Sony Rootkit Roundup IV

Nov 21: Protest CD DRM in NYC on Nov 30!
FreeCulture NYC is planning another street demonstration at a Tower Records store in Manhattan against DRM CDs, and have a great flier about the dangers of buying DRM music.

Nov 21: Table compares different kinds of Sony music infections

Sony CDs are infected with at least two different kinds of malicious software, the XCP rootkit and a spyware product from Suncomm called MediaMax.
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Pre-history of the Sony rootkit

An old email thread shows the early efforts of the authors of Sony's infamous rootkit. In 2003, Ceri Coburn (to whom is registered) appeared as a novice programmer in a technical mailing list, asking questions about how to cripple CD drives. — Read the rest

Sony rootkit hurts artists

Businessweek has great coverage of the Sony rootkit fiasco from the perspective of artists, who are losing sales because Sony decided to infect their fans:

"We're really upset about this," says Patrick Jordan, director of marketing for Red Light Management, which represents Trey Anastasio, former front man to jam band Phish.

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Sony Rootkit DRM Roundup Part III

The Sony rootkit debacle continues to gain steam, with fresh revelations of incompetence and malice every day, and with fresh news of lawsuits too. Previously, I published two roundups of news on this leading up to Nov 17 (Sony Rootkit Roundup Part I, Sony Rootkit Roundup Part II, Sony Rootkit Roundup Part IV, Sony Rootkit Roundup V, Sony Rootkit Roundup VI) and what with all the news, it's time for a third:

Nov 17: Sony still advising public to install rootkits
18 days after the revelation that Sony's CDs contain dangerous rootkits, Sony still has live web-pages advising its customers to go ahead and install their software (This is still the case as of Nov 22!).
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Amazon offers refunds for all Sony rootkit CDs

Amazon has not only pulled all of Sony's rootkit-infected CDs from its catalog, they're also contacting everyong who bought a rootkit CD and offering a full refunds, whether or not the CD has been opened.

Now this is a textbook example of how retailers should be responding to the news that Sony tricked them into selling CDs that screwed up their customers' computers. — Read the rest

A curiously incomplete history of the early years of DRM

Ernie Smith's Motherboard article on the early years of DRM gets into some fascinating stories about things like IBM's Cryptolope and Xerox PARC's Contentguard (which became a patent troll), Intertrust's belief that it is "developing the basis for a civil society in cyberspace" and the DeCSS fight.

Music industry hates anti-spam laws

Michael Geist sez,

The business opposition to Canada's anti-spam and spyware legislation has added an unlikely supporter: the Canadian Recording Industry Association, now known as Music Canada. The organization has launched an advocacy campaign against the law, claiming that it "will particularly hurt indie labels, start-ups, and bands struggling to build a base and a career."

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Canadian businesses lobby for the right to infect peoples' computers with viruses and rootkits

Michael Geist sez,

A coalition of Canadian industry groups, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Marketing Association, the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association and the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, are demanding legalized spyware for private enforcement purposes. The demand comes as part of a review of anti-spam and spyware legislation in Canada.

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Dane who ripped his DVDs demands to be arrested under DRM law

In Denmark, it's legal to make copies of commercial videos for backup or other private purposes. It's also illegal to break the DRM that restricts copying of DVDs. Deciding to find out which law mattered, Henrik Anderson reported himself for 100 violations of the DRM-breaking law (he ripped his DVD collection to his computer) and demanded that the Danish anti-piracy Antipiratgruppen do something about. — Read the rest

Warner to sell no-DRM MP3s on Amazon

Warner Music has announced that it will begin to sell non-DRM'ed MP3 music files on Amazon, making it the third (of four) major labels to sign up for DRM-free distribution of their music, Universal and EMI being the other two. Only Sony BMG have held out — and that's the same label that gave us the infamous Sony Rootkit, a dangerous hacker-tool that Sony infected millions of PCs with in a failed bid to prevent copying of its music. — Read the rest

iTunes Store will sell ENTIRE EMI CATALOG DRM-free!!11!1ONE!

Hallelujah! Apple and EMI just announced that they will be selling DRM-free Apple songs through the iTunes Music Store. The songs will cost 130 percent of the price of the existing crippled songs, and you'll get to choose. Weirdly, Apple seems to have sold this move to EMI by saying that the DRM-free version will be a "premium" offering for audiophiles who want higher-quality music. — Read the rest