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PS3 hacker raises at least $10k in legal fees via donations

Hotz wants "some of the hardest hitting lawyers in the business"

George Hotz, the man Sony is currently attempting to sue regarding his circumvention of PS3 security measures, has raised legal fees for his defence via online donations.

Hotz yesterday requested funds from the public, claiming that "I want, by the time this goes to trial, to have Sony facing some of the hardest hitting lawyers in the business."

Within the space of a day, he had closed down the appeal and felt that "things are looking up money-wise. Expect to see a few more lawyers on my responses."

Hotz also reiterated that his intent in hacking the console was not related to copyright infringement. "I am an advocate against mass piracy, do not distribute anyone's copyrighted work but my own, do not take crap lying down, and am even pro DRM in a sense.

"For example, I believe Apple has every right to lock down their iPhone in the factory as much as they want, but once it's paid for and mine, I have the right to unlock it, smash it, jailbreak it, look at it, and hack on it. Fortunately, the courts agree with me on this point."

In the event Sony were to attempt to settle with Hotz, he argued that "I want the settlement terms to include OtherOS on all PS3s and an apology on the PlayStation blog for ever removing it."

Hotz also claimed that "I have already racked up over 10k in legal bills" and that any surplus in donations would be given to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

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Latest comments (21)

Private Industry 7 years ago
Strange idea, but working usualy helps and with his skills he surely could have got a good paying job, before he started with showing childish behaviour like bad rapping about him getting sued.

What he fails to take into account is what people do with the things he released. Any person who actualy thinks about it would have known that it will lead to piracy. He can preach all day long he does not support he still contributed to it and i feel no pitty for him and hope Sony wins. That should not be that hard anyway as he already needs money now before it realy started and sony can take its time with it.

Before doing something like that one should.always use his brain and think what the consequences will be. And i still didnt see anything useful from the homebrew.community, so where are those guys he hacked the system for?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by a moderator on 22nd February 2011 10:14am

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Russ Greeno Freelance Video Game Reviewer 7 years ago
Yes it's a shame he just went and opened up the PS3 rather than spending a few months trying to reenable the OtherOS without causing such a security problem. I am interested to know if he is actually bothered about people's online experiences having suffered due to his work?
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Fran Mulhern , Recruit3D7 years ago
$10k? That won't get him very far.
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Show all comments (21)
Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
If he thinks $10k towards legal fees is going to make any difference, I think he's gonna get a shock.
"I want, by the time this goes to trial, to have Sony facing some of the hardest hitting lawyers in the business."
Sony will look at your $10k, think about running scared, then remember they can afford a few million in legal fees. Whilst the judge could find in his favour, does he really fail to see what could happen. Even if he wins, his legal fees will wipe him out, so talk of a surplus going to charity seems like he comes from cloud cuckoo land.

Still, if he'd had that $10k a year ago, he could have bought a top spec PC running linux for himself and his mate who asked him to hack the PS3 in the first place.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 7 years ago
$10k is quite incredible for donations, but for a case like this and vs Sony? Oh boy..
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Private Industry 7 years ago
And unlike his twisted excuses he does not get sued for hacking his ps3, he gets sued for publishing the information and tools to everybody.
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February the 12th : Haha f*** you Sony, I rap about your crap.

February the 19th : Help I need cash!

Think its quite hilarious tbh...
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Shane Sweeney Academic 7 years ago
Im surprised at the tone of this thread. This isn't about games, its about the right to open and explore your own hardware. If anyone in the industry thinks that the only reason people pay for content is there is no other choice then they should pack up and go home.

This is a much bigger issue then just this industry. It has far seeing impacts in every current and future industry around the world.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 22nd February 2011 1:29pm

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Opening and jailbreaking your own hardware is one thing, spreading it on the internet and enabling others to abuse it like they're doing now is a complete other.

It's what started this whole mess in the first place, he publicly announced he hacked the PS3, sony countered it by removing other OS, he kept pushing and pushing and making everything he did public...well results speak for themselves, he gets what he deserves imo.

He might not be pirating games and software, but he paves the way for it...he's at the base of it all.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
@ Shane. Actually there are a lot of customers who prefer a closed system, who would prefer that to always online DRM for single player games, or companies not investing in big games due to the scale of piracy making it unviable.
Now, some people want open hardware, but you know, if you hate closed systems, don't buy them. iPhone to restrictive, buy an android. Hate the consoles being restrictive, stick to a PC. You may not like that a bit of hardware is closed, well vote with your wallet and don't buy it, no one forces you to buy a PS3 or Xbox.
For every person that has legit reasons for using this hack, several users of PS3 who don't give two hoots about modding now have to worry that less companies may feel like investing in PS3 titles.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
The only thing that really works in his favor is that he approached Sony about the his security find and instead of working with him to get Other OS back or use him as a White Hat to get the security fixed, they were aggressive to him. He initially had no intent to publish the keys and tools.

His other defense will likely be that you aren't required to sign any user agreements prior to purchasing a PS3.

Both Sony and Hotz could, and should, have acted differently and neither entity is any less guilty of bringing about the circumstances we see right now.


And George, $10k will get you maybe a few hours worth of consultation with top lawyers. It certainly won't pay their retainer fees.
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Josef Brett Animator 7 years ago
Hotz wasn't at the forefront of this hack, but by posting Sonys Keys online and acting the way he has, he has made himself a massive target (and rightly so).

He shouldn't have gone about this the way he has. He didn't need to post the keys (and shouldn't). That and his actions since have been incredibly childish.
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Private Industry 7 years ago
Jimmy regarding what Hotz says that allegedly happened i.e. trying to help Sony, I would take with 2kg of salt. Not saying Sony is perfectly honest either, but he just does not strike me as a person who is honest. He is twisting the story to favor him like Sony is twisting the story to favor them. He states he got sued for hacking his own PS3, totally wrong there as he got sued for publishing information about it and tools to do it.

