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Sony, Hotz Settle PS3 Hacking Lawsuit

Sony, Hotz Settle PS3 Hacking Lawsuit

April 11, 2011 | By Kris Graft

Sony Computer Entertainment America and PlayStation 3 "jailbreaker" George "Geohot" Hotz said Monday in a joint statement that they have come to a settlement agreement in this year's PS3 hacking lawsuit.

The statement said the parties came to the agreement in principle on March 31 this year. Sony had filed for a temporary restraining order against Hotz and other PS3 hackers in January.

SCEA had alleged that Hotz distributed circumvention devices through the internet that were needed to access a critical level of PS3 security, and that he released software code used to run pirated software on the console in January.

SCEA said the ability for people to circumvent PS3 copyright security measures would enable piracy of games on the console, hindering creative and commercial viability of the company's game business. But Hotz had denied the hack is meant to facilitate piracy.

"It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier," Hotz reiterated in Monday's statement. "Iā€™m happy to have the litigation behind me." Hotz continues to deny any wrongdoing.

Sony also confirmed Hotz was not involved in recent attacks on Sony websites and internet services. The company told Gamasutra that terms of the settlement are confidential and would not detail further facts regarding the case.

SCEA did not say in its statement whether it would pursue its allegations against "hacking group" Fail0verflow, which the company said in its original complaint laid the groundwork for Hotz' PS3 jailbreaking.

Most recently, SCEA and Hotz were butting heads over whether or not the San Francisco, California federal court where Sony filed the case held jurisdiction over New Jersey-based Hotz.

Prior to the settlement, the court had approved Sony's request for preliminary injunction, which meant Hotz had to remove postings related to the PS3 jailbreak from his website.

The court had also granted Sony the power to impound hard drives and other devices from Hotz, and authorized SCEA to subpoena records from Hotz' PayPal, web provider, Twitter, YouTube and Google accounts, raising privacy concerns among onlookers.

Despite the case having been active until now, Hotz was outspoken about Sony, previously calling the company "bullies" on his website.

In the wake of the settlement, SCEA general counsel Riley Russell also said the company is happy to put the case in the past.

"We want our consumers to be able to enjoy our devices and products in a safe and fun environment and we want to protect the hard work of the talented engineers, artists, musicians and game designers who make PlayStation games and support the PlayStation Network," he said.

"We appreciate Mr. Hotzā€™s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution," Russell added.

[UPDATE: Documents obtained by Gamasutra also show that SCEA voluntarily dismissed its action against defendants Hector Cantero, Sven Peter, and two individuals identified only as "Bushing" and "Segher," who were all alleged members of Fail0verflow. SCEA also dismissed dozens of "Defendant Does" associated with the case.

VG247 has also published images of the settlement documents which prevent Hotz from circumventing the technological protection measures of any Sony product, or trafficking in such measures. Meanwhile, Hotz is publicly advocating a boycott of all Sony products in a post on his blog.]

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