After news of the settlement between Sony and George Hotz came out, we had a few unhappy people complaining about how Hotz would now keep all the money donated to him, that he would run off to some tropical island, never to be heard from again. Well, as it turns out, Hotz has actually kept his word: he donated all the leftover donated money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
When the lawsuit started, Hotz solicited donations from people to support the fight with Sony. This way, he could afford decent legal presentation. From the get-go, he promised he would donate any left-over money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation once the court case was over. When news of the settlement got out, some people were worried that Hotz would simply keep all the donated money and spend it on frivolous things like socks and extension cords.
Well, worry no more, as Hotz has kept true to his word. He just posted on his blog that he has donated $10000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “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,” Hotz writes, “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.”
Hotz further stated that he won’t be hacking away at Sony products any longer. While he doesn’t respect Sony, he does respects the courts, he explains. He also doesn’t believe this case will affect future efforts by others to hack Sony products. “If you piss them off enough for them to pull out the legal team and their million dollar checkbook, worst thing that happens is you have to super swear to never do it again,” he says.
So, this means this particular case is closed, and that’s a good thing for Hotz. Lest we forget – he is but one individual, and I can fully understand it that he has decided not to devote the better part of a decade on a long, protracted legal battle. As Tess points out in this week’s podcast (yes! A podcast!), while such a case is going on, it could affect, for instance, his employment options.
Still, I have the sneaking suspicion that the EFF wasn’t chosen willy-nilly. In 2010, the EFF managed to get a DMCA exception added for hacking smartphones. In 2013, the next round of exceptions will be handled. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hotz and the EFF intend this $10000 to go into the lobbying effort to get consoles added alongside mobile phones in the list of DMCA exceptions.