Sony Takes Legal Action Against Infamous PS3 Hacker GeoHot
Update #5: According to ArsTechnica via Groklaw, 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, Wired now reports Sony is preparing to inspect GeoHot's hard drive.
Update #3: GeoHot 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 Arstechnica.comGeoHot 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 Illstondenied 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 Engadget 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 mirrored 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.
• 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...
old front page, with relevant info removed, is here
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 fellow hacker 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."
PSX-Scene 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 Marcan42: "Ah, so Sony decided to sue everyone under US law. Guess I won't be visiting the US in a while..."
From fail0verflow: "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: 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