PS3 hacker responds to Sony suit

First court filing from George Hotz's defense claims electronics giant is trying to send a message regardless of whether it has a legit case to make.


The start of 2011 is proving to be an eventful one for Sony. The year has already seen the PlayStation 3's security measures broken wide open, a development followed promptly by a Sony lawsuit against the responsible parties: original iPhone jailbreaker George Hotz and a hacker collective called fail0verflow. Hotz responded to the charges in court for the first time yesterday, as his attorney filed a response to Sony's request for a temporary restraining order and confiscation of the hacker's computers.

Now it's time for hackers to try to crack Sony's legal team.

"This case is not about Sony Computer Entertainment America LLP attempting to protect its intellectual property or otherwise seek bona fide relief from the court," the attorney said in his response. "Rather, it's an attempt for Sony to send a message to any would-be individual that attempting to use any hardware it manufacturers in a way it does not deem appropriate will result in harsh legal consequences, irrespective of any legal basis or authority for such action."

The filing attacked Sony's case on a number of fronts, starting with whether the Northern California US District Court was an appropriate venue, as Hotz is a resident of New Jersey. The attorney also took exception to Sony suggesting that Hotz was bound by the PlayStation Network terms of service and user agreement, as a sworn affidavit from Hotz stated that he had never set up a PSN account in the first place. As for Sony's allegation that Hotz was financially benefiting from his activities through a PayPal account, the hacker's attorney pointed out that he expressly tells people not to give him donations on his website, and the only evidence presented to the contrary was a transaction initiated by Sony itself.

Hotz's attorney is also questioning whether a temporary restraining order would accomplish anything. Saying, "That cat is not going back in the bag," he noted that the PS3's security keys have already been released and circulated online and will always be a simple Google search away.

"Sony, through its marketing of the PlayStation computer has touted its versatile ability to do more than play video games," the response reads. "And yet, this is the crux of Sony's argument as to why the system cannot be treated like the computer that it is. The PlayStation computer has the ability to play films on Blu-ray discs and other media and it has the ability to access the internet and play music and a myriad of other features. All of these additional features can be enhanced by an end user's ability to install and run third-party software on the PlayStation computer. Instead of pointing out the possibilities in innovation and enhancement to the PlayStation, Sony has instead chosen to quote internet chat boards and other unauthenticated hearsay sources to demonstrate the 'truth' of the matter asserted: that 'jailbreaking' the PlayStation computer has no use other than to play pirated, copyright-protected, video games."

Sony's motion for a temporary restraining order is set for arguments Friday morning.

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