Sony sues GeoHot, other PlayStation 3 jailbreak hackers

George Hotz, aka GeoHotSony has decided to take legal action against the hackers that were able to exploit the PlayStation 3 operating system into running homebrew and pirated software, which worked by accessing root keys or "special codes" in the OS that validated any game or application as genuine.

The jailbreak was released late last month, right around the time the security exploit was shown at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin, by George Hotz (also known as GeoHot; pictured to the right) and a team of over 100 people who are a part of 'fail0verflow.'  George Hotz is credited as being the first person to jailbreak the iPhone 3GS with his development of purplera1n. Now he, along with the other fail0verflow developers, are cited in a lawsuit from Sony sent to the Northern District of California court which alleges that their work is in violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The lawsuit filing seeks a ban against Hotz from further hacking the PlayStation platform and asks for a restraining order against the distribution of the exploited software. Furthermore, according to Wired, Sony is also seeking "unspecified monetary damages."

Hotz, who states he believes in digital rights, told BBC he feels comfortable that Sony has no basis for their actions, which very well may be true considering he was the target of Apple's jailbreak lawsuit last year which resulted in a victory for the jailbreak community.

The lawsuit can be seen in its entirety on George Hotz's Scribd.

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Sony has done an excellent job of making the PS3 more convenient than the XBox 360(bluetooth, controllers charge off a standard usb cable instead of a proprietary one, etc.). I think Sony's primary concern is people creating software to allow them to cheat in online games like CoD. On the other hand, I paid $400 for my 250GB PS3, and if I wanted to take it off the PSN, hack it and use homebrew software on it, I don't think I should be sued.

BS there plenty of people who don't care about games for PS3 and what to do other applications. You do know that Agency using PS3 in cluster. There other USes of PS3 besides gaming. Maybe there will be a lot pirates I don't know.. But to say this is 100% about pirate copies is untrue.

sbdb said,
Way to go Sony, go after those bunch of criminals with no life! I hope you screw up their life big time!

I sure hope there is some sarcasm there, 'jailbreaking' a console in the name of getting Linux back (which sony ripped from us) is not, or should not, be a crime.

betax said,

I sure hope there is some sarcasm there, 'jailbreaking' a console in the name of getting Linux back (which sony ripped from us) is not, or should not, be a crime.

Save it. This is 100% about playing pirated copies, stop with the 'homebrew' rubbish.

Only Smart Person Here said,

Save it. This is 100% about playing pirated copies, stop with the 'homebrew' rubbish.

You are very uninformed on exactly what geohot did. He only enabled the ability to use homebrew. He also went out of his way to implement code that prevents the ability to "peek" and "poke" into lv2 security which virtually all current backup managers do in order to get backups to boot. In fact there was a recent cfw released that supposedly had that enabled but they said that you had to install geohot's jailbreak in order to even install the stuff. Once his jailbreak is installed then they find that their supposed items enabled don't even work at all because his anti-lv2 code stops it.

He also worked on opening up iOS and believe it or not that platform doesn't really have that much pirated stuff on it and Apple still makes millions on the store.

Way to go Sony, go after those bunch of criminals with no life! I hope you screw up their life big time!

Haha. I'm afraid it's too late to do anything about this one and your PS3, Sony, but I guess it makes you feel better. Or possibly it's to do something to satisfy their shareholders, as I heard someone say.

the problem here is the misinterpretation of the word hack. Sony believe that this is for piracy which is not and this is for educational porpuses. **** their console and **** all their products too.

Homebrew is 'educational' and innovative. Much like cydia for the iPhone, these tools enable the creation of an alternative market that is not controlled by sony.

DKcomputers said,
I love the picture of him in the article lmao

Does it remind anyone else of the picture of Sam on his eBay profile in the first Transformers movie?

Doesn't he just need to claim he was doing it for educational reasons which was recently made legal in the US (think it was prompted by iPhone like cases) then Sony would not have a leg to stand on, however since he has already said it was for homebrew he has probably shot himself in the foot

Teebor said,
Doesn't he just need to claim he was doing it for educational reasons which was recently made legal in the US (think it was prompted by iPhone like cases) then Sony would not have a leg to stand on, however since he has already said it was for homebrew he has probably shot himself in the foot

That argument would only work if he hadn't started distributing it to everyone. I can understand the educational purposes behind breaking a protection/encryption/whatever to learn how to do it, but distributing the method to anyone else goes into the red territory. Still, we'll have to wait and see what happens.

You know what would be funny, is if the judge had an original PS3... you know the ones where he used to run Linux (OtherOS) on it before they (Sony) removed it in a patch...

sagum said,
You know what would be funny, is if the judge had an original PS3... you know the ones where he used to run Linux (OtherOS) on it before they (Sony) removed it in a patch...

