Sony wins restraining order in Geohot case

Sony appears to have won its first victory in its legal case against the hackers that uncovered the private key used to secure the digital rights management system on its PlayStation 3 console: the granting of a temporary restraining order.

Following research performed by security research group fail0verflow, famed hacker George Hotz - also known as Geohot - published the private key that locked the DRM on the PS3. Taking this key, it was possible to create third-party firmware for the console - which led, inevitably, to the ability to play illegitimately downloaded games.

While Sony has been attempting - and failing - to solve the issue with technological countermeasures, the company has also been active in trying to resolve the issue through legal means. While the first hearing against US-based Hotz was something of a shambles, the court appears to be leaning towards Sony thus far.

In papers filed by the court yesterday, Sony's request for a temporary restraining order and seizure of property against Hotz, Hector Martin Cantero and Sven Peter of fail0verflow, and 100 John Does, was granted.

While the granting of a temporary restraining order doesn't necessarily mean that Sony will win its case against the hackers, it's a victory nevertheless - and Sony's first such ray of hope since the case began.

The order prevents the named defendants from disseminating the private key or discussing how to recover the private key, and from having anything to do with Sony's PS3 until the case is decided.

Additionally, the order forces the defendants to turn over all computer hardware and software used to determine the private key.

While Hotz's lawyers are likely to fight against that latter part of the order, they are unlikely to be able to to overturn the former. Sadly for Sony, it's already too late: like the proverbial Pandora's box, the secret is out there and readily available for anyone to see.

The date of the next hearing has yet to be set.

For the curious or legal-minded, the full temporary restraining order can be read here.