updated 11:20 pm EST, Fri January 14, 2011
Sony must prove jurisdiction for PS3 Geohot suit
Sony has already faced an obstacle in its attempted lawsuit against PS3 jailbreakers after a Northern District of California court challenged the authority of an attempted temporary restraining order. Judge Susan Ilston demanded that Sony prove its need to stop distribution of the game console hack was valid for primary target George Hotz (Geohot), who developed the jailbreak but lives in New Jersey. If insufficient, Sony would be forced to move at least some of the lawsuit to New Jersey and would have to toss complaints that were only valid in California state law.
Hotz' attorney Stewart Kellar also countered with a slew of objections. Claims that the PSN terms of service had been violated weren't valid since Geohot's approach didn't connect to the service for the hack, the lawyer said. Kellar further objected to arguments that Hotz was in any collaboration with the other accused. The hobbyist acted independently, the attorney said.
Along with dismissing the nature of the complaint itself, the defense contended that a restraining order would not only be excessively damaging but pointless. Confiscating computer hardware would both deprive Hotz of a way to work and possibly violate his privacy. With the code already on the Internet as well, even a complete freeze on Hotz's work wouldn't stop it from being disseminated. "That cat is not going back in the bag," Kellar said.
Sony has insisted that the jailbreak was intended for piracy and violated the DMCA by cracking copy protection. Hotz has responded that he deliberately crafted the hack to avoid making piracy possible. He and others have similarly cited legal exceptions for fair use set by the Library of Congress. Although intended primarily for phones, advocates have said they should apply to jailbreaking with legitimate ends.
The jailbreaks weren't deemed necessary by hobbyists until Sony decided to remove alternate OS support in the PS3. The downgrade was implemented under the guise of security, but it's widely known the restriction was meant to shut down attempts to use pirated material or hack the firmware by using a Linux install. [via International Business Times]