As smart as he might be when it comes to hacking something as dumb is he when it comes to thinking about doing stuff, just because he can do things doesn`t mean it`s a good idea to do it. Otherwise he would have know that publishing this will lead to piracy, because anybody who is using even a single brain cell would have come to that conclusion. So either just didn`t care at all what would happen afterwards or didn`t think at all. That combined with his public behavior so far (Sony is lame, Sony sucks, bla bla bla) does not paint a very mature picture of his state of mind. I just wait for him to get to the court (after he begged for money 5 more times) and start raping in front of the judge about how much Sony sucks.

Condicio sine qua non

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Private on 22nd February 2011 8:27pm

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Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today7 years ago
Even on products you own, they have some rules on use and modifications.

You may own a Hummer, but that doesn't mean you can put a .50 caliber machine gun mounted to the roof drive down the street and fire away.

You can't strip a car of all safety features making it non-street legal either. Nor may you drive 300km an hour through school zones or residential areas.

It may be your property and your old garbage, but you can't just go starting garbage fires in your backyard because you don't want to pay for trash service.

Along with rights comes RESPONSIBILITIES.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.7 years ago
Jason, those are laws regulated beyond the vehicle itself. All your examples are not allowed by rules that are governed for something other than the fact that you've modified the product.

You cans till paint your car, drop in a different engine, add lambo doors, chrome features, 24" wheels, hydraulics, a 10,000 wound system, etc...

But as Werner is stating, he's being sued for passing on copyright material. Not for the modification of the PS3.
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David Spender Lead Programmer 7 years ago
Numerous commenters are falling for a sort of bogus headline. The quote from George was that he racked up 10k in legal BILLS so far. GI is inferring that he must have raised at least 10k to counter that. He could just have well raised 50k. The exact sum is not mentioned.
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Shane Sweeney Academic 7 years ago
@Andrew Goodchild
"Now, some people want open hardware, but you know, if you hate closed systems, don't buy them. iPhone to restrictive, buy an android. Hate the consoles being restrictive, stick to a PC. You may not like that a bit of hardware is closed, well vote with your wallet"
Its the other way. If you like your hardware closed, keep it closed. If you don't, people have the right to do what they want with there purchase. This is about Hardware providers feeling they can dictate how and where a device can be used. I don't believe this has any ethical or useful merit and has and will continue to limit creative freedom.

Saying just pick another platform if I don't like closed hardware escapes the issue. Platforms should have *no* legal ability to control what people do with there device in the first place. We are seeing unending lawsuits where DMCA notices are being sent to individuals for teaching personal robots to dance to Jazz music.

Preventing cracked hardware to stop piracy is superfluous. Piracy is already illegal and again, if anyone thinks the only reason we don't all pirate is because there is no other option, then they don't understand the industry very well.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game7 years ago
My point was that if you don't like a company's closed system policy, you don't have to buy that software. The fact that it is closed means you have to worry less about viruses and other stuff. Look at yesterdays's story, that hackers are saying that now the PS3 is technically open, they can ban anyone's machine they like. With my PC online I constantly have to worry about keeping anti virus, anti malware etc up to date an I still get the odd virus slip through. I don't have to worry about this on a closed system so much, and although this would be useless for an actual PC, a games console still does what it was bought to do.
Piracy has scared some developers away from PC development, and it is the necissary open nature of a PC which allows piracy to prevail to the level it does.

I do have sympathy for anyone using Other OS on their original fat PS3 and used this as a deciding factor on whether to buy one, the machine was sold with this (although anyone saying they bought it without caring about games really could have bought a cheap pc, blueray drive and had linux on as a second os for a similar price), but it was sold as a mostly closed system, other os was included, and should have been kept for the old fat systems, but the right to do anything you like wasn't. You can disagree with the restriction, but then don't give give Sony your money. By some hardware that is designed to be open.
It's funny that of the people who use the argument that hardware should be open, most of them don't buy open platforms when they are available. They were hacking iPhones to get angry birds for free, whilst Symbian died a painful death.
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Jarryd Key Analyst 7 years ago
@Andrew Goodchild :
Sony has every right to build a closed system and maintain that closure. However, consumers also have every right to attempt to open it, provided the ensuing activities are legal. The real issue is: How far does Sony's grip reach beyond the original purchase? If we are going to make any attempt to protect both consumers and corporations, that grip can't reach beyond the point of sale except in instances where the hardware is reaching out to Sony owned servers (read: PSN). In the instance of online connectivity, again, Sony has every right to defend their infrastructure by banning consoles they deem unfit to use it.
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Lee Hansiel Lim Game Developer - Unity3D, Anino PlayLab7 years ago
Like what others have pointed out, I also believe that the REAL issue here is how information was freely given ( detailed even) to the public. Information that would ultimately pave the way for mass piracy for a device that is a source of income for a lot of people. (and wouldn't you know it, more than half of the commenters here are already depending on (legal) sales of their own beautiful games, myself included! xD)

Doing what you want to do to your own stuff (purchased, or otherwise) for personal use in private is one thing. Affecting people's lives (millions of them) negatively through the very same act, is another.

Even if Hotz' original intention was to prove something like.. I don't know.. the freedom to do what you want with something you bought? It still doesn't provide a good enough justification to pave the way for PIRACY.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lee Hansiel Lim on 2nd March 2011 3:19am

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Lee Hansiel Lim Game Developer - Unity3D, Anino PlayLab7 years ago
@Jarryd
Good question, and if I may say so, I believe the extent to which Sony has control over this specific situation is a better point to ponder on.
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