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Settlement in George Hotz Case

Patrick Seybold's Avatar + Posted by Patrick Seybold on Apr 11, 2011 // Sr. Director, Corporate Communications & Social Media

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.”

//Add Your Own

258 Comments

101

+ blakseed on April 11th, 2011 at 10:59 am said:

@Unchained

That’s a toollish comment. I don’t remember being promised Other OS and I didn’t cry when it was taken away. I don’t feel wronged at all because I’m getting what I’m after and the next thing I’m after drops on April 19th. Hope to see you online. Or not.


102

+ ShadowWedge on April 11th, 2011 at 11:00 am said:

How unfortunate, I would have preferred to be able to run OtherOS on my machine again. I just wish people were less ignorant about the issues in this case (hint: in-game hacking was around independently of this). Speaking as someone who’s done homebrew on the GBA/DS (and know people who did homebrew on the PS3 until the removal of OtherOS), this is unfortunate.


103

+ Gvazelite on April 11th, 2011 at 11:01 am said:

@blakseed:

It was advertised as a feature, people bought it for that reason. In some places like the EU, this is illegal.

Stop being ignorant, you’re not the only one living on this world


104

+ blakseed on April 11th, 2011 at 11:04 am said:

@Gvazelite

How am I being ignorant? I’m pretty sure others agree with me on this. Are they ignorant for not jumping on the Sony hate bandwagon for no reason too?


105

+ TheL1T1G4T0R on April 11th, 2011 at 11:07 am said:

@UnchainedT

Goodbye. Thanks for coming.

CONCERING GEOHOT…

Apparently the permanent injunction means that Geohot can NEVER use a Sony product again! He tried to cover this up by saying he’s boycotting Sony.

GREAT! If everybody like him and UnchainedT leave, we’ll get cheaper pricing next generation and more customers will flock to Sony products.


106

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 11:08 am said:

1. Anyone saying they frequently used “Other OS” are probably one of these 3 people.

a. Liars
b. Hackers
c. A proponent of one day having his PS3 “jailbroken”.

2. I’m so tired of hearing people try to justify hacking by saying they bought the PS3 so they should be able to do what they want with it. If someone wanted to bedazzle his PS3 and make it sparkly, then yes, I agree. It’s yours. Have fun. But just because someone buys his PS3 does NOT give them the right to mess up others online playing experience. And it definitely doesn’t give them the right to post how to hack it all over the internet thereby making cheating even more prevalent online.

3. The people who can’t comprehend this are more than likely little teenager punks who have never had to stand up for something in their life.


107

+ Guardian_Bob on April 11th, 2011 at 11:14 am said:

@94
d) none of the above: http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-air-playstation-3s-supercomputer.html

No one is advocating messing up consumer’s online experience, in fact I condom people who do. Nor do I hate Sony, I just find the their legal actions to be heavy handed and appalling.


108

+ R0ckMuncher22 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:14 am said:

It’s a shame they didn’t drag his sorry ass through court. As a gamer I HATE freeloaders, even worse freeloaders that hide behind “consumers rights” “homebrew” and other terms that try and legitimize their actions.

You can also bet serious money that alot of the anti-Sony hate that is going on recently is being fueled by a rather large American company that are all too keen to sell their inferior games console to consumers.

If people want to talk Consumer Rights, why not talk about that large American company that opted to rush their console out early chock full of faults and then resell consumers another working model a couple of years down the line. 50m console sales and 25m gamers….


109

+ ColdStorage on April 11th, 2011 at 11:16 am said:

The majority of the comments appearing here make it apparent that many of you don’t even understand what was happening or what the case was about.

Sheeple.


110

+ damaged_case on April 11th, 2011 at 11:17 am said:

my favorite part is how some folks think it’s the same to destroy the hardware (a person mentioned running over his PS3 and setting it on fire if he wants) to using licensed software. yes. you own the hardware and can do with it what you want. hell… disassemble it and make a router out of it if you want. but you don’t own the software needed to run a PS3 as a PS3. Sony does, and they give you permission to use it on your PS3. on their terms. that you agree to when you agree to the EULA. software and hardware are not the same. you own the hardware. you do not, and will not ever, own the software. that copy of Windows? you don’t own that. you buy a license to use it. all software you buy is exactly like that. and the companies that actually OWN the software can alter it at their own descretion, adding and removing things they feel like adding and removing, and by accepting the EULA you say “i’m cool with that”.


