Hotz on South American “vacation,” lawyer fights back

By Brenna Hillier, Thursday, 24 March 2011 04:16 GMT

George “GeoHot” Hotz has confirmed that he’s in South America, but only on a holiday paid for last November, while his attorney has hit back at Sony allegations of the hacker refusing to hand over hardware related to PS3 hacking.

Sony yesterday accused Hotz, who is being sued regarding the publication of PS3’s root key in January, of failing to hand over hard drives relating to his hacking activity and travelling to South America as an “excuse”.

Speaking on his blog, Hotz said: “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 in the case – Ed] 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.”

“Factually, it’s true I’m in South America – on a vacation I’ve had planned and paid for since November.”

Hotz’s attorney, Stewart Kellar, added that Hotz has, in fact, forked over his gear, and did not go on the lam with PayPal donations towards his legal costs.

The lawyer told IGN that Sony’s claims that Hotz “deliberately removed integral components of his impounded hard drives” are a misunderstanding.

“The ‘integral components’ SCEA is talking about are stock controller cards, not the hard drives themselves,” he said.

The neutral party who received the hard drives from GeoHot reportedly had to explain to Sony representatives what hard drive controller cards do.

“Those controller cards have since been provided to the neutral so the point is moot,” he added.

Controller cards of a compatible model could have been substituted in place of the now-supplied originals.

Kellar staunchly protested rumours that GeoHot had funded a trip to South America with Paypal donations intended for his legal costs.

“As for any question as to whether Mr. Hotz has used donation money to take a trip to South America, that’s pretty silly,” he said.

“Litigating against a massive company like Sony, who is represented by five attorneys, is very costly for a 21-year-old. The donation money George has received is being used exclusively for his legal defense. If there are any funds left after the lawsuit, George is planning to donate the money to the [Electronic Frontier Foundation].”

The attorney added: “You can never take a vacation from a lawsuit. Mr. Hotz has had to make himself available 24/7 for this litigation, which has been quite demanding on him.

“You have to remember that Mr. Hotz didn’t choose to fight this battle, but now that he has been sued, he has put his heart into fighting this case that has enormous implications for consumers worldwide.”

Sony is suing GeoHot and other hackers over the publication of the PlayStation 3’s root key, allowing custom firmwares which support illegal backups of games.

Thanks, Kotaku.

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