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Sony, Spyware, and Country Music

As a public service warning, I'd advise my readers to check Sony CDs before ripping music to their hard drive: it appears they may install some spyware-like software that's devilishly hard to eliminate. The previous link gives you the technical details, but the upshot of Mark Russinovich's analysis:

The entire experience was frustrating and irritating. Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files.

While I believe in the media industry’s right to use copy protection mechanisms to prevent illegal copying, I don’t think that we’ve found the right balance of fair use and copy protection, yet. This is a clear case of Sony taking DRM too far.


Note that "most users" will find the uninstall process Mark provides not merely irksome, but likely to be completely beyond their comprehension. Put it this way: in the time a normal user learned how to properly remove the hidden files without rendering their CD drive useless, they'd be better off backing up their data and reformatting the drive. Way to go, Sony! Instead putting your effort into actually building an iPod-beater, you've given the world one more reason to use iTunes.

(Link to how the mighty have fallen via Wizbang)

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Comments

Who wants to be the first to sue them for illegal trespass? Article
I would be surprised if Sony didn't include somewhere in the CD's packaging, liner notes or software that as part of the terms of use, you must accept that this spyware-like stuff will be loaded onto your computer. Also, trespass to chattels through electronic means is not established across the country -- see Intel v. Hamidi (perhaps the CA tech attorney who wrote the Article linked in the prior comment had that case edited from his piece).
BTW, what's the country music connection?
The Van Zant Bros. CD "Get Right with the Man" You may remember them from Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00092ZM02/102-2833265-5207315?v=glance
Apparently Sony's figured out that it was a bad idea.

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