George Hotz Was Clueless About Sony Computer Entertainment Of America

George Hotz Was Clueless About Sony Computer Entertainment Of America

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]


  • Is this article actually correct in stating that Hotz resides in Northern California?

    I thought the whole argument about jurisdiction was that Sony wanted to hold the case in California when Hotz lived on the other side of the country. If he already lived in the preferred jurisdiction, then none of this would have been necessary, right?

    • Apparently neither does Sony. I think the guys a real dumbass but has he really done anything horrible worth all of this effort? Hell no. This has turned into a witch hunt and an chest thumping ego session by Sony that they likely won’t win. But it isn’t helping the kids outright lying now…

      • ah, he has actually. The guy has given the (as he puts it) “front door keys” to the PS3 so that the unpirated machine is now able to pay pirated games and Sony have lost the one thing that majes them money: the games, since they lose money on the consoles themselves. And why did Hotz do this? So he can play homebrew? If the bastard is that desperate to play Super Mario Bros on something other than the SNES, he can do it on his PC, where he didn’t agree to a legal document saying he wouldn’t do what he’s done! I hope Sony destroy him.

  • How can a person with even a remote interest in PS3 not know about Sony America?

    I do not own a PS3, I have a 360 and can’t justify a PS3. If offered one I would accept it but. And yet I know of Sony America, heck how can a person interested in video games not check out E3 and not know about Sony America?

      • Of course it is! However, it certainly is a valid (if underhanded) play to go ahead with from a legal standpoint.

        If it is true that the console boxes and the visible aspects of the consoles only mention Sony Japan, Sony doesn’t have a LEGAL foot to stand on (in regards to their current angle of establishing jurisdiction in California). They might have a slim chance of getting him with the Playstation Network’s Terms of Service if he did indeed sign up for an account, but those things are flimsy at best from a legal standpoint, so it isn’t a guaranteed option.

        Is Hotz’s lawyers’ tactics underhanded and immoral? Sure. But that’s law for you. A lawyer’s job is to get the most positive result they can for their client within the boundaries of the law, even if it means utilising loopholes and holding up or halting proceedings via tactics like these. I certainly don’t like it myself, but that’s the way the system works.

  • Ummmm… Sony is not an American company and I can assure you that the majority of people in this world do not think of “Sony America” LOL.

    By the way I am not George Hotz I don’t know the guy and infact live in Sydney Australia and dont care about Geohotz … But anyone can easily list their name as Geo2Hotz on a PS3 rego or on this site – dim wits (rolls eyes).

    • Why is this george hotz still alive, if i ever find him i will kill his family in front of him, feed their corpses to him. Then i’ll rip off his arms, legs, ears, and tongue to torture him. Next i will starve him straight to his death!!!!!!!

  • Weakest argument yet ever.. lol I know Sony is wrong but using this argument?? Not knowing SCEA? that’s weak..His lawyers waited for awhile then resort to this?? Trying to find loopholes? I would imagine this creates an opportunity for Sony Japan to sue him then haha.. then it would be Sony times 2 lol

  • @DKnight1000
    You assume that he has an interest in the PS3 outside of hacking. Hotz was mucking around with Other OS and the Cell processor way before he cracked the PS3. This is the same guy who jailbroke the iPhone. Whatever interest he has in videogames likely comes second or lower to his passion for new hardware. Having said that, it is unlikely that he wasn’t aware of Sony America, but stranger things have happened.

  • This is pure genius! by pushing everything back to Sony Japan, he gets to reset the case completely.
    If this ploy is successful, and Sony want to continue. They will have to get lawyers from Japan to file whatever charges they can from there. Charges that may no longer exist as thus could push everything into a whole new legal system!

    So very clever!

  • Man this guys a douche. Hes playing the “stupid” card, which just wont fly for a reknowned international software hacker and avid gamer. It probably will in court, as the defence only has to establish a case based on probability… hopefully the judge will see it for what it is.

  • Whatever happened to Ignorance is not a defence in the court of law?

    May be different in America, but in Australia, if you plead ignorance to the law, it is not a valid defence.

    “Chucking out the manuals”, not reading it, etc, was just part of his own negligence.

    Stupid imo.

  • You cannot plead ignorance to the law as defence – yes but commercial terms of sale are not law.

    Individual citizens, Businesses, incorporated entities such as Corporations, and other Organisations cannot set binding laws. In fact Governments have some difficulties in making or repealing laws particularly if they breach constitution or common law.

    Just because Sony says we sell this item with the following restrictions does not mean they necessarily are applicable.

    If a consumer is not made fully aware of the implications of terms of sale and limitations are not adequately explained then they are not necessarily bound by those restrictions even if they fit within local legal parameters. This is a complicated area but numerous software licensing and warranty conditions provided by vendors do not fully comply with law in Australia & New Zealand for example. Most have been written in the state of California because many technology companies reside there and the laws have grown in favour of such enterprises.

    Remember if the “terms” offered does not fully comply with the local law in which the transaction took place (the location that the consumer was sitting and goods exchanged at time of transaction) IE: If I click on an “agreement of sale” where the transaction for the “exchange of goods” occurred at the North Pole then the Law governing the North Pole applies to that transaction – not the location of the company that made up the terms of sale.

    Geohot is unlikely to have sat and read all terms and conditions – I don’t think anyone ever does. His location at the time of transaction is critical because if he was not in California and was unaware that the PS3 was connecting to a Californian server then his case is quite valid. BTW is anyone aware of the server hosting this article on Kotaku? Is it in Denmark? You don’t know do you..? But it is irrelevant because the Danish Government can’t prosecute you if you are in another country and just inadvertently logged onto a Danish server electronically to download a document or some software or such… got it?

  • Your Honor, that Sony Computer Entertainment America told me she was 22! How was I supposed to know she was a minor!? I mean, sure it was a bit weird when she took me back to her parents place to have sex but I still didn’t know! dude, that is so uncool!!

  • He’s obviously got nothing to defend himself if he has to play the stupid card.
    Just hope the courts see past this stupidity and prosecute him already,the further this goes on the more of a cocky douche he becomes

  • Good point Benjamin.

    First off folks; No one should expect consumers to have to go investigate the geographic jurisdiction that their computer is connecting to just so that they understand their rights & legal position. That is plain crazy.

    But as Benjamin Arrowood has shown – even had Geohot gone to the trouble to locate the geography of that IP address it would be shown to be JAPAN and not the State of California in the U.S. using the “” service…

    Sony’s claim is neither moral nor legal.

    Now before anyone gets all high and mighty in defence of Sony – keep in mind that many of the things Sony is accusing others of doing, Sony themselves has been found guilty of perpetrating and on more occasions than one!

    Jump onto Facebook and look up the page “SONY DISCLOSURE” if you need details…

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