GeoHot donates funds for Sony’s PS3 hacking lawsuit to EFF

By on April 18, 2011, 11:05 AM
PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George Hotz, also known as GeoHot, has donated the remaining funds for his legal battle against Sony to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). He also says the battle with the PS3 will continue with or without him as others will continue to crack the latest firmware and find workarounds for the console:

As promised, all left over legal defense money, plus a little to bump it to a nice number, has been sent to the EFF. Thank you all so much for your support, without it, things could have been much worse.

This money goes to the EFF in hopes that America can one day again be a shining example of freedom, free of the DMCA and ACTA, and that private interest will never trump the ideas laid out in the constitution of privacy, ownership, and free speech.

At the end of the day, something I take comfort in. The PS3 got OWNED. "Once the code works they'll never be able to take it away from us."

Two months ago, GeoHot asked for donations to help pay for legal defense fees in his fight against Sony. At the time, he noted that the EFF provided some legal help and so leftover donations will go to them. Now he has delivered on that pledge.

Last week, Sony and GeoHot announced they had settled the lawsuit, though the terms were not fully disclosed. As such, GeoHot no longer needs money to fight the company.

Sony's legal attacks against the hackers that released the PS3 root key and custom firmware began three months ago. The group known as fail0verflow was accused of posting a rudimentary hack in December 2010 after finding security codes for the PS3. It was refined by GeoHot weeks later when he independently found and published the PS3 root key. The resulting hacks allow homebrew apps and pirated software to run on unmodified consoles. Sony is still threatening to sue anybody posting or distributing PS3 jailbreak code, despite the fact that the company accidentally tweeted the PlayStation 3 security key.

Sony largely won the legal battle. The company succeed in getting GeoHot to hand over his hardware, even demanding two copies of the data, one in encrypted and one in decrypted form. A federal judge allowed Sony to obtain the IP addresses of everyone who visited GeoHot's personal website for a period of 26 months (since January 2009) as well as the account names of anyone who has accessed a PS3 jailbreak video on the 21-year-old's YouTube account, his tweets relating to the hacking on Twitter, information on people who posted comments to his blog on Blogspot, and information about his account on the PSX-Scene website. The same judge also later granted the company access to GeoHot's PayPal account for the last two years.

Sony's official stance remains if you crack your PS3, you'll get banned. GeoHot has meanwhile moved on. When asked "Will you be continuing your work on Sony products anonymously?" he answered: "Nah. As much as I don't respect the goons at Sony, I do respect the court."

User Comments: 12

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Guest said:

How much are legal fees in a case like this? How much did Geohot have to pay for his lawyers?

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I still feel like Geo sold out, but I think that corporate lackey "judge" would have granted Sony Geo's first born if they asked for it. The judge was obviously in their pocket, so perhaps Geo did the right thing by settling and turning it over to the EFF?

Guest said:

Anyone have a guess has to how much he had to settle for?

$20,000?? $50,000??

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think just getting it to court and the widespread media showing Sony's true colors counts it as a win for Geo, really. Even though he had to back down and settle (as Wendig0 points out, he didn't have much of a chance), Sony still got a public relations black eye from the battle.

NeoFryBoy said:

He probably didn't lose money. Sony grabbed everything they wanted, and banned him from touching another Sony product for life (most likely). And he thinks Sony got owned...?

Guest said:

Dont mess with SONY Geo (goon)!!!

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That last paragraph is kind of dumb. He won't publically admit of the possiblitiy that he'll do anything with Sony hardware in the future. At least he donated the money he had collected for legal costs.

Guest said:

It's funny how he say that he respects the courts and the laws yet he have been hacking the PS3 which is not allowed. I don't have anything against the homebrew crowd but he acts like he can do whatever he wishes even when he bought the PS3 and agreed with the terms. If he does not agree with the terms of the PS3 then he should not have bought the PS3 in the first place. At the same time SONY took it too far too.

For the most of us we only bough the system to play games as that's what it's sold as so we don't really care for this case as much. We bought the game system to play games. That's it and that's what we agreed with. If you bought the system for other reasons they just be careful but don't get mad when you get in trouble. It's like buying a phone then bricking it and complaining to the company when that happens.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Wait till Sony starts cross-referencing the data he (was forced/willingly gave to Sony to avoid pound-in-the-ass Federal prison, take your pick) against PS3 players. Then a whole lot of people are going to get OWND. Then he got behind the Anonymous attack, which basically just screwed over more PS3 players. How else is he going to "help" the PS3 community? Write some viruses to turn them into a botnet?

Thanks for seeing this thing through bro. Your rhetoric was mighty tough indeed, right up to the point you had to face any repercussions, then you folded faster than a protein on a supercomputer.

Lionvibez said:

lol you say that like he had a chance. Do you think he could have afforded a Multi million dollar lawsuit for years in court. When sony already had the judge in their pocket, if anything he did a smart thing and saved his ass. If any of you thought he was doing it for you or the community you are damn naive and I got some beach front property in Alaska to sell you.

Money trumps all in this world and in the legal system most of you should know this by now.

Guest said:

You don't have to agree to any terms to PURCHASE a PS3. The hardware is yours once purchased. There may be terms to agree to in your initial use of the hardware, but initial ownership doesn't involve any. That being said, if he never walked through dialogues and clicked 'Agree' then he didn't agree to any either.

Guest said:

All of this crap could have been completely avoided if they didn't ban use of Linux kits.

They should just brick systems from PSN access if they detect hacks. Who cares offline what happens.

They promote video sharing through external sources as a main feature of their system, which most people obtain illegally, so it's funny that way too.

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