Lawyers for George Hotz, the most famous PlayStation 3 hacker in the world, say his client thought Sony was a Japanese company and had no idea that Sony Computer Entertainment of America even existed.
The Sony v. Geohot case is complicated and I'm easily confused, so maybe there's something about this particular argument that makes sense and it's just going over my head. I could buy the idea that George Hotz didn't know Sony Computer Entertainment of America was based in California, but his argument that he didn't know it existed at all? That's a little tougher to swallow. That's his story, though, and it looks like he's sticking to it.
"When one purchases a PlayStation Computer and looks at its outer box, it has plastered on numerous places that it is a product of Sony Japan and all rights belong to Sony Japan. It only references Sony Japan - not SCEA," his lawyer explained in a court filing. "When one takes the PlayStation Computer out of its box and inspects it, it states it is a product of Sony Japan and all rights belong to Sony Japan. It does not reference California. When one installs the PlayStation Computer firmware update that Mr. Hotz allegedly circumvented, which can legally be obtained through the internet as Mr. Hotz did, upon installation, it only refers to Sony Japan."
Hotz also declared in a separate document - under penalty of perjury, mind - that he was unaware of the existence of Sony Computer Entertainment of America. He claimed that the manuals for the used consoles he purchased, which are the only documentation included with the system that actually mention SCEA or California, were either missing or got tossed out without being looked at, and that the one that came with the new Slim system he purchased has never been looked at and is in fact still sealed. His lawyer even took multiple photographs of the package and unopened manuals as proof that Hotz never read it and thus knew nothing about SCEA.
Why is this important? It's a matter of establishing jurisdiction. Hotz and his lawyers are arguing that the case should be thrown out because the state of California doesn't have jurisdiction over the matter and while the idea that he'd never heard of SCEA is patently silly, if Sony can't prove otherwise it might find itself in a bit of a sticky wicket.
Sony ran into similar issues when it tried to pin newly-created PSN accounts on Hotz, claiming that the Terms of Service agreement establish jurisdiction, but that argument appears to have fallen through since the serial number in question doesn't actually match up and the company has been unable to provide any other links between the accounts and Hotz.
And if you're wondering why Hotz kept the packaging and still-sealed manuals for the PS3 Slim he bought while everything else ended up in the garbage, the answer is simple. "Because it was pretty," he said.