Sony Suffers Setback In PS3 Hacking Case - HotHardware
Sony Suffers Setback In PS3 Hacking Case

Sony Suffers Setback In PS3 Hacking Case

It's been several months since news of the PS3's core vulnerabilities hit the news, but the case remains stuck in judicial limbo. Sony wants to move the case to California on the grounds that Hotz accessed the PlayStation Network (PSN), which is physically located in that state. Hotz's lawyers have counter-claimed that since Hotz is not a resident of California and is a person, rather than a corporation, the suit should be prosecuted in New Jersey where Hotz himself lives.

Sony currently claims to have evidence that George Hotz and one "blickmaniac" are the same person, based on the fact that one of the four PS3's Hotz has purchased could be linked to the serial number for the 'blickmaniac' account. According to Hotz's lawyers, the serial number on the one PS3 Hotz purchased new isn't the same as the serial number Sony lists as attached to the 'blickmaniac' account. The level of nit-pickery going on here is enough to make a person's eyes cross; let's step back a bit and examine the larger picture.

Hotz's lawyers are attacking Sony's argument on a number of levels, including the question of whether or not the SCEA (Sony Computer Entertainment of America has the right to sue GeoHotz at all. According to the defense team, all references and manuals that ship with a PS3 refer strictly to Sony Japan. Sony has yet to demonstrate that Hotz ever signed on to the PlayStation Network. As Groklaw summarizes:  "There's no evidence Hotz ever accepted the Playstation Network terms of service or opened an account. Personal jurisdiction over Hotz in California would be "unreasonable". And Hotz's motion should be granted because SCEA 'has abused the jurisdictional discovery process.'"

Hotz's attourneys are doing their level best to turn the heat up on Sony by alleging that the electronics giant is playing dirty. 
Initially, SCEA stated that Mr. Hotz had a PSN account under the name “Geo1Hotz”, which incidentally, does not include any information relating to Mr. Hotz... Now, SCEA claims that Mr. Hotz must have created a PSN account for the name “blickmaniac” because the serial number of one of the Playstation Computers that Mr. Hotz purchased-- including 3 Playstation Computers that were purchased used-- was used to register a PSN account. The serial number utilized by SCEA, however, is different from the serial number proffered by Mr. Hotz's attorney.

This completely unrelated photo shows someone grilling via PS3.

As things stand right now, the SCEA has failed to provide compelling evidence to justify trying the case in California. It's been unable, despite substantial discovery, to link George Hotz to any account created on the PlayStation Network and has not demonstrated that Hotz profited in any way from his work. The defense further alleges that the SCEA's lawyers have acted in bad faith in multiple ways. Finally, there's the question of what, exactly, the SCEA does given that
Sony Japan... is responsible for manufacturing, distributing, and marketing the Playstation Computer. Sony Japan is the owner of all rights, title, and interest in, to and under the copyrights in the PS3 Programmer Tools... When one purchases a Playstation Computer and looks at its outer box, it has plastered on numerous places that it is a product of Sony Japan and all rights belong to Sony Japan. It only references Sony Japan-- not SCEA. When one takes the Playstation Computer out of its box and inspects it, it states it is a product of Sony Japan and all rights belong to Sony Japan. It does not reference California. When one installs the Playstation Computer firmware update that Mr. Hotz allegedly circumvented, which can legally be obtained through the internet as Mr. Hotz did, upon installation, it only refers to Sony Japan.

The mud-slinging, berating, and ad hominem attacks have already begun—and all we're doing is arguing over where a case should be tried. It can only get better from here. Thanks to Groklaw for its comprehensive coverage of this issue.
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Thanks for the update and link to the Groklaw article Joel! Those of us who feel they were screwed over by Sony on this are really rooting (ha!) for the guy.

GeoHotz blog can be found here: http://geohotgotsued.blogspot.com/

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The funny thing here is the serial numbers. When you register an account on a PS3, Wii, or even a PS2, Xbox etc the serial number is recorded automatically. So if they do not have matching serial numbers tied to an account which would be directly tied to Mr Hotz, then how in the world can they represent that it was him as well as that that is at all a factual or provable truth. I would seem to me that a judge would throw that out on principle alone.

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Sony should just give up and accept that what someone whats to do with something they purchased from them is that persons own right.

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Couldn't agree more. Sony is just hurting themselves trying to crack down so harshly, all people are seeing is Sony bullying it's customers. Hopefully they cut their losses soon and just stick to making top notch electronics, because soon their quality won't be enough for people to deal with this.

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What if he used another ps3 to sign up for the account and is now sold? :D

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There really is no case, Sony's mad that they were duped, and their security system circumvented and cracked so they target a publicly known figure associated with "hacking, cracking etc." who happens to be messing with the PS3 he paid for and wasn't doing so for any malicious reasons (I.e. pirating), hence GeoHotz is being sued.

As things go on with all this nitpicking and splitting of hairs eventually the court is going to get tired of Sony trying to fabricate a case against mr. Hotz and the charges will be dropped... however we live in a country where things are done fairly, and Sony's claim has to be treated as so, and with our judicial system and court of appeals... it going to take a long time.

Here is Sonys Official stand on the entire event of the PS3 Getting Pwned.

http://i52.tinypic.com/2h33ha0.jpg

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Uh, no. There's most definitely a case here. George isn't going to walk away from this free-and-clear, I guarantee it. That doesn't mean Sony has the case it *wants* to have, but he's going to have to take a few punches. Furthermore, there's a much more direct link between Hotz, Fail0verflow, and the PS3 than you seem to think there was. Sony may not be able to get Hotz on piracy, but he was definitely circumventing the DMCA while lacking the credentials to declare himself an actual researcher.

Sony will likely settle out of court if it thinks the FTC might rule that removing OtherOS was a violation of consumer law. If that doesn't happen, this could drag on another 5-8 years.

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Instead of sueing him they should hire him to design and test their security software haha.

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Well George Hotz may have done so in a way he alone cant be held accountable for everything their throwing at them.

I Believe once you purchase a product its yours to do with as you please as long as it doesn't harm anyone.

Althoughh Sony accuses him of trafficking in devices that circumvent controls meant to protect copyrighted works, that inclines he meant to harm or damage those copyrighted works in a way, which I don't believe he wanted to do.

He wanted to install another operating system, a non-copyrighted OS on a device he owned and paid for.

Fail0verflow is the one who circumvented the DMCA with the root-key or jailbreak code

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>> "George isn't going to walk away from this free-and-clear, I guarantee it. "

>> "he was definitely circumventing the DMCA while lacking the credentials to declare himself an actual researcher."

This is the same guy who unlocked the iPhone. And, he got away with it, free and clear. They even added an exception to the DMCA for hacking a system to run legally obtained software.

You could argue that he could be sued for distributing the keys (not copyright-able, to my knowledge), but they were easily obtainable after fail0verflow's research (which isn't subject to the DMCA). Putting him in jail for that is at best akin to putting someone in jail for screaming fire in a movie theater when there's a fire in the movie theater.

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The difference between the iPhone and the PS3--at least as far as I'm aware--is that the latter is protected for reasons that directly relate to copyright infringement. With the iPhone, Hotz violated Apple's EULA--but there's no law that says you can't use an iPhone on a network other than AT&T.

I think Sony will go after Hotz for circumvention under the DMCA. Separately, the case against Sony for removing Other OS will go on, as well. Since Hotz' work can be used (theoretically) to enable Linux on both PS3 Slim and PSP Fat, he could wind up at fault on the Slim side of things while his work to restore Linux on the Fats is upheld under consumer protection law.

Or he could get hit by a bus and we never find out anything.

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