Sony to subpoena GeoHot's PayPal records

If you decided to donate money to George Hotz (GeoHot) and went through with it in the last couple of years, you may want to take note. A judge has granted Sony the right to subpoena Hotz's PayPal records dating all the way back to January 1st, 2009.

George Hotz has been in an ongoing legal battle with Sony over what the company considers a breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; Hotz posted root keys on his website that allowed others to jailbreak their PlayStation 3 systems and run homebrew applications along with pirated ones. This will be the fifth subpoena Sony has been authorized. Neowin last reported that a judge had allowed Sony access to the IP addresses of anyone who visited Hotz's website, the IPs of anyone who watched the PS3 jailbreak video connected to his YouTube account, access to his Blogger account, and access to his Twitter account.

That same judge, Joseph Spero, ruled that Sony was allowed to acquire "documents [sufficient to] identify the source of funds (.pdf) in California that went into any PayPal account associated with geohot@gmail.com for the period of January 1, 2009, to February 1, 2011," according to Wired.

Sony has been collecting information that would allow them to decide where they should try Hotz—either in his home state of New Jersey or in San Francisco, which the company would prefer. Sony is hoping that the logs prove many donations came from Northern California, making San Francisco a suitable location for the case, just like the IP addresses they were granted to collect only two weeks ago.

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Guyro said,
surely this is against our right to privacy as well as his?
i dont want sony knowing my details or that i gave him money or know that i went on his website

hypothetically speaking as i didnt actually give him money or go on his website

Judges grant the ability to sift through financial records all the time.

Guyro said,
surely this is against our right to privacy as well as his?
i dont want sony knowing my details or that i gave him money or know that i went on his website

hypothetically speaking as i didnt actually give him money or go on his website


terrorist supporters could also say that same thing when giving money to known terror groups....

Guyro said,
surely this is against our right to privacy as well as his?
i dont want sony knowing my details or that i gave him money or know that i went on his website

Privacy is an illusion -- unless citing privacy regs benefits the gov or corp. ;-)

Ever notice how often the gov says they can't release info because of privacy laws, then turns around & acts like those laws don't exist when they're the ones wanting the info?

We "hack" cars all the time when we tune them and upgrade them, GM, Ford, Dodge all support us on doing what we want to OUR cars. Wether it is souping up modern day small block engines in new corvettes, camaros or F-18s I love tinkering with technology. Bottom line, stock sucks, mod that mother.

LuckyCasper said,
We "hack" cars all the time when we tune them and upgrade them, GM, Ford, Dodge all support us on doing what we want to OUR cars. Wether it is souping up modern day small block engines in new corvettes, camaros or F-18s I love tinkering with technology. Bottom line, stock sucks, mod that mother.

Your analogy fails. A mod to a car doesn't allow you to suddenly steal components for that car, does it? The keys Geohot posted on his site allow anyone to pirate games should they choose to do so. As such, it's not just a mod, it's also a tool that allows people to break the law.

Metodi Mitov said,

Your analogy fails. A mod to a car doesn't allow you to suddenly steal components for that car, does it? The keys Geohot posted on his site allow anyone to pirate games should they choose to do so. As such, it's not just a mod, it's also a tool that allows people to break the law.

If you remove the governing chip from your car, you are technically breaking the law. But go up to a police officer and tell them you removed it. Guess what, they won't do anything or really care. Same as if you went up to them and said, "I hacked my PS3," they won't care.
The only people that are getting butthurt about this is Sony.
Car manufacturers don't care if you remove the chip, you can do what you want with it, make it legal, or illegal after you buy it.
Same concept should work with consoles.

zappa859 said,

If you remove the governing chip from your car, you are technically breaking the law. But go up to a police officer and tell them you removed it. Guess what, they won't do anything or really care. Same as if you went up to them and said, "I hacked my PS3," they won't care.
The only people that are getting butthurt about this is Sony.
Car manufacturers don't care if you remove the chip, you can do what you want with it, make it legal, or illegal after you buy it.
Same concept should work with consoles.

A cop doesn't have jurisdiction in that case, unless a complaint is filed by the car company.

So they know the names of people who support him?

Woopie Do? What are they going to do? Sue everyone who watches a YouTube video on Jail-breaking? I can't see what benefit this information is to them.

0sm3l said,
they are scaring people to make sure no one else jailbreaks their system I guess lol.

And helping convince anyone who hears about this to not buy Sony.

mikiem said,

And helping convince anyone who hears about this to not buy Sony.

I never bought sony until I heard about this case. Your logic is phail geohot phanboy.

The judge in the XBox 360 case basically said that modding isn't covered under "Fair Use", but that there existed no reasonable middleground to use your property as you see fit. And that's with the defendant actually having made money off enabling piracy.

