When not hacking hardware, rapper George Hotz likes to spend his time in South America. And when he’s not in South America, he’s in court. The legal wrangling between Hotz and Sony Computer Entertainment of America continues to drag on.
Hotz’s latest manoeuvre, reports Ars Technica, is not knowing that Sony Computer Entertainment of America even existed. According to Hotz’s attorneys, this is because his new PS3 remained sealed, and the box only mentioned Japan.
“When one purchases a Playstation Computer and looks at its outer box, it has plastered on numerous places that it is a product of Sony Japan and all rights belong to Sony Japan. It only references Sony Japan-not SCEA.,” explained his lawyers in court documents. “When one takes the Playstation Computer out of its box and inspects it, it states it is a product of Sony Japan and all rights belong to Sony Japan. It does not reference California. When one installs the Playstation Computer firmware update that Mr. Hotz allegedly circumvented, which can legally be obtained through the internet as Mr. Hotz did, upon installation, it only refers to Sony Japan.”
This is to prove Hotz, who resides in Northern California, didn’t know he was dealing with a California-based company, which is important in establishing jurisdiction. What’s more, Hotz stated under penalty of perjury that he was totally oblivious to the existence of Sony Computer Entertainment of America. The used systems in his possession, he adds, didn’t have instruction manuals or were thrown out without being read. According to Hotz, “The reason I kept the slim box (for the PlayStation I purchased new) was because it was pretty.”
Sony Computer Entertainment of America is also attempting to prove that Hotz signed up for a PlayStation Network account. If successful, Sony might be able to show that the Terms of Service give jurisdiction to try Hotz in California.
Initially, Sony said the PSN account “Geo1Hotz” was Hotz’s, even though there was nothing other than a screen handle to link it to Hotz. Then, Sony says Hotz created an account under the name “blickmaniac” with one of the four PS3s he purchased. Thing is, the serial numbers don’t match up. A comment on Hotz’s blog apparently made by his neighbour claims that the account is not Hotz’s. “See, I live next door to George Hotz and we’ve always been good friends,” reads the comment. “At the time I bought the console, I was waiting to be connected to the internet by my ISP so I asked Hotz if I could use his for a while. Good neighbours, that’s all.”
The serial number for the PS3 Sony is trying to pin to Hotz was purchased at a GameStop near his house. Sony Computer Entertainment of America did not submit into evidence any receipts that directly tie Hotz to the machine.
“Factually, it’s true I’m in South America, on a vacation I’ve had planned and paid for since November,” Hotz blogged last week. “I mean, it is Spring break; hacking isn’t my life. Rest assured that not a dime of legal defence money would ever go toward something like this.” Hotz added that he is in contact with his lawyers daily, and he wouldn’t let the case suffer. “That said, I also won’t let this ridiculous lawsuit run my life either. Then the fearmongerers win.” Hotz closed his post by saying he’ll be back, adding, “I hear it’s hard to come by the Xperia Play down here.” Also, we hear Hotz’s rap flow in Spanish isn’t so great.
Sony v. Hotz: mismatched serial numbers and sealed manuals [Ars Technica]