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Music Industry Backlash Against Sony Rootkit 400

Posted by Zonk
from the tired-of-this-story dept.
Foobar of Borg writes "The Associated Press describes how backlash from Sony's Rootkit CDs is causing problems for the music industry. The problem is two-fold: (1) the inherent technological problem of trying to prevent anyone from copying anything and (2) letting lawyers make technical decisions when (from the article) 'Lawyers don't have any better understanding of technology than a cow does algebra.'" More from the article: "'I think they've set back audio CD protection by years,' said Richard M. Smith, an Internet privacy and security consultant. 'Nobody will want to pull a Sony now.' Phil Leigh, analyst for Inside Digital Media, said the debacle shows just how reluctant the labels are to change their business model to reflect the distribution powers -- good and bad -- of the Internet. He believes that rather than adopting technological methods to try to stop unauthorized copying of music, record companies need to do more to remove the incentive for piracy."
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Music Industry Backlash Against Sony Rootkit

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  • by Krast0r (843081) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:27AM (#14074844) Homepage Journal
    So the Sony rootkit is BAD?! This needs more coverage.
    • Re:Wait a minute (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:32AM (#14074866)
      Exactly. If I hear "rootkit" one more time... heheh.

      What I want to know is how two small time startups like First4Internet and SunnComm steal all the publicity from Macrovision.

      Where is the analysis of CDS-300? Macrovision is the 800lb gorilla in this business, but nobody cares about them.

      • Re:Wait a minute (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spinfire (148920) <dpn@isomerica.net> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @11:24AM (#14075824) Homepage
        Well, one of the reasons why this blew up so bad was that the rootkit was poorly coded. Furthermore, so was the uninstall tool. Macrovision has a lot more resources than small time startups like First4. They can hire better coders, and they have better resources to do QA. So maybe Macrovisions stuff is still doing all the naughty bits, but they've hidden it better and it doesn't open up your computer like swiss cheese.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:29AM (#14074854)
    "need to do more to remove the incentive for piracy".

    Like say, making shit music that no-one would want to pirate? Ugh, too late :|
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:58AM (#14074935) Journal
      After agreeing to a recall, Sony BMG said Friday it would let customers who have already purchased CDs to mail them back, postage free, for a replacement. Sony BMG also would send them a link to download digital versions of the tunes.


      Remove incentive for piracy by providing digital version of music?
      I wonder if it'll be a DRMed WMV.

      /Hook a brother up with the link?

      • Re:Remove incentive? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:17AM (#14074990)
        They're unprotected MP3's [realtechnews.com].
      • Almost certainly DRM'd on account of the costs that would be incurred in replacing them:

        Factor in lawsuits that Sony BMG could face, and it's worth wondering whether the costs of XCP and its aftermath might even exceed whatever piracy losses the company would have suffered without it.

        There's a message here somewhere isn't there... lets see, the XCP system hasn't kept a single album off the internet, it's infected 2 million PCs with malware and they've p*ssed all the revenue from 50 artists up the wall.

      • by BrokenHalo (565198)
        If the recording companies really want us to stop copying their discs, perhaps they should stop sending mixed messages to us.

        For instance, Sony, while on the one hand decrying copying of its CDs to mag tape spent several years selling Walkmen for the express purpose of playing music thus copied, not to mention supplying the blank media to do so.

        They also need to stop sending mixed messages to our legislators, who, needless to say, roll over to corporate demands at the drop of a hat. Here in Australia, for i

    • by Elbowgeek (633324) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @11:32AM (#14075868) Journal
      He-he! Brilliantly put. Talking to the youth who download music illegally these days, that is the very reason they don't care to actually pay for their music - they think it's cool to listen to, but not worth the money to pay for. Watching the movie The Last Waltz about The Band's final performance the other day, it really brought home the value for money proposition with music: There you had six or seven brilliant musicians giving it their all and producing some amazing stuff. With modern music you get one or two "producers" in a little room with a computer and some Cubase plugins churning out canned cut-and-paste samples. Or at best a group of "plastic-punk" rockers such as Green Day slapping together a bunch of generic power chords with not the slightest hint of musical challenge. Sorry, I can do that myself for free...
  • hmm anti-lawyer FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrSkwid (118965) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:29AM (#14074855) Homepage Journal
    'Lawyers don't have any better understanding of technology than a cow does algebra.'

