Sony is accusing alleged PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz of surrendering two “nonfunctional” hard drives in violation of a court order, and then taking off to South America.
But Hotz’s lawyer said Wednesday that Sony is “crying alligator tears” over the issue.
Sony is suing the 21-year-old Glen Rock, New Jersey, man on charges he violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by publishing an encryption key and software tools in January that allow PlayStation 3 owners to gain complete control of their consoles. As part of the litigation, a San Francisco federal magistrate ordered Hotz to surrender his hard drives to Sony, so files connected to the hack can be extracted and used as evidence in the case.
But Sony notified the judge that, when it got the drives from Hotz, they were no longer working. “Hotz had removed integral components from his impounded hard drives, rendering them completely non-functional.” (.pdf), the company claimed in a filing.
Stewart Kellar, Hotz’s attorney, said the issue is overblown.
“They didn’t have the controller card attached. That’s it,” Kellar said in a telephone interview Wednesday from his San Francisco office.
He said that Hotz has since turned over the cards, solving the problem.
Sony did not respond for comment.
Hotz, who is also well-known in iPhone hacking circles, so far is fighting the case on jurisdictional grounds, and maintains he should be sued in New Jersey instead of California.
As part of that battle, Sony claimed that it uncovered evidence that Hotz maintained an account on Sony’s PlayStation Network, which is based in Northern California. Hotz had denied holding a PSN account.
In its filing, Sony also pointed out that Hotz has left the country.
“Hotz conveniently traveled to South America in the midst of jurisdictional discovery, including his court-ordered deposition,” Sony said.
“I don’t want to comment on that stuff,” Kellar said. “He has done nothing to make himself unavailable.”
Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero has signed off on Sony subpoenas (.pdf) to Twitter, YouTube, Google and PayPal as part of the console-maker’s scorched-earth litigation tactics to win an unspecified amount of monetary damages from Hotz. Spero has also granted Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited Hotz’s website from January 2009 to the present.
SoftLayer Technologies, which counts psx-scene.com among its hosted sites, is objecting to a records demand seeking server logs and other information related to Hotz’s account on the online PlayStation forum.
The DMCA prohibits the trafficking of so-called “circumvention devices” designed to crack copy-protection schemes. Hotz’s hack provides PlayStation 3 owners the ability to run pirated and home-brewed software or alternative operating systems like Linux. Performing a similar hack on a mobile phone is not unlawful.
funny story though.. sony should’ve been well versed on this electronics stuff. don’t they have experts on HDD? if its not functional as said prove it with technical evidence then.. i still don’t see the benefit of Sony doing this. just ensure your console is good enough and make us users stick with the original instead of jailbreaking it. i must say that a portion of us only wants otherOS. i myself haven’t update it to the latest firmware just so that i can enjoy otherOS. and nope i’ve not jailbreak my PS3. i don’t see the needs yet. hmm.. article from Wired.