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Sony BMG to re-evaluate CD protection

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 12 Dec 2005 11:31 User comments (15)

Sony BMG to re-evaluate CD protection Sony BMG will now step back and reconsider its approach to protecting the contents of audio CDs, following over a month of controversy about the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology in use on million of CDs it shipped. Thomas Hesse, head of Sony BMG's global digital business said the firm will "diligently re-evaluate" how it protects CD audio. He declined to give any specific details but said the company is taking the issue very seriously.
This is all a result of two cases of DRM nightmares for Sony BMG. Firstly, Mark Russinovich unmasked the rootkit techniques that the XCP copy protection in use on some Sony CDs was using to hide itself in the operating system. The DRM made permanent operating system changes and left no way of uninstalling. To make matters worse, hackers and virus writers began to exploit the file hiding abilities of XCP.

Just when that situation was dying down, Sony along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) told consumers about a security flaw with SunnComm's MediaMax DRM, which is also included on millions of CDs the company shipped. Again, to make things worse, a patch that was issued had flaws of its own. A second patch is now being tested by security experts. All in all, the means Sony BMG was using to protect music from piracy just harmed its consumers, its CD sales and its reputation. I think the "re-evaluation" is definitely in order.

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15 user comments

112.12.2005 12:39

Gee...Do you think it could be the multiple lawsuits $ony is facing? I think that this could have been avoided if $ony divulged the installation of rootkit technology in the EULA.

212.12.2005 18:55

And Sony wants you to buy their PS3. What a nightmare for them, what little secrets do they have in their new console??? Is the spyware included or are they going to charge me for it??

312.12.2005 20:01

If they are going to stop us from backing up our cd's, they need to drop the price, so its not so bad when our original gets scratched, broken, eaten, etc.

413.12.2005 5:40

sony new products for next year paly once playstation games enjoy all the action of the arcade enculding lose you money and get to play 3 times before the drm new cd scratch system takes effect play once cd after you have listen to the song once the cd will destroy itself part of the drm

513.12.2005 6:57

Sadly, copy-crippled music cds are now a way of life. The so-called 'Red Book Standard' is now, forever altered/corrupt, even by the company most responsible for the cd's invention -- Sony. Equally as sad, Sony once vowed that any record company who violated their (then-still-in-force) red book standard, would be actively challenged in court. Which means that Sony has done a complete about-face, now that the red book patents have expired. A couple of weeks ago I borrowed a bunch of cds from one of our local libraries. FOUR of those discs are indeed copy-crippled. (This is the first time I ever saw copy-crippled discs here in Canada). They were: * Jethro Tull - Living In The Past - Chrysalis Records * Burton Cummings - The Burton Cummings Collection - Rhino Records (Remaster) * America - The Complete Greatest Hits - Rhino Records/Warner Archives * Bruce Hornsby And The Range - Greatest Radio Hits - RCA Records (BMG) All of these discs seem to share the same "protection". Most of the tracks on each disc are rip-able, but each disc contains one or more tracks which simply cannot be read by my burner. Each disc has a slightly-different coloured band on the data surface - which is where the corrupted track(s) are located. On three of the discs, this band is the final track of the cd. This situation sucks, to say the least. Of course, there is nothing on the disc packaging to indicate that the discs are purposefully screwed up. Since we seem to have no choice whatsoever now in this new generation of corrupted discs, it should be 100% illegal to sell these discs without a clear warning (a prominent label or sticker) that indicates the disc is copy-protected. (buggered up) Quite simply, the Big Labels don't normally include this information because they know that their sales would plummet. A very sad, sad, sad situation ......... :-(

614.12.2005 2:26

Word on the street suggests that $onie is working with sillycontech to produce unplayable compact discs ... these discs will feature both cd and dvd content and will sell on special promotion for us$49.95c Vice president of $onie stated in a closed meeting ... "we will make billions, bwahh ha ha harrrrr" $onie is confident that there will be no litigation with the media, because no one will be able to play them. syeberman

714.12.2005 4:11

Glad their re-thinking their stratergies. Putting harmful files onto PC's is taking it way too far. They need to get their reputation back up before the PS3 comes out.

814.12.2005 8:46

sad point for sony is the damage is done it will that major admends to make up to the thousands of consumers it has hurt... even now how are we to trust them with anything they uploaded a patch that failed to do as they said now they are going to give us another one to download and its not good enough.. I have over 265 machines in my care and I'm down right discusted with promises that fail to live up to expectations ... because I work for a school department I must now check all our machines "again" to see if I can get ride of the rootkit issue and I have half the mind to open a lawsuit here in our state for the mental frustration they have caused... and see how they like being sued.

914.12.2005 14:26

'If they are going to stop us from backing up our cd's, they need to drop the price, so its not so bad when our original gets scratched, broken, eaten, etc.' That's exactly right. They either need to make CD's and DVD's a lot more scratch proof, or lower the price on them quite a bit. Actually, the manufacturer's for game discs are charging 100 times what the disc actually costs to make usually, and music manufacturers are 50 times what it actually costs to make the disc. I don't understand that. There is no other industry that charges and inflates the price that much between the making of the thing being sold, and the store. TV's, very slim profit margin; DVD players, same thing; computers, ditto. It's only the movie, music and game industries that insist on jacking up the price as much as they do.

1015.12.2005 9:50

They either need to make CD's and DVD's a lot more scratch proof
They already have. TDK has new media tested, and hailed by Maximum PC to be utterly scratch proof. In their (MaxPC) tests, they took the CD outside, rubbed it on the concrete under their shoes, brought it back in and fired it back up with no glitches. Keep an eye out for it. I believe that was done in this past summer's issue of MaxPC.

1116.12.2005 12:00

is it just me! or is it one sided? sony can make insideous software but woe betide any one else that does it! These companies make me sick and I'd like to echo other comments about the price of their cds. I never buy music if I can help it altho I have enough music to open my own store

1216.12.2005 12:15

TDK has new media tested, and hailed by Maximum PC to be utterly scratch proof.
That doesn't mean that they are going to use it on commercial cds.

1317.12.2005 11:40

I never purchase cds and was going to purchase a few. I changed my mind because of the xcp.

1419.12.2005 14:27

just want to know who going to jail for hacking in to a person computer or is that legal now. so i can start hacking sonys computer and if i get busted just say well i will re-evaluate the way i do things and all gose away. is this right really. law is to all men not to one man.

1519.12.2005 19:36

Good point icecold69, but don't you know that laws don't apply to you if you have enough power and money (look at the new bush scandel)?

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