Sony/Hotz settlement details surface

"GeoHot" could be subject to up to a $250,000 if he engages in "unauthorized access" to any Sony product; hacker urges boycott of electronics giant.


Yesterday, the months-long legal battle between Sony Computer Entertainment America and hacker George "GeoHot" Hotz came to an end. In a joint statement, the two parties declared they had settled the matter, with Hotz agreeing to a permanent injunction against his publishing methods to hack the PlayStation 3 online.

George Hotz isn't going away quietly.
George Hotz isn't going away quietly.

Now, the documents outlining the settlement have surfaced, detailing the injunction against Hotz. The documents, obtained by GameSpot, describe how, by the consent of both parties, the court "ordered and adjudged" that Hotz is "permanently enjoined and restrained from" a variety of activities. These include "engaging in any unauthorized access to any Sony product under the law" and violating any SCEA license agreement or terms of use agreement "whether or not Hotz has accepted such agreement or terms of use."

The latter part of that agreement covers a wide range of activities, including:

--"Reverse engineering, decompiling, or disassembling any portion of [a] Sony Product."
--"Using any tools to bypass, disable, or circumvent any encryption, security, or authentication mechanism in [a] Sony Product."
--"Using any hardware or software to cause the Sony Product to accept or use unauthorized, illegal or pirated software or hardware."
--"Exploiting any Sony Product to design, develop, update or distribute unauthorized software or hardware for use with [a] Sony Product."

The agreement goes on to say that Hotz is forbidden from circumventing any technological protection measures on any Sony product, including "any code, device, information, encryption or key" that relates to "any confidential or proprietary information" of Sony's. He is also prohibited from "trafficking" in any technology or information that bypasses technological protection measures on any Sony device or service, with the order mentioning the PlayStation 3 3.55 Firmware Jailbreak by name.

Should Hotz violate the injunction, he will have to pay $10,000 per violation, with a penalty cap of $250,000.

Yesterday's joint statement quoted Hotz as saying, "It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier. I'm happy to have the litigation behind me." Now, though, the hacker is singing a more aggressive tune on his blog. After calling for a boycott of all Sony products, Hotz sounded off on the class action lawsuit filed against Sony after it removed the OtherOS function from the PS3.

"These class action lawsuits are the type that can bankrupt or do seriously financial harm to a company, and finally get Sony to realize that they are not above the law as they would like to believe," he wrote.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email

Join the conversation
There are 387 comments about this story
387 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for halo44327

There was something he said about "running homebrew and exploring security on your devices is cool; hacking into someone else's server and stealing datebases of user info is not cool" is utterly bullshit. When you put something that is highly security breaching (or could be) online, you are giving advice for the people who would do someone for their own greed intentions or attempt to put a plunder on companies. You are hurting the gaming industry when doing that. Let alone you are putting everyone's information in danger. What an idiot. You might think: "There's no harm." Bullshit in many ways.

Avatar image for halo44327

<< LINK REMOVED >> Agree with you. Its different with using it personally that would not affect other consumers or the companies. As such. I pirate music. Usually because I really only want a few songs from a certain album and not buy its whole album. I emulate roms and such. Though I still would fairly pay a game. I have pirated games but only as much to see if I will enjoy the game before buying it (since some games do not have a demo option) or if its too rare to obtain. This guy is an idiot. A complete fool. You might say "hackers are so smart" but no. They are stupid when they bring it to the public. Next we will have another situation where people will get hacked by hackers and their accounts stolen and it will be another moment of "Sony's sorry gifts and apologizes". Its not Sony's fault hacker hack. Its the hackers intentions and they are dumb enough to spread it where it can be handed to the wrong person with really bad intentions. Let alone, your hurting the gaming industry more than people realize. Due to this, more companies will be forced to shut down because people will be getting more games by hacking and such versus buying it fairly. People do put a lot of work into many games and work hard to continue their own life. We'd also lose really good companies that are a huge sensation to us and hold great respect.

