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.
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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Avatar image for Jinzo_111887

Gundam, you're making me wish a Nintendo Vs Sony game would be released on PS3 and Wii. Sort of like Super Smash Brothers Brawl, but with Sony having some of their great franchises invited. Third Party "guest" fighters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, Viewtiful Joe, etc. are also welcome. No Microsoft, though. Ness and Sonic Vs. Sly Cooper and Viewtiful Joe at Giygas' Lair, anyone?

Avatar image for GodGundamNT1

Hey Smakaveli Nintendo had no choice and less so did Sony because Microsoft FORCED a console generation jump to prevent Sony from maturing Blu Ray and from gaining the targetted 65nm or lower process Cell BE or getting something like a G92 based Nvidia chip or more advanced. Microsoft betrayed the console gamer and the PC gamer with their Dx10 lies that they knew they were making a console that did not bother to support it or even have quality components like a five copper heat pipe heat sink set up or progressive storage medium like HD-DVD then they treated XBots like idiots by making them buy a $200 paper weight doorstop. Sony always care about the games and the gamers and the technology they never treated their customer like Sega by pulling the plug on their consoles and you support this criminal hotz?

Avatar image for conroybrink

It flat out states that its a licensed product in the manuals but besides that even if you don't read it or have been told about it,its there and buy purchasing the product you have agreed,thats the point,the purchase is just as valid as signing some paper,so you are therefore in contract with sony and or video game making company,if say at anytime sony wanted to do a recall on there systems you would be contractualy obligated to return it or be faced with possible charges,its the way that laws are writen up anymore,be companies pay millions to have the law on there side,and the do make the information available,for the ps3 soon as you buy it and turn it on for the first time it states that its a licensed product kage52124 you just have to scroll down and read a little,theyre all like that,its the way of the world,if you dont like it dont buy the product its that simple,and if you do you are one of those people who like to hack you should know the laws you are about to break before you break them.Its really not a hard concept to wrap ones brain around.

Avatar image for Kage52124

@conroybrink: If it is true that you agree with the licensing, that's the same thing as saying you have to buy the console first, then open it up to find the agreement. How can you know what the agreement is before you buy it? They certainly don't make you sign anything BEFORE purchase, and don't make this information quickly available, either on the box or otherwise right? How can you agree to something you haven't seen until you've already bought it?

Avatar image for conroybrink

well actully jm3811 its not that silly at all,if you read your instruction manuals or the ps3 information you are just leasing the rights to use,you have no ownership over said product..You've just baught the right to use it as is,hack your system is against the contract that you inadvertently agreed to when you made your purchase so techniacly speaking you have no rights to the ps3 you own or the games you own on your ps3 for that matter you're just liecensing them...Suck it up buddy if sony wants to go after you now for openly hacking your system or if any of those video game companies wanted to you could be next up for a lawsuit..Read all the fine print that comes with your games and systems.

Avatar image for jm3811

It's my console, if I want to jailbreak it, brake it or toast it I do what I want. If I want to share my hacking with others it's my own business. I go to the library and I burn a CD.. isn't that strange? I can't copy my own games or CD's.. how silly is that? Bunch of cops.

Avatar image for DMethot

@locosantez1337 Did Sony take away the Other OS option? Yes. But why did they do that? Because hackers abused the feature and ruined the everyday gaming for other users. Do you honestly think Sony wanted to get rid of it even though there weren't any issues with it. It was for the best in the long run. Besides, you didn't have to install the firmware that got rid of it.

Avatar image for conroybrink

oh wait whats that duckafro people are already being band and new security messures are being put in place by infinity ward,oh yeah woops looks like companies dont know how to look after the people that supporting the games the right way,awww weep weep keep on coming buckaroo for every complaint you have answers are being put into place for said issues,so keep harping you're not getting any ware.But thanks for informing me on something I already knew.

Avatar image for BravoOneActual

I've been married 13 years. My wife and I don't system link but three or four times a year, anymore...

Avatar image for tachsniper

when Sony buys me (or gives me) a PS3 then they can dictate what i do with it.

Avatar image for tisoyboy2

And yes I am a fanboy! A fan of gaming! I also own 2 Xbox 360s so I can system link with my wife on separate TVs.

