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.

387 Comments

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.

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shawise

Guess you don't want sony's new phone now huh?...ahh grey area you should still be able to tinker with those. I know you must have been under a lot of pressure. Ask your self this who is going to follow you now? You should of saw it through if you were innocent.

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shawise

So what did you get out of this Mr. Hotz? If your research was legally within the law why did you give in? was sony right about you and your reasons for hacking the system? I myself never updated past 3.15 not because I want to play pirated games or destabilize the network but because the system is mine to be honest I "Probably" would never of even used linux. If sony doesn't want modded systems on "there network" Fine i'm in agreement with them. But to stop servicing the machine because i didn't not give in to their demands now their is a problem. I've taken exceptional care of my ps3 never opened no modifications entered no codes nothing it works perfectly but fails to meet any of its core functions this is where the problem lies and its no longer a choice but an ultimatum, it was never a choice. Open your eyes people it started at OS but its a much bigger issue here to be seen.

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tachsniper

@DitchyJ No i believe he was saying Sony is also not without guilt. Sony has been sued many times for illegal activity. So they are not the sainted company that can do no wrong like some people tend to believe they are.

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tachsniper

man Sony fanboys come out of the woodwork don't they?

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MrPepino000

What a sore loser

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wwlettsome

What a tool this guy is.

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DitchyJ

@ Kiaininja Im sorry but its unrelated, because your just basically saying Sony has done nothing right and deserves what its getting. Its not even close to the saying "an eye for an eye". I believe you are amongst the others out there who romantisize about the idea that hacking etc will help save the world from these big evil corporations...Sony may have or may have not done what you mentioned..but the fact is, if they were settled in court...Sony won. It was argued about and obviously Sonys Argument was better. Were talking about what is legal...Sony is legal. You can name and shame all you want, because there are loads of examples of corporations etc out there who have had problems...its life mate. The fact is..there was no justification for any of this,and the only people on Hotz side is other hackers/pirates or just generally nieve self appointed "freedom fighters or hacktivists". Im not having a go at you btw.

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fefisgbf13

"Now, though, the hacker is singing a more aggressive tune on his blog." in other words...he is only brave in front of his computer

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Kiaininja

Some of you should stop painting Sony like a Saint/Protector of technology rights. You need to wake up to the truth that Sony is as crooked as what they accusing Hotz of. They've have stolen for years and didn't give a damn about paying the creators for their hard work. Just look at some of the examples of the crimes they've been sued of and have lost. -Immersion Corp. vs. Sony: patent infrigement for rumble/dualshock feature. -Agere Systems vs. Sony: willful patent infrigement for PSP's wireless local area network apparatus. -Hidehiro Kume vs. Sony: Kume invented a small optical pickup for PS1&2 that is used to read and write discs and not paying him for it.

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musicman998

What an ungrateful little prick

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DitchyJ

Jesus christ...this kid just needs to shut up and go out and get some sun on his skin. All these hackers that seem to think there some sort of freedom fighter against big corporations like sony should seriously wake up. Yeah the security might have been crap in the eyes of those who know alot more about security and settings and have all the time in the world to learn to hack etc...but to the average person out there, the PS3 was aimed to entertain for a profit. Invent your own console if you seem to think you have the right to mess with a system you did not build, market etc etc I fully support Sony in there decision as well as I did when Microsoft banned all those who modded the Xbox 360. "It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier" - B*llocks - thats clearly a nieve response of a kid whos just been caught with his hand in the cookies jar. Sorry, the more a read about this story the more it just gets dumb and winds me up...especially when I see wannabes and sympathizers commenting like they are freedom fighters..when clearly they are just hackers and pirates lol Enjoy gaming properly and legally...it advances technolgy and games in a brilliant new direction. Cheers

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ebonyflame

Should have went on with the trial. I do sympathize with your plea for boycotting Sony but I am not gonna stop playing Uncharted.

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MagicOneUp

Sony should be punished for having crappy security. don't go blaming people for flaws in your OS. make it better so people wouldn't crack that easily. its another reason Sony want your souls

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tachsniper

@rarson very true but Kevin did far far more then our friend Mr Hotz. Kevin started hacking government agencies, that tends to make punishments more extreme.

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TurambarGS

@hannify - he's not being fined $250,000 - that's the penalty cap in the event he does anything like this again. Even that is low in the context of IP law. In most jurisdictions now, it's an offence to circumvent "access control technological protection measures" (that's the language used in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) - the Australian copyright legislation). And that's just one piece of legislation - there are also a wide range of civil actions available to Sony. The fact that he 'didn't mean for it to be hacked' as it was would be arguably irrelevant to e.g. a negligence cause of action. So yep, he got off lightly - he could have been sued by Sony for a lot of money - they let him off with a slap on the wrist. He should be grateful it ended this way and keeping his mouth shut.

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rarson

@tachsniper Kevin Mitnick spent over 4 years in jail before he even got a trial.

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turtlebird95

@Slim-Jim2011 It seems to me like you think that "Oh, he did something bad, so he's going to prison." Sorry, it doesn't work like that. @tachsniper just explained how it works perfectly. How you can say "Clearly you don't understand reality from fantasy like Hotz." baffles me.

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Philly1UPer

So he is pretty much saying "Waaaaaaaah, I got caught illegally hacking and modding a PS3, using the PS3 coding itself and distributing an hack/mod using Sony software without their permission, violating the copyright act in the process plus breaking the ToS, so guys PLEEEEEEEEASE, PRETTY PLEASE, Stop buying Sony Products" Three Words to describe this dude. Disgruntled Tool Bag.

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Slim-Jim2011

@tachsniper Clearly you don't understand reality from fantasy like Hotz.

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tachsniper

@Slim-Jim2011 ok then The differences between a civil offense and a criminal offense are usually defined by the nature of the offense and the punishment assessed. Civil offenses involve violations of administrative matters, in other words Mr. Hotz did not break the law or criminal code, he broke a rule set by the company Sony. Mr Hotz committed a civil offense and it is NOT punishable by jail time. if it was Mr Hotz would be in jail right now. Rarely if ever are criminal offenses settled by the person walking away Scott free. The punishment must fit the crime, we don't lock people up for a traffic ticket nor do we for hacking a piece of consumer electronics. He did not hack the company or any of its financial information he hacked a piece of equipment made by the company, big difference. Mr hotz got away even without a ticket, all he had to do was promise to be a good boy, yep sounds like they want to throw the book at him. Please do everyone a favor and don't drink the Kool-aid, and don't comment on law because it's obvious you know nothing about it.

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Slim-Jim2011

@tachsniper Doesn't matter if it a non-violent offense. Hacking is hacking it's against the law no matter what you hacked. When they find the evidence on what you hacked doesn't matter if it's a ps3 xbox360 or pc they will find the illegal hacking and have you thrown in prison. Hotz is gonna end up there once Sony finds the evidence on the ps3 they took from him and the info from the site Hotz posted on how to hack the ps3. @lister82 Hacking against anything like these multi-billion companies and the government when they find the evidence your going to jail either way hack a game system is a few years hack the government that puts you in for many years or life.

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lister82

@Slim-Jim2011 Just like tachsniper said, hackers can't go to prison for something like this. The only way they could go to prison, is if they violated National Security, or something along those lines by hacking in to Government systems for example. Prison is only for those deemed to be a threat to the public. Anything else would be fines and/or community service.

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dean981

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

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tachsniper

@slim-jim2011 *sigh* ok i have to point this out because there are so many misconceptions. What Mr Hotz did or any hacker for that matter is not a impressionable offense. This is a non violent civil offense, meaning you can be sued but not arrested. No hacker will ever go to jail unless the act the commit is violent in nature or you know they hack a bank and steal millions. So stop saying he should be put in jail because it's not that type of offense.

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tachsniper

@marky 360 I have made things, yes from the sweat of my brow, and yes i have sold them, yet i know somewhere someone is enjoying what i made free of cost... that does not bother me because it is the enjoyment of my product that is important to me not the all mighty dollar. and you're missing the whole point of my argument which is "piracy" should have never been classified as "stealing" to begin with.

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Slim-Jim2011

Sony needs to make an example outta these hackers. Sony does what they do cause they're a multi-billion company they can sue these spoiled college hackers and they're moms and dads won't bail 'em out cause hacking is WRONG. Hacking can put you in prison for a while. Sony shouldn't have let GeoHotz walk free and they shouldn't let these hackers walk free, put they're candy a$$es in prison.

