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The Hacker Wars: GeoHot vs. Sony

The online gaming world exploded with support for hacker George Hotz (also known as GeoHot) when Sony brought charges against him for hacking into the PlayStation 3 (PS3) and posting the root keys of the device online. However, before the entire thing went to court, Hotz and Sony reached a settlement but the air is still not clear. At least, not to Anonymous.

Who is George Hotz?

George Hotz who is more commonly referred to in the media at "Geohot" is a hacker and might I say, a pretty good one at that. He is well-known for dismantling his iPhone and making it work with other carriers aside from AT&T back in the day. He has since developed a number of jailbreak software including Blackra1n and Limera1n.

In early 2010, Hotz was able to hack the Sony PlayStation 3 and posted his exploits on his blog online. His hack enabled homebrew and PlayStation 2 emulation to be played on the PS3 while running on the OtherOS function of the PS3. Sony responded by saying that they were going to release a firmware update that would remove OtherOS from the PS3.

The Case: Sony vs. Geohot

In January of 2011, Sony couldn't sit still any longer. Geohot had posted several videos and hacks on the PS3 and was doing a good job at taking it apart. Too good a job because they decided to take legal action against him with charges saying that he infringed areas of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

GeoHot then went on to create a blog, GeoHot Got Sued, where he asked for support and for donations to cover his legal fees in order to fight Sony at the court. He argued that he could do whatever he wanted to the PS3 that he had bought because it was his. Sony disagreed, saying that he (and all the other PS3 owners) did not "have an ownership right in the software that Sony Computer allows you to use."

The Settlement

Sony then went with their lawyers and guns blazing to obtain subpeonas of GeoHot's accounts. They were granted access to GeoHot's Paypal account, as well as his Twitter and Youtube accounts. Sony was also able to get a hold of the IP addresses of the people who visited his site. Naturally, this caused an outraged response by a lot of people who accused Sony of abusing the legal system.

The promised court battle didn't happen, however, because GeoHot and Sony eventually reached a settlement on March 31, 2011. It indicated that GeoHot would have to pay $10,000 per violation of the terms which included not performing any "unauthorized access" on any Sony machines. In short, no more hacking.

The Hackers and the Sony Boycott

Several people called on gamers and consumers to stop buying Sony products because of the whole GeoHot issue. GeoHot himself announced on his blog that he was taking part in the boycott.

A group of hackers called Anonymous announced that they were planning attacks on Sony's websites. However, a lot of gamers complained when they lost access to PS-related sites, so they began hacking other Sony sites. It fizzled out however, and Sony responded by saying that the group's attacks only annoyed their network engineers and were only medium-strength.

In-store Sony protests have been slated by the group, with its Facebook events page containing a list of over 3,000 people who have confirmed their attendance.

Sources: Eurogamer; GeoHot Got Sued;Wikipedia

 

GameGuru
Innovative Video Games and Apps Blogger
InventorSpot.com

Comments
Apr 13, 2011
by Anonymous

Not quite right

I would disagree with your very first line, "The online gaming world exploded with support for hacker George Hotz". Have a look around the Web and you will see that the vast majority of real gamers did not support GeoHot in the release of the PS3 private keys or hacking info. Anyone who enjoys gaming wants to keep the industry and the console alive which means speaking out against piracy. It's not just Sony who are harmed by copied software but also the small developers, the independent high street game shops, and every game player who wants to play fairly online. The only people supporting the hacking of consoles are those who think the world owes them everything for free, or want to run cheats spoiling everyone elses online fun.
The argument of being able to do anything you want with a device once you have bought it just stinks of ignorance. You agree to license agreements before you use items like the PS3, and the intellectual property of things like firmware and operating systems are almost always protected. I think Hotz has dodged a bullet with Sony settling out of court. Personally I would like to have seen him made an example of.

Apr 13, 2011
by Anonymous

Yup.

Damn straight.

Apr 14, 2011
by Anonymous

Differnet Laws

The laws that regulate cellular devices are completely different and do not apply to the PS3 at all so read and get your facts right.

I am a programmer and not for a big company but I would still seek legal retribution if someone stole my copyrighted code and published it. You have really no clue about how any of this works. Copyright laws are constantly updated and this is really breaking the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization rules that the USA's DMCA was made to be in accordance with. We own the hardware we never own software even freeware software is under the GPL and using it without credit is a copyright violation. Every time you hit I Agree when you install something you are just licensing it you don't own the software. If they wrote everything with their own code Sony couldn't of done anything.....

Apr 15, 2011
by Anonymous

Geohot didnt agree to the

Geohot didnt agree to the terms of ps3 and anonymous is for the people anonymous is the people but it needs to spread fuck sony and i agree online play sucks bcuz of hackers but we do own the ps3 and the software they let us use bcuz we payd for it i mean this world is falling apart we must do something about all the wrong thing like OBAMA lol Fake

Apr 15, 2011
by Anonymous

I support ANONYMOUS but im a

I support ANONYMOUS but im a methodist i support there ideas of freedom of speech and we the people shud vote on everything the gov wants to do to many people are greedy and stupid

Apr 16, 2011
by Anonymous

geohot

fuck off sony Free World.

Apr 21, 2011
by Anonymous

nothing belongs to no one

nothing belongs to no one and its all trash we worship get some sun

Apr 23, 2011
by Anonymous

AHEM

black ops and fifa all the way
no need 4 too many sun mate

Apr 23, 2011
by Anonymous

Losers

You losers need to focus your attention on doing something more constructive with your lives then sitting behind a screen like a fucking Zombie. If you were smart you would find a way to make a living off of your gift rather then waste your time throwing stones at a sleeping giant like Sony. I wasted 10 years of my life going no where trying to earn respect as a hacker... for what? I now spend my time making a ridiculous living writing the very software that losers like you waste your time hacking. Its not that hard to put down the controller/keyboard and pick up a textbook and do something constructive with your lives. However....Its your prerogative...I can care less if you retarded little fucks are content with wasting your lives in mommy's basement... call it...my job security. You guys are fucking pathetic, get a life!

Apr 26, 2011
by Anonymous

"It fizzled out however, and

"It fizzled out however, and Sony responded by saying that the group's attacks only annoyed their network engineers and were only medium-strength."
And now the PSN has been down for a week, with 77 million people's credit card details at the mercy of an "illegal and unauthorised person". Guess the attack didn't fizzle out, did it?

As for sources, google 'Sony' and have a gander at the shitstorm of media attention this fiasco has caused.