PlayStation Hacker Geohot Settles With SCEA

PlayStation Hacker Geohot Settles With SCEA

Hacker George “Geohot” Hotz, the man who Sony accused of cracking the PlayStation 3 security, has settled with Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). According to a statement issued by SCEA, Hotz has “consented to a permanent injunction” against the information published by Hotz.

While full details of the settlement are not yet available, it’s hard to parse this as anything but a win for Hotz, who simply has to refrain from publishing information that is already broadly reproduced elsewhere on the internet. Sony, by not going to court, does not have to risk a protracted and ugly trial against a customer.

Related: In January: Geohot boasts about his unprecedented hack of the PlayStation 3.

Also in January: Sony tries to get restraining order on Geohot’s hack.

In February: Sued by Sony, Geohot rants in the form of his very own rap video.

Also in February: Sony asks its PS3 customers to refrain from hacking.

In March: Geohot offers a defence, denies fleeing the U.S.

In April: Anonymous attacks Sony sites in support of Geohot.


  • What?! He just gets away with it?! This is ridiculous. Sony had the power and, more importantly, the legal precedence to take him to court and destroy him for what he did. The man just enabled a whole new area of piracy for pete’s sake! But no, they just tell him not to tell anyone about it even though what started this whole thing is that he put it on the internet so everybody already knows. Sony, I love you, but you really screwed the pooch on this one.

    • I suspect they probably ended up weighing what they stood to gain against what it was going to cost them. The lawsuit would cost a sh*tload of money, and Hotz would be unable to actually pay any significant amount ordered against him anyway, so they’d never get it back. Meanwhile, the last PS3 firmware update effectively killed off Hotz’s hack anyway, so the damage has at least been contained.

      It wouldn’t surprise me if that “permanent injunction” didn’t apply only to his PS3 hack but also to any other Sony hardware, present or future. I guess if they don’t disclose all the details then we’ll have to wait and see if Hotz puts out a hack for the XPeria Play or NGP to find out. If he releases nothing, you can probably assume that’s due to the conditions of the settlement.

      • Yeah I think they made the same strategy going after Hotz as a pre-emptive strike in the first place. It seems to me that this whole thing started to plug the leak rather than risk it turning into a piracy flood from hundreds of others using what he posted. That would’ve costed a lot more for Sony and developers than this lawsuit would’ve in the long run.

        But of course yeah you’re right, the firmware update would’ve done the job anyway to resolve it, so hopefully now this’ll die down for good this time. But of course with my zero faith in humanity, I doubt it lol

    • Much as I dislike Hotz’ hubris and antics, Sony are the bad guys here. First of all, they removed linux support. While that may not mean much to you it represented to the people who cared about it a severe corporate about-face that completely justified breaking into the console’s code to regain that functionality. Second, it is entirely their fault that their console’s security essentially amounted to a single non-random number. This is the year 2011, if you want your product to be secure, you need to make pretty damn sure it’s secure otherwise you don’t get to be surprised when it’s security gets broken.

      My third point is a more general one. People are going to pirate games and pirate consoles. This is a reality, and while you may be too narrow-minded to appreciate that piracy is not the same thing as theft, in the virtual marketplace of today, sony really has no excuse for not adapting their business model to accommodate something that is going to happen regardless of what they do.

      • You’re right. Piracy isn’t the same as theft. It’s just taking something that doesn’t belong to you without paying for it. Very different.

        And Sony didn’t actually pull OtherOS from the PS3 “first of all”. What happened “first of all” was that OtherOS was used to hack the PS3. By George Hotz, interestingly enough. It was AFTER that that Sony removed OtherOS from the PS3. So you’re essentially saying that Hotz was justified in breaking the PS3’s security to restore OtherOS when OtherOS was removed in the first place because of Hotz hacking it.

  • Damnit! What a joke. Hotz needs a forceful kick to the delicates, not a light slap on the wrist.
    Sony, Sony, Sony…

  • I sense Sony didn’t have much of a choice here. Either settle a deal with Hotz, or suffer an endless stream of DDoS attacks and worse at the hands of anonymous.

    Thanks alot anon. By supporting piracy, you’ve just moved the games industry one step closer to bankruptcy.

    • Wow, you seem to think anonymous are some uber-hackers. Sony have stated that their attempts at DDoS are little more than an annoyance. Sony settled for another reason.

    • Absolutely zero. Anonymous are a bunch of script kiddy douchebags. They just pissed off all the gamers by sending the playstation network into a state of flux.

      They became exactly what they hate.

  • This kind of sounds like it might have ended up like the stalemate over the DVD Content Scrambling System (CSS) algorithm.

    The information is available to anyone who looks for it, but can not be used by anyone large enough for Sony to bother suing.

    So you won’t see publishers releasing games without Sony’s approval, or Datel releasing an Action Replay unit based on the keys.

  • Man the Sony Defence force is our in droves today. I remember when I used to enjoy playing good games no matter how I got a hold of them, and discussions on how good they were was the only result.


  • Did they prove he was pirating games? If not, then basically all he did was regain functionality that was offered by Sony, produced a selling point, and then retracted.
    Sony should have hired him, not hunted him, as obviously he is smarter than their “security” department.

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