Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Digital rights groups says Sony should recall CD's with DRM

Or maybe we could just stop buying Sony cds. They obviously are not going to actually fix the problems they solve and are going to find some other spyware to put on their disks.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has published an open letter, urging Sony to consider a product recall of CDs shipped with the controversial XCP copyright protection software which secretly installs a cloaking utility on computers.

Since the revelation that any file using a filename including '$sys$' would be hidden from view both from within Windows and from programs using Windows - including security software - a string of Trojan viruses have been launched across the Net with the goal of infecting computers with the Sony software installed.

Sony has since stalled production of CDds using the softwarwe, but stands by its right to use Digital Rights Management (DRM) software to protect its property.

Although the CDs using the software are few - around 20 titles - the EFF says that 2.1m of them have already been sold and that 2.6m remain in the inventory of retailers.

It says a temporary halt in production is not enough, and wants a recall of all XCP and SunnComm MediaMax-infected CDs, from both consumers and store shelves; a guarantee to repair, replace, or refund the purchase price of the CDs to anyone who bought the merchandise; and a major publicity campaign warning about the security risks of XCP and SunnComm MediaMax. It also wants Sony to reimburse consumers for the money and time spent on verifying the presence of the technology and any problems caused by it.

'Sony BMG must have spent a great deal of money advertising these infected CDs to an unsuspecting public,' said EFF Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. 'We think that it's only fair that an equal amount of money is spent educating the public on the damage that the product could cause to consumers around the world.'

Sony is unlikely to meet many of these demands - its decision to halt production marks the only capitulation of the company to massive pressure from consumers, the media and the security industry. Even Microsoft has said it categorises the software [as] spyware.
More at site. Digital rights body calls for Sony to recall XCP CDs

Of course, Sony has a right to protect a CD, but a program to prevent copying a disk can be installed without spyware. Secondly, of course, is the predisclosure. Obviously, they did not have a right to sell a disc that was going to put malicious code on a computer without prior warning--prior to the purchase of the product, of course.

I hope Elliot Spitzer's not too busy these days to look into this. I'd be willing to bet that this goes beyond Sony's claim to have only dosed 20 titles with the code. I'll bet just about everything they've sold lately. The cd I bought with the code isn't on the list. I'd like a couple of hundred bucks for the cd-rw that no longer works and the time I've spent trying to undo their damage.


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