Remember Sony’s cringe-inducing copy protection scheme a couple of years ago, where they secretly installed rootkits on millions of customers’ PCs and then pretended it was no big deal? (“Most people, I think, don’t even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?” — Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG’s President of Global Digital Business.) There’s a new article (PDF) about to be published in the Berkely Technology Law Journal called “The Magnificence of the Disaster: Reconstructiong the Sony BMG Rootkit Incident.” It’s a very detailed and entertaining read that examines the conditions that led Sony BMG “toward a strategy that in retrospect appears obviously and fundamentally misguided.”
Somehow this escaped our attention, but on May 23, the judge approved the settlement on the Sony rootkit debacle, you remember, the one where they installed crippling programs on your computer to prevent you from copying their precious cds?
- The Department of Homeland Security is finally doing something good, even though how it falls under their jurisdiction is a bit ambiguous. US considers banning DRM Rootkits. Use username dominos6. Must be anthrax on the brain.
Join us as we read the Business 2.0 (on CNNMoney) piece, ’101 Dumbest Moments in Business (2005),’ featuring old favorites like the Sony BMG rootkit scandal and Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne’s famous “Sith Lord” investor call, as well as new gems like this:Speaking at an ad industry event in…
It appears the Sony rootkit fiasco may be approaching an end. Techdirt is reporting that the company has settled one of many class action lawsuits, offering three free albums’ worth of MP3 downloads or $7.50 plus a single albums’ worth of downloads. As a poster on Techdirt points out:
According to Sony, 2 albums’ worth of music has an actual value of $7.50. That’s $3.75 per album.
I asked the manager about this and they said they were, and I quote, “still allowed to sell them”.
• Confused by the whole ‘Sony Rootkit’ debacle and don’t know which CDs might install malicious software that leaves your PC vulnerable to compromise? Sony BMG has a list of the 50 CDs with the MediaMax DRM, making it easy for you to avoid purchase. You’ll just have to get your ‘YoungBloodZ’ fix elsewhere.
As a fledgling best site ever, The Consumerist has had to do a fair amount of soul searching with regard to Digital Rights Management. It’s clearly a consumer issue—companies restricting your rights to use a product is our bread and butter—but it’s also sort of boring. We’ve decided to err on the side of pedantry. If the big media companies are still penalizing legitimate consumers, we’ll keep pointing out whose products you should avoid.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is, at best, an unnecessary inconvenience. Sometimes we pine for instant gratification and trade away common sense, like when we download music from an online service instead of purchasing a CD. But what if that CD has DRM built-in—DRM that installs the same sort of malicious software used by teenage Russian hackers everywhere (but especially Russia)?