Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 11th Apr 2011 22:17 UTC
Legal Well, it seems like Sony vs. George Hotz has ended pretty much without a bang. Sony announced on its Playstation blog that the two parties have settled the case. Under the settlement, Hotz agrees to a permanent injunction fo his jailbreaking hack, but admits to no wrong-doing. A wise and, dare I say it, mature end to the lawsuit.
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My take
by WereCatf on Mon 11th Apr 2011 22:34 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

First of all, Hotz gets sued by Sony. Promises to fight the fight to the end or until he gets a settlement with Sony that allows for an authorized path to homebrew on PS3, OtherOS and an apology from Sony to the scene.

Then, he proceeds to ask for donations. Many people donate to him because of his promise and all the good that would ensue.

Hotz settles with Sony, breaking his promise and letting down all those people who donated to him.

That is the reason why people are so angry at him.


As for the court case itself and why he should NOT have caved in:

It was a civil case, he couldn't have gotten into jail even if he had suffered a complete, and total defeat in court.

The worst outcome for Hotz would be that he would have had to pay quite a large sum of money to Sony, in which the community would most likely have helped simply out of respect for going through the whole thing. As for general populace: well, atleast we wouldn't anymore be in the grey area and would actually know for a fact the legal footing. Actually knowing your footing is still a positive outcome so you really know where you're standing.

If he had won the case it would have set a very, VERY powerful precedent and enforced general consumer rights in that you are indeed allowed to modify electronics you have legally bought without fear of facing legal difficulties. Also, it would have created a large barrier for these large companies for trying to bully consumers into submission, and would have helped all consumers in general, not just PS3 owners.

Especially the fact that it would have had nationwide (in the US, that is.) effect on consumer rights is the reason why it was so god damn important to go through with the whole thing.

As for the court case if he had settled as per his original promise to the scene:

We would have an authorized way of using homebrew without having to resort to hacks, and we would also be able to enjoy OtherOS. While this is a LOT less important than the precedent I mentioned earlier it would still have benefited atleast the PS3 scene.


The result:

Well, people lost the money they donated to him, he broke his promises, and there is no way of getting the donated money back. Donations are not covered by the credit card company rules and thus cannot be disputed.

Hotz can try to move to China if he wishes to continue hacking, but no one will take him seriously anymore. Or he can release stuff anonymously, but that will still not change anything, the scene has gained absolutely nothing.

Reply Score: 13

RE: My take
by umccullough on Mon 11th Apr 2011 22:45 in reply to "My take"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Hotz settles with Sony, breaking his promise and letting down all those people who donated to him.


Actually, settling was always one of the options Hotz was willing to accept, but he flubbed that one up as well (per his own geohot.com page):

What if SCEA tries to settle?
Lets just say, I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it. It'd be good PR for Sony too, lord knows they could use it. I'm also willing to accept a trade, a legit path to homebrew for knowledge of how to stop new firmwares from being decrypted.


Hmm... I didn't see that part anywhere in the court documents.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: My take
by umccullough on Mon 11th Apr 2011 22:56 in reply to "RE: My take"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

Hmm... I didn't see that part anywhere in the court documents.


Hmm... I guess I gotta correct myself, apparently many of the settlement details are "confidential", and excluded from the court documents. Per Hotz' Blog:

In general in court cases, the settlement agreement is not filed with the court. If a party is bound by an injunction, that would have to be made available on the public docket.


Guess we may never know what the results of the settlement were.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: My take
by Thom_Holwerda on Mon 11th Apr 2011 22:48 in reply to "My take"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Well, let's not judge until you or I get the full might of a massive corporation on our ass. Remember - WE live in relatively sane Europe, but he lives in the US. I would not like the prospect of going to court in the US with a large company.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: My take
by WereCatf on Mon 11th Apr 2011 22:57 in reply to "RE: My take"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Well, let's not judge until you or I get the full might of a massive corporation on our ass. Remember - WE live in relatively sane Europe, but he lives in the US. I would not like the prospect of going to court in the US with a large company.


Well, he already had the legal fees covered, so it would have only been a long and annoying hassle, it wouldn't have had much other effect than being tiresome.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: My take
by WorknMan on Tue 12th Apr 2011 01:02 in reply to "My take"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

As for general populace: well, atleast we wouldn't anymore be in the grey area and would actually know for a fact the legal footing. Actually knowing your footing is still a positive outcome so you really know where you're standing.


If you're talking about the US, I don't think there's any question on where consumers stand legally. If you jailbreak something that's not a phone or an ereader, you take it up the ass.

I'm not saying it's right, but really... where is the confusion here?

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: My take
by WereCatf on Tue 12th Apr 2011 06:51 in reply to "RE: My take"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

If you're talking about the US, I don't think there's any question on where consumers stand legally. If you jailbreak something that's not a phone or an ereader, you take it up the ass.