111

+ spartan5585 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:20 am said:

good work SCEA, glad it was worked out peacefully with everybody satisfied in the end, and hopefully hotz has learned his lesson, its not fair to sony/ playstation fans like myself, that there are people out there abusing the legal rights to use the playstation 3 in such a cheap way. everybody person involved in making work hard to make great games for us to enjoy, and to have people like hotz do something like that is a slap in the face to those people who make these great playstation games. and im glad that SCEA is working hard to crack down people who pirate games and all other forms of media, makes me feel safe that sony protecting our rights to be able to use the PS3. thanks SCEA…me and all the millions of sony fans thank you.


112

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 11:20 am said:

This is a big hit to consumers. Look i like Sony but since the PS3 they have been pissing people off with the choices they been making.

PS3 comes out with Other OS. That gets taken away when it was a feature in a product that we payed for.

PSP go comes out. Got everyone hyped about the ability to turn in their UMD’s for digital versions oh that game. That gets “killed” a few days before the release of the PSP go. Over half a year of hyping up PSP Go’s UMD exchange program just to kill it before the system goes live. Then they tell PSP Go owners that all future PSP games will also be in digital format. We all have seen and still seen that that has been a lie. Im really interested in seeing how all the “NGP” features will be confirmed now for being in the system, only to take away those features right before the system will launch.

(continues on next post)


113

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 11:21 am said:

This “settlement” is just showing exactly how messed up a law system is. That anyone will loads of money to throw around to every senator, judge, and so on, can get away with anything in this world.

Hell i bet if Sony started taking away more features of the PS3, like FREE PSN service, everyone would just role over and accept the fact that their once “do everything” machine, cant even do 75% of what it was supposed to do from the start.

sigh…… sometimes i really wonder about consumers out there…..

(stupid 1200 limit in the blog lmao)


114

+ scrawn on April 11th, 2011 at 11:21 am said:

@50 The purpose of Sony’s EULA should be nothing more than a way of saying, “If you mod, you can’t access the network any more,” preventing the user from any legal recourse against Sony when they remove that access. It should not be used by Sony as the basis of legal action against an individual or group of individuals.

MS wouldn’t get away with taking features away from desktop PCs running Windows if you took it online. It should be just the same for Sony with their games consoles.

@53 It’s not about modding, it’s about Sony removing Other OS if you want to continue use of PSN. If you mod, then sure, banning from PSN would be fair. But you shouldn’t have to mod to put back something Sony saw fit to take away on a whim. Also: Really bad analogy. You don’t own the bank, the building or its contents, so of course you can’t just do what you want; but you do own the PS3, it is your property.

@55 Pfft, this was a rare occurrence before. Why would it be any different now?

@83 Yeah, that’s completely different to removing features that were advertised when they originally bought their hardware, that’s totally reasonable.


115

+ UnchainedT on April 11th, 2011 at 11:22 am said:

@blakseed

Did you read the WHOLE comment? Let’s review. Hacking does not equal cheating. If I take my PS3 offline, what right does Sony then have to say that I can’t do it? How does effect anyone else?

I’m not a teenager, I’m an adult, (with an MBA at that). I comprehend what is happening. What you seem to think is that just because you agree to terms that say you can’t do it, that those terms are legal. We all know from previous lawsuits (cell phone contracts come to mind) that just because you sign something, doesn’t mean it’s legal. Carriers have had parts of their terms and agreements changed by the government because parts of it were found illegal.

But my question still stands: If I take my PS3 offline, what right does Sony then have to say that I can’t do it? How does effect anyone else?


116

+ damaged_case on April 11th, 2011 at 11:24 am said:

@81

they already COULD remove features at will. this settlement changes nothing.
read the damn EULA you agreed to.

also, i recommend you inform yourself what it actually means to license software.


117

+ jasoncourt on April 11th, 2011 at 11:26 am said:

I have no idea if posting this here is any part of the settlement, but it is nice to see the PlayStationBlog acknowledge the situation.

