportedly "trespassing" on the very Playstation Computer he lawfully purchased and owns. Sony also alleges that, by engaging in such conduct, Mr. Hotz has breached the PSN TOS (which is actually not applicable to Mr. Hotz as demonstrated above). Nonetheless, this suit centers around the allegation that Mr. Hotz improperly accessed portions of his Playstation Computer.
Sony thinks that an unnamed defendant called “Bushing” resides in California but this person remains a Doe defendant, is not named as a defendant, and has not been served with process. Further, all evidence put forth by Sony regarding “Bushing” is improperly authenticated hearsay. This court should not rely on Sony‟s speculation of a Does defendant‟s place of residence to assert jurisdiction over a nonresident who is actually named with an address that has been identified, in New Jersey. Further evidence in this matter is found primarily on the internet.
Contrary to Sony‟ assertions, most of the physical evidence and Mr. Hotz himself, are located in the state of New Jersey. The bulk of Sony‟s claims regard evidence found on Mr. Hotz‟s media devices and in Mr. Hotz‟s testimony as a witness. Other than those items, the bulk of the evidence Sony puts forth may be found on the internet which is accessible just as easily in New Jersey as in California.
Sony relies on the unsubstantiated residency of the unnamed defendant “Bushing” as a basis for California being the best forum. However, “Bushing” has not been identified, named, served, or connected with Mr. Hotz in any way that would warrant bringing the only identifiable defendant out to California.
If “Bushing” does exist and can be ascertained at a later date, Sony would have to amend the complaint to properly name him/her which has not occurred. Thus, New Jersey is an alternative forum that exists to provide Sony with adequate relief. If Sony can obtain jurisdiction by merely including a hypothetical defendant by the name of “Bushing” that may live in California, then any Plaintiff can file suit in California and obtain jurisdiction by adding “Bushing” as a defendant.