It is in fact a grey area now that the DMCA exception for mobile phones was made. The question remains: would such an exception also be made for consoles, and what types of consoles? Especially with the case of the more powerful ones that are indeed capable of being used as a general-purpose computer too. And yet in addition Sony itself was telling both publicly and in legal documents that PS3 is a computer, and in other cases that it isn't, and if it is indeed deemed a computer one could for example try and use interoperability laws as a lever for more rights to it.

You see, there's lots of stuff that is now in the grey and a precedent in either direction would have cleared the matters.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: My take
by yoshi314@gmail.com on Tue 12th Apr 2011 06:26 in reply to "My take"
yoshi314@gmail.com Member since:
2009-12-14

did you notice that sony withdrew the charges against fail0verflow team as well?

that's a suspicious coincidence. maybe it was a part of the settlement.

i think that's the best that could be done at this time. it's just a matter of geohot's bloated ego, when he self-proclaimed himself a personification of consumer rights, more of less - he basically raised the bar too high for himself.

so, in the end geohot cannot hack around with ps3 anymore, fail0verflow case is dropped and there are no further restrictions against console hacking, or any negative precedent. i think it's not that bad after all.

i wonder what about graf_chokolo, and his case.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: My take
by WereCatf on Tue 12th Apr 2011 06:58 in reply to "RE: My take"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

i wonder what about graf_chokolo, and his case.


I cannot verify this but I heard Graf's case was solely based on the outcome of Hotz case, and since it never actually went through Sony has to re-sue Graf now.

Unfortunately I have absolutely no knowledge of German laws, especially their IP and DMCA-like laws, and Graf himself is totally unlike Hotz in that he is never seen in public except when he drops yet another bomb of PS3 goodies.

If what I heard is true Graf should be receiving his hardware back soonish, and he'll no doubt just continue doing what he's been doing all this time anyways. I don't know if Sony can sue him again in such a short timeframe, someone living in Germany should know better about such laws, but if I have to guess anything I'd say they cannot sue him again for a while under the same arguments he was sued before.

All in all, I just hope he's doing fine, he's earned quite some respect in the scene.

Edited 2011-04-12 06:58 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: My take
by sithlord2 on Tue 12th Apr 2011 08:29 in reply to "My take"
sithlord2 Member since:
2009-04-02


Hotz settles with Sony, breaking his promise and letting down all those people who donated to him.

That is the reason why people are so angry at him.



It's easy for others to be angry at him, they are not the ones who would have gone to jail...

The guy decided to walk as a free man while he still had the chance. I would have done exactly the same if I was him ...

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: My take
by WereCatf on Tue 12th Apr 2011 09:00 in reply to "RE: My take"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

It's easy for others to be angry at him, they are not the ones who would have gone to jail...


*sigh* You didn't read a damn thing, did you? It's a CIVIL CASE, you can't go to jail even if you lose.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: My take
by tuma324 on Tue 12th Apr 2011 09:53 in reply to "My take"
tuma324 Member since:
2010-04-09

First of all, Hotz gets sued by Sony. Promises to fight the fight to the end or until he gets a settlement with Sony that allows for an authorized path to homebrew on PS3, OtherOS and an apology from Sony to the scene.

Then, he proceeds to ask for donations. Many people donate to him because of his promise and all the good that would ensue.

Hotz settles with Sony, breaking his promise and letting down all those people who donated to him.

That is the reason why people are so angry at him.


As for the court case itself and why he should NOT have caved in:

It was a civil case, he couldn't have gotten into jail even if he had suffered a complete, and total defeat in court.

The worst outcome for Hotz would be that he would have had to pay quite a large sum of money to Sony, in which the community would most likely have helped simply out of respect for going through the whole thing. As for general populace: well, atleast we wouldn't anymore be in the grey area and would actually know for a fact the legal footing. Actually knowing your footing is still a positive outcome so you really know where you're standing.

If he had won the case it would have set a very, VERY powerful precedent and enforced general consumer rights in that you are indeed allowed to modify electronics you have legally bought without fear of facing legal difficulties. Also, it would have created a large barrier for these large companies for trying to bully consumers into submission, and would have helped all consumers in general, not just PS3 owners.

Especially the fact that it would have had nationwide (in the US, that is.) effect on consumer rights is the reason why it was so god damn important to go through with the whole thing.

As for the court case if he had settled as per his original promise to the scene:

We would have an authorized way of using homebrew without having to resort to hacks, and we would also be able to enjoy OtherOS. While this is a LOT less important than the precedent I mentioned earlier it would still have benefited atleast the PS3 scene.


The result:

Well, people lost the money they donated to him, he broke his promises, and there is no way of getting the donated money back. Donations are not covered by the credit card company rules and thus cannot be disputed.

Hotz can try to move to China if he wishes to continue hacking, but no one will take him seriously anymore. Or he can release stuff anonymously, but that will still not change anything, the scene has gained absolutely nothing.


Nice copy/paste:

http://geohotgotsued.blogspot.com/2011/04/joining-sony-boycott.html...