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rarson

@tachsniper "weigh what Mr Hotz and others like him actually did" Yeah, that's why I originally responded to this story, because it seemed that so many people were bashing Hotz without really understanding what he did.

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Marky360

@tachsniper People like you say that all the time but I'd love to see you make something weather it be a program or not and have plans to sell it but then then someone else steal it instead of paying for it then I'm sure you will be singing a different tune. If we listen to your comment basically what your telling me is that game developers shouldn't get payed for making games because what there making isn't anything tangible to begin with boy and you say I'm thick headed but that has to be the dumbest statement I've ever heard.

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tachsniper

on a final note i will say as technology gets more sophisticated the way we use it also becomes more sophisticated. True Mr Hotz is an immature blabbermouth. However the question he raises is none the less valid. If what Mr Hotz did directly influences those cheating/hacking in online multiplayer games then by all means preserve the integrity of the PSN. if not i say leave the man alone. My guess is Sony got some egg on it's face when claiming the PS3 was "unhackable" and yet it was hacked pretty easily. So in order to save corporate face they did the only thing companies know how to do, sue. Mr Hotz is a dingleberry for basically advertising his achievement and painting a target on himself. However there was a time that the term hacker was an honored title in computer circles, it meant you can do with a computer what the vast majority could not. again when corporate greed got involved has the term hacker been demonized and equated with illegal activity. True hacking could always be used for illegal activity but most moral hackers knew there was a line not to cross. Now it doesn't matter all hackers everywhere are scum because of the propaganda DOn't drink the Kool-Aid, weigh what Mr Hotz and others like him actually did, not what the cooperations would like you to believe he did. As for the lawsuit if in order to get off scott free all i had to do was agree not to do it again, hell yea i'd settle. Keep doing what i'm doing only A, not tell anyone or B, use a different name

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Dominicobaggio

lol how is this world class nugget still shouting he is winning? He has been let off lightly but still can no longer ever trouble ps3 again. I never understood him and it seems even he doesnt know why he did it. Confused little kid. I hope he does something wrong and ends up getting fined again, caus he cant keep himself to himself lol. I wonder if he is giving the money back he didnt use for defence, or if he is going to spend it on another holiday?

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tachsniper

@Ex-DarkBlade haha i don't know about that, I'm just a gamer that believes the industry of video games should be about the games, not the greed. thanks though

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Ex-DarkBlade

@tachsniper, you could become a great leader of a team or a country.

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tachsniper

@rarson Bravo, could not have said it better. let's look at the recent Streets of Rage remake, if you haven't heard Bomber games made a remake of the awesome Streets of Rage, with no reverse engineering, without using any of Sega's original code. made the game by eye, took them 8 years of hard work, informed Sega of the projects exsistance via formal letter. As soon as the project was finished and ready for prime time (game is freeware btw) SEGA stepped in and forced bomber games to take down the links for the download. This is the most complete and innovative Streets of Rage i have ever seen. These guys did an amazing job. However thanks to corporate greed this game will never see the light of day. 8 years of dedicated fans toils stopped cold by an obsolete idea of "intellectual property" . this remake contains nothing of SEGA's formal code, all assets were painstakingly recreated by observation. All for SEGA to put the kabash on still claiming ownership of a 20 year old IP that they were doing nothing with. They did exactly as you said took something and vastly improved upon it. Now that great improvement has been deemed illegal. So SEGA by its inflexible actions has in fact encouraged Piracy as that is now the only way to obtain this fantastic game. This is why i love Valve, upon seeing hard work and talent Valve doesn't stifle and punish, they hire them, bankroll the project and make a f***ton of money on it.

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rarson

@spoonybard-hahs The problem is that groups like the RIAA have lots of money to lobby Washington with, and government agencies don't always respect our right to privacy. For example: << LINK REMOVED >> The entire concept of "owning" an idea is ridiculous. The fact that intellectual property and copyright laws are so old only underscore how ridiculously antiquated those laws are. They essentially mean that if a person thinks of an idea first (and not necessarily even that, but actually just filing some paperwork), then they own that idea and no one else can use it, even if they thought of it on their own. People like Edison got rich off other people's inventions, buying patents and "owning" ideas. That's why patents stifle innovation, because when other people are allowed to copy a design, they can improve upon it somehow to provide incentive to purchase their product over someone else's. A good example would be the cotton gin. Eli Whitney made very little off of it because his gins were more expensive and less productive than the copies that soon appeared. One could argue that Whitney would have profited more if he had patents protecting his invention, but the farmers buying the gins and growing cotton to fuel the bustling economy liked the cheaper, better gins, which allowed them to grow more cotton and sell it for cheaper... increasing the quality of life for everyone else. All Whitney had to do was improve his gin, but he didn't.

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tachsniper

@spoonybard-hahs i suppose so never the less a stimulating debate and i think we both have proven at least how outdated the current DMCA is. and you did hit the nail on the head, find proof that i or anyone else has pirated anything and i'll show you how you invaded my privacy to get said proof.

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spoonybard-hahs

@ tachsniper The idea of intellectual property has been around long before you and I were even born. It's why things like the Copyright Protection Act and the Patent Office where created. Then there's different unions that have registrations to protect your IP, like the Writer's Guild of America. The only real reason it's impossible get caught is because the DMCA is diametrically opposed to the constitutional right to privacy. There's no paranoia. It's the pure greed of crusty old white men who can't evolve with the times. The RIAA still say that piracy is hurting record sales. Despite the fact that the loss in physical sale products is almost entirely made up in iTunes and other digital distribution services. When you buy a product, you do not buy the right to distribute it to the masses. And beyond that, I'm done. We'll just have to agree to disagree.

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tachsniper

@spoonybard-hahs well at least we agree that the current laws are hypocritical and crap, despite ideology. I suppose that was the end all be all of my argument was to show the contradictions and paranoia contained within these laws. is it really damn near impossible to get caught pirating? yea pretty much. Is it this capitalism crushing merciless thing that is literally putting companies in the poor house and sending children to starve as the cooperation would like you to believe? absolutely not. just to further illustrate how this has devolved into madness if you tried to claim ownership of an "intellectual property" or an idea in the mid 90's before all this internet and copyright paranoia you would would have been laughed out of the courtroom. Propaganda has fueled paranoia as it always does. Piracy of anything makes a very very small dent if any in the final profits of a product Which has 0 effect in the long projection. and yes it is quite literally giving something to someone over cyberspace, for any kind of piracy to occur someone had to buy at least 1 legitimate copy of the item. taking the data from that legitimate copy and posting it to a server so members of that website or the general public can partake of it. it is literally no different then passing out hard copies to a room full of people. if it is perfectly fine to give something to someone by hand it is perfectly fine to give something to someone over the internet. And in fact more "pirates" actually buy the product, having a chance to sample it via "pirating" a purchase many would not have made without trying the product first.

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crossbreed314

@rarson you are perfect right! he showed sony that the ''unhackable'' ps3 is hackable and that is all he did. if sony REALLY wants to fight against hackers, then why they didn't hired him? he succeeded what others didn't in 4 years. this lawsuit was just a bluff from sony, they will sell now twice as much ps3s because of what he did

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spoonybard-hahs

@ tachsniper (sorry for the multiple replies, it was just easier to organize my thoughts this way). All that being said, yes, the DMCA is crap. It fails on many fronts, from its execution to who it protects and how. But it is not the end of the world everyone makes it out to be. Since its inception, only a handful of people have been brought before a judge, and more often than not, it was a law suit filed by the IP holders. The DMCA does need a huge revision, but then again, so do many laws where the internet is concerned. There should be laws in place to protect what a person creates. And it should be up to the courts on how to handle infractions against IP holders, not the holders themselves.

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spoonybard-hahs

@ tachsniper You're seriously equating gift giving to piracy? That sound you hear is my face hitting my palm. Hard. You're running around in circles, and missing the point each time. For starters, you do realize that intent means more in the eyes of the law than how much contraband you have on your person, right? You giving a gift (which most often, you paid for anyway) to one person would be recognized by the law as such. The line is crossed when you take what you paid for (or didn't) and plaster it all over the Web. Your intent is not giving someone dear to you a token of your affections. You're giving something to people so that they don't have to/want to buy it themselves. Actually, you're not even giving it, you're posting it for people to take freely. So, how can people own an intellectual property, i.e. not a physical product, but not the data that contains it? Intellectual properties, by design, can be placed into any form the creator wills it to be in. If an owner of an IP doesn't want people to spread what they created all over and be screwed out of recompense, they have that right.

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rarson

@Mondrath "I was not asserting that only he could do it, but that he was the one who DID do it, which makes him responsible for the ramifications." You said that George Hotz "gave pirates a hole". Actually, it was Sony. They built the thing, they sold it, they created the crappy firmware. Do you at least understand that? If I build a car, does that make me responsible if I sell it to someone that drives it into another car? Of course not. You're not making any sense. "Why is it exactly that you feel the need to defend this person?" That's just it, I'm not defending him. I'm defending the concept of being able to actually do stuff with the products that you own. And I'm pointing out how ridiculous your statements are. Like this one: "You might not like those laws, which is well within your right, but they exist nonetheless and must be followed. If you break said laws, you are punished." So, if we encounter a bad law, one that is harmful to ourselves and others, and we know it's a bad law, we should simply follow it blindly until the people that created it suddenly become enlightened and revoke it? What kind of dream world do you live in? Additionally, one might start to ponder how it is that the people who wrote those laws (many of which are long dead) have the authority to impose their will upon you, having happened to have been born in a specific geological area through no choosing of your own. But I digress.

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spoonybard-hahs

@ tachsniper Go, go Gadget Circular Logic! Let me try this again: For internet radio, the radio Web sites have no infrastructure to detect when and if something is being recorded off of their site, since it's happening on the user end. The only way to do this would be to violate your right to privacy and scan your PC while you're streaming from them. Which, of course, they wouldn't do. Trying to prosecute or take action against someone for recording off of internet radio would be a huge waste of time. As you yourself pointed out, there is the Recording Act of 1992. Any half decent lawyer can make that same argument and score the win. But then again, whoever would get caught ripping a radio Web site is the greatest idiot of all time. Why would you need to rip from something that is available on EVERYTHING that can connect to the internet? It's counter-intuitive.

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Mondrath

@rarson A) I was not asserting that only he could do it, but that he was the one who DID do it, which makes him responsible for the ramifications. B) Why is it exactly that you feel the need to defend this person? Whether you like it or not, he broke several laws. You might not like those laws, which is well within your right, but they exist nonetheless and must be followed. If you break said laws, you are punished. That's the way the biscuit breaks. Sorry mate,

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spoonybard-hahs

@ parrot_of_adun My argument does address his in so much that I said his argument is moot. If you want to gig me on anything, try argument from an unqualified authority. My assertion about internet radio is indeed only based on casual observations. But then, you'd have to do the same for him.

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Get_Shorty

You got what you asked for. @#&* you dude. Who are you that we should care about?!

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hannify

@TTDog I see. American law system is bit wierd to me but if what you say is true then fair enough.

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rarson

@Mondrath "You're saying it's okay because this.....person (for lack of a better word) exploited something that someone else would have exploited sooner or later?" No, not at all. Perhaps you need to go back and re-read what I have actually written. That statement (that the hole already existed and would have been found regardless of WHO is finding it) is a counterargument to your incorrect assertion that George Hotz did something that nobody else was capable of. Reading comprehension, FTW!

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Mondrath

@rarson Lets talk logic then shall we. You're saying it's okay because this.....person (for lack of a better word) exploited something that someone else would have exploited sooner or later? By that logic, I should never be charged with murder if I kill someone because sooner or later, one way or another, they are going to die! Congratulations mate, you just let every inmate on deathrow out.

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rarson

@Mondrath "He knew that his work would be used for "bad reasons", as we all did, and therefore he is responsible for the consequences." By your logic, the man that invented dynamite (Alfred Nobel, you know, the guy who started that Peace Prize thing) should be scorned for all eternity for making a fortune off killing people. And I would actually be okay with that. Dynamite can be used for blasting rock to make roads, and all kinds of other good uses. It can also be used for blowing people up. Should we prevent everyone from making, using, and benefiting from dynamite just because a couple unstable individuals might actually harm someone with it? I don't think so. One need only look to classic game consoles to see what kind of good can come out of homebrew programming and console hacking.