I am also, with so many here, glad to see that there has been some resolution. Thanks for keeping things the best you can, Sony, and Playstation guys. I know it must have been a trying time for some folks. We appreciate our PS3 and PSN support…not that we don’t always want more ;)


118

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 11:26 am said:

@ Mixedkidbx

If they started charging for the PSN, there’s nothing you can do about it, other than stop using it if you don’t like it.

Why don’t you get mad that Sonys blog only lets you have a 1200 character limit?! You bought your computer, you should be able to type as much as you want, right?! Sue them!!

Oh yeah, you can’t. It’s SONY’S blog. They’re just letting you use it.

(rolls eyes)


119

+ R0ckMuncher22 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:26 am said:

Sometimes I am astounded at the stupidity of some people, right now is one of these times.

There are users here that seem to think that Sony are at fault for removing OtherOS. They clearly need a reminder.

OTHEROS WAS REMOVED BECAUSE A CERTAIN PERSON WAS USING IT TO TRY AND HACK THE SYSTEM.

If you want to blame someone blame that individual, he is the same person that Sony settled with today…. He is the only reason you no longer have OtherOS.


120

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 11:29 am said:

@mxpxboy

lol wow….. how old are you?


121

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 11:33 am said:

@mixedkidbx

Older than you, apparently. I would just about guarantee that the majority of people mad at Sony are under 25. Pretty sure that once you grow up and mature, you’d actually fully comprehend what’s going on here and see things differently. Or one would hope so, anyway.


122

+ loadstone007 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:34 am said:

I really oppose PS3 piracy. I enjoy my PS3 very much, and think the game studios and Sony deserve my support. If not for them, it would be much more boring.


123

+ Heavenly_king on April 11th, 2011 at 11:35 am said:

GO SONY!!!!


124

+ DeathGazer on April 11th, 2011 at 11:37 am said:

Now all the hackers feel betrayed by Hotz…lol

Beautiful work, Sony.


125

+ Teus on April 11th, 2011 at 11:38 am said:

@ scrawn

You may own the hardware but you do not own the software that runs it… that my friend is still sony’s intellectual property, which comes with an agreement attached to it which you must agree to to be able to continue using the ps3, within that agreement it states what you can and cannot do.. and im sorry it does not allow you to modify the software…

also in the agreement it does state sony may add or REMOVE any feature that it deems necessary. i am sad that otheros had to be removed but it was done to ensure the security of the console… because of geohotz sony was convinced that we can not be trusted to have such a useful feature so they took it away..

if geohotz didnt hack the system to allow you to do more with otherOS we probably would of still had the feature to this day, now i admit geohotz may hacve not intended to use this for piracy, but what he has done can be used to start piracy… it seems that people have forgotten about the psp and how piracy started on the psp…


126

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 11:40 am said:

@mxpxboy

punk im almost 33 years old. sorry im not like you and bending over to please a company and praise them for every feature they wanna take away from consumers.

My god you must be one of those people where you could find a dead rat in your food and you would just eat around it like nothing happen. LMAO.

Trying to belittle people because they disagree with an outcome. I didnt know we lived in a country where we all had to have the same thinking.

No i never used the Other OS feature on my PS3, BUT that in no way means that im happy having that feature taking away from me in order for me to keep using the PSN.

Seriously, i wish one damn real lawyer would step up and speak the truth about EULA’s. Are people in this world that stupid to not know that ALL laws have loop holes, and most companys know how to work those loop holes against consumers.


127

+ R0ckMuncher22 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:45 am said:

@mixedkidbx if you are 33 then act like it. A grown up should know the difference between legal and illegal, moral and immoral, and know that everyone, including corporations deserve the right to protect their investments.

Only a child would think otherwise.


128

+ crono782 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:48 am said:

Ya know, I bought a Ford SUV last year. When I brought it in for routine maintenance, the dealership mechanics kindly informed me that Ford had decided that Anti-Lock Brakes were no longer a needed feature on my shiny new vehicle and disabled them despite the fact that I was sold said vehicle under the impression of the Anti-Lock Brake feature.

Thankfully, the reversal of the dealership disabling was very easy to do. I posted my findings and results to my blog for other enthusiasts who only wanted their Anti-Lock Brakes back.

