The Sony BMG Rootkit Fiasco Redux

There’s a new development in the Sony BMG Rootkit story (for background see my prior posting and update comment): Sony BMG has reached a settlement (awaiting court approval) regarding the class action lawsuit about its use of DRM (Digital Rights Management) software after virtual "round-the-clock settlement negotiations" (on December 1st numerous individual lawsuits were given class action status). The short story is that XCP-protected CDs will be replaced with DRM-free CDs and customers will be given download/cash incentives to exchange the disks; no recall for MediaMax-protected CDs, but buyers will get song MP3s and an album download. You can get details at "Sony Settles ‘Rootkit’ Class Action Lawsuit."

Since my December 4th update comment, there have been a few articles/blog postings of note about this controversy. "Summary of Claims against Sony-BMG" provides an analysis by Fred von Lohmann of EFF of "the various legal theories that have been brought against Sony-BMG over the CD copy-protection debacle." In "Sony CDs and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act," Ed Felten considers whether Sony BMG, First4Internet, and SunnComm/MediaMax "violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is the primary Federal law banning computer intrusions and malware" (he notes that he is not a lawyer), and, in "Inside the MediaMax Prospectus," he highlights some interesting aspects of this document. "New Spyware Claim against Sony BMG" describes a new claim added to the Texas lawsuit by Attorney General Greg Abbott: "MediaMax software . . . violated state laws because it was downloaded even if users rejected a license agreement." Finally, "Just Let Us Play the Movie" examines the fallout for the film industry and DRM use in general.

In other recent IP news, two items of interest: "France May Sanction Unfettered P2P Downloads" (mon dieu!) and "Pro-Hollywood Bill Aims to Restrict Digital Tuners."


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