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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

151

+ Budapesti on April 11th, 2011 at 12:17 pm said:

So many comments on here by people who see everything in black and white, with no room for the gray area that GeoHotz’s hack was largely based in.
NOBODY comes out of this whole fiasco as the ‘good guy’. Both Sony (by removing a function of the PS3 – itself the basis of a lawsuit – and expecting customers to simply accept it) and Hotz, with his tiresome boasting on his blog, come across as arrogant, selfish, control freaks.
For George Hotz, this was never about piracy – rightly or wrongly, he wanted to teach Sony a lesson for the (possibly illegal) act of removing a feature which was, for a minority, the reason they bought the console in the first place. An unfortunate result of his hack was that it opened the door to piracy, much as the custom firmware hacks on PSP have done.
All these Sony fanboys and internet tough guys who claim Hotz should be ‘assassinated’ and whatnot are as pathetic as the Anonymous splinter group who were DOS-ing the PSN last week. Sony is a big, multinational corporation who care about you only so long as you’re spending cash on their product. That’s fine – that product gives us all a lot of pleasure, but the rampant fanboy-ism in this thread is starting to make me feel nauseous.


152

+ cronqvist on April 11th, 2011 at 12:18 pm said:

For those who point out the OtherOS issue: this was never about OtherOS. Remember there was custom firmware out there that allowed the use of OtherOS waaay before Hotz revealed the magic keys to the PS3, and while Sony did apply security measures to prevent it, they never followed legal action against the people making these firmware available.

That being said, props to Sony for settling with Hotz.


153

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 12:18 pm said:

@FilftyQuid

Yeah except for one minor detail. You own the brakes on your car. You don’t own the software in your PS3, as many have stated. You are licensed to use it. Once you make changes to it, Sony is well within it’s legal boundaries to either take it back or change it to protect themselves.

Like I said….minor detail there.


154

+ spelarenjoel on April 11th, 2011 at 12:18 pm said:

Excellent Sony! Keep away the cheaters :D


155

+ DTS_MAN on April 11th, 2011 at 12:23 pm said:

:)


156

+ cparker15 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:25 pm said:

I don’t use Qrocity, the Internet Browser, or PlayStation Home. I also don’t care about trophies. Sony should remove those, too. After all, if I don’t use them, why should anyone else? It shouldn’t matter if you paid for these features. If you use them, you’re not important anyway.

All Hail the Great Sony!


157

+ Visi_Ace on April 11th, 2011 at 12:29 pm said:

If you want OtherOS or Linux, use a PC, it is much better for the purpose. PS3 is for playing legit games.


158

+ WilliamWallace on April 11th, 2011 at 12:30 pm said:

Sony sells the most powerful consumer device ever made, denies the YLOD problem, removes the other OS capability, then locks it up, and prosecutes a man for daring to use his own property (the aforementioned most powerful consumer device ever made) how he chooses. SHAME ON SONY. This whole case has me re-considering owning another sony product. You should too.


159

+ Toddimyre on April 11th, 2011 at 12:32 pm said:

And by the way, I own two PS3s. One of them is completely legit and on the PSN. One of them has brew on it and is not on the PSN (and hopefully going to run Ubuntu here before too long). As a modder, I hate cheaters. You can’t assume just because someone is modding some boring platform that a company refuses to fix that said someone is going to cheat. Oh, FYI: They were cheating in Modern Warfare 2 long before jailbreak ever happened. -2/3-


160

+ ffrr on April 11th, 2011 at 12:32 pm said:

Anyone can edit a game save file and cheat or take their pad apart and instal a rapid fire micro switch, without even thinking about hacking their PS3. Stop using this affair as an excuse. People will ALWAYS cheat regardless.

Anyone can use Linux on their PS3 if they have the right firmware, but they will not be able to use the PSN. anyone can also buy a used PC for under £25 and install linux on that and have more freedom than you would otherwise have on the PS3.