    Is that right? [lessig.org]
    • by cronius (813431) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:35AM (#14074872)
      In general they don't, even though Mr. Lessig is an example of the opposite. How many Lessigs are there out there? It's not FUD even though there is one counter example, you don't have to take everything litteraly.
    • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:38AM (#14074883) Journal
      'Lawyers don't have any better understanding of technology than a cow does algebra.'
      Is that right? [Please see parent comment for link]

      That's why I like to avoid absolute statements and generalizations: all it takes is one case to refute, even though the statement may be accurate for the majority and there may only be one or two cases that can refute it. It's like what they say about congressmen: the dishonest 534 make the rest look bad.

      Still, wouldn't it be cool to discover that one supersmart cow? And kill it? And eat it and learn algebra? Mmmmmmm!

    • The fact that Lawrence Lessig exists, and is so well known for his knowledge of how law and technology interact is a sign that easily proves the story's point.

      Enough lawyers should have a good grasp on technical issues that a) this kind of move would never be made in such a fashion, and b) that Lawrence Lessig should not have to stand out as few amoungst the masses.

      Stereotypes aside, in general, the story is right. I doubt Lawrence Lessig would be overly miffed if the world changed tomorrow and there were m
    • by pegr (46683) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:44AM (#14075064) Homepage Journal
      "Sony, in fact, tried discs that contained data near the perimeter of the CD instructing a computer's hard drive not to look for audio tracks."

      Man, that's nothing... I remember when that Kid Rock CD instructed my hard drive to score some weed and a couple of hookers! Try explaining that to your wife!
    • by kilgortrout (674919) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @09:58AM (#14075358)
      As an attorney I can tell you that lawyers tend to have a better grasp of technology than many other professional groups that I come in contact with. You have to be pretty smart to get into law school these days and that generally translates into a better understanding of current technology.
      Furthermore, I doubt that Sony's rootkit scheme was unconditionally approved by legal. Lawyers tend to be very conservative when giving advice. I can't imagine any competent lawyer giving the green light to this type of thing given the patchwork of laws regulating and potentially impacting the legality of this scheme and that's just within the US, nevermind internationally. Companies, especially large companies like Sony, are not run by attorneys; they're run by professional managers. It's not uncommon for managers to end run legal or simply ignore legal advice when it's not what they want to hear.
      • by mauriceh (3721)
        Our firm does computer and network service for a few law firms.

        Based on that experience I can certainly assure you that most lawyers
        are about as tech illiterate as you can find.

        Not too surprising, as there is a noticable tendency:

        "The more arrogant one is, the less likely one is to be literate with anything outside of one's immediate field"

  • use the attention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Squigley (213068) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:32AM (#14074867) Homepage
    Now we just need to use this to draw attention to other things that "people don't understand, so why should they care?", like the broadcast flag, and other overly restrictive DRM technologies.
    • by triffidsting (594096) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:49AM (#14074908)
      I think your heart is in the right place, but I don't think diluting the message will be effective.

      In talking with a few non-technical family members, part of the reason that this rootkit business is making headway with non-techy folks is because it is clear, in non-technical terms, that their music cd is "breaking" their computer. That computer that they find so damn incomprehensible, the one that they don't feel they have the expertise necessary to diagnose and fix.

      Now they have a reason to blame their random computer slowness and its abberant behaviour on a big corporate monolith, (despite the fact that their computer probably contracted malware from elsewhere, seeing as they can't be bothered to patch it), and in having an identifiable target, they now want blood.

      On one hand, I wish nothing but bad karma for Sony for putting a rootkit on people's machines. On the other, Sony is being made a scapegoat for the relative complexity of maintaining a secure and clean system.
  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:35AM (#14074871)

    We'd be paying $1500.00 for a coast to coast airline ticket.

    There'd be no interstate trucking industry. All freight would go by rail and canal.

    All television would be black and white. There'd be no VCR's (let alone PVR's!).

    All radio would be AM.

    Telephones would all be dial. Long distance calls would be $2.50/minute.

    We'd all still be using slide rules.

    There would be no foreign cars in the U.S.

    There would be no sources of alternative energy (wiond, solar, etc.) whatsoever.

    And on and on. The RIAA wants to maintain the status quo at any cost. They have had ten years to adapt and have resisted at every turn. They all likely believe in Landrew (save us, save us, Landrew!).

    They are pathetic.
    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:55AM (#14074926) Journal
      We'd all still be using slide rules
      Forget your slide rule.
      /.'ers are hardcore
      Real men use the abacus to do math.

      Slide-Rule using pansy.
    • They'd also be blocking all VOIP calls, peer-to-peer call sessions, Skype, and...oh...wait... :-/
    • The Story of Landru:

      "The crew of the Enterprise land on a new planet. Their first reactions are of wariness. As Mr Spock says: 'Odd. The expression on that man's face. Mindlessness. Vacant contentment'. Everyone in the society is happy: they all smile, and their standard greeting is 'joy to you'. This disturbs the heroes: in a society where everyone is this happy, something must be wrong. They intervene.

      "They discover that the planet is ruled by a supposedly benign deity named 'Landrew', whose representativ
    • Thats pretty good, but I thought of the inverse.

      Look at DeBeers. In a relatively short time frame, they were able to convince people to spend "up to 2 months salary" for rocks from the ground that they don't want.

      Here a completely artificial need and a tight control of the supply was created from scratch, and now most every man is brainwashed into buying a diamond for his woman.

      Now we have an industry that already has an inherent demand, yet they are doing stupid stuff like suing their customers, wrecking
  • by Hymer (856453) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:36AM (#14074879)
    ...as the first and probably only rootkit wich has done something good.
  • by shanen (462549) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:40AM (#14074887) Homepage Journal
    Actually, this might be a debacle with positive consequences. Not that it was a big secret or anything, but this fiasco is making it very clear how the paying customers feel about having their rights stripped away by secret technical countermeasures. However, all of this is linked together, and all of it goes back to the root of the evil. In this specific case, the evil of having copyright law controlled by publishers whose only interest in profit maximization. Remember that the REAL justification for copyright monopolies was to benefit society by encouraging creativity. The mechanism was supposed to work for the benefit of the creators. No mention of publishers in the American Constitution, though they've been dictating the terms of copyright laws for decades.

    Perhaps it is too much to hope for, but it is certainly clear that the current system is completely out of whack. Perhaps it will collapse now and America can start considering why this was supposed to be a good idea in the first place. It's way past time to whack Mickey Mouse.

    On the other hand, perhaps it doesn't matter. If you believe that the free exchange of creative ideas is a thing that benefits society, and that this encourages growth and development of a healthy society, then you must conclude it confers competitive advantage. Therefore, the societies that do better at encouraging creativity will eventually overwhelm the others--and nothing the **AA can do will stop that inevitable transition.

    • For the curious, the relevant section in the US constitution [archives.gov]:

      To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:39AM (#14075052)
      Actually, you can thank Mark Russinovich (who exposed the Sony malware) for immediately branding it with the proper term "rootkit." The press picked up on this evil-sounding term before Sony flacks had a chance to spin it as something benign-sounding.

  • by mumblestheclown (569987) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:41AM (#14074889)
    By that standard, "coders and technologists know about as much about the economics and public policy implications of intellectual property laws as cows know algebra."

    It doesn't seem to stop every self proclaimed expert here from spouting off their particular pet theory that coiincidentally justifies their eMule use, nevertheless.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      But are the (possibly bad) decisions on Slashdot taken up by governments? No. So any lack of solid ability is rendered moot by our lack of voice where it is needed.

      Alternatively, the solicitors DO get their word heard in the corridors of power and incorporated. Mainly because the corridors of power are filled with the mangement and lawyer types.
      • But are the (possibly bad) decisions on Slashdot taken up by governments?

        Perhaps not, but every day we see effectively an important analog: technologists creating products that have the effect of executing policy despite a lack of respect for or training in underlying law, policy, or economics.

