Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has announced today that it has reached a settlement in its case against PS3 hacker George Hotz, AKA Geohot. The ruling comes after several weeks of litigation regarding the hacking of Sony’s PS3 platform to allow the installation and use of unofficial software, thereby opening the door to game piracy.
By the terms of the settlement, Hotz is to remove all materials posted on his personal site and elsewhere regarding the hacking of the PS3, a measure that many consider to be futile as the methods are now fairly well known and spread out all over the net. This does enable Sony to implement future prevention methods that may disable the Geohot ‘PS3 Jailbreak’ and removes the most prominent source of a future Jailbreak from the hacking scene.
While game piracy was obviously the biggest thing on Sony’s mind Hotz has stated that that’s not what his original intent was when he began his work to circumvent the lockdown of Sonys console, stating “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier, I’m happy to have the litigation behind me.”
Sony goes on to mention that Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s Playstation Network.
Riley Russel, general counsel for SCEA, made a statement about the settlement of the case saying “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,We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”
The announcement of the settlement puts to rest one of the most hotly debated topics in hacking as the case, if it went to trial, had the potential to fundamentally alter the rights of consumers to modify and customize consumer electronics that they own. As it stands this settlement still casts doubt on the ability of people to alter software running on the PS3 console or any other platform without fear of repercussions.
George Hotz is well known for his work in the iPhone Jailbreaking scene also under the name Geohot. iPhone Jailbreaking has been ruled legal in a DMCA ruling by the Library of Congress.