Sony has convinced a federal court to issue a temporary restraining order that bars a hacker from distributing his technology for running unauthorized software on the PlayStation 3.
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco found that Sony had submitted sufficient evidence to show that it would suffer "irreparable harm" if the hacker, George Hotz, continued to distribute his technology for circumventing the PS3's firmware that's meant to prevent running a separate operating system on the video-game console.
The court also ruled that Sony had submitted "substantial evidence" showing Hotz had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by making it possible to run pirated software on the PS3. Stopping others from running such software was in the public's interest, as it prevented copyright violations.
The order, issued Wednesday, bars Hotz from "creating, posting online, marketing, advertising, promoting, installing, distributing, providing, or otherwise trafficking in any circumvention technology, products, services, methods, codes, software tools, devices, component or part thereof." Hotz is also barred from posting links to any Web site offering or promoting such technology.
The court ordered Hotz to turn over to authorities "computers, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, and any other storage devices" on which circumvention technology is stored.
Hotz's lawyers had argued that the court did not have jurisdiction over the case, because Hotz does not live in California. The court disagreed, saying Hotz's alleged activities had an impact on California. Illston said Hotz could bring up the argument again at a later date.
Sony sued Hotz this month, along with two other hackers in Europe and 100 "John Does" who worked on and distributed technology to circumvent the PS3's "technology prevention measure" for unauthorized software.
Hotz, aka "Geohot," first gained notoriety in 2007 when he hacked his Apple iPhone in order to use the smartphone on multiple carriers' networks. Apple at the time had an exclusive deal with AT&T. In late 2009, he turned his attention to the PS3 and documented his attempt to hack the system on his Web site.