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Hardware Hacking PlayStation (Games) Sony Games Build

Fellow Hackers Blast Geohot For Sony Settlement 310

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-please-everyone dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "The hacker who settled with Sony after the company sued him for modifying his PlayStation 3 console is getting a lot of flak for not taking the fight further. 'Night Breed' [wrote], 'So basically you settled for a job and took people's money, giving them a false hope of settling for their rights? What do you plan to do with the money that was donated to you to provide a cushion for the legal battle? I hope you will be paying all those people back since you obviously didn't live up to your word.'"
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Fellow Hackers Blast Geohot For Sony Settlement

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  • by Bozzio (183974) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:01AM (#35793796)

    DramaFest.

    • Misleading (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hotz didn't "settle for a job" and it's assumed that he is going to donate remaining legal funds to the EFF. What some misinformed blog commenter says is irrelevant.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        it's assumed that he is going to donate remaining legal funds to the EFF

        Assumptions are always dangerous, especially when a lot of money is involved. Will he donate all of it, some of it, of none of it? We'll likely never have anything better than his word on what he did with the money. And that has an even more damning effect on these sorts of cases in the future, since people will be much more reluctant to donate to someone else's case after this guy sold out and took the money (even if it's just some of the money, even if it's just *allegations* that he pocketed some of the

        • it's assumed that he is going to donate remaining legal funds to the EFF

          Assumptions are always dangerous, especially when a lot of money is involved. Will he donate all of it, some of it, of none of it? We'll likely never have anything better than his word on what he did with the money. And that has an even more damning effect on these sorts of cases in the future, since people will be much more reluctant to donate to someone else's case after this guy sold out and took the money (even if it's just some of the money, even if it's just *allegations* that he pocketed some of the money).

          Well we can always hope that the EFF would share information as to whether these donation claims are factual or not down the road.

          • by elrous0 (869638) *

            It still wouldn't matter, as he's never said how much he received in the first place. People will always suspect that he pocketed some of the money.

    • Re:this is a (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DurendalMac (736637) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:38AM (#35794348)
      It's a bunch of whining from a bunch of neckbeards who are crying that someone else didn't spend godawful amounts of time and money in court. They'd be singing a different tune if they were the one on the other end of Sony's lawyers.
      • Re:this is a (Score:4, Informative)

        by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:51AM (#35794568) Journal

        Actually it's pretty freakin accurate. He gave up to just get the lawsuit over, and took substantial hits to his own freedoms.

        Geohot essentially "won", but the settlement was a joke, especially considering it roughly translates to him accepting an unrealistic permanent injunction. Really, not supporting "PS3 infringing activities" that aren't specified? Say it ain't so!

        1. Engaging in any unauthorized access to any SONY PRODUCT under the law
              2. Engaging in any unauthorized access to any SONY PRODUCT under the terms of any SCEA or SCEA AFFILIATES' license agreement or terms of use applicable to that SONY PRODUCT, whether or not Hotz has accepted such agreement or terms of use, including without limitation:
                          1. reverse engineering, decompiling, or disassembling any portion of the Sony Product
                          2. using any tools to bypass, disable, or circumvent any encryption, security, or authentication mechanism in the Sony Product;
                          3. using any hardware or softare to cause the Sony Product to accept or use unauthorized, illegal or pirated softare or hardware; and
                          4. exploiting any Sony Product to design, develop, update or distribute unauthorized softare or hardware for use with the Sony Product.
                            * If any term of such SCEA or SCEA Affilates' license agreement or terms of use applicable to that Sony Product shall be determined by Congress or by a court of law in a final non-appealable decision in an action to which SCEA or an SCEA Affiliate is a party to be illegal and unenforceable, then such term shall not be binding on Hotz.
              3. CIRCUMVENTING any of the TPMs or security in any SONY PRODUCT;
              4. TRAFFICKING in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof that, at the time of Hotz's trafficking, circumvents any of the TPMs or security in any SONY PRODUCT, including but not limited to the Ellptical Curve Signature Algorithm ("ECDSA") Keys, encryption and/or decryption keys, dePKG firmware decrypter program, Signing Tools, 3.55 Firmware Jailbreak, and/or any other technologies that enable unauthorized access to and/or copying of the PS3 System and/or enable compatibility of unauthorized copies of other copyrighted works with the PS3 System.
              5. Distributing or posting any SCEA or SCEA Affiliates' confidential or proprietary information relating to any SONY PRODUCT;
              6. Knowingly assisting or inducing others to engage in any of the conduct set forth in A-E above solely directed at any SONY PRODUCT or that otherwise constitutes contributory liabilty under the law.

        He had this case in the bag from the issues at hand, and instead settled giving Sony a major advantage. The facts were on his side bigtime unless there is something we don't know about.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shaunbr (563633) *

          The facts may have been on his side, but there's one thing that Sony has that he doesn't -- an endless pool of money and lawyers to make his life hell. Sure, the community thinks they're doing a good job by sending him a buck here or there for his legal defense fund, but it costs more than a couch full of pocket change to pay for a reasonable defense. Unless you suggest that he take a serious (and likely) risk of committing himself to a lifetime of poverty due to a crushing multi-million dollar loss in cour

        • by MachDelta (704883)

          Wait wait wait wait wait.

          Engaging... unauthorized access... SONY PRODUCT under the terms of any.... license agreement or terms of use.... whether or not Hotz has accepted such agreement or terms of use

          Whaaaaaaaaat the holy fuck?

          Isn't the whole point of a contractual agreement that both parties have to agree to it first? Hotz just gave Sony a rubber stamp with his signature on it! If he so much as looks at a Sony product sideways, they could pin his ass to the wall any time for any reason. That's insane! The whole thing could be simplified if it was just:

          1. Mr. Hotz agrees to never purchase, use, or be affiliated with the use of any Sony product. Evar. Byebye!

          Sheesh.

          And secondly..

        • Re:this is a (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @01:39PM (#35796388) Journal

          The facts were on his side bigtime unless there is something we don't know about.

          The biggest fact not on his side is that Sony is a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate, and he's just a guy.

      • Re:this is a (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:56AM (#35794652) Homepage Journal

        The main complaint is that he was asking for donations to fight this, and then more or less bailed on the fight. That's the only valid complaint in my opinion, then again, we don't know if and how much money was raised. It pays to be wary of donating to a legal defense fund, you can't be certain it will be spent the way you want it to be spent.

        • The main complaint is that he was asking for donations to fight this, and then more or less bailed on the fight. That's the only valid complaint in my opinion, then again, we don't know if and how much money was raised. It pays to be wary of donating to a legal defense fund, you can't be certain it will be spent the way you want it to be spent.

          Agreed. Whether it was a good move on his part or not, it doesn't matter when it comes to the donations scenario. He implicitly collected donations to fight Sony, and then discontinued the fight. Would we do it too? Probably. But that is not the point. If I paid seeded X amount of money to you to sail across the world and then you stopped part way because the outcome looked bleak, I would all or some of my money back. Hopefully it does get passed on to the EFF.

        • by DrJimbo (594231)

          People donated to geohot's defense to get him the legal advice needed to fight Sony. Obviously, his legal advisors told him accept this settlement. It would have been a far greater waste of the donations if geohot had failed to follow the legal advice the donations paid for.

  • by Anrego (830717) * on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:02AM (#35793810)

    Much as I think this battle needs to be fought geohot is an attention seeking ass, and it’s a shame he was the one who was slated fight it.

    I think it’s actually a blessing in disguise that he decided to save his own skin. Not saying I wouldn’t do the same, I’ll admit it, when it comes to me or the greater good I’ll go with me and screw everyone else. However there are lots of noble idealists types who would fight themselves in prison and then keep at it and that’s who needs to be fighting this thing, not some annoying jackass.

    As for donations wasn’t the plan for unused (so in this case, most of it) money to go to the EFF.

    And just cause I’m already pseudo flamewar-ing, we really don’t need another Kevin Mitnick in the world.

    • by Higaran (835598) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:18AM (#35794064)
      I agree, in theory I'd love to take on sony with this kind of thing. But when the shit hits the fan and you have a lawyer telling you that you could lose your house and everything you've worked your whole life for then your I'd probably save my own skin too. Anyone that says the guy didn't do enough is an idiot, and they can only say that because they've never been anywhere near that kind of a situation. Companies like $ony have armies of laywers and will look for loopholes that would probably include lawsuits for anyone you've ever met your entire life, no one need that kind of hassle in thier lives. So I think everyone should just let the guy be, he's been trough enough already, and what he did do is alot more than most people.
      • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:36AM (#35794306) Journal

        All of what you say is entirely reasonable (with the possible exception of $ony [penny-arcade.com]), but it discounts the context; Hotz said [geohot.com], when taking donations: "...this case isn't about me. Clearly I am not being sued because of something I have that Sony wants, I am being sued in order to send a message that Sony is not to be messed with. But if I(and all codefendants likewise) actually win this, we have the power to send a much stronger message back. That consumers have rights, and we aren't afraid to stand up for them." and "My attempts at humor aside, I do take this whole matter very seriously. Again, it's not about me, I was on the verge of quitting this stuff last June, and I would hate to be the one who sets a reputation for hackers that all a company has to do is sue us and we back down. In fact, I want the opposite reputation set, that the more a company tries to abuse the legal system, the harder we rally back.".