Avatar image for tisoyboy2

Lots of tension here. But let us speak in all honesty. It has always been illegal to tamper with software and distribute it. People must stop speaking to justify themselves because they want to believe its OK since it is something they are guilty of. Someone blamed Sony for taking away the ability to install Linux. Since when does changing the features on something you created make you a target? Then every creative genius in history would be victims as well. Everyone wants better and glitch free games from the developers but no one wants to pay! Everyone wants more affordable consoles but no one wants to lose any of the hardware! GOLDEN RULE: Don't take on a pastime that you can not afford to maintain! For the record, I bought my first PS3 in 2006 for $600 when most of you present PS3 owners down talked it. Pretending it was because of its lack of capabilities but really its because most are too cheap to support their habits!

Avatar image for solidstein

@digibert007 How can you say that he used sony's OS he prolly used a open source OS to do all his modding with when you bought your PS3 that was an option when they shut down the option thats when they got targeted

Avatar image for solidstein

civil court cant be used in criminal court therefore this case has no bearing on the "legality" of anything this is just sony trying to stop hotz from doing it to any of its other systems which is stupid. the whole reason sony was never targeted before was because in a way it was hacker friendly people could put there own OS on it and do what they wanted when the messed that up then they became a target. that is sony's fault and only there fault

Avatar image for digbert007

I see everyone talking about legality and is this legal or is that legal and it's the same as jailbreaking the iPhone. First, it's not the same as the iPhone, they are two completely different technologies and the issue is not the "legality" of his breaking and distributing the key. If it were a legal issue, it would be in criminial court, not civil court. The outcome of this case could effect the legality of it later though. Back to the point, when you bought your PS3 and turned it on the first time, you set up the system and set the time and date and all that, you also agreed to the ToS regarding the OS. The ToS is a valid contract, which Hotz in fact violated considering he didn't do anything physically to the system, he actually hacked and modded the software, which you and I and any other consumer does not own or have any right to. Sony lets you use the software to play games and BDs and music and such on your console, Microsoft and Nintendo do the same thing, they own the software, not you or Hotz, and he absolutely is wrong for what he did.

Avatar image for dzimm

Those of you rooting for Sony against the "scumbag hacker" need to keep something in mind: this "scumbag hacker" hasn't actually done anything illegal.

Avatar image for Z_Rogg

@Squall101 Game consoles themselves make almost nothing in profit when sold, for example, when the PS3 first came out, Sony was actually losing money on each system sold. Sony makes back that money from royalties and stuff placed on each game they sell.

Avatar image for LordBodom

Ive noticed a few guys saying sony bought this on themselves by removing the 'other OS' feature. Id just like to point out this was removed because Hotz decided to use it to try and circumvent the system security. If he left it alone it would still be there. Another thought I have is 'Why bother jailbreaking any console anyway?'. You want to write a program to do whatever, why not just write it for your PC, where it can run on windows anyway without having to hack the system in the first place. Hacking just leads to piracy and cheats.

Avatar image for DanBoiani

Good for Sony. I hope this scumbag pays through his A Hole for legal fees. Hackers are scum and deserve to be treated like it.

Avatar image for thetravman

Our justice system sucks. What about the gamers' pain and suffering? He made every online game a haven for all hackers and now our experience is ruined because of it.

Avatar image for Locosantez1337

@DMethot: But when Sony sold the PS3, they also hit "agree" for giving the users OtherOS and on their own decided to just remove that option. How about that for breaking an agreement. I congratulate Hotz in the decision of stepping up to Sony. " More power to the player "

Avatar image for Squall101

I don't think Sony should fight this.. one of the main reasons the 360 and the Wii are in the lead is because they can be modded to play pirated games, if Sony wants PS3 sales to spike it should let it happen (yes i know there will be software losses.. but that didn't stop Sony from making billions of Dollars with the PS2). No i do not support piracy.. lol.

Avatar image for Scorchstar

My friend told me about the iphone jailbreaker..didn't trust it, then i heard the hacker was gonna be sued by apple, havent heard since...who won? apple or Hotz?. George Hotz, he sounds he sounds like a crazzy hacker mind-freak jailbreaking every company's platform for fun..he sounds like a hi-tech joker. lol. i can imagine him with the scar-smile and the white make-up. lol, wouldnt that be something. I saw in iphone jaibreaker they had a legal contract on letting jailbreaker run, is it illegal? cause if it was wouldnt be off the internet? wat evs. IM CONFUSED>>>IS IPHONE AND PS3 JAILBREAKING LEGAL OR NOT? (i dont care....i dont have ps3 but i have ipod touch but it has iOS 4.2 and jailbreaker runs 3.0) Survey: Hotz The Jailbreaker Thumbs up if you think his: A Revolutionary Hero To The Cyber World Thumbs down if you think his: A Total Mind-Freak Trying To Recreate The Cyber World Into A Living Hell Of Pixels ( basically a freak)

Avatar image for aryanbrar

hotz is gonna win again :( he won against apple when they sued his butt for jailbreaking iphone.