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[2]: My take
by WereCatf on Tue 12th Apr 2011 10:06 in reply to "RE: My take"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15



He actually copypasted my comment from psx-scene forums.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: My take - marterdom is not for everyone
by jabbotts on Tue 12th Apr 2011 13:24 in reply to "My take"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I don't know the full details so perhaps he did willfuly ignore his promis and community support. From the other side though, he may also have realized how long Sony could keep him running through courts. Sometimes the indavidual cost of becoming a martyr doesn't add up. It could simply have been a 20-something year old considering what it'll be like to turn 30-something before the case is finished.

In terms of donations, what was the total collected and how much has been spent on legal fees? He promised to donate any remaining amounts; is that happening and to what cause is it due to be donated?

I think he should at least be given the chance to do right by the community and supporters within the legal limits of the case outcome. Maybe save the torches and pitchforks until there is valid reason to point fingers. For us third parties it's easy to sway with the fickle internet trend of the hour and voice outrage but how many have actually been in the possition of being personally dragged into court by a multi-national corp?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: civil lawsuits can destroy your life
by gregorlowski on Tue 12th Apr 2011 13:36 in reply to "My take"
gregorlowski Member since:
2006-03-20

I haven't commented on osnews for years, but I had to bite in response to this:

If you trivialize the potential severity of a civil lawsuit then you are misunderstanding the positions of individual people and corporations in western market economies today. I'm in the USA, but I'll put forth a European example for you -- Jérôme Kerviel. It's a somewhat incongruous example because Kerviel was found guilty of a crime and forced to pay restitution to Societe Generale as a result -- to the sum of about 5 billion euros (and he got effectively 3 years in prison). However, courts can award both compensatory and punitive damages in civil cases. To use an American example, consider the OJ Simpson trials. The dude was found innocent of crimes but then lost a subsequent wrongful-death civil trial with a judgement of $38 million in damages.

In Europe, as in the USA, most people spend most of their lives working for money. You need money to survive in our societies. When you work, you are trading your time for money. Well, what then is the implication of being forced to pay millions or billions of dollars to a corporation? For most people, it is comparable to a life sentence in prison. If you earn any money, the courts can garnish a cut of any wages that you earn to put toward civil legal claims.

My sister (a lawyer) used to work for a firm that processed debt claim lawsuits. Some of the claims were large (housing-loan foreclosures) but some were small (person defaulted on a used-car loan). The courts would garnish maybe as little as $100/month from someone who is living at the poverty level and has to feed a family. It's no Dickensian debtor's prison, but how much better is it? Maybe it's not hell but it's purgatory. You have to work to eat and feed your family, but anything you earn above the poverty level is taken away from you by the state -- possibly for life.

So say a multi-billion dollar international company is suing you and you could possibly face a judgement of millions of dollars in compensatory and possibly punitive damages. Go ahead, call Geohotz a pussy or a wanker, but I know what I'd do if I were in his position and had the option to settle the case permanently and ensure that I won't spend the next 50 years paying out any money that I earn, above what it costs to buy a few loaves of bread each week and live in a poorly maintained rental unit 100 miles from an urban center, to a megacorporation.

For Kerviel, what's worse -- 3 years in the can or paying back 5 billion Euros? Societe Generale has put forth public statements that they won't go after the money, but they *CAN*. The reality of that can basically destroy someone's life.

Geohotz should pay back any donation money leftover after he pays his legal fees. If he doesn't, he's a wanker. But he has absolutely no moral obligation to face a lifetime paying back legal claims to become a free-speech martyr.

Edited 2011-04-12 13:46 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: My take
by westlake on Wed 13th Apr 2011 11:39 in reply to "My take"
westlake Member since:
2010-01-07

The worst outcome for Hotz would be that he would have had to pay quite a large sum of money to Sony, in which the community would most likely have helped simply out of respect for going through the whole thing.


"The community" turned on Geohot faster than a mongoose catching sight of the Bronx Zoo's Cobra.







If he had won the case it would have set a very, VERY powerful precedent and enforced general consumer rights in that you are indeed allowed to modify electronics you have legally bought without fear of facing legal difficulties. Also, it would have created a large barrier for these large companies for trying to bully consumers into submission, and would have helped all consumers in general, not just PS3 owners.

Especially the fact that it would have had nationwide (in the US, that is.) effect on consumer rights is the reason why it was so god damn important to go through with the whole thing.

As for the court case if he had settled as per his original promise to the scene:

We would have an authorized way of using homebrew without having to resort to hacks, and we would also be able to enjoy OtherOS. While this is a LOT less important than the precedent I mentioned earlier it would still have benefited atleast the PS3 scene.


The result:

Well, people lost the money they donated to him, he broke his promises, and there is no way of getting the donated money back. Donations are not covered by the credit card company rules and thus cannot be disputed.

Hotz can try to move to China if he wishes to continue hacking, but no one will take him seriously anymore. Or he can release stuff anonymously, but that will still not change anything, the scene has gained absolutely nothing. [/q]

Reply Parent Score: 1