A quick note:
When I posted this article yesterday, I made reference to a couple of news items about Mr. Hotz (in struck text, below) which, as one commenter notes, needs some additional explanation. I apologize to anyone who felt misinformed by my post, as it was not my intention, and I will certainly take steps to avoid this kind of confusion in the future. Mr. Hotz has disputed claims of "fleeing" to South America, responding to the accusations by saying:
Apparently, I have fled the country. ROFL
Factually, it's true I'm in South America, on a vacation I've had planned and paid for since November. I mean, 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. And of course Townsend [Sony's law firm] loves the idea of painting me as an international fugitive. I have been in contact with my lawyers almost every day; I would not let the case suffer. That said, I also won't let this ridiculous lawsuit run my life either. Then the fearmongerers win.
He and his attorneys also fired back against accusations of having a PSN account, despite his earlier denials. Attention had been raised about an account under the name "blickmanic" that had been traced to his area, and Sony went so far as to says that "In March 2010, Hotz signed up for a PlayStation Network ('PSN') Account using a new PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system." Their claims found themselves largely discredited when Mr. Hotz's attorneys noted that the serial numbers on his new PS3 Slim did not match those linked to the blinkmaniac account. Those interested in reading what Geroge Hotz has (and has had) to say should check out his blogspot account. Once again, my apologies for the errors.
Read the original article (which has since gotten too long to fit on the main page) after the jump!
The drama of SCEA vs. Hotz appears to finally be over, with Hotz being served an injunction that effectively brings his activities to a halt. Should he continue his work, either directly or indirectly -- for example, aiding another who wishes to pick up where he left off -- Hotz faces a hit of $10,000 per violation, up to $250,000. As per the terms of the agreement, he is forbidden from discussing the terms of the settlement, but the documents have been leaked, which have been posted online. You can find them in the provided gallery.
The contentious case was rife with farce. Hotz claimed that he never had a PSN account (really), made a dashing escape to South America to escape Johnny Law, and graced the world with a rather, shall we say "animated" rap about his legal troubles -- the latter of which compels me to sue Mr. Hotz myself for "medical expenses and emotional distress incurred during a tragic facepalming incident."
No official word has come from Anonymous as to whether the settlement will bring to a close this chapter of their broader "Operation Payback" campaign. Anonnews.org, the main hub for Anonymous news releases and statements, has not yet addressed the development. At the very least, they seem to be taking a softer line for the time being, recently urging a boycott of Sony, rather than direct action. I had previously written a rather critical article about Anonymous, pointing out that their attacks on Sony would only harm their image and alienate potential supporters. I still believe that, from a purely tactical point of view, it was an unwise move; Thus I am pleased to see this shift in attitude. From anonnews.org:
"Anonymous is not attacking the PSN at this time. Sony's official position is that the PSN is undergoing maintenance. We realize that targeting the PSN is not a good idea. We have therefore temporarily suspended our action, until a method is found that will not severely impact Sony customers. [...] This operation is a response to Sony's attempt to deprive their customers of products they bought and therefore own, wholly and completely. Anonymous will not attempt to fight this by following the exact same course of action. We have plenty of tricks up our sleeves."
There's a legitimate case to be made for supporters of Hotz, including Anonymous, that Sony is essentially dictating what you may or may not do with a product that you own. As commenter raindog469 noted, "Sony took away advertised functionality from its customers' equipment retroactively," and Sony's comically Orwellian demand that they be allowed access to all IP addresses of visitors to Hotz's website from 2009 onwards did very little to inspire sympathy for their position.
If you wish to read Anonymous's full statement, you can do so on their website.