Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Sony finds the self destruct button

Well looks like sony found that self destruct button after all, Ever since Sony BMG decided that (a) its customers were all, of course, potential copyright thieves and (b) the fact that they'd bought a CD gave Sony the right to install dangerous software on their PCs to protect its digital rights, they have been enjoing so much negative press and customer hate mail, it makes Jonny's IR laws look like a picnic!

Latest news that the Texas Attorney General has filed a civil lawsuit against the company under the State's anti-spyware legislation, describing Sony's actions installing the XCP software - which includes a so-called "rootkit" - as "a technological version of cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers".

It seems, however, that the deceit didn't end there. For instance, Sony claims to have withdrawn the offending CDs, but as recently as last Sunday, US time, Texas investigators were able to purchase several of the CDs at Austin retailers.

And just exactly how many dangerous CDs have been released on the market? According to Sony, they've sold only 2.1 million of 4.7 million CDs released with the XCP software. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation - which is also suing Sony BMG - claims that a second variation of the software, labeled as SunnComm MediaMax, has not been addressed and affects 20 million CDs.

The EFF claims the MediaMax software installs itself on computers even when users choose not to run the application. It says that software allows the company to track customers' listening habits despite denials the company collects such data, and it lacks any feature for deleting the program entirely.

Meanwhile, the fact that the software Sony deployed to protect itself from copyright violation contained software that violated the copyright of others, seems to expose it to more legal action - particularly ironic action, given the company has been suing college students and their parents over much less serious copyright infringements.

So far, it seems, Sony hasn't been experiencing much of a consumer backlash. But we expect it's only a matter of time.

We can only wonder whether Sony might begin to wonder, as it watches its reputation being shredded, whether it's really a good idea to try to stop its customers making a copy of the music they've paid for. Given that CDs seem to be rapidly becoming obsolescent technology, what with iTunes Music Store sales beginning to overtake the business being done in bricks and mortar stores.

Of course, none of this means anything to Mac or Linux users.... as this software from Sony does nothing to NON windows you should have bought a Mac shouldnt you...!? And if you dont own a Mac... GET ONE.. before Sony gets you ;-)

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