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Sony: Hotz In South America As An 'Excuse,' Linked To PSN Account

A new court filing reveals that Sony believes PS3 jailbreaker George "Geohot" Hotz is attempting "to dodge this Court’s authority" by staying in South America. [UPDATE: Hotz has said he is "on a vacation."]
The case of Sony Computer Entertainment America versus PlayStation 3 jailbreaker George "Geohot" Hotz continues, as a new court filing reveals that Sony believes Hotz is attempting "to dodge this Court’s authority" by staying in South America. This latest court document [PDF], filed March 18, states that "Hotz has engaged in a campaign to thwart jurisdictional discovery at every turn." SCEA claims that after a U.S. District Court judge ordered an inspection of hard drives impounded from Hotz and ordered him to appear at a deposition in California, the company learned he "deliberately removed" key components of the devices before turning them over to a neutral third party. The filing added that "Hotz is now in South America, an excuse for why he will not immediately provide the components of his hard drives as requested by the neutral. Hotz' attempts to dodge this Court’s authority raise very serious questions" the court filing states. Sony is also looking to prove that Hotz lied about not owning a PlayStation Network account. It says he created a PlayStation Network account and agreed to the terms and conditions in California. The court filing argues, "Hotz submitted a declaration to the Court in which he made unequivocal statements on a number of topics." "However, when it came to discussing the PSN account, Hotz equivocated, stating: 'To the best of my knowledge and belief, I do not have a PlayStation Network account.'" "SCEA used [Hotz' PlayStation] serial number to determine that on February 25, 2010, Hotz purchased the PS3 System at a GameStop store just miles from his home. SCEA’s records show that the same PS3 System was used on March 10, 2010 to create a PSN account under the user name 'blickmanic.'" It states, "The IP address associated with the registration is located in Glen Rock, New Jersey, where Hotz lives." Sony argues that, since Hotz agreed to SCEA's terms and conditions when he created that account, "he is clearly subject to personal jurisdiction in California." In January, Sony alleged that Fail0verflow, a "hacking group," laid the groundwork for Hotz to "unlawfully ... [gain] access to a critical level of the PS3 System" protection measures in December. The original complaint alleges that Hotz distributed circumvention devices through the internet that were needed to access that critical level of PS3 security, and that he released software code used to run pirated software on the console in January. Hotz has denied the hack is meant to facilitate piracy. Earlier this month, a court said Sony had the right to subpoena Hotz' web provider and, weeks later, his PayPal account. SCEA said it is looking for "documents sufficient to identify the source of funds in California that went into any PayPal account" associated with Hotz' email address. Hotz' counsel said last week that plaintiff SCEA "made material misrepresentations to the court" about the origins of the PS3 SDK that SCEA believes is on impounded hard drives from Hotz, and questioned whether a U.S. District Court in California has jurisdiction over a PlayStation 3 hardware hacking lawsuit. [UPDATE: George Hotz has said on his blog that he is "on a vacation." He states, "It is Spring break; hacking isn't my life. Rest assured that not a dime of legal defense money would ever go toward something like this... I also won't let this ridiculous lawsuit run my life either." One of Hotz' lawyers, Stewart Kellar, told Ars Technica, "The notion that George has fled the country is absurd. George is in South America to see a friend, on a trip he planned before this lawsuit ever began. George has had to make himself available 24/7 for this litigation, which has been quite demanding on him."]

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