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Suit settled, PS3 hacker donates $10,000 to EFF

Directs choice words at Sony 'goons'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The hacker accused of violating US copyright law when he hacked the PlayStation 3 game console has donated $10,000 to the Electronic Frontier Foundation after Sony dropped the controversial lawsuit.

George Hotz, aka GeoHot, announced the donation on Saturday, five days after he and Sony settled their legal tiff. Sony accused the 21-year-old of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when he published the secret key used to sign PS3 games and demonstrated how to use it to run homebrew apps. Sony agreed to dismiss the suit against Hotz and 100 unnamed jailbreakers in exchange for Hotz promising to drop all future attempts to unlock the game console and to never again link to techniques that show how it's done.

“This money goes to the EFF in hopes that America can one day again be a shining example of freedom, free of the DMCA and the ACTA (anti-counterfeiting trade agreement), and that private interest will never trump the ideas laid out in the constitution of privacy, ownership, and free speech,” Hotz wrote. “At the end of the day, something I take comfort in. The PS3 got OWNED.”

Hotz, who sought private donations to pay the legal expenses of fighting Sony's suit, promised to give the money away if there were any remaining funds once the litigation ended. EFF lawyers have long argued the people have a right to hack the hardware they legally own and were instrumental in getting iPhone jailbreaking exempted from the DMCA.

After last week's settlement was announced, EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry said Sony's lawsuit threatened to chill security research on Sony products.

“The judicial process should never be used to shut down lawful communication and investigation,” she wrote. “Here's hoping future security researchers will refuse to be intimidated and that other companies will decline to follow Sony's heavy-handed example.”

For his part, Hotz said he had no intention of breaching his agreement with Sony, however distasteful he finds the effective gag order it imposes on him.

“As much as I don't respect the goons at Sony, I do respect the court,” said Hotz, who previously vowed to never again purchase a Sony product. ®

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