Privacy Law

Magistrate OKs IP Address Turnover to Sony for All Visitors to Unauthorized PlayStation 3 Site

It isn’t just George Hotz who may soon be feeling the heat from his publication of a “jailbreak” encryption key and software tools on his website that allow PlayStation 3 owners to run their own programs on the consoles.

A federal magistrate judge in the Northern District of California has OK’d a plan for Sony Computer Entertainment America to discover logs of the Internet Protocol addresses for all the computers have downloaded files from his site since January 2009, Wired’s Threat Level blog reported.

As Sony emphasized, the workaround offered by Hotz potentially permits users to run pirated software. However, privacy advocates including the Electronic Frontier Foundation express concern about the scope of what the organization calls “overly broad” discovery.

A March 1 letter (PDF) to the court provides more detail about this and other discovery agreed to by the parties.

In addition to third-party user information, Sony is to get material from Twitter and YouTube, among other sources.

Sony accuses Hotz, who is 21 and lives in New Jersey, of violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act by trafficking in “circumvention devices” and seeks unspecified damages. Under the law, it is not necessary to prove payment in order to establish a violation of the DMCA, the Threat Level article explains.

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