BREAKING NEWS: Sony’s War on Hackers, Tinkerers and Innovators “Settlement in George Hotz Case”

BREAKING NEWS: Sony’s War on Hackers, Tinkerers and Innovators “Settlement in George Hotz Case”

Sony Computer Entertainment America (“SCEA”) and George Hotz (“Hotz”) today announced the settlement of the lawsuit filed by SCEA against Hotz in federal court in San Francisco, California. The parties reached an agreement in principle on March 31, 2011. As part of the settlement, Hotz consented to a permanent injunction.

Both parties expressed satisfaction that litigation had been quickly resolved. “Sony is glad to put this litigation behind us,” said Riley Russell, General Counsel for SCEA. “Our motivation for bringing this litigation was to protect our intellectual property and our consumers. We believe this settlement and the permanent injunction achieve this goal.”

“It was never my intention to cause any users trouble or to make piracy easier,” said Hotz, “I’m happy to have the litigation behind me.” Hotz was not involved in the recent attacks on Sony’s internet services and websites.

In the action, SCEA accused Hotz of violating federal law by posting online information about the security system in the PlayStation 3 videogame console and software that SCEA claimed could be used to circumvent the security system in the console and allow the playing of pirated videogames. Hotz denies any wrongdoing on his part. Hotz’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction was still pending before the federal court in San Francisco but a preliminary injunction was issued requiring Hotz to take down the postings challenged by SCEA.

“We want our consumers to be able to enjoy our devices and products in a safe and fun environment and we want to protect the hard work of the talented engineers, artists, musicians and game designers who make PlayStation games and support the PlayStation Network,” added Russell. “We appreciate Mr. Hotz’s willingness to address the legal issues involved in this case and work with us to quickly bring this matter to an early resolution.”

I’m glad to see this come to an end. I think Sony knew they would 1) lose if they continued on their reckless path and 2) Sony would continue to ruin their chances of inspiring innovators to work with their products, forever.

Is this an ideal end-result? No, of course not. George cannot hack or mod or even talk about the SONY settlement. But he’s out of court, not in jail, not owing millions, admitted no-wrongdoing and he’s free to work on anything that’s not SONY.

When you win against creepy large companies like SONY, this is what it looks like – it’s gross and unsatisfying, but it is winning.

So what’s next?

Sony, will you and George do a talk at Maker Faire talking about the ways you *do* want people to use your SDKs and create amazing experiences (like the Kinect world currently enjoys?). Drop us a line – here’s your chance to completely turn it all around. We’ll root for you.

See our previous article – “Sony’s War on Makers, Hackers, and Innovators” where we suggested that we collectively encourage Sony to drop this suit.

Imagine going back in time and convincing Sony to work with, not against, their users. Where would they be now? Sony had decades of innovation and created an industry. What happens next is up to Sony but it’s also up to us. The Aibo community was able to get Sony to reconsider their actions, perhaps the maker world can as well. Here is the press contact page for all of Sony. Please consider sending a polite email asking them to drop the lawsuit against GeoHot and the community of makers, hackers, and innovators. I’ll also be sending a physical copy of this article to the CEO of Sony.

Did all your emails, tweets and efforts help drop the case against a maker? I think so.