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Sony Pulls Controversial Anti-Piracy Software 389

Posted by Zonk
from the must-have-gotten-tired-of-thrown-eggs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Bowing to public outrage, Sony BMG has temporarily halted the use of its controversial anti-piracy software in all of its music CDs, the company said in a statement today. The move comes just a day after a top Bush administration official chided Sony and the entertainment industry for going too far: according to this story over at Washingtonpost.com, Stewart Baker, the Department of Homeland Security's policy czar warned would-be DRM makers: 'It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it's important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days.' The Post has the full text and video of his commentary." We've reported on this story previously.
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Sony Pulls Controversial Anti-Piracy Software

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  • by metternich (888601) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:16PM (#14011005)
    For the damage their program has already caused.
    I forsee big lawsuits.
    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:21PM (#14011053) Homepage Journal
      Doesn't take a genius to predict that seeing as it had happened before this article was even posted...
    • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:27PM (#14011117) Homepage
      Most of the lawsuits will be class action lawsuits, which sony will be too glad to settle with the lawyers, thus making a few lawyers very rich.

      What you may get is a discount of 1$ on an already overpriced 20$ CD.

      Sony made a stupid PR mistake, but they are too big a company to really suffer from it so badly, so to completely give up DRM. Come release date of PS3, and all those who critisize sony now, will line up before stall drooling...

      Like it or not, fair use will be a thing of past, in the years to come.

      • Regardless of who gets the money, the end result is that Sony suffers financially. And that may just serve as an example to other companies not to pull a similar stunt, lest they might lose money in a similar fashion.

        • The question is whether they perceive that they've blocked enough piracy with that DRM software that the financial loss is less than they "would have" lost. If all else fails, they can consider it "market research".

          It's all about putting the right spin on things.

      • by swb (14022) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:51PM (#14011365)
        I agree that Sony will probably just write a check to a bunch of lawyers and maybe fire some guys, but why can't people go to jail for these kinds of things?

        It always strikes me as odd that you can fuck up thousands of people's lives (in this case, their computers), knowingly and deliberately, and the only outcome is that some lawyers get rich and a few overpaid *might* have to use their golden parachutes.

        Why isn't this thousands of counts of unauthorized use of a computer? I know that "throw 'em in jail" really isn't a large-scale social solution, but there needs to be a way for our corporate leaders to understand that not only can they not steal and get away with it (cf various corporate thefts), if they abuse their corporate power and mess with people lives, you know what, you might go to jail, too.
        • by soupdevil (587476) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:20PM (#14011607)
          Corporations limit the liability of individuals. That's their primary purpose. That said, we should put corporations in jail. Should they be found guilty, Sony should have to cease operations for the extent of their sentence.
        • NOBODY goes to jail in civil suits, unless you refuse to pay your judgement, and usually not even then. You're thinking of a criminal case, in which case the culpability would fall on individual executives.
        • by j-turkey (187775) on Friday November 11, 2005 @07:20PM (#14012468) Homepage
          but why can't people go to jail for these kinds of things? Why isn't this thousands of counts of unauthorized use of a computer?

          Perhaps we should consider the actual damage done. Is the damage so severe and widespread that someone needs to (essentially) pay with their life? I believe that many of the felons convicted for computer crimes probably shouldn't have been felony convictions in the first place. Most of these (in the early days, especially) were just kids trying to prove a point (or proof of concept). When caught, they were usually to make an example of by a DA or judge. However, just because it happened to one group of people, making the same thing happen to another group doesn't make it right.

          Do you really believe that it's fair to interpret these new laws so broadly and liberally hand out prison sentences?

          Is this really a terrible abuse of power? It didn't take long for the information about the rootkit to become publicly available, and those who care decided not to buy any of the Sony CD's. In this case, I don't think that there is some executive sitting in his huge leather chair manicly laughing about owning another PC every time that a user inserts a CD. This sounds more like a company (Sony) made an uninformed decision to purchase a bad technology. Microsoft is just as culpible for their administrator-rights-for-everyone and allowing autorun by default. Further, the end users should know better and turn autorun off, as well as not using superuser level rights for day-to-day use. Should Steve Ballmer be thrown into jail, or the users for making the 'net a less safe place? These could all be constrewed as negligent acts, especially by the standards that you're holding these businesses to.

          Before we get into this any further, I'll suggest reading up on Sarbanes Oxley [wikipedia.org]. It was put in place to hold senior management responsible for their financial indiscretions...mostly for financial record keeping, but really -- it was set up so that company officers couldn't claim igorance of their company's misdoings. So to answer your question, what you've asked for has been done. Perhaps you could give the law a chance to work. It does take a while. There will also be class action suits filed against the company. This will hurt management, as well as the shareholders.

          • However, just because it happened to one group of people, making the same thing happen to another group doesn't make it right.

            While this is true, I would argue that if you let some Corporate Executives off with a slap of the wrist after throwing some punk kid in jail for essentially the same crime, you are playing favorites and perpetuate the notion that the rich can buy their way out of jail more easily than the poor (which is sadly more true than not).

            I, personally, believe that Sony Executives acted

          • by mrchaotica (681592) on Friday November 11, 2005 @09:43PM (#14013218)
            Perhaps we should consider the actual damage done. Is the damage so severe and widespread that someone needs to (essentially) pay with their life? I believe that many of the felons convicted for computer crimes probably shouldn't have been felony convictions in the first place. Most of these (in the early days, especially) were just kids
            Yes, yes, yes, YES and YES!!!

            Yes, they DAMN WELL SHOULD GO TO JAIL FOR THIS!! You know why? Because these aren't teenage script-kiddies trying to prove a point, these are high-ranking executives of multinational corporations, who are doing it on purpose , and should FUCKING KNOW BETTER!

            They KNOW what they're doing is illegal and wrong, but they're DOING IT ANYWAY, BECAUSE THEY THINK THEY'RE ABOVE THE LAW. They really need to be made an example, in order to stop the fucking huge corporations from running amok!

            In fact, not only should the executives go to jail, the entire company should be barred from doing business in the United States for some period of time (i.e., the equivalent of jail for a corporation). That's the kind of message we need to send!
      • by rgoldste (213339) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:00PM (#14011446)
        Sure, a class action won't help consumers much. But the actual harm in this case was thankfully pretty small, anyway.

        The reason you put together a class action is to consolidate thousands of small claims, and in doing so come up with a total liability that Sony has to pay for. A class action against Sony would cost them a nice chunck of change, "helping them manage their access" to consumers' computers. In other words, a class action, which will almost certainly be settled, is how hundreds of little guys get together to punish the big guy for infringing on their rights.

        I don't think any other western democracy allows U.S.-style class actions, and that's because the class action fulfills a role in the U.S. that the government fills in other countries. Specifically, the class action allows private parties to regulate and enforce the laws via large monetary damages, e.g., environmental laws and consumer protection laws. In other countries, the national government would be more involved in enforcing these laws.
      • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:39PM (#14012205) Homepage
        > Sony made a stupid PR mistake, but they are too big a company to
        > really suffer from it so badly...

        They will suffer a substantial loss of CD sales. All that the twentysomethings will remember from the newsblips they saw on ABC is that Sony CDs break your computer.
    • Stupid Question: Could they be prosecuted/sued under the DMCA for trying to bypass the security in a computer?

      It would be sweet to give big corps a taste of their own legislation.
      • In princple yes, but only if the software they installed in your computer disable some other software you were using to protect files that you had the copywrite to. (ie. If you wrote some word documents and put some encryption on them that Sony's rootkit somehow broke.) Even then, you'd have a weak case.
    • by max born (739948) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:30PM (#14011150)
      It's already happened. Sony Slammed with Suits over Rootkit [newsfactor.com]

      Among other things, Sony is specifically accused of fraud, false advertising, trespass and violation of state and federal statues prohibiting malware, and unauthorized computer tampering,
      • by Jaseoldboss (650728) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:28PM (#14012142) Homepage Journal
        To quote from the website of the British Phonographic Industry [bpi.co.uk]

        The unauthorised distribution of music over the internet is against the law. It infringes the legal rights of artists and record companies. And it's bad for music.


        How hollow those words ring now, let me paraphrase in light of what Sony is accused of.

        The unauthorised tampering with users computers is against the law. It infringes the legal rights of customers. And it's bad for music.

        If there is one thing I'm sick of it's being preached to in this manner by corrupt, self serving sleazy corporate fat cats.
    • I forsee big lawsuits.

      Hurry, get your Sony/BMG CD so you can sue!
  • by volpone (551472) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:19PM (#14011032)
    What difference does this statement make? None at all. It's not like Sony will recall the millions of CDs out there with the malware. This is just spin. Move along.
    • Yeah, I thought the same thing. Lousy bastards, I bet you they won't send out anything to remove that stinking rootkit either. You can imagine that a class action will soon follow; especially without a recall.

      Thinking about that though, does it matter if they recall the CD's if the DRM rootkits are already out there installed on computers?
      • by Armour Hotdog (922576) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:07PM (#14011501)
        Thinking about that though, does it matter if they recall the CD's if the DRM rootkits are already out there installed on computers?

        Don't worry - I'm sure if it comes to that, Sony will take the opportunity to continue to spin shit into PR gold:

        Sony BMG is aware of the growing public perception that certain copyright technology used on a small number of compact discs has been the subject of great controversy over the last several weeks. While we stand by our use of this technology to protect our valuable intellectual property against the growing phenomenon of internet piracy (which cost the recording industry an estimated $12.7 billion in 2004), we recognize that many people continue to hold a deep distrust of this innocuous technology. Therefore, as a gesture of goodwill, we are offering the following replacement program:

        Any person who purchased one of the protected compact discs prior to December 31, 2005 may return the product to Sony BMG, with its original packaging and retail receipt, and choose a replacement compact disc from Sony's extensive library of bagpipe and accordian recordings. Any customers desiring to take advantage of this offer should contact customer service through this link [link to form that initiates overly long chain of correspondance eventually resulting in promise to ship "12 Classic Bagpipe Funeral Marches" in 6-8 weeks]
  • Stewart Baker, recently appointed by President Bush as the Department of Homeland Security's assistant secretary for policy, made a comment that suggested that some anti-piracy efforts introduced by the industry could have profound and unexpected effects on the security of the nation's critical infrastructures.

    Other than the concern that a nation filled with Spears, Timberlake and Dion worshippers would be unable to defend the nation against an invasion by Canada or Luxembourg I fail to grasp the connecti

    • I was amazed to find myself agreeing with, and considering insightful, something stated by "Stewart Baker, the Department of Homeland Security's policy czar". What is this world coming to?
    • Come on - you're on Slashdot and you can't figure out the implications of a large population of easily infected machines with a common point of entry?
    • Hey, give the Canadian army some credit.

      They have some tough flying squirrels.
      • by DigitalReverend (901909) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:29PM (#14011137)
        The Canadian Government agreed to provied 4000 army troops, a squadron of jets and a naval fleet to the U.S. in it's war on terror.

        After the exchange rates, it came out to 4 canoes, 3 flying squirrels, and a 2 Canadian mounties.
        • President Bush May Send Up To 5 Marines For French Assistance

          President Bush has authorized the Joint Chiefs to begin drawing up a battle plan to pull France's ass out of the fire again. Facing an apparent overwhelming force of up to 400 pissed off teenagers Mr. Bush doubts France's ability to hold off the little pissants. "Hell, if the last two world wars are any indication, I would expect France to surrender any day now", said Bush.

          Joint Chiefs head, Gen. Peter Pace, warned the President that it might be n
        • After the exchange rates, it came out to 4 canoes, 3 flying squirrels, and a 2 Canadian mounties.

          ...and a partridge in a pear tree. :)

          (Sorry. I had to, particularly with Christmas rapidly approaching. I now prepare myself for the humorless mods and their dreaded "Off-topic" mod points since they don't have the humor to use +1 Funny. Bah. It's only karma.)
    • I believe US-CERT [us-cert.gov] falls under DHS [dhs.gov]
    • Homeland Security (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuaintRealist (905302) <quaintrealist@gmail . c om> on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:25PM (#14011103) Homepage Journal
      The dept of Homeland Security has been worried for some time about the possibility of foreign nationals creating botnets which might allow them to ddos critical online national assets. That's what has them interested (and wierdly on the right side) in this case.

      So now, can Sony be pursued for violation of the USA/Patriot act? /me gets migraine from wishing ill on everyone involved
      • by keraneuology (760918) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:40PM (#14011255) Journal
        The dept of Homeland Security has been worried for some time about the possibility of foreign nationals creating botnets which might allow them to ddos critical online national assets.

        Fair enough, but the millions of zombies hosted by comcast, bellsouth.net, or SBC doesn't interest them, the massive security flaws that allow any Microsoft machine to become a zombie just by connecting it to the internet and going for a pizza don't interest them, but a Van Zant (and other) CDs elicit a response from the tier 1 level?

        Pardon my cynicism but I suspect that -this- received the attention because no matter what people will always buy broadband internet and people will always buy Microsoft but the paranoid with the amplifying tinfoil hats just might start to demand oversight of DRM technologies to the point where the major congressional donors of the RIAA/MPAA might suffer an induced case of the fidgets.

        (Not that there's much danger of that... at this moment the #1 selling album on amazon is 12 Songs [Content/Copy-Protected CD] by Neil Diamond).

        • by Piquan (49943) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:06PM (#14011965)

          Fair enough, but the millions of zombies hosted by comcast, bellsouth.net, or SBC doesn't interest them, the massive security flaws that allow any Microsoft machine to become a zombie just by connecting it to the internet and going for a pizza don't interest them, but a Van Zant (and other) CDs elicit a response from the tier 1 level?

          There's a difference. Microsoft's security model is an existing threat, with no easy solution. This type of DRM is a new threat, with the easy solution of "don't start doing this". The DHS is simply advocating this easy solution.

          That's not to say that the problems you mentioned aren't getting tier 1 attention. But they aren't a simple, sound-bitable public statement.

      • Re:Homeland Security (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tom (822)
        The dept of Homeland Security has been worried for some time about the possibility of foreign nationals creating botnets

        Ok, I understand why the massive botnets used by spammers don't count (because most of them are americans), but what about the 'nets you can buy cheaply (a few cents per machine) in russia, poland, heck all over the world?

        I mean, possibility? Either you are the department is plain crazy. That's like saying air is possibly breathable.

        Wake up. We have massive botnets already, many of them a
    • by cagle_.25 (715952) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:32PM (#14011180) Journal
      FTFA,

      "If we have an avian flu outbreak here and it is even half as bad as the 1918 flu epidemic, we will be enormously dependent on being able to get remote access for a large number of people, and keeping the infrastructure functioning is a matter of life and death and we take it very seriously."

      Makes reasonable sense to me.

  • by nuggz (69912) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:19PM (#14011038) Homepage
    Good, now keep up the pressure. Unless Sony feels real pain for going too far it will encourage others to keep pushing the envelope on what is acceptable.

    This is why punative damages for "bad behaviour" exist, to make the company take notice and change their behaviour.

    Don't let them get off easy.
    • by demachina (71715) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:56PM (#14011422)
      Setback for DRM yes, a lost battle, but a battle does not a war make.

      This is a quote you should save for coming years.

      "It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer."

      Drag this quote out out when Trusted Computing, Vista and its successors come out and Microsoft and Intel really do seize control of your computer and everything on it and get away with it.

      I think most of this backlash is just due to the fact Sony, a non U.S. corporation did it, and it was done as an add on. If in the future Microsoft does more or less the same thing, though better integrated and implemented, and ships it bundled in the OS it might well get forced on the world without a peep from the U.S. government.

      In particular Microsoft just need to sell Trusted Computing and DRM as a defense against terrorism, as pro democracy, freedom and capitalism and the Federal government will be cheering it on.

      To put it another way Sony's effort was just badly marketed and marketing is everything in this sorry world we live in.
      • You don't see how those cases are different. I'd rather have my DRM come as part of the OS than an invasive exploitable addon that could potentially crash my computer if I tried to restore it to its original condition.
    • by Tsiangkun (746511) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:05PM (#14011959) Homepage
      It might not hurt to use a page from turd blossom's handbook. Say, start an outrageous rumor on the web, and let SONY present the other side of the debate.

      I heard Sony might ship the PS3 infected with DRM [playstation.com] that will only allow the games to be played a set number of times before the license expires. I for one will not be upgrading my PS2 to the PS3, the risk is too great.
  • by jbellows_20 (913680) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:20PM (#14011040) Homepage
    Man, what to say? They said something right for a change.
  • by Gerk (14824) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:21PM (#14011048)
    I for one am boycotting all Sony music from here on if it comes on CD. Windows root-kit, OSX kernel extensions ... how can you trust them? The RIAA and big record companies are getting very long in the tooth and I would love nothing more than to see them get taken down. They have all but destroyed the industry over the years and turned it into something worse than politics.

    The most talented musicians I know are waiters, bus boys and taxi drivers, thanks to the recording industry.

    Can't wait for someone to shake it all apart by releasing their works without the industry influences (and the industry taking their piece of the pie).
    • by timster (32400) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:51PM (#14011367)
      It's not like we should be surprised. Does nobody remember this from five years ago? Emphasis mine.

      "The [music] industry will take whatever steps it needs to protect itself and protect its revenue streams. It will not lose that revenue stream, no matter what. Sony is going to take aggressive steps to stop this. We will develop technology that transcends the individual user. We will firewall Napster at source - we will block it at your cable company, we will block it at your phone company, we will block it at your [ISP]. We will firewall it at your PC. These strategies are being aggressively pursued because there is simply too much at stake." --Steve Heckler, Sony senior VP, 2000
      • Or as Sony's CEO Howard Stringer put it in 2001:

        "Right now it would be possible for us, and I've often thought it would cheer me up to do it, you could dispatch a virus to anybody whose files contain us or Columbia records, and make them listen to four hours of Yanni" (Source [washingtonpost.com]) )
  • I wonder . . . (Score:5, Interesting)

    by harley_frog (650488) <harley_frog@yah o o . c om> on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:21PM (#14011052) Journal
    Are the people who purchased the DRM/spyware CDs due a replacement copy without the DRM/spyware?
    • Not yet, but the class action lawsuit will likely change that. However, they are primarily due a lesson in holding down the shift key the first time they insert a CD from Sony Music.
  • Byeee DRM? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rilister (316428) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:21PM (#14011057)
    Wonderful to watch this going south in a big way, dragging the whole concept of DRM with it. We all owe Sony a debt of thanks, really.

    I particularly enjoyed this quote from First4Internet's website from their director of Sales & Marketing:
    "We're not denying people access to the music," Macdonald said. "We're just trying to help them manage their access."

    http://www.xcp-aurora.com/press_article.aspx?art=x cp_art10 [xcp-aurora.com]

    Please! Please, Mr. MacDonald! Help me manage my access to my media by installing a rootkit!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:22PM (#14011065)
    Check this out:

    http://www.webwereld.nl/articles/38285 [webwereld.nl]

    Someone in the Netherlands claims to have found certain strings from Lame's source code in Sony's app. Did Sony steal LGPL'd code?
  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:22PM (#14011068) Homepage Journal
    Macintouch reports [macintouch.com] that Sony is also putting Macintosh DRM on some of its disks. No word if these kernel extensions - PhoenixNub1.kext and PhoenixNub12.kext - are a rootkit or not, and no word if Sony is suspending their use or not.

    According to the Macintouch article, the Mac DRM is on Imogen Heap's Speak for Yourself, an RCA CD distributed by Sony/BMG.

    I suspect that CD-makers won't be able to keep a stunt like this secret for 8 months next time, because their customers will be watching for such shenannigans.

    Now we wait for Sony to issue a recall.

    "All your replacement CDs are belong to us" - Sony's customers.
    • The problem (for Sony and other DRM-vendors) is that, AFAIK, Macs don't have auto-run. You can even set it up so that putting in a music CD automatically loads iTunes and rips it. So much for using a special Sony-approved music player to listen to your CD and so much for Sony DRM preventing you from putting it on your iPod.

      Even if macs have (or had) auto-run, you'd be prompted for a password when it tried to install those kernel extensions. I would not let any music CD install software *anywhere*, and I'
    • Regarding Mac DRM... Exactly how is it going to ever execute in the first place? You can't install a kext without asking for an admin password. But while we are on the topic of Apple, consider this...

      Why would Sony package DRM that intentionally interferes with CD ripping in general. I'm not just talking about the DRMed CD. This stuff borks your ability to rip ANY CD. Why is that? Could it have something to do with the iTunes Music Store/iTunes.app place in online music? It's public knowledge that

  • I hope that they sue Sony for really big damages. People should be able to trust the software vendors.

    On the other hand, I also hope that the DMCA will be really shaken by this event. After all, according to DMCA, Sony rootkit is protected software. Hit them in the wallet, me says!

    • I hope that they sue Sony for really big damages.

      If a class action lawsuit appeared, I'd buy one of those tainted CD's just to join in on it. Nevermind that I'd probably spend $16 for the CD and get back $0.02 on the settlement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:24PM (#14011093)
    it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer

    Actually, I use a Vaio [sony.com], so it actually is their computer. I feel _so_ f*cking pwned right now.

  • What? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Yurka (468420)
    A Homeland Security honcho saying that all our computer are not belong to them?! Wow. Just... wow. Was Baker somehow shown the right end of a cluestick, or is this a temporary fluctuation in the collective subconscious?
  • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:28PM (#14011134)
    There's a huge difference between just saying they'll stop going forward, and going to the effort of a recall, complete with replacement of discs people have ALREADY bought in addition to promptly pulling all CD's from stores that have this DRM on them.

    I have afeeling they are doing neither though, I'd love to see a class action suit that demands all CD's sold are to be replaced with DRM-free versions on Sony's dime. Then perhaps it would sink home they'd done something a little wrong.

    I wonder how liable the company that came up with the DRM in the first place is, perhaps Sony can shift all blame to them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:28PM (#14011135)
    ...when the creators of the USA PATRIOT Act are on your case about in violating people's rights.
  • by dan_sdot (721837) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:31PM (#14011161)
    Slashdot Hive Mind overload!!!! Bush administration evil... but... music industry evil.... can't side with Bush... but can't side with Sony..... aaaghhh!!!
    segmentation fault (core dump).

    • by fmaxwell (249001)
      Bush administration evil

      Hitler's regime was evil, too, but that doesn't mean that they never had a good idea. The Volkswagen, or 'People's Car' comes to mind: Inexpensive, reliable, and fuel-efficient.

      Siding with the Bush administration on this one issue doesn't make you a right-wing, anti-science, anti-environment, war-mongering, redneck, torture advocating, moron any more than saying you like the Volkswagen Beetle makes you a Nazi.

      Yeah, I know, "Godwin's Law." The biggest difference between the Bush ad
    • by ghoti (60903)
      Yeah, it's tricky for the other side too: If you download music illegally, you're financing terrorism - but if you buy the CD, you invite the terrorists to use your machine for attacks ...
  • I don't know what I'd do if they removed the stuff PERMANENTLY!
  • by Cl1mh4224rd (265427) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:32PM (#14011175)
    The move comes just a day after a top Bush administration official chided Sony and the entertainment industry for going too far [...]
    Months of potential and prior customers crying foul and Sony's response is, "Meh. It's not that bad, but here's a half-assed patch and some hoops to jump through."

    A day after someone in the government goes, "Naughty, naughty," Sony's suddenly pulling their DRM, if even "temporarily".

    It can't be anymore obvious what Sony thinks of their customers...
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4427606.stm
  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:34PM (#14011204) Homepage Journal
    From the Washington Post article [washingtonpost.com]:

    [Stewart Baker, Homeland Security's assistant secretary for policy, said:]
    "If we have an avian flu outbreak here and it is even half as bad as the 1918 flu epidemic, we will be enormously dependent on being able to get remote access for a large number of people, and keeping the infrastructure functioning is a matter of life and death and we take it very seriously."


    Does this mean if malware keeps people from getting medical help the authors can be convicted of manslaughter?

    Jury: We find the defendant guilty on each of the 100 million counts of computer tampering and 2 million counts of involuntary manslaughter.
    Judge: I hereby sentence you to 10 million sentences of 2 years of probation and 2 million sentences of 6 months in jail followed by 5 years probation. Due to the outrageous nature of your conduct, sentences are to be served consecutively. You should be out in time to watch the sun swallow the earth.

    Delicious!!!!!!!
  • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:35PM (#14011208) Homepage Journal
    Will sony give removal instructions? Their downloadable "patch" only updates their rootkit, but doesn't uninstall it.
  • Why DRM won't work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arend (170998) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:36PM (#14011221) Homepage
    An interesting read at: http://www.changethis.com/4.drm [changethis.com] :

    "DRM punishes honest people!" ... "Without DRM, people will steal and artists won't get paid!" ... Usage of Digital Rights Management (DRM) has been hotly debated since a college student threatened to put an entire industry out of business with a little application he built in his spare time, Napster. In this transcript of a speech he gave at Microsoft's campus, Cory explains why DRM doesn't work, why DRM is bad for society, bad for business, bad for artists, and a bad move for Microsoft.

    Using Sony and Apple as examples of companies that are using DRM to *punish* consumers, he suggests Microsoft use the opportunity to once again champion users' rights. To follow our current path, Cory argues, is to stifle innovation and contradict the purpose of American copyright law: to promote the useful arts and sciences."

    I always find it very remarkable that the content industry treats the people who pay for their products -- in other industries also known as customers -- as criminals. People don't buy cd's because they want to screw the people who made them and make a zillion copies. Those people buy the damn things because they do *not* want to wast their time on copying!

    And I also don't think the way customers are treated is in the interest of the artists, in whose name this whole mess is being created. Take a look at an excellent article by Janis Ian, a respectable musician:

    http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.h tml [janisian.com]

    "They told me downloads were "destroying sales", "ruining the music industry", and "costing you money".

    Costing me money? I don't pretend to be an expert on intellectual property law, but I do know one thing. If a music industry executive claims I should agree with their agenda because it will make me more money, I put my hand on my wallet...and check it after they leave, just to make sure nothing's missing."

    For what it's worth: this is a women who made more then 25 albums and wrote some very well known songs for other artists. One of her most known songs is "At seventeen", which can be downloaded for free, just like some other songs of her:

    http://www.individualidade.com.br/janisian/mp3/jan isian_atseventeen.zip [individualidade.com.br]
    http://www.janisian.com/mp3_downloads.html [janisian.com]
    • by DECS (891519)
      So Apple's limp restrictions in Fairplay are supposed to be equal to Sony's installing of rootkit on Window's users PCs?

      And MS is going to save the world? How exactly?

      MS lead the push for unreasonable DRM in their WMA products, and looked certain to foist "subscription services" that nobody wanted and that the market has since largely ignored. WMA promised to deliver DiviX style CDs that crap out after a play and other consumer-hateful services.

      All companies are trying to make money; its just that Microsoft
  • by remahl (698283) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:44PM (#14011297)
    It belongs to Microsoft.
  • Wait a minute... (Score:5, Informative)

    by chipster (661352) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:50PM (#14011345)
    FTFA:
    The Sony copy-protection software does not install itself on Macintosh computers...
    Either Sony is lying, or they have no idea of what their DRM vendor is up to [slashdot.org].
    • Re:Wait a minute... (Score:5, Informative)

      by mean pun (717227) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:19PM (#14011604)
      Either Sony is lying, or they have no idea of what their DRM vendor is up to.

      The old /. article is misleading.

      Assuming there is Mac DRM software on the CD, a user still has to (1) explicitly start the installer (no autorun on Mac), and (2) type in a password to authorize the installation of root-priviledged software. Thus, for once Sony is correct and only mildly spinning.

  • by Chief Typist (110285) on Friday November 11, 2005 @04:52PM (#14011375) Homepage
    "As a precautionary measure, Sony BMG is temporarily suspending the manufacture of CDs containing XCP technology," it said in a statement.

    So why aren't they recalling the product that's already in the channel? There are thousands (millions?) of discs sitting on retailers shelves that are just waiting to install the rootkit. Oh yeah, that would hurt their bottom line.

    Until it costs them, they're not going to learn.

    -ch
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:00PM (#14011451)
    Stewart Baker, the Department of Homeland Security's policy czar warned would-be DRM makers: 'It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer. And in the pursuit of protection of intellectual property, it's important not to defeat or undermine the security measures that people need to adopt in these days.'

    How about: "it's not your computer. You do not have the right to install software components on someone's computer that spy on them, without their permission. That is computer trespassing and wiretapping. The FBI is currently investigating; in the meantime, here is a court order to remove any CDs with this software from shelves immediately, and we expect you to fully assist consumers with identifying whether a machine has the software installed, and the removal process."

    What Baker is doing is trumpeting the Homeland Security line ("Won't someone PLEASE think of the Homeland Security?!"), and distracting us from the more important issue-that a corporation installed trojan programs that spy on people, and probably broke an number of laws doing so.

  • by g_adams27 (581237) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:38PM (#14011764)
    Was Sony's decision in response to the trojan that takes advantage of their DRM rootkit?

    If so, this might be the first time we've ever seen a trojan-trojan: a program that seems to be useful, but actually turns out to be harmful, but then actually turns out to be useful. :-)

  • by symbolic (11752) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:40PM (#14011777)
    Funny that a top dubya adminstration official chided Sony for its DRM debacle, when not but one day later, Bush is asking Congress to pass a tough new anti-piracy law. Read about it Here [hollywoodreporter.com]. If anything, the proposed law takes "going too far" to the next level.
  • by TheUnknownCoder (895032) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:40PM (#14011778)

    "We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use," Sony BMG added.
    I really can't believe this clown is saying that. Did they ever have a security goal in mind??? Does this statement mean that they continue to do business as usual???

    I went back to their FAQs [sonybmg.com], and found a few interesting lines:

    - You must log on to your computer with Administrator rights or Power User rights to fully use the disc.
    So I must be an admin just to listen to Ricky Martin??? Gimme a break.

    - To date, Apple has not been willing to cooperate with our protection vendors to make ripping to iTunes and to the iPod a simple experience.
    And hopefully it'll stay that way for a long, long, long time...

    - the protection components are never installed without the consumer first accepting the End User License Agreement.
    But nowhere in the EULA [sysinternals.com] it is mentioned what the user is in fact installing.

    - If at some point you wish to remove the software from your machine simply contact customer service through this link. You will, though, be unable to use the disc on your computer once you uninstall the components.
    Now this is another issue. Sony is marketing their discs as CDs [sonymusicstore.com], but their are not campatible with standard CD players??? They can't slap the CD [wikipedia.org] logo anywhere they want and get away with it. They have to follow the standards [wikipedia.org], or call their DRM discs something else and anounce in big bold letters that such disc may not be playable in all devices.


    Let's take advantage of this whole mess with Sony. Right now is the perfect time to create some awareness on the average Joe about the implications of DRM and how the insdustry is going way too far with it.
  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday November 11, 2005 @05:50PM (#14011856)
    They're pulling it because it will open them up to serious legal issues the second someone is infected with trojans that use their software to do serious damage.

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:01PM (#14011931) Homepage Journal
    I have an e-mail message showing EECOL Electric in Canada telling it's employees, "DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES INSERT SONY MUSIC CD'S INTO YOUR COMPUTER, EITHER AT HOME OR WORK!" in big red letters, followed by an explanation of the situation.

    I'm positive this isn't the only company which has sent out similar notices.
  • by TommydCat (791543) on Friday November 11, 2005 @06:05PM (#14011958) Homepage
    How about the other things we purchase?

    New Sony TV, DVD player, TiVo, etc with HDCP content protection? Sony ipod clone with more DRM that you can shake a stick at? Sony PSP with no way to play your own video at native resolution?

    Are these exceptions in that they feel they still own these after your purchase them because it has their name on it?

    Wonder if they'll be able to exclude the VAIO computers we bought from the class action suits.

  • Finally! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate@@@hotmail...com> on Friday November 11, 2005 @07:17PM (#14012438) Homepage Journal
    It's very important to remember that it's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer.

    It might be a slight overreaction, but I'm so happy to see somebody of importance say that.

    Now if somebody would say "It's your IP, but it's not your DVD player" and got rid of those 'Pirating movies over Internet is akin to car theft or gang rape' that you can't bypass unless, of course, you pirated the movie.

    The sad part is, it takes legislative action to get media distributors to stop them activly pissing off their paying customers.

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