GeoHot still has a way to hack the PS3 and future Sony products

After the months-long legal battle between George “GeoHot” Hotz and Sony came to its conclusion this week, after both parties, agreeing to settle the matter via a joint settlement, wherein Hotz agreed to a permanent injunction against making public, any methods to hack the PS3 or any other Sony product, either, offline or online.

However, this settlement doesn’t permanently restrict Hotz from hacking Sony products, including the PS3 and sharing them with the public. There’s a clause, which enables him to do so, if he wants to.

The court order states that, should Hotz violate the injunction, he will have to pay $10,000 to Sony, with a penalty cap of $250,000.  Yes, you heard it, correct, the injuction is capped. Although, 250,000 is not by any means, a small sum, but for a globally recognized, hacker as Hotz, it’s merely change. Why? All he needs is 50,000 people willing  to donate a mere $5, in order to amass that amount and then, he’s free to do whatever he wants with Sony products. It’ll take even fewer people to contribute that much, if the average donation is higher.

Although, unlikely, but the possibility of Hotz, amassing that much money from his supporters and paying it to Sony, and going on to hack the PS3 or the NGP won’t be a surprise either.

Could this be his next target?

More so, because of his reactions after the settlement, with him, publicly declaring, that he has decided to boycott all Sony products in his blog.

Hotz also shot back at Sony and had this to say regarding the class action suit filed against the company for the removal of OtherOS:

“These class action lawsuits are the type that can bankrupt or do seriously financial harm to a company, and finally get Sony to realize that they are not above the law as they would like to believe,” he wrote.

Although, without paying a fine, Hotz can’t do as much as, touch a Sony product, but this penalty cap certainly leaves an option open for him, if he desires to resume his fight against Sony.

The penalty cap is an extremely surprising loophole in the clause and it’s baffling that Sony’s allowed such a thing to be included.

Alarmed by this news? Let us know your thoughts regarding this below.  We’ll have more updates if they emerge later.

  • James Martin

    Who wrote this article? It’s horrible to read with all the random commas and such…

    And this guy obviously isn’t aware that it clearly states PER violation, not just paying Sony $250,000 and hacking all of their products forever. Do you really think he’d get away with that anyway?

  • Impossible

    Also, Hotz only raised like $28,000 for his court costs.  Imagine how hard it would be for him to make 10x that much.  And before you repeat that line “it’s only 50,000 people donating $5,” go do some research and see just how cheap gamers are.  When given the option to name their own price for games, they pay less than a dollar on average.

  • Nope

    I read through that settlement.  Those fines are automatic and don’t require legal action.  Sony would definitely start another lawsuit on top of those massive fines.

  • D.Vader

    $250,000 doesn’t seem like a loop hole to me, it would take quite a few sales of a mod to make that happen and when he sells a mod he is in for a whole new level of litigation that is outside of the scope of this settlement.

    Why do you people parade this asshole as some sort of hero. He’s a dick.

  • xino

    so what does this mean?

    he is allowed to hack sony products?

    • Ianuilliam

      No. Unless he wants to pay $10k each time he deconstructs, reverse engineers, or modifies it, with a further $10k per copy (up to $250k per violation) if he actually distributes his hacks.

  • inveni0

    Ummmm…those are standard fines for copyright infringement. The catch about those is that they’re calculate on a “per incident” basis. In other words, $250,000 can become much more very quickly.

    I wouldn’t expect the author to know that, though. If he/she can’t figure out where to put a comma, then deciphering legalese is out of the question.

  • Gunloc

    There is no loop hole!, even if he does pay $250,000 to Sony, he still cant touch Sony products and all he’ll do is make them richer!, the contract is forever!.

  • Ianuilliam

    There is no cap to the amount he can be fined. It’s $10,000 per violation. Forever. The cap is in regards to the part about how if the violation involves distribution (including downloads), each copy is a separate $10,000 up to a cap of $250k. So if he makes one custom firmware, and 25 (or more) people download it, it’s $250k. Then if he makes a second version, and 25 or more people download it, it’s another $250k. And so on.

    • Jakey Bee

      I’m glad somebody actually knows something about the law here. Blimey… Some people just completely avoid it and think immediately by reading the fine print of a section makes him better. Stop trying to milk it, media–he can’t come in contact with a Sony product, ever again. Deal with it.

      • majora

        would that include say a betamax player becouse that sony product is long discontinued

  • Red

    The penalty cap is necessary, it keeps Sony, and any large entity suing a small entity, from literally being able to make sure the person they are suing never makes another penny in their life. This wasn’t a criminal case, and it’s a safeguard against putting someone in financial prison.

    One thing worth noting is that this settlement was not Sony imposing anything on Hotz, he agreed to the terms and by no means had to. To my understanding, there’s no word on whom offered this settlement to whom, so this settlement could very well have been the idea of the defense lawyers.

    It’s hard to imagine Hotz would put himself back into hot water by using the cap as a loophole, it is likely he agreed to these terms because he wanted to get out of court for all the obvious reasons any individual would want to end a case against a supermassive entity. Sony, who had a very weak case to begin with, one that wasn’t helped by all the information they obtained by subpoenaing website and Paypal records, was probably just as eager to end this case and stem the bad publicity they were racking up.

    No one really won here. Hotz got off with a slap on the wrist, and Sony stopped their bad publicity without getting any of the legal precedents they would have set, ones that would have stacked the odds in their favor in future cases against Hotz types. Sony may have lost much more in this settlement, but no one really won anything substantial.

  • phosphor112

    Mind you the settlement also submits jurisdiction to California if Sony wants to sue him again, and surely, if he does SOMEHOW reach that 250k Sony can probably prove him guilty in court for more DMCA charges.

    • Red

      I think that would only apply to new exploits. I’m not sure Sony would be able to sue him again if he did reach the cap in fines, yet still affiliated himself with the exploit he had already been sued for. New actions/exploits would leave him open to new lawsuits, and despite the fact that Sony couldn’t prove their case in this instance, Hotz would find himself in another round of court with another round of fees/fines. It would be another lose/lose situation unless Hotz got more brazen, and Sony could actually prove he violated the law.

  • G

    Or, he could just change his name….must be a loophole

    • phosphor112

      Changing ones name wont get you out of a legally binding contract.

  • TheGamingArt

    Why are you posting this crap. Are you trying to support him. Seriously, just stop with this crap. 

    • Red

      Why should a better understanding of a situation be suppressed? Gamers should want to understand this situation as best they can, it would have effected all of us regardless of whether we ever used his exploits or not.

      • Ianuilliam

        Because the person posting this does not have a better understanding of the situation. The $250,000 cap is PER violation.