updated 10:10 am EDT, Wed April 13, 2011
Sony seen as loser in Hotz PS3 settlement
Details have emerged from Sony's settlement with George Hotz that the deal may have worked much more in Hotz's favor. The deal primarily prevents Hotz, better known as Geohot, from hacking the PS3 to get around security or to load unofficial software. The terms also prevent him from otherwise circumventing any Sony product's locks and from spreading information that would help others do the same.
Any violations would cost $10,000 each but would be capped at a maximum of $250,000.
While preventing him from continuing on with his jailbreak, the penalties effectively leave Hotz without having to pay any penalty other than the costs associated with his legal defense. Sony had been using legal pressure to make the PS3 jailbreaker bend, including trying to force a venue change from New Jersey to California and accusing him of fleeing the country to possibly invoke criminal charges. It's unclear what prompted the sudden if relative softening in Sony's position.
Hotz in the meantime switched his attention to the ongoing Other OS lawsuit accusing Sony of a breach of trust by pulling the option to install a platform like Linux on the PS3. He claimed in a blog post Sony was using shady tactics by claiming it couldn't get documents explaining the reason for removing the feature unless Sony's Japanese PlayStation division, SCEI, was made immune as a defendant. Sony arguments that restoring Linux support on the PS3 was illegal were also false, he thought, since users were only breaking the EULA and not laws.
Sony was also supposedly using the same scorched earth policy in an attempt to intimidate those in the Other OS class action lawsuit. It supposedly wanted not to inspect not just the plaintiffs' PS3s but the private data on their PCs for unknown reasons. One of them had already backed out citing privacy fears.
Hotz himself is personally boycotting Sony products and encouraging others to do the same.