Sony Hits Snag in PS3 Hacker Court Case

Wired reports that Sony’s lawsuit against PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz hit a snag today when a federal court judge questioned whether California was the right jurisdiction to hear the case.

Sony sued Hotz on Tuesday, alleging that when Hotz posted the code to crack the PlayStation 3, he breached the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provisions. Sony asked the court to compel Hotz to remove any code he uploaded last week.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said she had concerns about whether or not the lawsuit should be tried in her courtroom. She also wondered if New Jersey, Hotz’ home state, would be a better venue to try the case – after all, this was where Hotz’ conducted most of his internet activities.

"I’m really worried about the jurisdictional question," the judge said from the bench during a 20-minute hearing – reports Wired.

Attorney James Gilliland Jr., representing Sony, argued the case should proceed in San Francisco because Hotz posted the hack using Twitter and YouTube, and that he had received donations via PayPal. Hotz’ attorney denied the allegation that he ever received donations.

By that logic, the judge countered, "the entire universe would be subject to my jurisdiction."

Gilliland countered that the PlayStation 3’s terms-of-service agreement requires that all legal disputes be settled in federal court in California.

"Serious questions have been raised here," the judge said, adding that she would rule at a later date.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops.

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