Questions over jurisdiction slowed down a trial brought by Sony against hacker George "Geohot" Hotz over his alleged publication of the root key necessary to run unapproved code on the PlayStation 3.
In a 20-minute hearing reported on by Wired
, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston wondered aloud why the case was being held in her California court and not in Hotz's home state of New Jersey, where he performed the hack.
Sony attorney James Gilliland Jr. argued that Hotz's use of technology from California-based businesses Twitter and Facebook to distribute the hacked key gave justified jurisdiction in the California court. Illston seemed skeptical of this argument, saying it would in effect make “the entire universe ... subject to my jurisdiction.”
Gilliland also argued that the PlayStation 3 terms of service lay out California federal court as the jurisdiction for any disputes. Illston said she would rule on the issue sometime in the future, postponing a ruling on whether Hotz must give up his computer as evidence in the case.
In the lawsuit filed earlier this week
, Sony is seeking a temporary restraining order forcing Hotz and other named and unnamed hackers to cease any distribution of the PS3 hacking instructions, as well as unspecified damages.
Hotz said in a recent interview with Attack of the Show
that his hack does not enable piracy and compared its effect to the unlocking of an iPhone, which is now legal under a specifically carved-out exception to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.