Ford subsequently sued me into oblivion for sharing my information and experiences. I now only live in a van down by the river. :(

*of course the above story is entirely false and ludicrous, but explains my feelings adequately.* I purchased my PS3 under the assumption of certain services and features and expected those to remain. This was about freedom of information/First Sale rights and rebelling against perceived “tyranny”. Had this been the other way around and PSN was dropped in favor of OtherOS, this comment thread would be quite different.

Still, I AM glad to see this litigation at an end. Slinging mud was good for neither party. :D


129

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 11:51 am said:

@Rockmuncher22

Hey with that thinking how about you let me sell you product and then take away features and not let you use the product that you bought, unless you “agree” to having said features gone.

It’s sad how one track minded so many people are…… lol. Thanks for the laugh most of this blog is giving me.


130

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 11:53 am said:

@mixedkidbx

Like I said. If you never used “Other OS”, but you’re mad they took it out, then you’ve got to be mad because you were a proponent of CFW on your PS3. There’s no way one would be this upset about something they never even used before being taken out, unless they secretly have a reason to be upset.

So is that it? You’re mad because now that custom firmware you’ve been waiting for to come out forever won’t be coming out? Awww. Poor you.

For me and millions of other PS3 owners, I’m very happy that I can now game online without stupid cheaters ruining my online experience playing a game that I PAID FOR!

You think those of us who have paid for a game to play online without fear of cheaters deserve to have that taken from us just so hackers can have their “Other oS” back?! See, people like you love to jump up and down ranting and raving about “the consumers rights” when they overlook other people rights first.


131

+ R0ckMuncher22 on April 11th, 2011 at 11:56 am said:

@mixedkidbx

Ever have a cableTV package where they removed a channel that nobody wanted? Thought so…

OtherOS was always pretty naff, VERY slow and of limited use, Its a surefire bet that 99% of the people complaining never actually used it, just like they don’t know it was removed as a direct result of GeoHot hacking it.


132

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 11:57 am said:

@mxpxboy

FYI you might wanna be careful about throwing around false accusations. You do realize i could sue you for slander. Finding out who you are by your PSN ID is something a lawyer could do easily.


133

+ Guardian_Bob on April 11th, 2011 at 11:58 am said:

@mxpxboy

Really.

This prevents lag switches/custom controllers? What about in-game cheats like finding a way under the map? This address that too? This seems more like a rationalization for blind fandom rather than a response based on logic an reason.


134

+ ShadowWedge on April 11th, 2011 at 11:58 am said:

@mxpxboy
“I’m very happy that I can now game online without stupid cheaters ruining my online experience playing a game that I PAID FOR!”

You realise that the cheaters were cheating without using hacks from this, right? That most of the hacks were due to hacking saves etc. that are easily transferred without any of the information this lawsuit was about? Hint: there will still be hackers. You didn’t get anything out of this settlement.


135

+ ShadowWedge on April 11th, 2011 at 11:59 am said:

Sorry, I messed up my last comment. The second last sentence should read: “Hint: there will still be cheaters.”


136

+ hasaclue on April 11th, 2011 at 12:01 pm said:

Hotz simply made us able to create our own packages for our playstations. Who is sony to decide who is allowed to develop on their console? The free homebrew available for any system isn’t going to be as good as what’s paid to be developed. Even linux doesn’t have any good free games that can compete with what the studios create.

When the PS3 was cracked by hotz he intentionally left the ability for copied games out of his hack. 99.9% of the people out there aren’t smart enough to fix this. Most cheating is done because of the peer to peer nature of the PSN and is done via software proxies, not modded or hacked hardware.

I certainly hacked my ps3 and refuse to upgrade. I’ve not installed anything on it other then the exploit, and probably wont considering the lack of things available. I do -not- pirate games.


137

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 12:02 pm said:

Yes, but it was no where near as rampant.


138

+ Totalbull on April 11th, 2011 at 12:02 pm said:

I totally agree! It’s a bunch of brainwashed Sony geeks trying
to defend a company that sells you a product with features and
unlike every other company they actually take those features away!!

You are so classically brainwashed to listen to only the Sony side of the
story. Seriously turn off your crapstations and go outside…. yes that’s
the real world!