My thoughts on Geohot are divided. What he did (technically) was historic amongst certain minority groups, but how he went about what he did was too cavalier and this is where we are now. Mistakes like this have been made many times in the past, he simply should have known better.

My thoughts on Sony are divided too. Like any decent parent they fought as best they could to protect their child. Fair play. But anyone who changes the rules to suit their best interests (after enticing consumers to buy a product that has specific features) is asking for retaliation at some point, either legally or otherwise.


161

+ Toddimyre on April 11th, 2011 at 12:33 pm said:

PS: This one goes out specifically to Sony. I completely agree with keeping cheaters off of the PSN, but by banning the entirety of the hacking community from the PSN, you’re losing money on PSN game sales. I have literally bought at anywhere from 25-50 games from the PSN and easily 300+ Rock Band songs. In all honesty, I would like to continue purchasing PSN titles (such as Hoard, which was awesome) and Rock Band songs to use on both of my systems. I would also like the option to sync my Trophies between the two systems. Here’s my point, Sony. You should allow… minimal access to the PSN for modded PS3 systems. Something with a NO ONLINE GAMING clause. I would agree to said clause on my modified system. Or possibly jump into the hacking community to drop off a brew that allows access to just the PSN Store and Trophy sync feature? What have you got to lose? Hackers, modders, and even cheaters still get their games from somewhere. Why not help them along? -3/3-


162

+ Guardian_Bob on April 11th, 2011 at 12:39 pm said:

@mxpxboy

It is only a minor detail, but those anti-lock brakes have a software component. Do you know if you own or you’re simply licensed to use the code on the microprocessor which is running your brakes?


163

+ Trieloth on April 11th, 2011 at 12:39 pm said:

I cant stop laughing at the fools that are mad about OtherOS being gone. Nobody ever used it and when they did they werent happy with it. Its almost like you need something to argue about to give yourself ego boasts. Now that this Hotz BS is done can we get back to gaming?…


164

+ vicdu31 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:40 pm said:

Sony, hackers won ;)
Geo Hot just can’t continue but all others hackers can continue ;)

Geo Hot started, now you can’t stop hack…
PS3 IS HACKED !

Sometimes, we have acces to PSN, sometimes no, but, we want an Open console, we want to customise OUR console (we give you 300$, now it’s our console !)

I love the PS3, but If we can’t touch anything, I change my console x)
I buy all my games, i don’t downlaod any games, i just want to be free…


165

+ strikkebil on April 11th, 2011 at 12:42 pm said:

i dont want cheaters online


166

+ SpeedRacer1955 on April 11th, 2011 at 12:43 pm said:

For those whining about the loss of “Other OS” I have a suggestion. Put down the controller get a degree in Computer Systems Engineering and design your own OS and work with Sony and making the OS in the console world better. Linux as a stand alone OS is a tiny percentage of the Computer world because it takes a Computer Scientist to figure out how to get it to run on the hardware that the user has. Since there are limited hardware drivers etc.

And when you find out that “Hackers” are using it to target your system you have to make it harder to “Hack” into the core of the OS. All this shows me as an outsider is that the tiny percentage of people that really care about using Linux are dictating what the rest of the world will eventually use. And if more people would have purchased IBM’s OS/2 when it was competing with Windows you would have a better OS for Computers. Or even spent more money on hardware and purchased Apple Computers you would have better Personal Computer experience. But since people are lazy and Apple did not support gaming, it was left to M$ by default.


167

+ DarkRecoil on April 11th, 2011 at 12:44 pm said:

DAM YOU SONY!

I paid $300 for a ps3, $250 for surround sound and $800 for a 50″ HD TV so that i could mod my ps3 to play pathetic 2bit nintnendo games from the year 1980! …now i’m stuck with next gen 1080p games like Motorstorm Apocalypse and Gran Turismo 5 to play!

BOOOOOOO!!!!!

DOWN WITH AMAZING GRAPHICS!!!! DOWN WITH 7.1 SURROUND SOUND!!! DOWN WITH BLURAY AND DOWN WITH SONY!!!!!!


168

+ SuperTiso on April 11th, 2011 at 12:57 pm said:

Glad this is over with.


169

+ piXL on April 11th, 2011 at 1:01 pm said:

Remember: Sony started here. http://blog.us.playstation.com/2010/03/28/ps3-firmware-v3-21-update/


170

+ crono782 on April 11th, 2011 at 1:10 pm said:

@mxpxboy
Good point, but I should have clarified my story to imply more of what @Guardian_Bob referred to: “…those anti-lock brakes have a software component.” as in disabled via the on-board processor.

I take issue on a couple points. So I own the hardware, but merely “rent” the driving force inside the hardware? Also, if I never create a PSN account, then I never agree to a EULA, so I’m in my legal right to modify then? As I understand the case, simply purchasing the PS3 does not bind you to the EULA. But then again, IANAL…


171

+ crono782 on April 11th, 2011 at 1:11 pm said:

I think half of the “against-SCEA” view is”we want our features back” while the other half is “we have the right to do what we want with our purchase”.
It seems to me that most (if not all) of the “pro-SCEA” view is “we don’t want cheaters”, which is an extremely good and valid point. However, the pursuit of what makes the system tick and posting research/results does NOT equal piracy. Consider the story of the 1995 boy scout who earned his atomic energy merit badge and applied his knowledge to create a crude backyard nuclear reactor from salvaged antique and household items.

My point? Was the knowledge (sharing dissemination of, that is) of basic nuclear principles harmful in and of itself, even tho the end result is/was/could have been harmful? Whether or not the story is true, it relates to my original point. GeoHot researched his findings and posted results in what he viewed as free speech. Should he be a martyred for the actions of would be pirates? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so at first thought.


172

+ ROLO_ONFIRE on April 11th, 2011 at 1:12 pm said:

This is cool cause I hated people using code or trainers while playing on the PSN, but sony, can we have OtherOS back now that this is over? we had it and you took it away from us


173

+ hasaclue on April 11th, 2011 at 1:14 pm said:

I will update my system and agree to the EULA once sony releases an SDK for development. Even if the SDK is not as powerful as the SDK released to the licensed game studios. I just want to develop on MY console :(


174

+ NotoriousGamer on April 11th, 2011 at 1:17 pm said:

lol took a while.


175

+ mxpxboy on April 11th, 2011 at 1:18 pm said:

@hasaclue

Lol, you say that so matter of factly like it’s your God given right that they create a special SDK just for you and others who want to tinker with their system.

Just funny to me. If Sony wanted or even cared for you to develop something for their system they’d have a model set up for it like Apple does for iOS.


176

+ sicc_with_it on April 11th, 2011 at 1:23 pm said:

Damn no free games to test them out before I buy them ha ha. O’well now geohotz can focus on the iphone 5 jailbreak. The next jailbreak he makes should be called Ra1ngod because he is the best and makes the easiest iphone jailbreaks. Geohotz is a smart dude!!! Congratz sony


177

+ triple_lei on April 11th, 2011 at 1:34 pm said:

Toddimyre – are you kidding me? Yes, let’s allow people with modified consoles any type of access to the PSN. They’re all 100% trustworthy and when they check a box that says they won’t go online or cheat, they really do mean it! They totally won’t use their firmware to find some sort of hack to get on anyway. Yes, let’s bend over backwards and accommodate people who intentionally violate the rules. How do you even check and enforce that mess?


178

+ plaztiksyke on April 11th, 2011 at 1:39 pm said:

…. and where’s the re-introduction of the OtherOS support???


179

+ ColdStorage on April 11th, 2011 at 2:09 pm said:

*facepalm*

Y’all make me weep for the future.


180

+ explosive78 on April 11th, 2011 at 2:09 pm said:

Great so George will be at E3 to announce the new psn right?! ;)


181

+ BlooodyCow on April 11th, 2011 at 2:40 pm said:

@27 Guardian_Bob
Completely agree.

@50 Jisatsu_Kiddo
Sony changed the TOS and EULA after they removed the OtherOS feature.


182

+ gs2005 on April 11th, 2011 at 2:49 pm said:

This is the straw that broke the camel’s back with this legitimate customer. As a result of your anti-consumer-rights attitude by bulling the researcher, GeoHot, you have semi-permanently lost me as a consumer unless you change your ways in a big way and I don’t see that happening.

Strike one was BLEEM. You sued them into oblivion even though they didn’t do anything illegal. You just didn’t want a commercial Playstation 1 emulator on personal computers. Strike two was the CD root kit fiasco. You wanted to try to control consumers by stabbing them in the virtual back with a CD root kit. Strike three was GeoHot. You could have just banned him, but that’s not what you chose to do.

I am only one consumer out of millions, but I will do my best to ensure you go bankrupt by steering my dollars to your competitors and will not recommend any of your future products to people I personally know.

Take your corporate bulling attitude and go to hell.


183

+ Spunta on April 11th, 2011 at 2:50 pm said:

From the public statement, it basically sounds like you let him go. He may not be able to post the code, but it’s still on the internet, still in the hands of people who can use it/mod it, and still ready for people with the means to ruin experiences for paying consumers.

No example made, no features returned, nothing was resolved from a public view! So what did you accomplish here today?


184

+ DaNTi3L on April 11th, 2011 at 3:02 pm said:

glad this is over


185

+ dewayne5 on April 11th, 2011 at 3:21 pm said:

They paid his a$$, it probably was easier to make themselves look right by settling and using all types of non-disclosure agreement… I probably was worth 5 or 6 million easy..


186

+ bellboa45 on April 11th, 2011 at 3:25 pm said:

To the uneducated here: This not about cheating. This is about people wanting to explore and understand technology. In my opinion, the only ones being cheated here are the consumers who were sold PS3 units under the pretense that the unit would offer the “Install Other OS” feature. Shame on you Sony.


187

+ firstgen4life on April 11th, 2011 at 3:36 pm said:

TO ALL THE PEOPLE SAYING LINUX AND OTHEROS ISNT ANY GOOD OR NEEDED it does not matter what you as an individual thinks there were thousands of consumers and and tons of companies that bought the ps3 solely for OtherOS look at the origonal ads This ps3 was sold Sony Computer Entertainment of America not Sony Gaming. They claim the ps3 to so big & bad .


188

+ CmdrSinclair on April 11th, 2011 at 3:49 pm said:

Look at what hacking did to the PSP and its game sales (and by extension its new games). People siding with Hotz are nuts. You wanna hack your own system, go ahead. But posting it for others when 99.999% of people are going to use it for cheating and piracy is the problem. It’s Sony’s right to protect it’s software and its system. And people complaining about the loss of Other OS can blame Hotz too. If he hadn’t posted a hack for that, we’d probably still have it. Honestly, I wish Sony had gotten more. Sounds like the moron is planning on joining Anonymous or something. If he does I hope they nail him to the wall.


189

+ Mindplague on April 11th, 2011 at 3:53 pm said:

Hope they stay away from us gamers for good. Such children.


190

+ JoeDuke4 on April 11th, 2011 at 4:18 pm said:

OtherOS feature removal was I think a necessary move to stop piracy. It can still be used for the companies that use many ps3′s for a cheap supercomputer, as they have no need for online gaming. And you can still toy around with linux and the rsx.

But seriously, anyone who bought the ps3 for otherOS just for linux already has a computer that guaranteed runs better than a ps3, so really its not a big loss. Its in Psn terms of use that sony reserves the right to let users use psn, so its not otherOS they took away but PSN and they have the right to do that. Its bad customer service, but at the end of the day it helps secure the console against hackers and custom firmware.