        He talked big, he took money, and then he shied away when he realised that Sony could quite possibly crush him. I think it's disgusting that they can do so, and I think it's quite understandable that he didn't want to take the risk, but the fact remains that he was fairly misleading in what he said. It wasn't "please help me survive until I can make Sony leave me alone" it was "fuck them, I'm fighting back, I'll make them pay, and I want you to help". I don't really blame him for backing down, but I do think those who donated have a reasonable right to feel aggrieved, and some level of apology and explanation from Hotz would probably be appropriate.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      People will always suspect that he pocketed some or all of the money. That will cast a cloud on donating to similar cases in the future. There is no silver lining here. GeoHot has made it a lot harder for people in the future to defend themselves against Sony and other thugs on hacking hardware.

    • Much as I think this battle needs to be fought geohot is an attention seeking ass, and itâ(TM)s a shame he was the one who was slated fight it.

      That's the thing that bothers me most about this: it's blatantly obvious that geohot intended for Sony to come after him, by the fact that he released the work using his real name. If he didn't have any genuine intention of fighting, why couldn't he have had the decency to just be anonymous in the first place?

  • Armchair Hackers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:04AM (#35793834)

    It's easy to criticize GeoHot when you're not the one being sued by one of the largest corporations in the world. I feel bad for GeoHot, it seems like no matter what he does and how he tries to help -- and make no mistake, he has helped immensely on many projects -- he keeps getting blasted by haters.

    • Re:Armchair Hackers (Score:5, Informative)

      by halivar (535827) <bfelger.gmail@com> on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:12AM (#35793958) Homepage

      The best part is how the haters aren't the ones who were being sued. They have no vested interest, and nothing to lose. Screw them.

      • by cptdondo (59460) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:16AM (#35794024) Journal

        +1

        Next time you're looking down the barrel of a gun, or at a multi-billion dollar company out to crush you, tell me how brave you're going to be.

        It's easy to watch an action flick and say "I can do that" and another thing not to shit yourself when you hear the bullet whiz by before you hear the crack of the rifle.

        • by Surt (22457)

          If you watch an action flick and think, I can do that, I have news for you, you're wrong. At least for every single action flick I've seen, there is a significant percentage of physical impossibilities.

          • by cptdondo (59460)

            If you watch an action flick and think, I can do that, I have news for you, you're wrong..

            Ever read the darwin awards?

            • If you watch an action flick and think, I can do that, I have news for you, you're wrong..

              Ever read the darwin awards?

              Wouldn't that simple confirmation that even if try something crazy you are necessarily going to make it alive?

        • by bberens (965711)
          Depends on whether it was civil or criminal. If it's criminal I'd sell out. If it's civil once you declare bankruptcy then it should be all over. You usually get to keep your house and cars in bankruptcy.
          • by cptdondo (59460)

            Depends on the state. In SC you get to keep a mattress. Seriously. Still, a bankrupcy will fuck up your life for at least 7 years. No decent job, no college, no rentals, no credit cards, no checking account. You wanna live like that?

            • by bberens (965711)
              Something tells me that the guy who made international news by cracking the [insert well known product] isn't going to have that hard of a time finding a decent consulting job.
            • no checking account? I think you went a bit far, there. CREDIT, yes. checking, no, that's not based on credit. you deposit funds in a checking account. if you have funds, any bank will take you as a customer.

              • That's not entirely true. Quite a few banks out there subscribe to services that act as bank-account specific "credit reports". If you owe a bank money (overdrawn accounts, fees, bounced checked, etc), they can report you to these types of services and other banks may not be willing to open an account for you. Granted, some bank out there WILL give you an account but some will not.
              • by BitZtream (692029)

                no checking account? I think you went a bit far, there. CREDIT, yes. checking, no, that's not based on credit

                Really? Show me a bank that doesn't do a credit check before opening an account for the first time. Checks are treated as a form of credit since you can write them without the money actually BEING in the account. Checking accounts are most certainly dependent on your credit history.

                I walked into multiple banks with a $9500 cashier check and was denied due to my horrible credit. I was told flat out they would be happy to deal with me if I can back with proof that I had paid the debts I owed but they coul

              • Wrong. If you have bad Credit, no bank wants you as a customer becuase of the potential for writing bad checks and yes I know what I'm talking about as it happened to my brother. He couldn't even get a savings account because of his bad credit. The banks simply didn't want him as a customer because he cost too much to have.

          • Re:Armchair Hackers (Score:4, Interesting)

            by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @12:09PM (#35794856)

            Depends on whether it was civil or criminal. If it's criminal I'd sell out. If it's civil once you declare bankruptcy then it should be all over. You usually get to keep your house and cars in bankruptcy.

            You clearly have no idea what happens in bankruptcy.

            You might get to keep your house, depends on what state its in and how much its worth. You most certainly may be forced to sell it and move to something more modest. Same goes for the car and pretty much every other posession you own.

            Bankruptcy is NOT a get of jail free card, and its been made worse recently to cut down on the number of idiots like yourself who try to use it as such. Its doubtful he would even qualify for it.

            Then ... to top it off ... the court can simply say 'you don't get out of this by filing bankruptcy' and he's done. Depending on the laws where the trial was taking case, it may already legally be that way by state law.

      • The best part is how the haters aren't the ones who were being sued. They have no vested interest, and nothing to lose.

        Isn't that usually the case?

      • If you're a "hater" who donated to his cause, then you have every reason to complain! He spent YOUR money and didn't do what he promised with it!

        In the case of everyone else, no ... like everyone else outside the immediate court battle, they're not being sued over it. But we ALL have a vested interest, in the sense that companies like Sony are apparently still able to sell you a product that lists a certain feature-set, remove part of that feature-set in a software update, and twist your arm to either tak

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's easy to criticize GeoHot when you're not the one being sued by one of the largest corporations in the world. I feel bad for GeoHot, it seems like no matter what he does and how he tries to help -- and make no mistake, he has helped immensely on many projects -- he keeps getting blasted by haters.

      Perhaps geohot keeps getting blasted by haters because he makes himself so easy to hate, as he is, in fact, a douchebag.

      The legal documents pertaining to his case read like some sort of self-aggrandizing group wank, referring to himself as a "prodigy" of some sort. Sorry, but George is a prodigy in no field other than taking the LEGO Bricks that other hackers have so kindly molded for him, then popping them together and subsequently claiming that not only did he build the entire model from scratch, he pain

  • To the EFF (Score:5, Informative)

    by KingAlanI (1270538) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:04AM (#35793838) Homepage Journal

    Wasn't it pointed out in the last GeoHot story several times that unused donations would be sent on over to the EFF?

    • by Surt (22457)

      Mod parent up, and for god's sake add that to the story headline.

    • Re:To the EFF (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:19AM (#35794078)

      The problem is that people didnt donate to him so that he could settle with sony. people donated because it was a fight to set a precident and they were lead to believe by Geohot that he was going to fight $ony until the end. now people have less $$ in their accounts and nothing to show for it.

    • I have no clue how much money was donated to date. But with the deep pockets Sony has to pay lawyers, I can image going up against them could burn through a hell of a lot of cash in short order. If he had to go through 10's of thousands of dollars just to settle this, he may have come to the conclusion that it was not financially possible to win.

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        Right, his lawyer told him to settle. That's the wisest move. The law isn't like it is in the movies where the young guy challenges the status quo and wins. In real life, the status quo sues you to oblivion and 80% of your check is garnished for the rest of your days.

        Corporations have too much power. Fighting them in court doesn't work as they more or less write the laws they're attacking you with. Change the laws. Regulate corporations tighter.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      donations would be sent on over to the EFF

      So he claims. But how will we ever know if some of it didn't end up in his pocket? I won't be donating to any of these cases in the future, not after this. I don't want to ass-clown to fold without even a fight, pocketing some or all of the money I gave him to defend himself.

  • by mseeger (40923) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:14AM (#35793992)

    If they want a fight, they are invited to post the secret key on their own web site (including a manual how to use it), add their contact details and wait for Sony (or their lawyers) to come for them. Then they can show how brave they are...

    CU, Martin

  • by gatkinso (15975) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:15AM (#35794002)

    ...then the whole settlement is moot.

  • That's really stupid. It's his life. He now has the legal system off his back as opposed to landing in prison for what should never have classified as a crime under any legal system.
  • A possibility (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:16AM (#35794028)

    Geohot can't talk much about why he settled, but his replies on his blog [blogspot.com] suggests a plausible reason: he realized he was unlikely to win the case (suggesting that the judge was biased) and chose to settle to avoid setting a legal precedent.

    • +1 informative

    • Geohot can't talk much about why he settled, but his replies on his blog [blogspot.com] suggests a plausible reason: he realized he was unlikely to win the case (suggesting that the judge was biased) and chose to settle to avoid setting a legal precedent.

      Can we replace "unlikely to win the case" to "unlikely to leave the court room without being at least bankrupt, if not worse"? As an individual, it's no good if you "win" a case if it costs you money that you cannot afford to spend. And I don't think that he got donations that are enough to pay the cost of a good lawyer. Plus the risk of losing the case, which might have happened whether he was guilty or not.

    • But why would Sony want to settle the case?

  • by timholman (71886) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:22AM (#35794126)

    What, so people are disappointed that Geohot didn't wreck his life to fulfill their armchair fantasies? "I gave you $20, and you won't ruin your life to make me happy? You SUCK, Geohot!"

    Get real. I've had some dealings in civil cases, and let me say that there are few things in this world as life-destroying and gut-wrenching as being a defendant in a civil case against a plaintiff with lots of money and a willingness to do whatever it takes to crush you.

    It is very easy for people with l33t nicknames to criticize Geohot behind the safety of an anonymous computer account. It is another to sit in a room with a group of highly paid lawyers who explain to you in excruciating detail how your life will be made a living hell if you don't cooperate.

    Geohot got in over his head, and wisely decided to settle and get on with his life. If Geohot's critics want to fight the good fight instead, all they have to do is repost his techniques on a web page of their own, and wait for Sony to come calling. Somehow I don't think that's gonna happen.

    • by billcopc (196330)

      Exactly what kind of living hell are we talking about ? This is the part I don't understand... it's a civil suit, so all they can do is win a judgment worth $X, which he likely does not have, so he would go bankrupt. End of story. The injunction still applies either way, so nothing is really lost except a few trivial belongings. He's barely out of diapers for fuck's sake, not like he's losing a house and child support...

      If he had taken the chance to fight, and lost everything, I certainly would not mind

    • by N1AK (864906)

      What, so people are disappointed that Geohot didn't wreck his life to fulfill their armchair fantasies?

      They are angry that someone talked about how they were going to fight Sony over this, asked them for money and then settled. People didn't offer him money if he agreed to do something stupid, he said he was going to do something 'brave' and people gave him money to support him in that action.

    • by spire3661 (1038968) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @01:11PM (#35795968) Journal
      All that is great unless you consider statements from the Geo himself.

      "They picked the wrong guy to sue"

      "Out of business is jail for me and you're suing me civilly"

      "I want the settlement papers to contain the words OtherOS and an apology from Sony"

      Now can you see why people are disappointed? He talked ALOT of smack and then backed out. I think he is due some deserved criticism. What concerns me most is that the MAJORITY of this discussion is about the donation money and not about the true issues of the matter.
  • That in the future these kinds of security breaches will be placed anonymous on all downloading platforms if Sony is lucky, otherwise they end up on botnet auction sites and in that case Sony is really fucked up.

    But then, most management is rather right than smart. (big egos et al.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @11:32AM (#35794264)

    Title should be: "Script Kiddies Blast Actual Hacker Geohot For Sony Settlement".

  • Nothing was settled here. There is no precedent.

    For the content companies, this is a battle to retain control over the things they sell. For the hackers, it is a battle to be able to freely use the things they have purchased. Tension is inevitable. There will be other battles, on other days.

  • by DrStrange66 (654036) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @01:15PM (#35796044)
    Even if you are in the right lawsuits are very stressful situations. I recently battled my HOA for nearly 2 years. I won but at a cost. The lawsuit was all I could think about. My work suffered, my family suffered, my mental stability suffered, etc. I can fully understand why people choose to settle. To those people that are hating on Geohot... why don't they sue Sony for whatever it is they believe in?
  • by MrL0G1C (867445) on Tuesday April 12, 2011 @02:08PM (#35796756) Journal
    Perhaps due to negative publicity, or perhaps they thought they could lose, I wonder which.

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