Avatar image for tachsniper

Way to go Hotz! keep fighting the good fight, open source for all and keep proving that nothing is "uncrackable" Simple CD keys kept the majority honest but NOOOOOO that wasn't good enough now we get BS DRM's and worse, Every time you attempt an iron grip there will always be someone to kick the door down. So start playing nice and we will too. Iphone jail-breaking is Legal then so is jail-breaking a PS3. Thats how our wonderful legal system is setup.

Avatar image for partytimekegs

Sony is about to epic fail. This is just like hacking the wii to use Homebrew. Its not breaking the law to jailbreak the PS3. Its actually quite legal. However, if it is jailbroken then used for piracy or jailbroken in the purpose of piracy.. then you are breaking the law. Unless Sony has some super-attorney.. then it won't pass in court.

Avatar image for Plinkmo

I hope that guy is paying his attorney well because he makes some damn good arguments. Also, as your attorney I advise you stop hacking things.

Avatar image for shabulia

I love my PS3 and I would never jailbreak it. However, if someone did then it is their choice. In my opinion, once I buy a product then it is mine and I can do with it what I damn well please. If I want to use it as a doorstop (something it was never designed to be) then it's my choice. If I want to jailbreak it, so be it. I buy it, I live with the consequences. Sony has no say in what I do with MY PS3. Furthermore, Sony could have avoided all of this had they allowed for their "other OS" feature to remain in place. They backed out of their own deal. Now they have to deal with the public backlash.

Avatar image for mullen1200

@fredyellowone Cheating in an online game is not worthy of 20 years in jail. Some of you children really need to learn some perspective

Avatar image for bjammin71

send the hacking loser to jail. see if he can hack his way out of there.

Avatar image for KillbombX

Maybe Mr. Hotz should use his "talents" for something productive instead of attempting to ruin PSN for everyone.

Avatar image for the_requiem

All the CoD fanboys whining about this... why don't YOU sue Hotz for ruining your online experience?

Avatar image for duckafro

I whole heartedly support what Sony and other companies that try to stop piracy. And I hope Hotz and anyone else who mods their product will be stripped of some functions from said product. Ex: mod your PS3? No online play for any games incase of online hacks/applications that give an unfair advantage to other players. Hell, mine as well void all access to the internet on your ps3. You reap what you sow.

Avatar image for duckafro

@conroybrink hey check out the CoD: MW. I hear the online game play have been a bit quirky do to some players MODDING their ps3. Oh wait, that's completely fine right? Who cares if someone is screwing over your game play experience that you bought fair and square. At least they aren't pirating games right?

Avatar image for DMethot

Did he honestly think there wouldn't be any consequences for hacking into a major company's operating system? The argument that he did it because he wanted to prove he could is terrible. This is why they have user agreements. If he hit "agree" then he has nobody but himself to be mad at.

Avatar image for Nickosaurus-Rex

@cubachino I'm still having trouble seeing your point. Once again, the iphone is allowed to have apps and Apple are fine with that. If Sony allowed hack stuff on the PS3 then there wouldn't be a problem. I think you're arguing the "freedom" point, but the stuff we're talking about is illegal and a breach of the conditions agreed to with the PS3. It's like me decking my car out with machine guns and a nuclear warhead. It's my car, but what I've done is illegal. And why put them on if I'm not going to use them?

Avatar image for toadman682000

The majority of the posters here have utterly failed to understand the hacker scene. The primary reason these groups crack games, consoles etc. is because IT'S THERE. Not out of a desire to pirate games, but merely a desire to prove that the manufacturers claims of 'uncrackable' systems are wrong, and more importantly, to do it before any other hacker group, for 1337 bragging rights.

Avatar image for tremor33

I was pretty pissed when Sony decided to take away the Other OS feature from my PS3. I don't like when someone takes away something I paid for. Likewise, I don't like when people tell me what I can and can't do with my machine after I bought it. A judge already ruled in the case of the iphone that jailbreaking is legal, and I believe that sets the precedent on hacking the PS3. If Sony wants to void the warranty of hacked consoles, that's fine. If they want to restrict access to the PSN, that's fine too. But don't tell me what I can and can't do with something that I purchased. Using hacks to pirate games: illegal. Using hacks to install another OS, a better media player with more available codecs (i.e. .mkv files), or a better browser: Legal

Avatar image for S3RAF1M

good job hotz :D

Avatar image for FlashCharge

Its pure and simple, what you did was WRONG!

