George Hotz might look like your average college kid: scruffy hair, t-shirt, and that look of “I just woke up and don’t care,” but he is far from run of the mill. Better known to the world as Geohot, he’s the hacker behind some brilliant pieces of iPhone unlocking software (BlackRa1n and LimeRa1n), and more recently a hack for the Sony Play Station 3, which allows it to play pirated games. On January 11, 2011, Sony decided to sue him and others for “bypassing effective technology protection measures,” which according to Sony “facilitate the counterfeiting of video games.”
What does Geohot have to say about all this?
Geohot has even set up a blog to express his frustration over the suit, because as he says, “It seems like SCEA has declared war on hackers. Something as grave as war at least needs a blog.”
How did this all get started? According to Groklaw:
On January 11, 2011, SCEA filed a complaint against Mr. Hotz and others for alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) (17 U.S.C. §1201), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) (18 U.S.C. § 1030), the Copyright Act (17 U.S.C. §501), California’s Computer Crime Law (Penal Code §502), and other state laws with respect to SCEA’s PlayStation3 computer entertainment system (“PS3 System”) (Docket No. 1). SCEA also moved for a Temporary Restraining Order against Mr. Hotz based on its claims under the DMCA and CFAA. (Docket No.2). On January 27, 2011, the Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order enjoining such activity. (Docket No. 50). The parties also submitted limited briefing on the question of whether the Court has personal jurisdiction over Mr. Hotz. [Docket Nos. 32, 46, 47] On February 2, 2011, Mr. Hotz filed a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction (“Motion to Dismiss”). [Docket No. 51]. SCEA subsequently moved to take expedited, targeted discovery prior to the deadline for its Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss. [Docket No. 62]. Among the discovery sought by SCEA for jurisdictional purposes are Requests for Production, Interrogatories, an Inspection Demand to inspect Mr. Hotz’s PS3 System and computers, a Notice of Deposition, as well as third party subpoenas to ascertain Mr. Hotz’s forum related contacts with California.
The Sony complaint alleges alleges:
Defendants George Hotz (and others) … are computer hackers.1 Working individually and in concert with one another, Defendants recently bypassed effective technological protection measures (“TPMs”) employed by plaintiff Sony Computer Entertainment America LLP (“SCEA”) in its proprietary PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system (“PS3 System”). Through the Internet, Defendants are distributing software, tools and instructions (collectively, “Circumvention Devices”) that circumvent the TPMs in the PS3 System and facilitate the counterfeiting of video games. Already, pirated video games are being packaged and distributed with these circumvention devices. … SCEA moves ex parte to put an immediate halt to the ongoing distribution of these illegal Circumvention Devices and avoid irreparable harm to SCEA and to other video game software developers stemming from video game piracy.
Defendants’ Circumvention Devices allow users to circumvent multiple TPMs in the PS3 System – including access control, encryption and digital signature protections – to enable use or playing of illegal copies of PlayStation®3 video games on the PS3 System.
Here is a complete list of the legal papers filed up until now from Geohot’s original website on the law suit:
- Geohot: Initial Response
- Sony: Supplemental TRO
- Geohot: Defendant’s Supplemental Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Motion for TRO
- Sony: Supplemental Brief
- Court: Order Granting TRO
- Geohot: Motion to Dismiss