191

+ Haseo106 on April 11th, 2011 at 4:24 pm said:

SONY wins BIG!
Next Target: Anonymous


192

+ SargoDarya on April 11th, 2011 at 4:27 pm said:

ALRIGHT TO ALL PEOPLE SAYING OTHER OS WASN’T USED:
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/05/how-removing-ps3-linux-hurts-the-air-force.ars
Read that and then come back saying OtherOS was only for hackers. I used it as a homeserver for development of websites and here in the EU it was totally illegal that a feature gets removed.

TO THOSE CLAIMING PS3 FIRMWARE IS ONLY LICENSED
Fine, to all those who said when we bought the PS3 we only bought a license which granted us to use Sonys license argumenting it would be like changing code in Windows. Yes, you’re right but if you argument like this you also have to say it’s like Microsoft would remove the Ability to use the Taskbar because well, you have the Desktop and you don’t need it, do you?


193

+ SargoDarya on April 11th, 2011 at 4:27 pm said:

TO ALL THOSE WHO SAY HOTZ GOT WHAT HE DESERVED:
Hotz is a hardware hacker and not a software hacker. As that, he had nothing to do with software piracy in the first place and as already done for iPhone he did nothing else than enabling users to make it open as first promised by the companies. He fought for YOUR rights and not against them. Now that proves that Sony could actually just remove every feature of the firmware and you can’t do anything against it. OH, and there goes the feature that you can play a game. Sounds like it’s not possible? Well, yes it is and actually you guys saying “props to sony” and more are supporting Sony that they can do what they want.

TO THE IGNORANT PEOPLE STATING “FINALLY NO MORE CHEATERS”
You fools, you don’t understand anything what cheating is about. Cheating is about exploiting the game and using glitches. That can be done through modifying safe games and more. It has nothing to do with the Hotz case. Correct me with a correct example on how this would enable cheating.


194

+ fuzzyclutter on April 11th, 2011 at 4:36 pm said:

@megamixer … you really need to read the article again . and Sony never said you dont own the hardware . YOU DO NOT OWN THE NETWORK or associated servers and just as every other network service provider has the right to determine the hardware /software profile of any device for a successful connect , so does sony . You can do whatever you want with your PS3 , but the PSN Is not YOURS . NOW you seem to misunderstand tharticle . what has just happend is that Sony has successfully forced george to permanently stop dilvulging company trade secrets online …simple enough ?


195

+ TheHiFiJedi on April 11th, 2011 at 4:36 pm said:

Well why don’t I just hack my PS3 or any other Sony product and I can get a large lump sum of cash…with no jail time or really any meaningful consequences.


196

+ Icestar10 on April 11th, 2011 at 4:40 pm said:

Well I am glad that this whole thing is over. This whole thing was starting to get pretty ridiculous. It’s good to see everything turned out OK in the end! :)


197

+ Shadz157 on April 11th, 2011 at 4:41 pm said:

Glad it’s all over, I don’t care about the OtherOS, but I do want PS2 playability.. Don’t care about the production value in that chip back from the older PS3 models.. they should make that playability on a new firmware update..it would be a big satep instead of buying the PS2 all over again for those who has a dead ps2 or something and don’t wanna spend $99 in their pocket.


198

+ Icestar10 on April 11th, 2011 at 4:43 pm said:

Also Sony, please don’t keep removing features. It’s bad business practice to advertise a feature and then later on removing it. Also, please bring back backwards compatibility. It’s the one feature that I really care about they you removed.


199

+ fuzzyclutter on April 11th, 2011 at 4:46 pm said:

@williamwallace . you may want to get it right … Sony is very much aware that PS3 ‘s sometimes ylod BTW The light blinking like that is a signal for a general hardware failure . YLOD s not a communicable disease . george was not prosecuted for doing what he want’s with his ps3 . he was sued for publishing trade secrets and thus forced to stop.


200

+ fuzzyclutter on April 11th, 2011 at 4:51 pm said:

@ + hasaclue , change your handle to noclue … THEY ONLY GIVE THEIR SDK TO LICENCED DEVS . who the hell want’s a bunch of garbage output by some schlock who’s proven nothing ?


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