The day we have a judge that actually understands and or uses modern technology will be the day DMCA lawsuits get the right person making rulings on them. We need judges/congressmen that are not 'computer stupid' and are aware of the real ramifications these types of legislation have on innovation and 'fair use'. Until then, cases like this will not be handled properly.

betax said,

The day we have a judge that actually understands and or uses modern technology will be the day DMCA lawsuits get the right person making rulings on them. We need judges/congressmen that are not 'computer stupid' and are aware of the real ramifications these types of legislation have on innovation and 'fair use'. Until then, cases like this will not be handled properly.


There actually are some savvy judges out there, just not enough and/or in the right jurisdictions. There have been one or two that I know of in recent months.

ir0nw0lf said,

There actually are some savvy judges out there, just not enough and/or in the right jurisdictions. There have been one or two that I know of in recent months.

and for that reason alone is probably why Sony sent the lawsuit to the Northern District of California court they've hand picked a judge they think they can dazzle with bull in order to gain an conviction

GeoHot never condoned piracy ever from the start with this, and he clearly said so. His intentions were for everyone to use homebrew software. For example imagine XBMC on the system and how great that would be. Now other hackers and enthusiasts have figured out a way to sign packages of games by modifying the game's executable to look at specific directory on the hdd. This was not done by Geohot at all. The same goes for fail0verflow, they also stated from the beginning that they are anti-piracy and just wanted to use the ps3 to install linux again.

Sony is in for an interesting ride. Either way the way to circumvent the ps3 is already out there. Maybe they should release the PS4 sooner

EvilDMT said,
GeoHot never condoned piracy ever from the start with this, and he clearly said so. His intentions were for everyone to use homebrew software. For example imagine XBMC on the system and how great that would be. Now other hackers and enthusiasts have figured out a way to sign packages of games by modifying the game's executable to look at specific directory on the hdd. This was not done by Geohot at all. The same goes for fail0verflow, they also stated from the beginning that they are anti-piracy and just wanted to use the ps3 to install linux again.

Sony is in for an interesting ride. Either way the way to circumvent the ps3 is already out there. Maybe they should release the PS4 sooner

I think the part left out is that he actually implemented anti-lv2 patching code into his hack so that piracy was actually harder. Those backup managers can't peek and poke into lv2 anymore. He only ever enabled backups.

P.S. - I used geohot's jailbreak and I'm happily running homebrew on my PS3. I also buy all of my games. Looking forward to Bulletstorm.

schizo_ said,
I support Geohot. Am I breaking Neowin's TOS for publicly doing so?

Oh yeah and hacking the ps3 is cool

Now?


He hasn't done anything illegal.

-=SEDIN=- said,
not their fault sony used a random number "4" lol

4 was not the "random number", that was the joke from XKCD.
But the "random number" was indeed a static value.

Too late, it's out there now. No matter how much they try to stop it, it's going to keep spreading.

Personally I don't think they have any basis on their lawsuit either, but I'm no lawyer.

Regarding the root keys, it's my understanding that this cannot be patched by an update right?

ceminess said,
Too late, it's out there now. No matter how much they try to stop it, it's going to keep spreading.

Personally I don't think they have any basis on their lawsuit either, but I'm no lawyer.

Regarding the root keys, it's my understanding that this cannot be patched by an update right?


No.

Raa said,
"Apparently" Sony have a kill switch. And also claim "it will be fixed in a future update".

Its impossible. Each physical disk has a "123" signed sig on it. They would require every single disk to be returned and then reissue a new one with a updated sig.

aftas said,

Its impossible. Each physical disk has a "123" signed sig on it. They would require every single disk to be returned and then reissue a new one with a updated sig.

See thats what I thought, but I wasn't sure.

LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.


What illegal thing has he done?

Edited by aftas, Jan 13 2011, 4:49am :

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

Sarcasm I hope?!

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

Crime? Its not exactly a crime. Jailbreaking an iPhone allows me to have custom icons and software that apple wouldn't approve (like SBSettings). I dont know the extent of the PS3 jailbreak, but if it allows other things to be done with the system, its not a crime.

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

The words you chose clearly show your level of knowledge.
I am really impressed...... really....

RichardK said,
....

Which criminals would you promote?

Personally I think the little man needs someone to stand up. The real criminals of this world whose greed has corrupted the ecosystem and tumbled our world economy into chaos can stand up for themselves in a system of their own design.

Go Neowin!

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.


Odd my comment was edited.


What is illegal about what has been done?

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

This is either too clever or just too dumb to be here.

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

Piracy is not as bad as people make it out to be. that's damn near a fact.

because at the end of the day... digitally 'stealing' something is not as bad as physical theft since there is a direct measurable loss when someone physically steals something.

RichardK said,
LOL, stupid loser. After you get convicted and sent to jail, just try to break out!

It's about time all these criminals get tried and convicted for their crimes.

Hope Sony includes this site, since it is so pro-piracy. Neowin never passes up a chance to promote these criminals.

There be trolls here!

ThaCrip said,

Piracy is not as bad as people make it out to be. that's damn near a fact.

because at the end of the day... digitally 'stealing' something is not as bad as physical theft since there is a direct measurable loss when someone physically steals something.

WOW! You really do live in a bubble! Piracy IS as bad as it's made out. Buy your stuff like honest people do.

Quapps said,

WOW! You really do live in a bubble! Piracy IS as bad as it's made out. Buy your stuff like honest people do.

I will when they stop wanting a kidney or liver for their products and even honest people have broken the law at one point or another in their little lives

Quapps said,

WOW! You really do live in a bubble! Piracy IS as bad as it's made out. Buy your stuff like honest people do.

proof?

and those 'losses' they claim are far exaggerated simply because say a product was pirated a 1,000,000 times and it was a 50 dollar product. so then they would 'claim' $50million in losses when in reality there losses are far less simply because if those 1,000,000 people could not pirate that product they most likely would not have bought it anyways (sure, some might have but ill bet a lot of them would not have). hence there real losses are far less than they claim they are.

i make a solid point there that would be hard to argue against.

so while i am sure they lose some $, at the end of the day most of those major game studio's or movie company's don't really get all that much effected in the real world as they continue to be rich etc etc.

Avatar is a perfect example of this... if that film got 100percent pirated (like no one bought a single dvd or bluray) the people involved with that film are still sick rich since that film in the theaters alone did near $2.8billion dollars worldwide and it's total production and marketing costs etc where around $460 million.

at the end of the day... piracy is not as bad as physically going into a store and stealing something. because when you go into a store and steal something that store actually losses money because they paid for that product etc where as digital theft is not the same since no one really looses anything, especially if you where never going to buy the product regardless if you could pirate it or not.

even honest people have broken the law at one point or another in their little lives

that's damn near a fact... simply because if you have even went 1MPH over the speed limit then technically you broke the law which i am sure damn near everyone has done at some point in there lives... hell, technically i break that law all the time since i think it's safe to assume a lot of people typically go 5mph over the posted speed limit.

so point is... just because something is a law don't make it right or wrong as some laws go against common sense at times.

so while i am not saying Piracy is right i don't think it's THAT BAD either. it's sort of a grey area. i think the only times Piracy would be completely wrong is if you ended up putting a business out of business because of it but i think most things that do get pirated are from fairly large companies be it a movie or game which don't really have much effect on those company in the real world. the worst it might do is instead of them being able to buy many fancy cars, they only could buy a couple but i doubt any average joe would be feeling sorry for those types of people. i know i sure don't lol

Edited by ThaCrip, Jan 16 2011, 4:01am :

recursive said,
Did they take that picture right after he heard the news?

I know. This picture is a bit too fitting for this article.

dotf said,
They should employ him not sue him.

While I agree with you, companies employ "whitehats", who don't release exploits and cause huge costs, blackhats cross the line and get sued, pretty simple. A company must protect its products if not for anything else for their shareholders.

dotf said,
They should employ him not sue him.

If he does something like this beforehand why would Sony want to employ him? Any good workplace requires people they trust.

They could never trust him!

Quapps said,

If he does something like this beforehand why would Sony want to employ him? Any good workplace requires people they trust.

They could never trust him!

Well, companies have hired Kevin Mitnick as a consultant. So it could happen

theh0g said,

While I agree with you, companies employ "whitehats", who don't release exploits and cause huge costs, blackhats cross the line and get sued, pretty simple. A company must protect its products if not for anything else for their shareholders.

Forgive me if I seem naive but what is the difference between a blackhat hacker and a whitehat hacker?

Quapps said,

If he does something like this beforehand why would Sony want to employ him? Any good workplace requires people they trust.

They could never trust him!

Name a company you can trust? I mean really? They are in business to make money. Anything that could cause them not to make money is a problem. In this case unlocking the PS3 to play any game like a burned copy would prevent them from making money. That is a problem. It was a problem for MSFT too. Same for anyone else.

Fact is they will always make money because theer will always be more honest people vs crooks. However a loss is a loss and loss prevention is a 24hr on duty commitment.

SfIsHeR1701 said,
If this is "Jailbreaking" wasn't that just recently made legal in the US?

To you and all guys who think this is legal. NO, it isn't. You can do whatever you want with your PS3, but distributing jailbreak is another thing. His jailbreak breaks the terms of use. As long as you use a Sony firmware those terms apply to you. And AFAIK, breaking terms of use and still using Sony firmware is illegal.

Kind of like Windows, is cracking Windows legal?

Glendi said,

To you and all guys who think this is legal. NO, it isn't. You can do whatever you want with your PS3, but distributing jailbreak is another thing. His jailbreak breaks the terms of use. As long as you use a Sony firmware those terms apply to you. And AFAIK, breaking terms of use and still using Sony firmware is illegal.

Kind of like Windows, is cracking Windows legal?

There's a whole different meaning between "legal" and "EULA"...

Glendi said,

To you and all guys who think this is legal. NO, it isn't. You can do whatever you want with your PS3, but distributing jailbreak is another thing. His jailbreak breaks the terms of use. As long as you use a Sony firmware those terms apply to you. And AFAIK, breaking terms of use and still using Sony firmware is illegal.

Kind of like Windows, is cracking Windows legal?

Is cracking windows illegal if you bought the copy that you're actually cracking?
Breaking an EULA isn't illegal. They're not law. They never have been and never will be. Sony are not government, they cannot write their own laws.

Glendi said,

To you and all guys who think this is legal. NO, it isn't. You can do whatever you want with your PS3, but distributing jailbreak is another thing. His jailbreak breaks the terms of use. As long as you use a Sony firmware those terms apply to you. And AFAIK, breaking terms of use and still using Sony firmware is illegal.

Kind of like Windows, is cracking Windows legal?

Actually, as long as you don't distribute anything copyrighted it's not illegal. You can distribute the tools, just not altered firmware, otherwise all of the sites providing iOS jailbreaks would have been shut down a long time ago.

If you can't innovate, litigate. Sony mentality through and through.

Glendi said,

To you and all guys who think this is legal. NO, it isn't. You can do whatever you want with your PS3, but distributing jailbreak is another thing. His jailbreak breaks the terms of use. As long as you use a Sony firmware those terms apply to you. And AFAIK, breaking terms of use and still using Sony firmware is illegal.

Kind of like Windows, is cracking Windows legal?


here, take the chill pill bud ... have a seat, relax, breathe ....

sony cannot win this one, there is no grounds for the lawsuit, then again, as sony buys out everyone (as any other company does) things might change ....

now, on a side note, I might buy a PS3

Kushan said,

Is cracking windows illegal if you bought the copy that you're actually cracking?
Breaking an EULA isn't illegal. They're not law. They never have been and never will be. Sony are not government, they cannot write their own laws.

What? You've signed a contract and agreed to their terms. Breaching a contract IS ILLEGAL no matter how much you try to spin it. The EULA contains the terms of the contract. And they state that you can't use Sony software if you break it.

Glendi said,

What? You've signed a contract and agreed to their terms. Breaching a contract IS ILLEGAL no matter how much you try to spin it. The EULA contains the terms of the contract. And they state that you can't use Sony software if you break it.

EULA != Contract.

Kushan said,

EULA != Contract.

Yeah right!

"An EULA is a legal contract between the manufacturer and/or the author and the end user of an application. The EULA details how the software can and cannot be used and any restrictions that the manufacturer imposes (e.g., most EULA??s of proprietary software prohibit the user from sharing the software with anyone else)."

"As in typical legal contracts, the EULA protects both parties from liability if the software is used in a way not intended by the manufacturer or author."

Totally not a contract, right? I mean seriously, you think developers put an EULA there for their app or device to look fancy?

Glendi said,

What? You've signed a contract and agreed to their terms. Breaching a contract IS ILLEGAL no matter how much you try to spin it. The EULA contains the terms of the contract. And they state that you can't use Sony software if you break it.

An EULA is a licensing agreement, not a contract. An EULA has never actually been challenged in court. The most they can do if you break the terms of an EULA is to refuse you support for the product and invalidate your warranty. I don't think many cops are going to go knocking on someone's door because they broke a licensing agreement.

Glendi said,

What? You've signed a contract and agreed to their terms. Breaching a contract IS ILLEGAL no matter how much you try to spin it. The EULA contains the terms of the contract. And they state that you can't use Sony software if you break it.

So did Apple's EULA. What's your point.

A EULA is an agreement between you and a company or said enitity. It doesn't mean it is legally binding. In fact, many EULA's ahve been found to go against city, state and eveb federal laws.

A EULA Is like your lease on an apartment. if the owner says you can't play loud music and you do, you break the agreement. Except he can't sue you he can only put you out. In Sony's case they can't take your PS3 so they have to sue. Problem is, they don't have any grounds except he distributed illegal software. Which of course can be argued.