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.

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Avatar image for taxonomic

@Kenshiro_Kenoh Heavy damage? He didn't have to pay a single cent, unless you count the money he probably paid to his lawyer. It's mostly a draw. He pays nothing he gets away. Now he can go and jailbreak other devices. Like whatever thing Apple decides to make next year.

Avatar image for chronolzx

i bet sony is paying him a bunch of money to not hack their system anymore!

Avatar image for killlo

Sony laid the ban hammer on him, well its more like the prohibited hammer.

Avatar image for MarcJL31

Ok this is enough. He's right. Lets Boycott Son...ooOOoo, thats the next PSP? Really? Yea, sorry. Im definitely getting that. But AFTER that.../s I think he just needs to let it go. Since he thinks the number of people who jailbreak is such a small percentage and wouldnt hurt Sony so they should have just let it go, then call for a boycott by that small percentage of people who would actually may follow it isnt going to hurt Sony and he should just let it go.

Avatar image for falcon11

Sure doesn't say that hes not allowed to purchase any Sony products of course. :P

Avatar image for Heshertonfist

I think it ended fairly, I'm not a judge or a lawyer but if I were him, I'd heave a sigh of relief and let it go.

Avatar image for PixelAddict

Looks like a stand off to me.

Avatar image for Kenshiro_Kenoh

wow i thought that this ended in a draw but dam sony delivered heavy damage to him

Avatar image for spooky57571

All I know is that I'm going to keep laughing at people who donated to Hotz for the legal battle.

Avatar image for Viiper

i wish this would just die. who cares.

Avatar image for VlVlsectVl

Who's side to take? Sony, which has given me countless hours of enjoyment or a douchy kid. Not a tough choice here.

Avatar image for starbinder

People forget how much of a punk Geo is... It's almost intentional we forget, because he is exceptionally gifted when it it comes to software and electronics we just go nuts when he releases a jailbreak. Remember, it was not too long ago he closed accounts and swore to be done with jailbreaking. Realizing how much he needed the attention, maybe it was his plan all along, he swooped back in not even months later with another jailbreak. This kid lacks any social tact and probably made it that much harder for anyone to legally mod their system in the future. Granted, this isn't a judge ruling but had he continued on I truly believe it would have played out exactly like the case with Apple and jailbreaking. In almost every sense, it's the same thing!

Avatar image for tachsniper

Rule no1 Mr Hotz, if you do something that you know is potentially illegal, don't tell people about it, i mean really how dumb do you got to be to publish this on the internet.

Avatar image for BravoOneActual

Yeah. I'll get right on that boycott...

Avatar image for OrianaDorta

GeoHot, you a tough guy, no? Go ahead and break your agreement, I dare you.

Avatar image for TheMoreYouOwn

Hope this makes crystal clear that the whole fighting for "consumer rights" argument is a bunch of bushwack. It's about notoriety. Otherwise why would these hackers make themselves known? Oh...and lets no forget pirating. Yeah. It's about that also. Don't think so? A $6billion pirated game industry says hi.

Avatar image for Pierce_Sparrow

People don't seem to understand that the only reason any of this came about is because Hotz made public knowledge his discovery. He has nothing to complain about since it's his own stupid fault. If you're going to do something like take your apart your hardware and use a master key to unlock the system, don't go publishing it for the whole world to see. If he had just kept it to himself or some small, insignificant group of people, he might have been able to tinker and toy to his hearts content. Now, he's going to have to look for some other toy to play with. I'm sure he'll find a few people to support his boycott, but how could the majority of people care. Personally, I like my PS3 too much to go along with this.

Avatar image for Femto513

Um, Hotz can go eff himself if he thinks I'm going to boycott Sony because he's butt-hurt over the consequences for crossing the giant. Why would I support him? What has Hotz ever done for me?

Avatar image for Mister_Zurkon

Hotz publicist really needs to get a better picture of him out there...

Avatar image for rarson

@atopp399 He's not complaining about the outcome, he's complaining about Sony's business practices. And I agree with him.

Avatar image for rarson

This isn't about piracy, it's about Sony not wanting people to do whatever they want with their products. Taking things apart and figuring out how they work (and occasionally making them do things they couldn't before) are hobbies of mine, and I'd like to keep it that way.

Avatar image for urysohn

LOL. I enjoy that he expects everyone to boycott all Sony products, while he clearly still plays his favorite PS3 exclusives.

Avatar image for tachsniper

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

Avatar image for Ex-DarkBlade

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

Avatar image for tachsniper

I believe in the cause, once we pay for something it should be ours to do as we please, but Hotz is acting like a spoiled brat. talks tough behind authority's back but pees down his leg in the face of such authority.

Avatar image for Flint247

Case: $250,000 The picture in this article: priceless

Avatar image for atopp399

He agreed to it. He could have gone to trial and probably won but chose to settle. He shouldn't be whining about the outcome.

Avatar image for Ex-DarkBlade

To Hotz: How would you feel when somebody without your permission messes with your hard work? Why don't you get a job in the software field and see how happy you can be when an low life hacker messes with your hard work sh*t which you worked day and night? Sony cased you because of it's hard working engineers. You almost caused those hard working engineers their future. Get a fr*akin life and a job.

Avatar image for Yajarobi

ive been boycotting sony for some time now. No backwards compatibility destroyed it for me

Avatar image for grand17

this reminds me of highschool, the little guy acts tough but when confronted its "no sir...please dont" and as soon as hes walked away its little tough guy again. get lost hotz

Avatar image for BlackSnake123

Go Go Hotz!you do the right thing!Sony and other big corporations should understand that they can not bully the consumers however they want! It is time to make a lawsuit against Sony for removing other OS,and false advertisement.

Avatar image for BasilVZero

Good luck , no one's gonna boycott Sony especially for this reason, there's other reasons why anyone would boycott Sony, this isnt one of them that's for sure.

Avatar image for lilrobda1

Hotz won't be doing anything now. I know he won't be paying Sony since he makes $0 and $0 cents off hacking, and if he has a job, I doubt he has enough to pay for the injunction.

Avatar image for TheArcade

Make another rap Hotz.

Avatar image for 194197844077667059316682358889

@delcidanddarth No, since none of the rest of us were named in this. He agreed to this restriction as part of his settlement, so he's agreeing sight unseen to agree with present and future terms of use.

Avatar image for delcidanddarth

How exactly can he be held to a terms of use agreement without checking off that little box? Doesn't this mean we all must follow the agreement regardless of us agreeing to it? Seems odd.