Sony’s lawsuit against PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz has been delayed over a question of whether the case should even be tried in a California court.
It didn’t take long for Sony to wheel out its legal team in response to the PS3 security circumvention hack put out by George “GeoHot” Hotz in early January, nor has it taken much time for the case to hit its first legal speed bump. Sony sued Hotz in the state of California but U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston suggested that the case might need to be tried in New Jersey, Hotz’s home state and where he actually committed the hack.
“I’m really worried about the jurisdictional question,” the judge said.
Sony’s attorney argued that the matter should be tried in California because Hotz posted information relating to the hack on Twitter and YouTube, both based in California, and took “donations” for the hack through PayPal, also a California company. While Hotz’s attorney denied that he had ever received money for the hack, the judge observed that if using sites like Twitter and YouTube were enough to determine where a case should be tried, “the entire universe would be subject to my jurisdiction.”
Sony then claimed that its terms of service agreement requires that all legal matters be settled in federal court in California, close to the Sony Computer Entertainment America headquarters, but the judge declined to issue an immediate ruling. “Serious questions have been raised here today,” she said.