Sony Computer Entertainment America has just announced that it has reached a settlement with George Hotz, putting an end to the legal battle over Hotz – better known as Geohot – and his jailbreaking of Sony’s Playstation 3.
Details of the settlement were not released, but according to Sony, the two parties reached an “agreement in principle” on March 31. As part of the settlement, Hotz agreed to a permanent injunction against publishing any further code.
Sony’s statement declares the settlement a “win” for anti-piracy efforts, but in it Hotz repeats what he has long claimed about his jailbreaking project: “It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier.”
Sony’s lawsuit against Hotz claimed that the hacker’s jailbreak of the Sony PS3 violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as well as the Computer Fraud Abuse Act. Furthermore, Sony argued that the jailbreak released by Hotz would enable users to play pirated video games on their consoles. As part of Hotz’s legal defense, he contended that the Playstation should be viewed no differently than a mobile phone, which under DMCA regulations, is legal to jailbreak.
With an out-of-court settlement rather than a trial, these issues of whether or not DMCA regulations cover gaming consoles appear unsettled.
While Sony might paint this as a win, the company did come under fire for what Electronista calls a “scorched earth attitude” to the lawsuit, in which the company’s pretrial demands included gaining access to the records of anyone who had viewed or commented on the jailbreak video on YouTube. Sony also requested that Twitter provide the identities of those who revealed the hack.
While Sony’s statement doesn’t really exonerate Hotz from a connection to piracy, it does make it clear that he isn’t involved in the recent attacks by Anonymous on various Sony websites.
For his part, Hotz has updated his blog, Geohot Got Sued, to announce that “As of 4/11/11, I am joining the SONY boycott. I will never purchase another SONY product. I encourage you to do the same.”