George Hotz, also known as geohot on Youtube is the target of a Sony Entertainment America lawsuit. Sony’s complaint charges Hotz of violating copyright, computer fraud and abuse acts as well as California State law. The suit asks for a restraining order against Hotz, a hacker, who has posted ways to “jailbreak” the PlayStation 3 consoles.
Jailbreaking allows the PlayStation 3 to run unauthorized programs, or programs that Sony specifically did not intend to run on its system. Hotz has posted videos on Youtube demonstrating how to jailbreak, and also has a blog which has a link allowing people to download the jailbreak software right onto their PS3.
Sony may have good reason to worry, because not only did Hotz uncover secret codes that Sony uses to protect the PS3 from being used for unauthorized purposes, he publicized the codes by posting them on his website. These codes are used to verify the authenticity of a game, but now that the codes are public, anyone using a pirated game could simply write in the code and the game would run.
What does this mean for Sony? It could mean a huge financial hit for Sony’s video games sales. The more people that have access to these codes, the less people actually have to buy authentic games. The secret codes can make pirated games functional on the PS3, and the pirated version would cost consumers just a fraction of the cost.
Hotz says he is confident that Sony does not have a valid claim against him. Both parties have until April to do their research at which point there will be a hearing.