Sony files lawsuit against hacker Geohot

by Bradley Wint on January 12th 2011 at 1:47AM

George “Geohot” Hotz and the rest of the fail0verflow members  including Hector Martin, Sven Peter and 100 other unnamed individuals have been served for distributing the PlayStation 3 root security key and a modified version of the firmware for Homebrew and pirated software use.

Sony has come down hard on the team, getting the boys charged with quite a number of offenses as listed below:

  • 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

Even though the rest of the team may have to wait much longer for court appearances (due to them not being located in the United States), Hotz will be the only one attending court this morning at 9AM. On his website, he posted the Temporary Restraining Order and the Proposed Order for Injunction documents. His entire site has also been pulled and he also mentioned that all donation sites claiming to support his cause are false.

Here is a summary of the charges:

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.

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.

Since everything is in a preliminary state, he still has a tiny chance but if the courts do sign off on the Order mentioned above, he mentioned in an IRC chat that he will comply with their decisions. Hopefully Sony doesn’t blow the whole situation out of proportion. Yes, they have a right to protect their software but at the same time, Geohot didn’t distribute the software for the intention of profiting, but of course others who got their hands on it could.

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
geohot: old index page and has been restored to
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

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  • Mathew James Britton

    lol was only a matter of time befoe they did this. He should have just shut his mouth. for a smart dude he aint that smart. Or is he???

  • Bradley Wint

    One of PS3′s biggest success factors was its longstanding security. Even though it’s been brought down now, at least on older firmware versions, it made the system a bit more attractive than others (e.g. Xbox 360, PCs). A lot of guys are happy that he’s going to go down for the crime. iPhone fans won’t be though because many who want to use the phones on other networks outside Verizon and ATT or in non-supported countries will have to turn to someone else for cracking software like Cydia or something.

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