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Sony tries to hire a hacker, while suing a hacker

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" — or so the old adage goes. But Sony seems to have a slightly different take on that phrase.

"If you can't beat 'em, have them join you," seems to be the idea Sony is operating under, if a recent e-mail exchange between the tech company and a well-known hacker is to be believed.

Koushik Dutta, a hacker and developer, has posted what he says is an e-mail exchange between himself and an employee of Sony Computer Entertainment America in which the recruiter approaches him with a potential job offer.

Dutta was the first to hack the Motorola Xoom and runs a blog that details his tinkering ways. So one can understand a company's desire to woo him into work. The problem is — Sony is in the midst of suing another notorious hacker (George Hotz) for tinkering with their PlayStation 3.

In the e-mail exchange, the recruiter from Sony's Talent Acquisition Department introduces herself, tells Dutta that the company has followed his blog and says, "I am in the process of opening a Software Engineer role within our R&D team and you may be a good fit."

Dutta's response:

I appreciate that you reached out to me. The opportunity does sound very interesting! However, due to Sony's recent treatment of a fellow hacker, George Hotz, I could not in good conscience work at Sony.

Dutta then let the Twitterverse (and the world) hear all about the offer with the above-pictured tweet: "Take a stand for your online rights. Don't sell out."

The suit against Hotz has angered the hacking community as well as many in the gaming community. But as gaming blog Kotaku points out, it's not unusual for tech companies to hire hackers. After all, who better to help protect them from, well, unwanted advances.

In fact, after Hotz hacked the PS3 and before the lawsuit got rolling, Hotz suggested to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo that they consider hiring him.

"If you want your next console to be secure, get in touch with me. Any of you 3. It’d be fun to be on the other side," he wrote on his blog.

One can't help but wonder if Sony now wishes they had taken him up on that offer.

(Thanks to Kotaku for the heads up.)

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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter.