Post by diecheerleader on Nov 15, 2005 15:30:20 GMT -5
Sony Discontinues Controversial Anti-Piracy Software
Amy Phillips reports: Sony, you got served.
Just days after an uproar erupted over the revelation that several new Sony BMG Music releases contain anti-piracy software that embeds hidden spyware and malware into consumers' computers, the company has agreed to stop manufacturing the offending discs. But a California class-action lawsuit against the record label conglomerate still stands, and the public relations fallout has only just begun.
As previously reported, discs containing the stealth XCP technology install nasty little buggers called "rootkits" on Windows computers (Macs are safe), slowing down operating systems, leaving hard drives open to virus infection, and, perhaps worst of all, transmitting information about the user back to Sony HQ. As if that wasn't bad enough, the anti-piracy software prevents the disc's tunes from being transferred to iPods (once again, Macs are safe). So basically, you're better off downloading the stuff from Soulseek.
Of course, Sony refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing. The XCP discontinuation is only temporary for now, and encrypted CDs already on store shelves will stay there. According to the New York Times, 4.7 million CDs featuring the technology have been shipped, and about 2.1 million have been sold.
While Sony has posted a patch on its website that reveals the rootkit, the patch does not remove the copy-protection software. To do that, you must follow a complicated procedure that involves giving Sony even more information about yourself, including an email address. And experts are warning that the process can do more harm than good, causing system crashes and other problems.
In a statement released on Friday, the company said, "We deeply regret any possible inconvenience this may cause. We stand by content protection technology as an important tool to protect our intellectual property rights and those of our artists." Right, because Trey Anastasio is sooo against people sharing his music.
Surprisingly, one of music consumers' biggest allies in this situation might turn out to be Microsoft. The company announced that it intends to include a Sony patch in its next update of the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, so look out for some corporate Godzilla vs. Mothra action soon.
Freedom-fighting digital rights organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation has compiled a list of dangerous CDs, which we have copied and pasted below from their website. The list isn't complete, and the EFF offers tips on how to check if a CD contains XCP or not.
If you own a PC, save yourself a lot of hassle and don't insert any of these CDs into your disc drive. If your Windows Auto-Run function is activated (and it probably is, since most Windows systems come with Auto-Run engaged automatically), then Sony's media player will launch immediately, and the rootkit infestation will begin.
Besides, isn't listening to the new Santana album punishment enough?
Trey Anastasio - Shine Celine Dion - On ne Change Pas Neil Diamond - 12 Songs Our Lady Peace - Healthy in Paranoid Times Chris Botti - To Love Again Van Zant - Get Right With the Man Switchfoot - Nothing Is Sound The Coral - The Invisible Invasion Acceptance - Phantoms Susie Suh - Susie Suh Amerie - Touch Life of Agony - Broken Valley Horace Silver Quintet - Silver's Blue Gerry Mulligan - Jeru Dexter Gordon - Manhattan Symphonie The Bad Plus - Suspicious Activity The Dead 60s - The Dead 60s Dion - The Essential Dion Natasha Bedingfield - Unwritten Ricky Martin - Life My Morning Jacket - Z * Santana - All That I Am * Sarah McLachlan - Bloom Remix Album *
* features copy-protection technology that is not XCP, but still suspect
Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk.