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Sony BMG sued by Texas

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 21 Nov 2005 18:53 User comments (36)

Sony BMG sued by Texas The backlash from the tactics used to cloak files on a copy protection technology used by Sony BMG on some CD albums continues with a lawsuit filed against the company by the state of Texas. It alleges that Sony BMG used "spyware software" to enforce limitations on how the disc can be used by a consumer. The software in question, XCP, was developed by UK-based First4Internet and is included on titles by some major artists such as Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Celine Dion.
The problem lies in how the software is hidden in the Windows operating system. It has been called a "rootkit" as it's file hiding techniques are similar. This left Windows installations much less secure by providing an easy solution to virus writers who wanted to hide their files so they can avoid detection by anti-virus scanners.

"Sony has engaged in a technological cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," said Greg Abbott, Texas attorney-general. The lawsuit seeks penalties of around $100,000 per violation under the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, passed earlier this year. Sony BMG was also left with no choice but to recall almost 5 million CDs, a practise that will cost the company an estimated $4 million.

Source:
Telegraph

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36 user comments

121.11.2005 20:10

haha! sucked in sony!

221.11.2005 22:21
Ludikhris
Inactive

Sony... please.... stop kicking yourself in the nuts. The problem with Sony as a company is very simple. They do not wish to respond to the needs and wants of the consumer. They believe that marketing research and business practices can ultimatly tell you what a consumer does and doesn't want. Therefore when it comes time to release products they TELL the customer what they are supposed to have. They are now paying for being arrogant. Look at the recent history of Sony's products, with many of them they are in a losing game. EQ2 lost to WoW, PS3 will lose ground to XBOX360 (but most likely remain leader), their electronics sales are down, they refuse in almost all cases to settle a case (remember the PS2 controller thing?), and the hidden files in peoples PCs, anyone remember ATRAC format? That is a great example, all MP3 players played just that, MP3s. Sony came out with a whole line that played nothing but ATRAC in order to push their format. Dude, you are so dumb. If everyone wants MP3s, GIVE THEM MP3s. Now we have Apple and Sony decided to wait to wake up until the PSP. But now the PSP has been late getting good games so the DS is kicking its ass. The consumer is begining to get really loud for them. They are voting through buyer power, and they are begining to vote against Sony. How many times must you be told that you are not the giant you think you are? Wake up, you're losing customers.

321.11.2005 23:56

Consumer Boycott: Prosecution + Boycott = Legal Revenge. And I want made public the names of the "team of suits", bottom to top, who executed this abomination. Boycott Sony's Hardware, Software, Peripherals, Games, Play Station, Home Entertainment Equiptment, Headphones, Accessories, CD's, DVD's, Movie Theatre releases, TV Shows, Recordable VHS Tape, DVD Recordable Disk Media ......... Who can add more?

422.11.2005 0:08

Not happening - not with me anyway. But, I wont buy any XCP-protected CDs - that I can agree to do.

522.11.2005 0:39

Forgot Blu-ray! That would teach them a lesson. Go HD-DVD instead. Buy the players that will play both if you're in trepidation, not ones that will play only Blu-ray. Purchase only HD-DVD movie releases. But only Rent the Blu-ray releases that you can't get in HD-DVD format. That way Sony doesn't get your money. This forces the Production Studios to support HD-DVD as a release standard. Don't worry, the Studios will re-release those Blu-Ray only DVD's in HD-DVD format in response to consumer demand. Take the whole damn High Definition game away from Sony! Betamax all over again. And Legislate: Foreign Companies Out Of American Media! ...a dish best served cold.

622.11.2005 0:54

This is crazy IT WAS SONY BMG WHICH IS THERE MUSIC ENTERTAMENT SECTION THAT DID THIS not there game/DVD/hardware/software sections so why are people bashing all things Sony i mean it's not like this is anything big someone was going to do it sooner or later BMG just happened to get there first and this security risk that does it's hiding techniques is BANG out of order but come on XP in a hole is a security risk i mean all you have to do is connect to the Internet and your at risk. PS If there's any Boycotting make it Sony BMG which is the REAL problem not all the other sections like there games/DVDs/hardware/software.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Nov 2005 @ 1:08

722.11.2005 1:13

Oh! This is so, SO sweet! The attorney-general himself !!! is involved! Gawd, you gotta love it! "$100,000 per violation!" Such sweeeeeeeet justice! :-) Let's hear it for Mr. Greg Abbott !!!!!!!!! [Clap, clap - applause applause]. To drive the message home that we, as paying consumers, don't appreciate having our Fair Use Rights stripped away from us then SOLD back to us again, AND to put the Kybosh on Macrovision, who are currently getting too big for their britches again, I'll tell you what we should do: Rip every damn one of the 20-or-so recalled DRM-diseased Sony/BMG XCP'd discs - every track - every album - and post 'em ALL up for download on your favourite P2P net. If that doesn't piss the music artists off and get them on OUR side - song-writers, singers and musicians alike - then nothing ever will.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Nov 2005 @ 1:17

822.11.2005 1:16

Quote:
so why are people bashing all things Sony
I suppose a lot of people are just ignorant. And people seem to love hating the big boys - Sony and Microsoft mainly.

922.11.2005 1:23

Not so. I don't hate "The Big Boys" at all - WHEN they play fair. It's when they strip away your rights as a consumer, Ghostdog, that I rebel. I have *always* - up until now - had a healthy respect and fondness for (most) things Sony-related. God knows they got enough of my money. (How many people do you know who paid $1,500 for a Sony DVD player??) I did!!

1022.11.2005 1:32

That's what i was trying to say all there other sections are playing fair so far apart from BMG this is why i cant understand people wanting to Boycott the fair players. And $100,000 per violation, they can violate my PC all the want for that price :) I think they will learn there lesson from this f-up

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Nov 2005 @ 1:43

1122.11.2005 2:24

In reality, it's Microsoft and Apple that we should really be angry with; two companies that are driving incompatible DRM technologies into the marketplace in a way that twists the royal (or should that be "royalty") screws into the world The Sony rootkit fiasco is the equivalent of that red light somewhere way down the line that some runaway train in the movies blew through. Somewhere in a control booth far away is someone flicking some indicator light with his finger. He knows something's wrong, but he's not ready to sound the alarms just yet. It's the squadron of Japanese Zeros heading for Pearl Harbor that the radar technicians mistook for a flock of birds. We are ignoring the warning signs even though they're right in front of our faces. We are heading for a situation that we are all going to dreadfully regret from thios story http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=2177&tag=nl.e589

1222.11.2005 5:26

If sony wants to stop people from making copies, why don't they make the disc have a special player program that only reads/plays the disc when put in to a computer. When put in a CD Player it plays normal. That would solve their problem with out having to resolve to being a bunch of sneeks try to hide programs that cause problems.

1322.11.2005 6:50

Sorry Keebles, that's already been done. That didn't work either! A friend of mine purchased a copy of a Kosheen album a few years back and discovered that there was a PC only player program which would play the songs on your PC at a whopping 96KBps!!! Maybe that would have been acceptable for someone who uses the built in speakers on their monitor (even then, only just). But who gave them the right to choose what devices we use to enjoy our entertainment? To cut a long story short, I slung this CD into my SONY CD drive and used EAC to rip a nice clean 256KBps MP3 copy of all the tracks for maximum enjoyment on a high-end PC. So basically Sony have achieved only negative outcomes from their crusade to stop digital copyright infringement. Receiving heaps of bad publicity and ill feeling towards them from all sides and being completely inept at stopping rippers!

1422.11.2005 7:00

If you really want to put a bite on Sony .. Buy their products and then return them. This ends up costing even more than simply boycotting them .. you know, the added expense of having to refund consumer's their money Or .. you can always just purchase AnyDVD and prevent those clowns at Sony from infecting your PC the good old fashioned way .. outsmarting the machine

1522.11.2005 7:01

heres a way to but a bite on sony Gartner Says A Piece Of Opaque Tape Can Defeat Any CD DRM http://dvdxcopy.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/260162

1622.11.2005 9:53

Sony... please.... stop kicking yourself in the nuts. The problem with Sony as a company is very simple. They do not wish to respond to the needs and wants of the consumer. They believe that marketing research and business practices can ultimatly tell you what a consumer does and doesn't want. Therefore when it comes time to release products they TELL the customer what they are supposed to have. They are now paying for being arrogant. Look at the recent history of Sony's products, with many of them they are in a losing game. Ludikhris in responce, a similar thing is happening in another industry. Tivo is interested in releasing a way for people to transfer stuff from thier TiVo to thier ipod video Tivo didnt initially plan to charge, but later decided to to "teach consumers to pay for content" are consumers domestic animals in the view of Large companies? I sure think so

1722.11.2005 9:59

READ THIS TiVo to transfer shows to iPods, Sony PSP http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/260610 AND THIS Sony Launches A New Website For The PSP http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/260608 AND MORE I WOULD READ THIS POST IF YE LIVE IN THE USA..Lawsuits galore against Sony over rootkit; RIAA head doesn't get it http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/260643

1822.11.2005 12:07

Ireland, Interesting about the tape. Went to the link but didn't see a diagram of exactly: 1. what size piece of tape, 2. EXACTLY where to place the tape, 3. what kind of tape (duct?), 4. or the issue of unbalacing the disk spinning in the drive. Best regards, Your Friend, Whisperer

1922.11.2005 12:30

hi whisperer, this is what i get out of there post with the tape.. Applying a piece of opaque tape to the outer edge of the disk renders the data track of the CD unreadable. A computer trying to play the CD will then skip to the music without accessing the bundled DRM technology. quote In response to Baba Look carefully on the data side of the disc, and you'll see there is a visible difference in the audio and data rings. You'll want to mark just outside the audio ring, covering the beginning of the data portion.

2022.11.2005 17:39

ha ha ha ha! got whats coming to them, hope other states/provinces sue them!

2122.11.2005 18:06

Damn its good to be a Texan..... Do not allow sony to get away with letting dl the mp3 make them give you a disk That is what you paid for, they are responsible for the damage they did.

2222.11.2005 19:03

Hi Whisperer !!! (Are ye being "good"?) :-) Ireland:

Quote:
Gartner Says A Piece Of Opaque Tape Can Defeat Any CD DRM
Putting sticky tape on a disc is never a good idea. Putting sticky tape on the DATA (underside) of the disc is an even WORSE idea. You're just asking for trouble. (However, I *can* see the logic in what 'Gartner' is saying.) By blocking off the damning software on the outer portion of the disc, you can render it unreadable, and thus -- un-installable. Instead, do this ..... just use a Sharpie red-felt marker to block off the outer ring of data. (I suggest the red colour because if you should inadvertantly mark off *too* much data (by cutting into the music data), you can always use ordinary rubbing alcohol to easily clear off the red ink, and then you can remark it again. Black ink is always 3 times as hard to get off. If after marking off the disc in red, you *still* get the stupid pop-up screen forcing you to agree to the "terms", then you know you haven't blocked-off enough data. DON'T SWEAT IT! Just say "no" to the 'agreement' and close it off. Take the disc out and scribble some more red ink on it. Eventually you'll knock out the stupid DRM. Boys-oh-boys, I wish most DRM viruses were that easy to stamp out!!! Wouldn't it make a *terrific* headline? : First4Internet's Latest DRM Initiative Foiled By A .49c Ink Marker! So much for "high technology, eh? :-)

2322.11.2005 19:23

Quote:
Damn, it's good to be a Texan.
Yeah, I've really liked you guys ever since Stevie Ray Vaughan came along !! Did ye know that everyone's favourite actor also hails from Texas as well?

2422.11.2005 21:23

Finally Sony gets the message. I have been a loyal Sony client for years and I have always purchased their products despite the fact that I knew they were comparitively over-priced. But I digress. I know that this was launched by the music arm of Sony but do the math. It was intended to curb replication of their property which we all know is not only limited to music but has implications for DVDs, Game discs etc. I hate to be a conspiracy theorist but I believe that this was a pilot project which if it had been successful would have heralded a reign of terror on consumers from other large companies and most certainly the other arms of Sony Corp. What's next, video cameras in all cars so that you can't drive it unless you are the person who bought it. I know it sounds ridiculous and in fact the last comment is, but that's because I'm incensed by their draconian and clandestine action. Texas got it right. Stick it to them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an advocate for piracy of proprietary material but this was certainly a violation of consumers rights. @A_K How's it going?. Haven't seem you in other forums for awhile. Good to know that I have company in my Sony BMG castigation. Cheers.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Nov 2005 @ 4:41


2523.11.2005 0:44

A_Klingon, Hey back at you. I like the sharpie idea ... if it works, anyone try it? What else would work? Don't like the possible balance issues with tape on a disk. I watched "The Shootist" this afternoon. John Wayne has a line in the movie that crystallizes how I am reacting to Sony's actions: John Bernard Books: "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." Then tonight I watched "Last Of The Mohicans"(1992). Madeleine Stowe has a line that clarified my present frame of mind about my once favorable feeings toward buying Sony products: Cora Munro: "Duncan, you are a man with a few admirable qualities, but taken as a whole, I was wrong to have thought so highly of you". Guess I've got Sony on my mind today! Best regards, Whisperer

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 23 Nov 2005 @ 0:51

2623.11.2005 14:46
Reasons?
Inactive

Good luck with that dumbasses. Regardless of who is right and all the books, Sony could destroy America if it merely bruises it. At 100,000 a violation Sony will close shop people, and prices of every type of electronic device will soar.

2724.11.2005 0:47

@Jamzbond: How's it going? To quote Homer Simpson's friend Ned Flanders, "Why, just Tikkety-Boobily, neighbour!" Haven't seen you in other forums for awhile. I don't get out much. And the Warden only gives us 1/2 hour on the Institute's computer every Wednesday after our exercise break. Good to know that I have company in my Sony/BMG castigation. Well, I don't hate them (yet), I just don't want Sony to forget any time soon what the consequences will be if they ever try to pull a stunt like this again. I daresay they've learned their lesson at this point. It's already cost them BIG TIME, both in terms of lost $$$ (still ongoing of course), and in terms of Public Backlash. I think they may have set back the introduction of Blu-Ray a good 6 months by this whole mess - and that in turn may just give HD-DVD the "push" it's been looking for. Woe be to Sony. Who knows?

2824.11.2005 1:22

Howdy, Whisperer!

Quote:
A_Klingon, Hey back at you. I like the sharpie idea ... if it works, anyone try it?
To tell you the truth, it might be fairly hard to get one's hands on one of these bum discs, now that they've all been recalled, and taken off the dealer's shelves. The discs have achieved a sort-of "cult status" at this point. I wouldn't mind having one just as a collector's item - a prime example of what the Industry almost stooped to. I can't for the life of me believe that Sony didn't fully know what was going on at First4Internet when they agreed to unleash these exquisite little monsters on an unsuspecting public. I watched "The Shootist" this afternoon. "I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." Yeppir! I remember those words well. (I have that dvd as well.) A fine movie - his last, I believe. (1976) They don't make films like they used to Whisperer - a visit to your local Blockbuster's "New Release" section should quell any notions to the contrary. I wonder what The Duke would have done if he had one day found his computer covertly "phoning home" in the background, transferring his viewing/listening habits back to Sony? (That's exactly what XCP allows.) Yer messin' with the wrong fella there, Pilgrim! :)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Nov 2005 @ 1:26

2924.11.2005 3:27

WHISPERER KLINGON AND ALL HAPPY THANKSGIVING read this VERY,VERY,VERY HOT READ, SunnComm MediaMax may be as bad as XCP without rootkit http://forums.afterdawn.com/thread_view.cfm/261238 quote Tired of being treated like a criminal? They depend on you, not the other way around. Don't buy their 'product'. Do bug your local political representatives. Use emails, snail-mail, phone calls, faxes, IM, stop them in the street, blog. And if you're into organizing, organize petitions, organize demonstrations and then turn up on your local political rep's doorstep, making sure you've contacted your local tv/radio station/newspaper in advance.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Nov 2005 @ 3:30

3024.11.2005 22:46
duckNrun
Inactive

To those who say that it's only the music and Sony Electronics and PC Drives are 'innocent'..... may I remind you of a little piece of software called.... FIRMWARE Yeppers, next time you upgrade your firmware you just might be getting more than you bargained for. Next time you buy a Sony DVD/CD that has firmware you may be getting more than you bargained for.... but then Sony wouldn't do this sort of thing right?? I mean just cause they would do it to your WHOLE PC via YOUR music cd surely doesn't mean that they wouldn't put software that doesn't need to be 'installed' into your pc into their hardware to protect their interests.... naw....Sony wouldnt do that..... yeah right!

3124.11.2005 23:10

Sony burners are OEM Lite-On.

3225.11.2005 5:49

I agree whisperere,Sony burners are OEM Lite-On. but with a big difference,with (sory (sorry) firmware installed..

3326.11.2005 18:16
Reasons?
Inactive

My Sony drive has never been the source of a problem. Sony has always been known for making solid products. My PSP, PS2, Computer Accessories, External Drive, USB Key, 40" 1080i WEGA TV, and alot of other Sony stuff I can't remeber about have NEVER failed, ever, even past models that I've sold and replaced. Come to think of it, Almost anything of significant importance/value that has a power cord in my house has Sony written all over it. They have a huge rep as far as I'm concerned. I've found tons of problems with much of my stuff not Sony, like all my Denon stuff blows, especially my 5 dics DVD player, SOB, the thing stopped reading discs that had any tiny imperfection 1 week after warrenty went out. It felt planned. My Ipod has crashed a few times and you always have to do a hard reset, I want my previous Sony MP3 player back. I've never thought of this before and you guys reminded me of just how solid the brand is, I am completely surrounded by SOny products right now, that have never failed, and never will. I think it's time to Best Buy and see what's new from Sony for the Holidays :) Did anyone else here get a xbox 360? I scored two premium packages at Best Buy, you just have to have someone stand with you and you can buy it for them and take it.


Fanboy is a term used to describe someone who is utterly devoted to a single subject. This generally is followed by the devotion and support even when proved wrong.

Anecdotal, by my definition, it's the way too many people here think. It's also all the evidence you have.

Xbox 360 GT: NEGATIVE 273K

My advice: Wait for PS3.

3427.11.2005 1:54
duckNrun
Inactive

so here's a question.... my wife's bank account is tied to mine. At the end of the month, after she pays her bills, the left over money is often used to help pay for my interests/hobbies whatever. Now.... I've just fcuked you over by selling you a product without telling you and that you didnt know would increase your risk of having your computer not work right and possibly even gain access to your personal data and money. When you complained I told you to bugger off that your making a mountain out of a molehill. Finally I offer to fix the problem but only after you jump through hoops and give me even more personal information... only to possibly even still make matters worse and make you more vulnerable than before. The good news is: You love my wife's cookies and brownies. Do you still buy from HER knowing that the money is going to come back to me from our business accounts and ultimately with her and me both really being the 'same company'.... that the money you give her is probably going to end up helping me to fcuk you over again??? If you answer yes... then buy Sony, feed the electronics division, boost their profits and when the money filters back over to the CD/DVD/Software side to fund projects that are going to make using the electronics you bought the way you want to even harder (via DRM in the music, spyware in your pc, CD players that may or may not work with CD's, etc, and maybe a future crippling of firmware that will require NO acceptance of a EULA but will sit making sure that you do not violate their CP etc etc) If you dont want to support this kind of behavior... then don't The choice is up to the consumer. If Sony only hears people crying about Sony's actions and doesnt see these complaints translate to loss of income then they really have no incentive to change the way they deal with and treat their consumers. In the end the bottom line is the bottom line. Perfect example: Why do fast food restaurants sell crappy food and cold fries? Because they know people will STILL come back regardless. Therefore they have no reason to change until they have to... and the only time they have to is when their profits drop!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 Nov 2005 @ 1:58

3527.11.2005 5:50

more info DRM boycotts hurt Sony's music sales - musicians frustrated Posted by Dan Bell on 27 November 2005 - 15:07 - Source: BusinessWeek Online look at Amazon Website It's easy to get upset when we are following the news and learn of dirty tricks played by big companies. Sometimes we are even motivated to write comments or warnings to the companies responsible or make angry statements online. Often, people will even pledge to boycott these companies and their products, in order to show they are displeased. Recently, with the astonishing discovery of the infamous rootkit fiasco and then with news of the questionable MediaMax software practices published soon after, we saw many such comments about the 'Net. But, do people really mean what they say, can they walk the walk? Can MediaMax protection or First4Internet DRM measures upset folks so much, to actually make them follow through on their threats? Well, according to recent music sales figures given for the embattled Sony music division, you had just better believe it! GROWING OUTRAGE. Overnight, Get Right with the Man dropped to No. 1,392 on Amazon's music rankings. By Nov. 22 -- after the news made headlines and Sony was deep into damage control, pulling some 4.7 million copy-protected disks from the market -- Get Right with the Man was even further from Amazon's Top 40, plummeting to No. 25,802. The wrath of fans killed Sony's CD copy controls, with the company pulling 52 titles off retail shelves, beginning the week of Nov. 14. But the wrath of bands could be far worse for the company -- and for efforts to protect content in general. Singers and songwriters are increasingly expressing frustration at devices used by record companies to protect digital content from widespread theft that results when CDs are copied repeatedly or popular tracks are given away on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, such as LimeWire and BitTorrent. Sony's misstep has been bad for the company -- and its effects could spread much further, should the consumer outcry gain traction with the recording artists who need to keep their fans happy if they want to sell records. It's easy to see why this would happen if one pays a visit to the Amazon Website does a search for "Get Right With the Man" which is also emblazoned with the stern warning: [CONTENT/COPY-PROTECTED CD] [DUALDISC]. If that does not scare one off, then take a second to read the user reviews below! It's not a pretty sight and a PR nightmare for Sony. If you think the readers are upset, can you imagine how the artist feels? Oddly, we keep hearing how all these "DRM solutions" are put in place to protect the musicians. All we see in the press are reports of how P2P and movie ripping is devastating the industry. Every day we read that content creators are about ready to throw their hands up thanks to piracy and get jobs at MacDonald's. So it's surprising to hear suddenly, that not only are the customers fed up with being treated like criminals and purchasing hobbled or rootkitted music, even the musicians themselves are have had a belly full and getting quite vocal about it too! Can the music industry gamble on decreasing sales figures turning around without a shift in the current paradigm? From what we can see, at least in this reputable BusinessWeek report, they've got a problem on their hands! It's called no customers. However, If they think it's lonely now, wait till funds dry up and even their staff of fancy lawyers takes the next gas guzzling limo out of town! No worries though, but just remember the old Rolling Stones lyric: "Time is on our side, Yes it is!" http://www.cdfreaks.com/news/12738

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 27 Nov 2005 @ 5:52

3627.11.2005 11:58
Reasons?
Inactive

And the funny thing is, is that Sony doesn't care and will recover.


Fanboy is a term used to describe someone who is utterly devoted to a single subject. This generally is followed by the devotion and support even when proved wrong.

Anecdotal, by my definition, it's the way too many people here think. It's also all the evidence you have.

Xbox 360 GT: NEGATIVE 273K

My advice: Wait for PS3.

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