Avatar image for cubachino

@icepop4who My argument is choice. Most cars are capable of at least 80Mph but not every one uses it to go above the speed limit and break the law. But sometimes its fun to go fast or create your own app on a console that isn't exactly meant for it. As long as its used for personal use. In part I think this is how innovation happens. I didn't sign anything at my time of purchase only to use the Playstation Network did I agree to terms. @Nickosaurus-Rex It's not for me to ask "why." People do a lot of different things with their personal property. I for instance would not pimp out my whip (car). I think it's a waste of money. But its not for me to take that choice away from anyone. Just read the above for the rest of my argument. An App for instance is basically a legitimate hack. Look at the iphone it's a phone but with apps it can do a lot more. You see innovation.

Avatar image for fredyellowone

George Hotz deserve 20 years of jail for ruining my online game experience. Every hacker should be put to jail either. Don't get fooled by the defenders arguments. They don't jailbreak iphones and video game consoles to learn electronics and to install cool third party applications. They do it to make cash, steal intellectual properties, get an egde online and, of course, play games without having to spend a penny. I thank you personnaly, Sony and Blizzard. Millions are doing the same around the world.

Avatar image for wookieeassassin

I'm also not too happy that I just bought a PS3 a month ago and some jerk has busted the thing wide open making it very possible that online play will be next to useless.

Avatar image for wookieeassassin

These type of hackers are worthless. My first instinct is to want his fingers broken for being such a total jerk. He and his group are absolutely full of crap. How can you say you're against piracy, but yet you release some codes that you know for certain can make Sony lose potentially millions of dollars, and potentially ruin a large portion of online gaming for an entire console? This seems like it has ALREADY ruined two of the most popular online games for the system: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2. I'm surprised Activision doesn't sue the crap out of him too. Seriously dude, get a freaking life. Find something to do instead of being a little whiny idiot about how you can't use Linux on your PS3. Use your freaking PC for that, it works way better than a PS3 for that anyway. cubachino: That is freaking stupid. Yes, you should be able to do anything you want with the console since you paid for it, but turning your PS3 into an alarm clock is not even close to the same thing as pirating games. If the PS3 were setup in a way that would allow custom software, etc. to run on it while disallowing pirated games then I would think that would be the optimal situation. However, it isn't that easy. The lawsuits aren't frivolous either. He isn't telling people how to make an alarm clock, he is telling people how to crack the system wide open, which is making MASSIVE pirating possible whether he says he supports that or not.

Avatar image for conroybrink

lol thats just it when it was hacked it was hacked for more reasons than just to play and make burnt games,it was done so people could make there own and make and use modded content like on the computer which isn't bad they've been doing modded content for years now,the major issue is pirated games,and even in that its not that big of an issue,the problem for sony is that now they've been proven wrong that there system isn't uncrackable like they claimed,so they look foolish and heaven for bid sony look foolish..

Avatar image for icepop4who

@cubachino You answered your own arguments via the 130MPH car. Driving 130MPH anywhere in the world is illegal. If you want to use your PS3 illegally like you use your car, then you are still committing a crime. You are basically arguing that "as long as I don't get caught, it's my choice." Users are required by LAW to follow Sony's terms and conditions. If you don't agree, then don't buy a PS3. If you bought one and violated the contract, you are BREAKING the LAW. It is that simple.

Avatar image for HiroArka

I do not want to Pirate games .. I would like to run Homebrew Content or maybe play ( Legit Disc Copies ) Dreamcast or possibly Sega Saturn games on the PS3 if it was possible through some sort of Emulation.

Avatar image for Nickosaurus-Rex

@cubachino Why would you pimp out a car to speed and then not speed? What's the point? Why would you want to turn a PS3 into an Alarm clock and not just buy one for a LOT cheaper? Obviously people who hack are going to use the hacks or else there is no point to it.

Avatar image for Kid2812

I remember when Blizzard Sues Three StarCraft 2 Hackers, and Sony are following them in a great act to stop hacking. With the hacks, pple can play downloaded games on their computer which will lead to no money for Sony and Dev teams avoiding the PS3, which will not only hurt Sony but us as gamers as well.

Avatar image for rmj540

I think its the end of the road for the PS3. He says he doesn't support piracy yet released the code to the world know thats what it would lead to. I'm not worried about the home brew some of that stuff may actually prove useful. But the piracy of games will most likely turn developers and ultimately Sony away from the PS3 seeing as they stand to lose a lot of money.