Avatar image for Moon_Smasher

if i was hotz i would be like HEY! Sony! SCREW YOU! i don't know how old hotz is, but it looks like he is a minor form his image above. if they send cease and desist orders, i would send them back to sony with a photocopy of my ass cheeks included. send someone to serve me paper i either get out a lighter and light the papers on fire (and maybe the process server too!) or i i just rip them up and kick the guy in the nuts and run like hell. i would also ignore any demands too pay. what are they going to do? dock his allowance? if they went after the parents for money... idk what my response would be... but im sure i would think of something. and if hotz isn't a minor, there is always welfare. they can't make you pay if you don't have a job. Oh and BTW ATT: SONY: i have a 'COPY' of the MODDED FIRMWARE, AND I WILL DISTRIBUTE IT, SONY! SO SCREW YOU!

Avatar image for kreisler

I believe when you purchase a machine, yes it is yours, no question about it. That is in hardware terms. However, the use of the software and whatever that runs the machine as a whole is on a license basis, as outline in the End-User License Agreement (EULA) for most devices or software. The problem is most of you don't read EULA, and just scroll all the way to ACCEPT (for software cases) and assume that what you purchase it, it is yours. Technically it is not. You're buying a license to use it, and as such, still bounded to terms & conditions. Eg: You buy a DVD, hell the DVD is yours, hardware wise. If you want to use the DVD as a coaster for your coffee cup, the company couldn't care less. But once you crack it open and spread your work, that's going against the license. If hacking, keep the thrill, joy and result to yourself.

Avatar image for GamespotbERT

"...they are not above the law as they would like to believe," he wrote. So much to read in so few words. Coming from a chap who just was forced to a settlement under the law, we can clearly conclude that we have met sheer arrogance becoming psychopathological. Though he should be of the age of reason, he still isn't able to even give a hint of it. On the contrary, he hasn't learned anything from the settlement. What a sad person must one be to think to be speaking on behalf of most players, talking about boycotting all Sony products because apparently his sorry little ego was 'trampled'. Yes they are a big company, yes they make big money, yes they make mistakes (the PSP story to begin with) but they also take (big financial) risks making new products for us to be able to enjoy our lives a bit more. If Sony were to be an immoral corporate only there to steal our hard earned money, they already would have demised. Now get your silly putrid live back on track and do what many have suggested already, to use your skills in a positive way instead of annoying a big part of the world with your current antics.

Avatar image for goodbye77

No, two words - uncontented facker.

Avatar image for Alluziion

One Word - Genius. Pity Sony are stuck so far up their own asses.

Avatar image for Fayt1986

he did nothing wrong in hacking his own ps3 but then posting it all on the net was insane on his part.

Avatar image for Freethinker101

Good Hacker/Bad Hacker it dosn't matter. You get caught you have to pay. This is like a kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and then running around and telling people sweets are bad for you. While I do admire his achievment, I think the whole boycott thing is a little sour grapes.

Avatar image for Tinhamodic

The thing is good hackers are in demand in the professional world. Hotz is one smart guy, his future is assured. You know he's going to be hired by either a security or software company, heck maybe even the government! It wouldn't be too ironic if Sony themselves offered him a job.

Avatar image for SavoyPrime

@shadowhunter0 - I know it's not just him boycotting Sony. This whole thing is just completely stupid.

Avatar image for shadowhunter0

@SavoyPrime it not just him who is boycotting Sony it is everyone who believe that what he did was right and people like that shouldn't be allowed to own any electronic device all they do is ruin it for the rest of us like what anonymous did to psn they slow it way down and took websites like ps Blog offline and what that did was ruin it for the rest of use just because they can't pirate the games and do you know what would happen if a good % of the people that got that game was pirated they would go bankrupt and games will pretty much be gone

Avatar image for SavoyPrime

Well since he is boycotting Sony products, guess we won't have to hear about the idiot doing anything else stupid involving the PS3. XD

Avatar image for Toplinkar

Finally, it's settled, time to move on!

Avatar image for neosantana

A:George Hotz is not a pirate B: All he wanted was to design harmless software for his PS3 (Which is within the confines of Fair Use) C: He's being used as a scapegoat even though he didn't do anything wrong or illegal, Sony sued him instead of the thousands of pirates. So, **** you Sony. For being the douchebags that you are.(Even though you make the best electronics ever)

Avatar image for clockworkengine

I guess this means I won't be able to get him to fix my Walkman.

