Geohot starts blog, raises cash for legal fees

George Hotz, a self-described hacker caught up in a legal battle with Sony over custom packages on the PlayStation 3, says he has received enough donations to cover his legal fees.


George Hotz, better known by his hacker name "Geohot," started a blog over the weekend to fire shots at Sony and raise cash for his legal bout with the company.

Hotz launched his new blog on Friday with a flurry of posts outlining his stance against Sony. His first post, entitled "This is war," claims that Sony Computer Entertainment America "has declared war on hackers." He followed that up with three "facts" that he believes, everyone should know about him.

"I have never pirated a PlayStation 3 game in my life, nor helped or encouraged people to do so," he wrote. "I have never played PlayStation online, nevermind cheated, nor helped or encouraged peopled to do so. I have never hacked anything that I did not own or without consent of the owner."

Those statements are integral to Hotz's case with Sony. Last month, Sony requested a restraining order against Hotz for releasing a jailbreak for firmware version 3.55 that allowed people to run homebrew applications on the console. Sony said that the move violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Computer Fraud Abuse Act. The company also asserted that Hotz's actions would allow gamers to run pirated copies of games on the hardware.

For his part, Hotz has said from the beginning that the PlayStation 3 should be no different than a mobile phone, which is a closed system, like the game console, and is explicitly allowed to be jailbroken under DMCA regulations. Game consoles are not mentioned in the DMCA, which seemingly paved the way for Sony to take aim at Hotz.

Over the past month, both sides had been fighting in courts over whether Hotz was wrong for releasing the jailbreak. After some jabs back and forth, a U.S. District Court ruled in Sony's favor, granting a temporary restraining order and forcing Hotz to remove all mention of his jailbreak from the Web.

But as Hotz pointed out on his blog, the cost of battling with Sony in court is high. As a result, he has asked people to help fund his defense.

"Sony has five lawyers, I have two," Hotz wrote on his Web site, announcing the donation drive. "I'd like to level the playing field, and really get some hard hitters in there. I have already racked up over $10,000 in legal bills; donate whatever you feel like."

Those efforts to raise cash have apparetnly gone well. Hotz announced yesterday on his blog that he closed the "first round of donations." He said that "things are looking up money-wise" and he expects to be able to hire more attorneys for his case.

Though now apparently flush with cash, Hotz doesn't seem quite ready to roll over to Sony just yet. In a series of questions and answers on his Web site, Hotz said that he believes "Sony is lame." And he made it clear that he thinks Sony's decision to target him is a case of the company suing "the wrong guy."

"I am an advocate against mass piracy, do not distribute anyone's copyrighted work but my own, and am even pro DRM in a sense," Hotz wrote. "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."

Sony did not immediately return a request for comment.

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