Aaron Perzanowski and Deirdre Mulligan have just posted a wonderful pre-publication paper called "The Magnificence of the Disaster: Reconstructing the Sony BMG Rootkit Incident," which will shortly be published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Exhaustively researched and footnoted -- but written in clear, non-lawyerese prose -- The Magnificence of the Disaster comprehensively analyses the madness that led Sony-BMG to install dangerous, illegal rootkit anti-copying software as well as spyware (produced by a company founded to supply Elvis impersonators, no less!) on millions of its CDs, leading the company to enormous financial and legal penalties.
Potential customers who were aware of the existence and dangers
posed by Sony BMG’s protection measures steered clear of XCP discs.
The sales history of Get Right with the Man, an XCP-infected album by
Van Zant that was released some six months prior to the rootkit announcement, is emblematic of the online retail impact of the rootkit incident. On November 2, just two days after the initial public announcement
of the rootkit, Get Right with the Man ranked at number 887 on the music
charts at Amazon.com.61 The next day, after Amazon user reviews alerted
shoppers to the dangers posed by XCP, the album dropped to number
1,392.62 By the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the XCP recall was underway and the album plummeted to number 25,802.63 In contrast, in retail
environments in which customers had less immediate access to information about the dangers of XCP, sales of Get Right with the Man were relatively undisturbed.64 Since brick and mortar retailers like Wal-Mart, the
nation’s leading seller of CDs,65 do not facilitate the sort of customer
feedback common to online retailers, this outcome is hardly surprising...
SunnComm, the company that delivered MediaMax, offered even
more cause for concern. The company began as a provider of Elvis impersonation services.114 After a change in management following a false press
release announcing a non-existent $25 million production deal with Warner Brothers,115 the company purchased a 3.5” floppy disk factory in 2001,
displaying a disturbing dearth of technological savvy.116 After two em-
ployees announced their intention to leave the fledgling company to de-
velop copy protection software, SunnComm convinced the pair to lead a
new division, leaving both Elvis and floppy discs behind in order to de-
velop what would become MediaMax.117
Yesterday, we learned The Wirecutter (with sister site The Sweethome) was headed to New York City. It’s the sort of good ending that’s also a good beginning: they succeeded in their mission and have bright prospects for further growth. But Matt Haughie points out how much of the story everyone’s missing: the entire site is […]
Sadly, ElectricTrousers’ binary mechanical keyboard has off-brand switches, making it less useful that it might otherwise have been. It has multiple modes and type in ones and zeroes, or in ASCII text! … Controller is an Arduino Pro Micro powered by horribly inefficient homemade code. The keyboard in action!
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]