        In slashdot, many people have bizarre notion that the guy who wired the atom bomb therefore becomes an expert on its use. While in practice we give a sort of respect and listen to the voices to those who invented

        • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @09:09AM (#14075169) Homepage
          Oh wait - did I say atom bomb? I meant p2p services / cryptography / intellectual property / etc. In that case, the attitude seems to be "f*** that, it's mine - i can do what I want, and if they try to stop me i'll ( build unstoppable v2 / ignore them / claim that they are all corrupt overpaid idiots / etc. }" Of course, p2p is not an atom bomb, but it does have many policy and law implications.

          If everybody and their mother could download atom bombs from the Internet (I don't mean the blueprints, but complete with U238/plutonium, high-precision high-performance explosives to initiate fission and detonator) we'd all be in deep shit. I talk to my friends on IRC (P2P), I maintain my parent's Linux box via OpenSSH (encryption), IP is being broadcasted to my house 24/7 by TV and radio. To be honest, I don't really feel having an atom bomb would improve my quality of life. Taking away tools and services that I already make use of is something completely different.

          The cat is already out of the bag. You can not turn back time. I don't know how many ways there are to say this, but if they want to introduce a DRM-Internet less capable than Arpanet, a PVR less capable than VHS/Betamax combined or an encryption so weak as to not be trustable, I won't accept it. I alone don't have any right to execute policy. But we, the people do have the right to execute policy. The government is nothing but an organization put in place by the people to serve the people. That is the fundament of democracy. By that I don't mean that each and everyone can go do whatever the fuck they like and ignore the law. But if we collectively use P2P and encryption and IP in a given way, I say that we hold that authority and not those we have elected to serve us. When the government starts to represent a will of its own that is not the one of the people, it is they that are in the wrong and us that are in the right.
    • However, coders and technologists will generally (definately not in all cases) try to grasp the basics of the implications of intellectual property laws. As coders, we are interested in understanding systems and finding out how they work.

      Lawyers and politicians however, don't generally bother finding out how a computer does what it does, as long as it does what they legislate it to do.
    • I've long held the theory that programming mind and legal mind do not happily share the same head. It seems almost inevitable that the better one is at the one, the worse they will be at the other.

      I think it is because programming and legalese have opposite aims. Programming takes the fantastically complicated task of explaining the world to a computer and renders it into the simplest possible form. Legal documents take the most basic common sense and render it into the most obfuscated and complicated pos

  • You mean... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by djupedal (584558) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:41AM (#14074890)
    '...record companies need to do more to remove the incentive for piracy.'

    Which brings up the method, again, of how the 'Dead dealt with bootlegging, by inviting bootleggers to give it thier best shot - This meant more publicity for the band, which led to more sales.

    The record companies just won't let go. They want the model that puts them in control. Pricing control where they get to say which track sells for what amount, giving them leverage over the artist - bundleing, where trash tracks have to be purchased, whether the consumer wants them or not - consumer habit tracking, where they get first dibs on mining all that data...it goes on and on. The record companies just need to die, it's that simple.

    In Sony's case, I guess this one can be laid at the feet of the lawyers, but hey, they've got their own business model to protect, and we all know where that one leads.

    Why not just let the artists be in control for a while. Let the $$$ grabbers sell peanuts and t-shirts while the consumer enjoys decent music for a change.
    • Re:You mean... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by stubear (130454)
      "Why not just let the artists be in control for a while."

      I am so sick and fucking tired of hearing this. The musicians have that control now, and they have always had that power. Nothing forces them to sign a contract with the record labels. Oh, you're probably going to counter that the labels have distribution channels locked up. Well, duh. These distribution channels would much rather deal with a small handful of entities (the labels) than bother negotiating with each and every artist. I keep hearin
  • Now I cannot trust Sony or EMI. This process will continue until I stop buying any industry products. I am more inclined to shore up my back catalogue than trust anything current on CD. Online mp3 retail can take care of the rest. Goodbye, music industry.
  • Mashboxx and the New Grokster 3G that will be launched later this year has the serious backing of Sony\BMG and the Sony Music CEO Andrew Lack was intrememtal putting the project together with the Mashboxx chairman Wayne Russo who was the former president of Grokster.

    The whole Sony rootkit contreversey will seriously damage the reputation of this p2p service that already faces a uphill battle to convert the already sceptical filesharing community.

    Many in the tech community have vowed to boycott Sony produ
  • by Mishtara2001 (678818) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:43AM (#14074896)
    A cow doing algebra

    Dir sirs,
    The suggested apparatus is a sentient, grass-eating organism ("Cow"), that has or will be taught complex mathematical operations ("Algebra"), with or without the aid of various computational devices.

    I intend to patent this "invention" and then go on and "licence" it to all cattle grows in the planet, which will have to pay or face my formidable legal team. In fact, I have already hired an "Intellectual property" law firm, who has assured me that I am loosing $5.6B every day - literally being stolen out of my pocket, and the plates of my children, by greedy farmers who will not respect the foundations of our economy.

    Moreover, said lawyers have promised me that the USPTO and the courts will share their (my) view that every cow grazing grass is in fact performing complex calculations, probably for some foreign power like Iraq, or worse, Europe.

    All the best,
    Edgar Bronfman.
    • This will set the the cause of bovine freedom back several decades. I urge everyone to withold support of initiatives expanding the role of copyright in this manner.
  • It Is Official (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:52AM (#14074913) Journal
    The dangerous factor was a "rootkit," a feature cloaking the files on users' computers that reported back to Sony BMG about how music was played and transferred.
    Sony Rootkit = Feature
    You heard it here first
  • Plans Deferred (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Crash Culligan (227354) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:52AM (#14074915) Journal
    Sony BMG would not comment on whether it plans to explore digital rights management techniques that are less intrusive than XCP.

    Translation: Sony BMG needs to research how to make their next crippling system-level crack more undetectable before they try this exact same crap again. They don't give a second thought b0rk1ng their customer's computers, but they absolutely hate getting caught.

    • Duh (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      They say that right there in the article:

      Although the episode could not have gone worse, it's unlikely to lead other music companies to abandon copy-protection technologies.

      One rival, EMI Group PLC, is moving ahead with digital rights management from Macrovision Corp. that lets users burn three copies of a disc and "rip" it onto a computer seven times.

      But I don't really see why DRM like that is a huge problem. Unless they put their DRM Software on the 3 discs you have their permission to burn... this might

      • Actually, this Macrovision protection seems kinda pointless.

        Hmm yah .. it is. But then again, any CD protection scheme is pointless. There are ways around all of it. Seems to me that they would have to scrap CDs all-together and develop an encrypted format that only plays on "authorized" devices rending all existing CD-based infrastructure obsolete.

        But even in that scenario, the music still needs to play *somewhere*. So I can take the output, plug it back into a recording device and record the song. Fancy D
      • Umm... Copyright? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by oliverthered (187439) <oliverthered AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @11:37AM (#14075896) Journal
        under the current system when something falls out of copyright (yes it happens every day, even to Elvis!) it enters the public domain and if free for all. Because DRM systems are attempting to be 'impossible' to crack there's a good change that when DRMed music falls out of copyright it will not enter the public domain. So using DRM is basically like saying bye bye to existing copyright laws.
  • by burne (686114) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @07:54AM (#14074923)
    I've been on a active boycott of record-companies since 1997. Two reasons. Sony closed a local CD-factory, claiming that 'piracy' was the reason. The production-equipment was shipped to Romania (or such) so I guess selling the CD's wasn't the problem, but they found a nice way to justify moving to a country with lower wages. (please keep in mind that most of you barely had the equipment to burn CD's or the bandwidth to exchange MP3's)

    The other reason was that most companies abandoned recruiting local talent. All we get in our shops is American R&B, all we see on TV is American Gangsta Crap. There is a shitload of bands out their, but none of the big labels will see or hear them. Ilse de Lange might be the last you've heard from the Netherlands.

    Haven't bought a single CD since, except directly from the hands of the musician.
  • by Stitch_Surfs (895163) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:00AM (#14074943) Homepage
    I'm surprised that we've not heard more from the artists themselves on this front. You'd think that those whose CDs were clandestinely infiltrated by this technology would have opinions. After all these people make thie money directly from the sales of those CD's too and you can pretty well bet that not a one of them was told about or consulted in advance of the decision to rootkit these cds.

    I'm curious to know if on top of Sony's problems a rash of lawsuits will be filed by attorneys representing artists that either had their work defiled by the rootkits or those that want out of their contracts because Sony's miserable judgment will result in substantially reduced sales for any artist on a Sony label.

    Anyone know about this or have an opinion?

    Stitch

    "There is no "I" in B-O-R-G"
    • I remember Switchfoot was so mortified that Sony broke their CD that they were actively helping fans to defeat the protection....long before it became a very public debacle.
    • The Bad Plus' lastest album "Suspicious Activity" (ironic!) has/had the DRM shit on it.

      The Bad Plus is an innovative jazz band that I really enjoy. I loved their album "These Are the Vistas" and had put "Suspicious Activity" on my end-of-year buying list of CDs I missed earlier in the year. I was also planning to see them live in Minneapolis right after Christmas.

      Then I saw the CD on the list.

      I sent an email to the band's management and promoters telling them how upset I was that their CD could mess up my c
  • by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:03AM (#14074950)
    He believes that rather than adopting technological methods to try to stop unauthorized copying of music, record companies need to do more to remove the incentive for piracy."

    Translation: cut prices, allow personal copying w/o restrictions.

  • right.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:08AM (#14074966) Journal
    So someone put the fear of God into a company and now they're all running away going "NOT ME TOO! I'M NICE!" Well it's about fucking time.

    Companies get away with murder, they tried to step on peoples feet again and they stepped on a very pissed off geeks feet and are now paying the price. If we had this uproar against all bullshit policies maybe the world would be a better place. But no, we're in a world of submissive consumers who won't say boo to a goose incase of a lawsuit.
  • Why not trade? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by a_greer2005 (863926) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:10AM (#14074974)
    I beleve that P2P DLing of copyright works without permittion is wrong, but the record companies make it harfer to "just say no!" every day.

    I want high quality, which the online music stores do not provide (128k WMA and AAC SUCK for a serious music fan with even marginaly good equipment)

    I want the ability to easily copy the music! I should be able to rip it to MP3 ort ogg for listening on a HTPC or iPod, or Dell DJ or an mp3 cell phone...

    Now as I shop for CDs I will always wonder in the back of my mind, "does t6his have spy/scumware? a virus? a rootkit? what does "enhanced" mean? would I be safer DLing a 320k MP3 from (insert P2P of choice here)?"

  • by lwells-au (548448) <<ua.ten.dnopgib> <ta> <sllewl>> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:16AM (#14074989)

    "... rather than adopting technological methods to try to stop unauthorized copying of music, record companies need to do more to remove the incentive for piracy."

    I do find it rather ironic that I was, not five minutes ago, looking for an Oasis song (forgive me, its stuck in my head) on iTunes music store to purchase legally only to find out they are published by Sony-BMG who, in their infinite wisdom, have declined to be involved with the Australian iTunes music store [zdnet.com.au].

    Given their current predilication for sticking DRM crap on CDs and the fact I only want one or two specific tracks, no sale for you. Good going Sony. What's a possible customer meant to do if you insist on treating us like (potential) criminals?

  • by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:29AM (#14075015) Homepage
    Issues that remain:

    Attacking customer computers seems to be the kind of thing that is part of the Sony corporate culture. There has been no apology [userfriendly.org], and Sony management makes statements giving the impression they will do it again if they think they can without bad publicity.

    A music retail store spokesman said that Sony's attack became public just before Christmas. Customers can easily choose some other gift now that they are scared about computer attacks. Sony's attack has hurt the entire music industry, not just Sony. Also, the damage will continue after Christmas.

    Few people are technically knowledgeable. The Sony CDs will be causing problems for many years, as they are traded or sold to thrift stores.

    The number of computers already corrupted is probably far larger than the 500,000 quoted in articles about the Sony attack. That number is just the number of Domain Name Servers that show evidence that a computer has tried to contact the Sony phone home address. The average server would almost certainly service more than one corrupted computer.

    One kind of attack has received attention. However, Sony apparently sells other CDs with other software that may also have negative consequences for Sony customers.

    Following Microsoft's lead years ago, some businesses treat all their customers as crooks so that they can stop a few.
  • By forcing intrusive and dangerous DRM management, without fully consulting third party hardware and software vendors that the product is used on, Sony deserve everything thrown at them, especially from the fact that they have not only placed Microsoft in a difficult position, but also upset Philips by producing non-Red Book CDs.

    Problem is will anybody want to fit a Bluray disc in their computer after this fiasco?
  • ...in its proper place.

    The people here being the artist and their ability to make use of the internet to introduce themselves and promote themselves via the internet. And to do so to the point of having enough opf a following to then approach the industry with bargaining power.... "I'm taking bids on who will giove me the best deal"...

    Everybody benefits this way... as the music industry wouldn't then need the risky practice of subsidizing of newbies (often failures) with profits made from the established ar
  • by muzzy (164903) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:34AM (#14075033) Homepage Journal
    I've written some pages about Sony's XCP DRM system.

    Summary about the DRM, what it does, and what its problems are: http://hack.fi/~muzzy/sony-drm/info.html [hack.fi]

    You can also find my research and opinions about the issue linked from there. Please send mail if you have anything to add or any corrections to my content.
  • And I just said a few days ago that this kind of product self-sabotage will forever be known as "pulling a Sony", and there's the reference in the post itself!

    Only sad thing is, most any of us could have told them that this would be a fiasco, but before this happened there's no way any of us would have been believed or noticed. It took a disaster like this to wake everybody up. Lucky thing it wasn't nuclear bombs, huh?

    But I'm happy, anyway. Slashdot has been fun to read this week; Sonygate brings the co

  • by cciRRus (889392) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:37AM (#14075043)
    Actually the "Sony Rootkit" incident has increased the public awareness of computer security. How many non technically inclined people knew about "rootkit" prior to this?

    To a certain extent, this incident has increased the public awareness of computer security, which is a good thing.
  • by eltoyoboyo (750015) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:42AM (#14075058) Journal
    It has already started at work. As the resident geek in the department, I already have explained many times about the Sony DRM and the XCP rootkit. With Thanksgiving holidays coming up and get-togethers with the relatives, I figure I should just hand out a little pamphlet. I would like to be a fly on the wall inside the Sony corporate offices as they look for some mid-level managers to can over this. I would also like to read some of their heated and panicked internal correspondence as they try to do damage control. Someone is going to get torched publicly for this by Sony's legal team. I have looked to see if any class-action lawsuits have been filed, but I am now aware of any, yet.
  • That seems to be how companies like Sony view them. Any rights customers may have are seen by SONY and their ilk (a cast too numerous to catalog) as detracting from their own. The only way SONY et al. can maximize rights (and, they hope, profit) is to minimize everyone else's, ultimately including the rights of other companies. Under that notion their rights are maximized when everyone else's rights = 0. That is a reasonable explanation of why they chose to crap on the rights of their paying customers.
  • The Lawyers and Cows comment really sums it up perfectly. If Sony was smart, back in 1999 when Napster presented the first real challenge to their business model, they would have joined forces with all of the other labels and come out with an encrypted CD standard. I'm thinking something similar to the encryption on DVDs.

    They would have made sure that the weaknesses in the DVD encryption scheme wasn't in their scheme (which dvdjon cracked in October 1999, so the music industry would have been aware of the

    • by Anita Coney (648748)
      "come out with an encrypted CD standard"

      Where have you been?! Two such standards have been released and have been on sale for several years. Sony's SACD and everyone else's DVD-A. The problem is that no one gives a damn about them.

      Or did you want the music industry to force these flops down the consumers' throats by eliminating the traditional CD?! That would have been corporate suicide as the backlash would have been phenomenal.
  • by asac (643533) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @08:51AM (#14075094)

    He believes that rather than adopting technological methods to try to stop unauthorized copying of music, record companies need to do more to remove the incentive for piracy."

    Yes, as always, innovation (of products, price, distribution and markets) to match actual demands is almost certainly superior to oppression and enforcing old entrenched business models by law ... but why is noone listening? Do they all need to live through oppression on their own to get a clue?

  • I called up the company that is acting as managers for the group Van Zant to express my displeasure. The receptionist said that they have been getting "a lot" of calls over the issue and she had several "I have been instructed to say" comments. "We regret this, we regret that, we have complained, this isn't our fault" type of comments. And no, this isn't the fault of Van Zant (though they could have demanded that no such copy protection be included on any of their CDs during contract negotiations, but to
  • by k00110 (932544) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @09:09AM (#14075168)
    I think the biggest backlash to come is versus the security companies.