How in the world then can some guy who didn't ask for any money (except for the legal defense now) and who put something in place to prevent piracy, get put through the ringer by Sony?

Oh that's right because it's California, and it's a consumer electronics company.

The basic, common sense rules folks 'round the world live by are: you buy it you own it -- you rent it you don't. Landlords have made that clear for centuries. Software companies have make the distinction between licensing & owning plainly understood for decades. Book authors/publishers have made the notion of copyright abundantly clear since shortly after the 1st printing press. Most everyone understands that when you buy a PC/laptop you only license the copy of Windows that comes pre-loaded. Problem is Sony is just now starting to publicly define what you get, & what you don't when you buy a ps3, & in typical Sony fashion, doing it in the worst ways possible.

It would be a wonderful demonstration of justice IMHO if some CA court also ruled that Sony had to immediately, prominently label every ps3 on every store shelf with a large warning/disclaimer that the only thing you're buying is the casing, & that violating their license terms can mean legal prosecution. And then they should have to pay damages for every ps3 sold without that warning. The courts should also note that if Sony has or starts displaying *any* legal disclaimer, they need to prove that it was read by an adult parent or guardian -- contracts with a minor are unenforceable.

Yes, that may be a bit *out there*, but I think it's on the same [absurd] scale as Sony's actions so far. While Sony could obviously care less one way or the other, they're not getting any of my hard-earned cash -- I'm not trying to start or encourage a boycott, but I see no reason to endorse, encourage, or support some robber-baron mentality on their part either.

neufuse said,
what's next? a list of everyone who ever talked to or laid eyes on this guy?

I just got a subpoena for reading about him on Neowin.

neufuse said,
what's next? a list of everyone who ever talked to or laid eyes on this guy?

That's easy... Next, Sony is going to go after his family. He will come home one day and find a note pinned to the wall with a knife. He will soon discover that his grandma is being held hostage with the threat of rape depending on his actions.

He took keys he isn't supposed to have in the first place...duplicated them and handed them out to anyone who will either use it for a righteous cause (homebrew) or self gain through illegal means (ability to publish pirated games easily...china comes to mind)
The tactics sony are using now aren't really underhanded or shady as some of you point out going as far as accusing them of bribery. They are very aggressive yes but their right as a business to make a profit is in danger so of course they will do everything in their power to gain leverage in this case.
I say more power to Sony, keep makin them products 20 people on this site say will never purchase...as if they give a damn about you guys lol.

@slayerx02 - Its not like he broke into a office building, he exploited code on a electronic device don't try and make it out to be more than it is.

Benjy91 said,
You'd think Sony would be more interested investing that money in rebuilding their factories in Japan.

Most companies, including Sony, have factories in China.

Sony vs Connectix anyone? Sony lost the case. The court ruled in favor that Connectix had every right to reverse-engineer the BIOS from a PSX that THEY BOUGHT. If Geohot did the same thing with his, I don't see how it is illegal. Secondly, it is a well known fact that you are allowed to make a backup copy of something that YOU OWN. If I want to run a game off my hard drive so I dont ruin a $50 bluray game I should be able to. Remember SONY cd burners that wouldn't allow you certain features to backup their games? So he hacked a console, who cares. I understand the need to protect "intellectual property". Remember NAPSTER and the whole MP3 craze? What eventually happened? Now music is sold online. If I can't do whatever I want to something I PAID FOR then companies shouldn't sell their product. Its funny that Sony are making these moves because when SEGA's dreamcast was supposedly unhackable because of their proprietary DD Disc format Sony countered by selling a DD Burner (good luck trying to find it) with Double Density CDs so people could copy their games. At this point, it isn't about piracy, its about what are you allowed to do to something you bought and own. Its like buying a toilet and the manufacturer telling you when you can and can't flush it. When Sony lost the case against Connectix they stopped chasing after all the people coding emulators (Bleem and ePSXe come to mind) so long they weren't distributing their BIOS with it. I for one am glad that PSP was hacked to death and if they continue, the PS3 will be as well.

Why is this necessary? I really hate the fact that software is becoming harder to hack. I mean for Pete's sake, Windows Phone 7 only has basic registry hacks at this stage, no "jailbreaking" or anything like that. I mean it's great if you're worried about other people hacking your ****, but it just gets annoying when companies make you use their software. I mean I bought the console for USD 200 and your telling me that **YOU** still own it? how does that make sense? If I bought te h/w I should be allowed to do anything w/ the S/w, and tell my friends how to do the same. It's simple as a right to do what I want with what I **OWN**. I purchased it from you guys, funded your evil schemes, already by buying your system, stop trying to make me a part of them.

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