Malware

Sony BMG passes the buck


You may all remember the Sony BMG rootkit saga back in 2005. In order to protect music CD's Sony started shipping them with software designed to stop the content from being copied. The software which has widely been dubbed as a ‘rootkit' and ‘spyware' installed itself on computers as soon as the CD was inserted. This software installed itself before the EULA was displayed, was not mentioned in the EULA and did not come with any uninstaller. Not only did the invisible processes consume resources but also their design meant that viruses, worms and other nasty things could install themselves while hiding from antivirus software.

After coming under increasing pressure from various groups Sony released an uninstaller which didn't actually uninstall the program, it just de-cloaked the hidden files. A few weeks later Sony was forced to release a new version of the uninstaller that actually removed the software.

As you can imagine the costs incurred by Sony because of this sage was considerable. At least $5.75 million was paid out at the end of last year to settle outstanding litigation and resolve ongoing investigations.

Two years after the episode began Sony BMG has decided to sue The Amergence Group (formerly SunnComm International). SunnComm were responsible for developing MediaMax, the copy protection software in question. According to papers filed at the beginning of this month Sony BMG are seeking compensation of $12 million. The Amergence Group has described the allegations as unwarranted.

2 comments
prplshroud
prplshroud

Sony deserved every bit of the backlash it got by trying to screw the consumer out of fair use of a purchased product. Hopefully they'll lose the lawsuit too. As far as the folks that wrote the software, well, I hope they can sleep at night knowing what they put out there. I'm sure there are copies of the offending CDs still out there and will continue to be out there for years to come and clueless consumers will fall victim to this crapware.

Justin Fielding
Justin Fielding

I doubt the board of either firm will lose any sleep over the poor consumners who've fallen victim to it.

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