Avatar image for DredWulf

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for CyberKlown28

Hacking should be the death penalty. They already have no lives...might as well take away that lifeless body.

Avatar image for anthonycg

@Zoomer30 Not sure why you got thumbed down for this. What do people think Sony's constant firmware updates are for? The XMB? ROFL......

Avatar image for AceCometh

He thinks Sony is acting as if it's above the law? This man is highly delusional and needs to take a long hard look in the mirror. Leave it to his human nature to point out all faults in others while refusing to acknowledge his own.

Avatar image for armandoisgreat

So...keep buying Sony products? In bulk, you say? Well alright!

Avatar image for darkjedilink

Hmmmm.... Sony removed a FREE product - that they didn't make - to save money... ...and not to prevent piracy, even though OtherOS had been used precisely for that on numerous occasions... ...if you say so.

Avatar image for sumeet10

@Zoomer30 No, Sony removed otherOS to "save" money. << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> This is precisely the reason you shouldn't trust corporates.

Avatar image for Kage52124

EULA's != Law

Avatar image for StJimmy15

I missed the part where anything bad happened to him... at all... ever. And the kid is still crying like a b**** that "Sony doesn't want me hacking their online games and ruining them for others...waaahh." I would feel sorry for him if it wasn't obvious that he was trying to make piracy easier.

Avatar image for flowersjf

I'm sorry but that kid looks so baked lol.

Avatar image for ljelman

sumeet10 Geohot's firmware didn't enable piracy at was after 2 or 3 months that many other hackers became aware of the firmware which lead to piracy. I couldn't have said it better my self. Bravo geohotz purposely did not release any piracy tools and it took almost a year after he released the keys for the first jailbreak to surface.

Avatar image for zaofreak03

I find it funny how he broke the law in so many ways and gets "punished" by having to follow the rules he broke in the first place.

Avatar image for HT89488

Not because of Hotz, but Ive already boycotted Sony, they seriously screwed me out of a Sony Viao laptop, that was plagued all over the internet about overheating caused from a failed fan. After many hours on the phone with Sony's so called customer support which the people were giving me the run around, they wanted to charge us 500.00 for the repair on their faulty product. The laptop even fell under the laptops model numbers that were affected. Never again and, i've have told the story in more detail to many of my close friends who agree with me about Sony. They are glorified crooks about their warranty. Anything related to Sony, will never see a penny from me again. I will make it my business to keep telling other people about how much Sony ripped me off. That laptop cost me 2200 when it first came out, 10 months later it overheats and doesn't want to start up. Bought it for my girlfriend in 2008 for Christmas. Quality of Sony is garbage. I figured that is why they always are more than the same thing that is less, was because of quality, nope, there just crooks that build the same thing for alot more and want to charge you twice the price of the samething.

Avatar image for Stonecutters908

@sumeet10, I don't own a PS3 but I might now because I never knew you could download porn directly to the hard drive. That and GoW3, sounds like a win win.

Avatar image for peach79

Just looking at his picture makes me want to smack him. He looks like he would be a whiny little prick

Avatar image for Zoomer30

The little brat needs to go get a damn job. I dont see what there is to gain from breaking the law. Oh and news flash people the reason they got rid of the OtherOS is it made it way to easy for people to hack the machines. So if people want to know who to blame for that one, his name is in the article above. If he keeps thumbing his nose at them he may just end up in jail. Sony does not mess around with pirates (ie, crooks)

Avatar image for tachsniper

I can't help but laugh at all these people expecting him to be put in jail, news flash not everything illegal is punished with jail time.

Avatar image for Ohaidere

George Hotz has the maturity and decision making ability of a 12 year old.

Avatar image for advanracer

wazzmalo :: LOL.. well said. Better yet, he's going against a company that's "Bigger" than all of his "family" members combined in thanksgiving dinner lol. In the end, he simply does not understand the gravity of his actions, not only towards the company but also towards the consumers who actually spend money to play so to speak. paranormalnut :: yeah, man saw your note and checked out the vids..this guyz scary. Hotz's shifty eyes alone speaks volumes. LOL..whats really intriguing is..whats looming inside his mind.

Avatar image for awheaten

Really, what was you guys hoping to get out of this: jail time, law suit payment. No. This guy doesn't have that much money, even if his parents probably do, he's probably over 18. Jail time, the court usually don't to fill the jails with white collar criminals.

Avatar image for ewokachu

What a wasted mind...he could've actually did something for society? But oh well...hacking video games is so much better! =/

Avatar image for wazzmalo

This guy is the biggest idiot on the planet...So you want to hack a company of hard working employees that are breaking their necks to bring you the best forms of entertainment? you need to get a life, that's what you need..

Avatar image for cubachino

So, could Sony not find enough proof to continue with their pursuit of Hotz? Or did George not have enough resources to go up against a billion dollar corporation and truly clear his name? After all the hype over this litigation I would have liked a more definitive outcome. Boo!

Avatar image for sumeet10

@Stonecutters908, You never know, next maybe Sony might sue you for watching downloaded "Copyrighted" Porn on your PS3 :p

Avatar image for SocialAnXieTy

"I'm very happy to have this all behind me, I can finally move forward... Now, I'll go on my blog and cry about how I got caught when trying to give hackers the open door into the PlayStation Network and therefore begin to boycott every Sony product I see. I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING, WHAAAA!!" What a baby.

Avatar image for sumeet10

@tachsniper Ignoring something that affects you is good, but it's bad when it might affect others @Draxargh If you didn't know, SCEA and Sony Japan are independent organisations. SCEA excels in creating software and Sony Music etc. while Sony Japan makes the actual hardware :D Piracy is not as widespread and does not affect game makers as much as you think << LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Blame poor games for poor sales, if anyone doesn't believe that.why are there PS3 Platinums and Best selling games. The Wii and Nds has been hacked ages ago.forget that, even an average PC can run it using emulators. Still they are going strong. Piracy is just an excuse for poor sales. Also emulating old consoles is almost legal since they are "abandonware" ie they cannot be found in any shops, out of stock etc. However it is perfectly legal if you have owned the game before Ofcourse there was very less piracy on the cartridge based systems before I have been following the PS3 hacking scene closely, infact I have a Jailbroken PS3 connected to my Lappy and acts as a good media center [it can play MKV's...can your's :p].and run ubuntu which helps as good second PC. And here is the thing, Geohot's firmware didn't enable piracy at was after 2 or 3 months that many other hackers became aware of the firmware which lead to piracy

Avatar image for Stonecutters908

I don't get these people. They are smart enough to hack consoles but yet they say some of the most stupid things I've ever heard. Why is he telling people to boycott Sony? because he got caught hacking? how is Sony behaving "above the law." He is just acting like an entitled baby.

Avatar image for paranormalnut

HA!!! I have seen this guys videos on youtube!LOL

Avatar image for Mawfawka

Boycott sony for this guy? haha thats a good one. Sorry Hotz, but i am thoroughly enjoying my Demon's Souls and KZ3 so I'm afraid that's a no-go.

Avatar image for jeff16950_demon

I hope for Hotz' sake he's smart enough to see when it's time to back off and walk away. His boycott on sony products seems to be a half baked rally for support and although I disagree with it I'm sure there will be some people to support him. As for the 'Other OS' feature I sympathize for those who actually used it even though I never did myself.

Avatar image for Dan21278

That picture of him looks like he just got raped and knew nothing about it.

Avatar image for cytheh

conclusion from this article should be : " unfortunately, sony failed to make Hotz realize that he isn't above the law... In fact, sony just showed him that he is above the law."

Avatar image for tachsniper

@Draxargh Boycott? of course not i've been a Sony fan since the Playstation 1 days. I am one of the fortunate enough to own the PS3 with the emotion engine in it to play PS2 games. I just think their reaction to potential "piracy" is a bit paranoid and extreme. I say potential because it CAN be used for it, not that it's the main purpose. Sony should have known this potential as they have been in the electronics and gaming business now for well over a decade. I believe there was a way of sealing that security hole without removing a feature that Sony bragged about when the PS3 first came out. As you said Sony left the door open. Are hackers still at fault? of course but damn Sony might as well have posted a sign on PS3's that said "hack me please". At the end of the day this was about publishing how to do it on the net, not the actual jailbreaking of the system.