139

+ BugMeNot44 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:03 pm said:

@mixedkidbx I bet cableTV channels have been removed because they suck….

OtherOS sucked, it was rubbish, nobody used it, nobody cared, until Sony removed it because GeoHot was trying to hack the PS3 with it.


140

+ BugMeNot44 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:06 pm said:

@Totalbull Not as bad as some misguided freedom fighters… I bet you sent GeoHot some PayPal money LOL….


141

+ Dante989 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:07 pm said:

Honestly… i think Anon’s actions may have somehow contributed to this settlement.
PSN having so many maintenance issues since Anon decided to take action against Sony for the lawsuit, then almost half the PS3 community came out and blamed Geo for Anon’s actions.


142

+ kevballs on April 11th, 2011 at 12:07 pm said:

Ok, i’ve been reading some of the comments on here regarding “we bought the ps3, it’s ours, not sony’s, we can do anything we want with it”
That is true, we buy the hardware ie, plastic casing, and everything inside it. We CAN do anything we want with that, make table decorations, smash it, use it as a frisbee, whatever.

However, you DO NOT own the software included with that, that is on “lease” by sony and we have to agree to the t+c to be able to use the services offered. The moment someone changes the code of that software for there own uses and not the ones intended by sony, they are breaking the law.

A way was found (through linux) to open up the full power of the ps3 for use in linux by changing the SOFTWARE.
That is ILLEGAL, and the reason Sony took away Linux from the ps3 in the first place.

Personally, i think an example should have been made of geohot and the full extent of the law should have been brought down upon him, but that’s just me.


143

+ aViciousStapler on April 11th, 2011 at 12:07 pm said:

Reading through half of the comments makes me sick.

Typical Sony, demand everything from Geohot and give nothing in return, what a godawful company, people need to switch over to a company with some credibility.


144

+ Visi_Ace on April 11th, 2011 at 12:08 pm said:

Thanks Sony for fighting to protect the security of our PS3 consoles. Now we can enjoy our legit games in peace.


145

+ kevballs on April 11th, 2011 at 12:10 pm said:

Ok, i’ve been reading some of the comments on here regarding “we bought the ps3, it’s ours, not sony’s, we can do anything we want with it”
That is true, we buy the hardware ie, plastic casing, and everything inside it. We CAN do anything we want with that, make table decorations, smash it, use it as a frisbee, whatever.

However, you DO NOT own the software included with that, that is on “lease” by sony and we have to agree to the t+c to be able to use the services offered. The moment someone changes the code of that software for there own uses and not the ones intended by sony, they are breaking the law.


146

+ mixedkidbx on April 11th, 2011 at 12:10 pm said:

@Dante989

Exactly!!!!


147

+ kevballs on April 11th, 2011 at 12:10 pm said:

A way was found (through linux) to open up the full power of the ps3 for use in linux by changing the SOFTWARE.
That is ILLEGAL, and the reason Sony took away Linux from the ps3 in the first place.

Personally, i think an example should have been made of geohot and the full extent of the law should have been brought down upon him, but that’s just me.


148

+ Dante989 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:11 pm said:

@123…. you came on here just to say that? I think it is you who needs to get out more often.

and for those who think there won’t be any more cheaters… you are mistaken.
there are cheaters online, and always will be cheaters online. The people who cheat, are the people who can’t stand losing and/or are the ones who suck at a particular game.


149

+ FiftyQuid on April 11th, 2011 at 12:13 pm said:

@crono782 – Thanks for your analogy. It’s probably the best one I’ve read. It puts things in perfect perspective.


150

+ DMRCKR on April 11th, 2011 at 12:15 pm said:

I originally wanted a ps3 because of otherOS and because eventually Windows could probably run on it, i mean an hdtv monitor, wireless mouse, keyboard, with the beast ps3 firmware and blu-ray player. Thats a dream media center for me, but i don’t want a ps3 now cause of this mess.

And some commenters here are just cruel, Hotz used otherOS to gain more access to the hardware, not to the ps3 firmware. They took away otherOS, then Hotz tried to get it back but his skills were only sufficient to enable homebrew on the ps3 firmware. Other people used this as an opportunity to exploit games and pirate content. And from what i’ve heard the cheaters didn’t even need cfw to cheat.


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