    Where the hell where they ?

    I personnaly uninstalled Norton Security from my computer as it's now clear that they can not protect me from emerging threats.

    The threats of today are not the threats of tomorrow and security firms have to adjust in consequences.

    Threats of today : Companies hiding stuff in your computer and correlation between companies. Think Windows Vista.

    Threats of tomorrow : Don't ask security firms

    Linux/Mac is not an alternative to this shit if you like to play the latest games.
  • by TheZorch (925979) <thezorch@gmailSLACKWARE.com minus distro> on Sunday November 20, 2005 @10:23AM (#14075473) Homepage
    I have a new business model for a new recording studio concept but I don't have the capital to pull it off.

    Here are the main points:
    * Artists would retain all rights to their own music. Copyrights would be in the names of the artists and bands, not the studio.
    * All contracts with the studio are open ended, they never expire, and allow the artists and/or bands to back out of them at any time. The artists and bands ARE NOT employees of the studio, the studio is strictly a service to them to get their music published and on the radio.
    * The studio would only retain publishing rights, not ownership. The studio's publishing rights ends when the contracts end.
    * Music would be published on CD and via a paid P2P service similar to iTunes or Napster. Downloaded music could be used on MP3 players (including the iPod) and burned to CD an unlimited number of times.
    * Music CDs published by the studio would contain CD Extra content such as interviews with the artists and bands, music videos, printable lyrics sheets for all the music on the CD, and news about the artists or bands updated via RSS Feed daily.
    * A PR Department of the studio would help with merchandising the artist or band. The artist and/or band retains the copyrights and trademarks of all merchandise. The studio receives a percentage of sales as a fee.
    * The studio would pioneer the Open Media License, or OML. The OML like the GPL, but for music, video and literature, would apply to media that is offered free of copyrights and trademarks and can be downloaded, used, and even altered without restriction depending on the OML License that is used.

    Basically, the artists and bands have full control over everything, and the studio becomes their client offering CD publishing services, P2P music sales and distribution, marketing and advertising, and the artists and bands retain all the copyrights and trademarks. A studio like this I think would set the whole recording industry on its head.

    Any comments? If you know a VC who can help me please let me know.
  • by surfdaddy (930829) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @01:57PM (#14076700)
    We should be thanking Sony. I mean, who could have hoped? If I could have designed an "anti-DRM" agenda I couldn't have done better:

    - Windows users all over the place have turned off autoplay on their machines, so they won't get infected again

    - Nerds everywhere will be posting ways to defeat whatever shows up in the future

    - The whole industry (and Sony in particular, thank God) is trembling about taking the risk of the ire of the computer industry if they screw these things up again

    - The fact that it took 6 months or more to discover this rootkit is a GOOD thing, as the damage done is now more noteworthy and it has caused more damage than if it was discovered quickly

    - There's been a ton of bad press, meaning the awareness of 'fake' CDs that are really copy-protected disks has been raised, even in the minds of many non-technical people

    How much money would it have cost to arrange for this ourselves? Way to go Sony! Your long-standing behavior toward proprietary and lock-in types of behavior (Betamax, Minidisc, Memory Stick, and now rootkits) has *really* hosed you up good this time!

    Us Slashdotters owe Sony a debt of gratitude.

  • by phorm (591458) on Sunday November 20, 2005 @02:56PM (#14076987) Journal
    Lawyers don't have any better understanding of technology than a cow does algebra

    It's not the lawyers at fault here, it's the courts. Judges (and moreso juries) are people too. Even if this case went before a judge, there is a lot of technicality that would probably need to be very much reworded in order for him/her to understand. One of the problems with law is that one not only need to understand law (a difficult task in itself), but how it applies to the case at hand. In technology we've been getting by using laws pieced together from non-technical applications - sometimes coming out OK but often ending in disaster.

    Even if the lawyers understand tech (Lessig, for example), you still need a judge and/or jury that understands it... and possibly more importantly laws that actual deal with tech rather than vaguely related scenarios/applications that have been applied to tech.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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