updated 11:50 am EDT, Mon April 11, 2011
Hotz and Sony call truce on PS3 jailbreak case
Sony in a surprise move said that it had already settled its lawsuit against George Hotz, better known as Geohot, over PS3 jailbreaking. The two had quietly reached an "agreement in principle" on March 31. The deal was mixed and saw Hotz agree to a ban on publishing code but avoid having to admit any wrongdoing.
"It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier," Hotz said, reiterating what he had said from the beginning. Sony was also keen to exonerate Hotz from the round of Anonymous denial of service attacks.
Hotz's hopes to keep the case in New Jersey rather than Sony's preferred San Francisco was still ongoing, but it wasn't expected to last in the wake of the settlement. Most of the terms of the deal weren't immediately public.
Sony spun the settlement as a win for protecting against cheaters and pirates. The company had been repeatedly criticized, however, for a scorched earth attitude to the lawsuit that had seen it try to collect information on everyone who had even inquired about the jailbreak, whether or not they'd helped create it or even use it. It got permission to track visitiors to Hotz's website and even to get account information on YouTube members who had visited private jailbreak videos.
Sony had also tried to disparage Hotz's character as much as possible and had accused him of fleeing the country when he had been on spring vacation.
Legal action is still underway to settle some of the debate over jailbreaking, which started only after Sony closed off access to the Other OS feature with the PS3 3.21 firmware. An opposing lawsuit has noted that Sony expressly promised it would keep the option to install Linux or other platforms on pre-slim PS3s, only to reneg on that promise later on. The company initially claimed it was only for security, only to change its tone and mention cheating and piracy months later.