Geohot vs Sony

I haven’t really commented on the lawsuit between Sony and George Hotz aka “Geohot”, but I feel like a lot of people have misinformation surrounding the case and I wanted to take a second to give my personal opinion on the matter. First of all, I’m not a lawyer so I could be completely wrong about some of these things, but I do follow the “scene” and have been around it for quite a long time now. I myself have gone back and forth on the issue regarding jailbreaking, modding and hacking of your personal property, particularly video game systems and cell phones. I’ll admit that I installed many modchips in original Playstation’s and even a couple Playstation 2’s along with Nintendo Wii’s and original Xbox’s. I’ve reprogrammed firmware on Xbox 360’s and jailbroken my iPhone. And yes, at the time, my sole intention for modding the console systems was to play pirated games, but that was years ago. I currently have a jailbroken iPhone that I only have so that I can get applications like LockInfo and themes and such, I buy all my apps from the app store. My Xbox 360 doesn’t have any sort of custom firmware on it and I own 30+ games that I purchased new over the years… I don’t see the need to pirate games and potentially ruin a $300+ console system just to save a few bucks.  And I know you will probably argue that $60 for a game is a lot of money, but if you actually sit and think about the man hours and the creativity that goes into developing these games, not to mention the hours of entertainment you get out of them, you will actually see that $60 isn’t that bad. Hell, there were some games for Genesis, Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 that cost more than $60 when they were first released. If you’re really hard up for cash or would just like to play a game before you decide if it’s worth investing $60 in (which is the excuse of a lot of people), then just go buy the game used from Gamestop… If you don’t like it you have 7 days to return any used game for a full refund. If you’re anything like me you can blaze through a game in a couple of sittings and return it. So whatever your excuse is for modding your system to play pirated games I don’t care, I’m not going to sit here and lecture anyone on downloading illegal software because I was guilty of it once too, my main goal here is to talk about Geohot vs Sony.

Sony is suing George “Geohot” Hotz for releasing the PS3 Root Key which in turn opened up the system to hackers who have since developed exploits that allow pirated games to be run on the system without the need for a modchip. Essentially Sony believe that Geohot developed the first PS3 jailbreak in order to allow the PS3 to play these pirated games which is completely false. Geohot developed the jailbreak in order to open the system up to running homebrew applications, there were still systems in place that prevented the playing of a pirated game whether it be from a disc or the hard drive. Geohot’s jailbreak was then torn apart and reworked by other people outside of his control, those modifications then allowed the PS3 to run pirated games. So as you can see, it wasn’t Geohot that released the software that allowed you to play pirated games, it was other people out there that used his tool to create a new tool. Sure you can argue that if Geohot had never released this code or created the first jailbreak that none of this would have happened, but how can you blame Geohot for something that other people did?

For those that aren’t aware, Geohot was also the first person to jailbreak an iPhone. He did all of this before the app store was available so that people could write and distribute games and applications for the phone when Apple wasn’t allowing it. There was no installous at the time so there were no pirated apps, it was strictly used to open up the phone to outside applications. Of course, once the app store came to be, another group figured out a way to crack app store games so that you could essentially download any app for free. Then installous came about and made it even easier for anyone with even a basic knowledge of the iPhone to download free apps. So how come Geohot didn’t get sued by Apple? Well for one the Government deemed jailbreaking of your iPhone legal. Ok, so if jailbreaking your phone is legal in the eyes of the DMCA then why is jailbreaking the PS3 any different? The original intention of jailbreaking is to run unofficial apps, not to run pirated apps. Of course, in both instances these jailbreaks can be used to unlock that potential, but at the core, this is not their intentions.

I just think that Geohot is getting the short end of the stick in this case and it shouldn’t even have gone this far. And for those of you saying that Geohot is a douche and an attention whore, just put that aside for a second and picture anyone else in this situation. What makes the act of jailbreaking a PS3 any different than Jailbreaking an iPhone? Seriously, I’d love to hear your arguments…

Don’t be so quick to judge someone just because they seem like a “douche”. I applaud Geohot for fighting this case and I wish him the best of luck. And on a side note, there are quite a few rumors out there that the guy has taken all of the donation money he received for his defense and run off to South America… make sure you get all the facts before you are so quick to judge. He’s out of the country on vacation and is in constant contact with his lawyers, he’s provided everything that Sony has asked for up until this point and he hasn’t used any of the donation money for this trip…. the trip has been planned since November.

So how do you guys feel about this case? Do you think Geohot should be held accountable for the work of other people? Do you think just because he released the Root Key that he should be held accountable for the work of other hackers in allowing the PS3 to play pirated games? How come jailbreaking an iPhone is legal and unlocking the same restrictions on a PS3 is illegal?