Image: Idea go /

In the latest round of the legal controversy surrounding George Hotz and his `jail-breaking’ of Sony’s Playstation 3, Sony is attempting to have the case go to trial in California.

This case is important because it deals with acts that are alleged to have occurred in the virtual world; the key issue now at hand is where the trial in the real world should occur.

While Hotz is seeking to keep the case in his home state of New Jersey, Sony wants the case heard in California because it is the favorable forum for them and a move would boost Hotz’s litigation costs.

According to the Ars Technica article, Sony must link Hotz’s actions to California.  There is a test from Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co. that must be satisfied for jurisdiction to apply in California. First, the defendant must have done some act that signals the intention of taking the benefits of the forum state. Second, the claim made must arise from the defendant’s acts in that forum state. The last factor is a reasonableness test, showing that trying the case in the forum state is reasonable.

Hotz, numerous publications have noted, is a tech whiz who has broken into various manufacturers’ software coding, ‘unlocking’ or ‘jail-breaking’ prohibitions on what devices are allowed to do — moves popular among their often youthful users but maddening and potentially costly to the makers. His actions have drawn the defense, among others, of a university professor who says Hotz’s publication his personal blog of his software codes constitute free speech.

Young Hotz himself has posted many of the legal docs in his case, including the Sony suit, on his blog: