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Texas Sues Sony BMG over Rootkit

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the hate-to-see-sony-boardmeetings dept.

Sony 703

Mr. Sketch writes "According to Yahoo!, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott 'filed a civil lawsuit on Monday against Sony BMG Music Entertainment for including "spyware" software on its media player designed to thwart music copying. [...] Texas is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 per violation of the state's Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, which was enacted earlier this year. "Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," Abbott said in a statement.'"

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Texan way..... (3, Funny)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086648)

Lets also do it the "Texan way" with some Death Penaltys

Re:Texan way..... (2)

MightyMait (787428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086676)

You must be my evil twin (or am I yours?). I posted almost the same thing you did 38 milliseconds after you hit "submit" (I *knew* I shouldn't have bothered previewing).

Re:Texan way..... (5, Funny)

FosterKanig (645454) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086853)

Previewing is for the weak.

Re:Texan way..... (-1, Troll)

jrnchimera (558684) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086699)

Sony could do things the "French" way and just surrender before the fighting begins..

Re:Texan way..... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086876)

Or they better yet: should have done it the Enron way, and gotten buddy-buddy with Bush and the GOP, and not have to worry about prosecution at all.

What's up with Kenny-boy Lay, anyway?

Re:Texan way..... (0, Offtopic)

Agarax (864558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086933)

They are getting sued in Texas ...

Re:Texan way..... (2, Funny)

keithmo (453716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086714)

Get a rope.

Re:Texan way..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086721)

I've heard stories that Texas on rare occassion will still use hangings and firing squads for execution. Can anyone familiar with Texas law out there confirm/deny?

Re:Texan way..... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086787)

That depends. Do you mean "offically" or "just for fun"?

Re:Texan way..... (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086897)

No, we outsource that to Japanese Samurais. Our cowboys are way too busy killing Injuns.

Texas law on lethal force in protecting property.. (5, Interesting)

Frangible (881728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086909)

Assuming a computer counts as tangible, movable property, and I do believe the rootkit at least counts as "criminal mischief", and the Texas AG has a legal duty to protect people's computers (or people ask him to), the use of lethal force against Sony BMG would be authorized. 9.43. PROTECTION OF THIRD PERSON'S PROPERTY. A person is justified in using force or deadly force against another to protect land or tangible, movable property of a third person if, under the circumstances as he reasonably believes them to be, the actor would be justified under Section 9.41 or 9.42 in using force or deadly force to protect his own land or property and: (1) the actor reasonably believes the unlawful interference constitutes attempted or consummated theft of or criminal mischief to the tangible, movable property; or (2) the actor reasonably believes that: (A) the third person has requested his protection of the land or property; (B) he has a legal duty to protect the third person's land or property; or (C) the third person whose land or property he uses force or deadly force to protect is the actor's spouse, parent, or child, resides with the actor, or is under the actor's care

Oooh...this could be good! (1, Funny)

MightyMait (787428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086651)

I wonder if this is a capital crime in Texas?? They're real good at killin' folks legally down there. Yeeee-haaaw!!

lol rednecks sux (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086827)

Only two posts for the stereotypes to start flying, even in spite of the positive news. Seriously, do you have absolutely no shame?

Re:Oooh...this could be good! (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086845)

I wonder if this is a capital crime in Texas?? They're real good at killin' folks legally down there. Yeeee-haaaw!!

Musta forgot to haul out the checkbook at the last ruling party whip-around. You expect something like this in California, but Texas?!?! Puts me in mind of a different Texas...

oh, i love to dance a little side-step...

Re:Oooh...this could be good! (1)

paranode (671698) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086924)

Sony needs killin'. 'Nuff said.

So, um... (5, Funny)

brilinux (255400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086654)

Don't mess with Texas?

Re:So, um... (5, Funny)

mattsucks (541950) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086767)

Don't root Texas.

Wow, that's gonna be a nice check.. (0, Troll)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086656)

...for the lawyers.

The consumers ( you remember, the people these laws are supposed to protect ), on the otherhand, will likely see loose change for their troubles.

Re:Wow, that's gonna be a nice check.. (3, Insightful)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086682)

it still benefits the consumers, does it not, if the huge amounts of money going to lawyers and the bad publicity act as a disincentive to such behavior?

Re:Wow, that's gonna be a nice check.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086743)

Yes, that is unfortunate.

On the other hand, it's a nice reminder to companies that owning copyright doesn't permit you to break the law in any way you please. It also reminds them that if you screw your customers, the customer WILL stop buying from you.

The lawyers can forget it... (2, Informative)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086762)

It's the statutory penalty for the violations: $100K per infraction. The Texas AG was just on TV (CNBC) and suggested that the fines came out to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Re:Wow, that's gonna be a nice check.. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086809)

The Texas Attorney General filed the suit. Any fines will go to the state of Texas, not some lawyer's pocket.

Re:Wow, that's gonna be a nice check.. (4, Insightful)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086829)

I realize--in your rush to post first--that "facts" are irrelevant to you..

But the State of Texas (you know, the State Attorney General, in representation of the State of Texas and its citizens) is suing Sony. If the lawsuit is won, than the money goes into the coffers of the state of Texas, which will result in an increase in public works, which *does* benefit us.

Sometimes /. makes me wish there was an 'idiot' moderation, or at least a 'first post' moderation. In this case, a mere glance at the first sentence of the article would've made it clear that this was an action taken by the state to protect its citizens.

Re:Wow, that's gonna be a nice check.. (5, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086896)

It's the AG's office, not a private law firm. The lawyers are public servants on salary, not working for a percentage. They are constrained by law to work in the public's (the people who provide their salaries) interest.

They're prosecutors.

When the NY Attorney General's office nailed Song BMG for "payola" the settelement included a $10 million grant to the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to New York State, a non profit, to promote music education.

The EFF has also filled a rootkit suit against Sony BMG in LA. I guess you can decide for yourself whether these guys are just after a big paycheck.

KFG

First Prime Factorization Post (5, Funny)

aldeng (804728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086658)

According to Yahoo!, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott 'filed a civil lawsuit on Monday against Sony BMG Music Entertainment for including "spyware" software on its media player designed to thwart music copying. [...] Texas is seeking civil penalties of $2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 per violation of the state's Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, which was enacted earlier this year. "Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," Abbott said in a statement.

Re:First Prime Factorization Post (1)

deranged unix nut (20524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086785)

$100,000 per incident sounds about right.

The time needed to remove the rootkit, patch the security holes that the rootkit cleanup leaves, remove the DRM (maybe), clean up the malware that got in through the security holes, recovering from the identity theft that happened as a result, plus the lawyers fees.

Sony is in a lot of trouble over this one!

Re:First Prime Factorization Post (4, Funny)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086798)

Texas is seeking civil penalties of $2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 * 5 per violation of the state's Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act,

Good thing Texas hasn't been teaching "intelligent math" (the theory that big numbers are too BIG to ever come from little numbers) else they'd never figure out how much sony's penalities will be.

Re:First Prime Factorization Post (1)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086883)

Damn, you beat me to it. Anyway, I applaud your factorization skills, and I wonder why they always seek penalties that are so factorizable.

Way to go (1, Insightful)

rawwa.venoise (881755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086662)

Way to go Texas, for $100.000 Sony will pay and do-it again ...

Re:Way to go (1)

nycguy (892403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086702)

It's up to $100,000 *per violation*, so it remains to be seen whether the entire act Sony committed constitutes a single violation, or whether each infected computer is considered a separate violation. In the latter case, the penalty could actually be quite high.

Re:Way to go (1)

rawwa.venoise (881755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086747)

*per violation* would be nice, but it will end in one of those cases has Linspire vs Windows. You can only benefit if you actually have the receipt for the CD bought in Texas state ...
I really do not think so many people keep receipts for books and cd's after all

Re:Way to go (1)

arootbeer (808234) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086862)

"You" are not going to benefit at all from this case, except that your own personal satisfaction level will go up and up as Sony is bent farther and farther over. On the other hand, I'd be interested to know what method they're going to use to calculate the number of violations for which fines will be sought.

100,000 per INCIDENT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086713)

Read again. Its $100K per machine they screwed up. This is major bucks.

Re:Way to go (1)

nickj6282 (896871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086723)

Way to go for you too! Obviously you didn't bother to read the summary, let alone RTFA. That's $100k per violation. I'm betting more than one Texan bought an XCP CD.

Re:Way to go (1)

Andy Gardner (850877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086724)

Texas is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 per violation

Wiki cites approx 568,000 networks contain at least one instance of XCP. Dunno how many in the US but im guess a 'few'. Even to Sony that wouldn't be peanuts.

Re:Way to go (5, Interesting)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086734)

For $100,000 per violation, I don't know. My guess is that a violation is a provable installation of the software, which can add up fast if they had as many sales as were reported. Even if there is only 100 cases of the rootkit being installed, that's $10,000,000. Add in the image damage and that's a hefty tag. But we all know image damage can be fixed with a few donations to the right charities.

Re:Way to go (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086737)

It really depends on the definition of "per violation", doesn't it? I suspect they might be talking pretty big numbers here. I doubt what Sony has done will get the maximum penalty, but there have been a hell of a lot of violations in my opinion.

Re:Way to go (1)

Stupor Man (926173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086740)

It's $100k per incident or...infection, lets call it. This could add up to some significant amount of money.

Re:Way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086742)

Per violation.... if they prove that you broke into 1000 homes isn't not a singel violaton...

JK

Re:Way to go (1)

DoddyUK (884783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086750)

That's $100,000 per violation. IANAL, and I'm not American either, but as far as I'm concerned, that means $100,000 for every machine on which the XCP software has been installed, or even worse for Sony, for each individual XCP-protected CD purchased. All it takes is a couple of thousand victims to come forward in a class suit, almost perfectly attainable in a state as large as Texas, and that's already $2 billion in damages if the case goes the way of Texas.

Add that to the suit already filed in California (and New York if that has been filed yet), as well as the costs of recalling the affected CDs and replacing them with non-XCP CDs, and you have one very, very costly mistake by Sony.

Re:Way to go (1)

e.loser (923789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086754)

...per violation...

Re:Way to go (1)

gg3po (724025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086756)

If I understand correctly, that's $100,000 per violation. How many of these rootkit CD's were distrubuted in Texas? How many machines did each of them infect? This could easily get into some very high numbers -- even for Sony.

Re:Way to go (1)

zarozarozaro (756135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086782)

From the article; "Texas is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 per violation of the state's Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, which was enacted earlier this year." I think this means that each purchase of a cd with this software on it is a violation. Sony might owe a lot of money on this one.

You missed the important bit (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086784)

Texas is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 per violation

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that means $100,000 for every infected computer.

Re:You missed the important bit (1)

warmech (932875) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086867)

Take it from this Texan, there will be thousands of violations, and Texas will hit them for almost every dime they set out to. We're talking in the hundreds of millions of dollars range here. My guess is that we'll charge them for every CD shipped into Texas, not just every one purchased - we like justice down here, and we're gonna get it.

By Curious Coincidence... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086857)

Way to go Texas, for $100.000 Sony will pay and do-it again ...

By curious coincidence, the state of Texas must have a budget shortfall.

like much of the rest of the states, come to think of it.

Re:Way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086891)

I'm shocked that nobody's told you that it's per violation yet...

Re:Way to go (2, Informative)

Harodotus (680139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086923)

At $100k per offense and the highest distributed CDs figure I have seen being 24 million installations from 50 different DRM infected CDs, that'd be quite a big number, even if you only count Texas installations.

In fact the upper limit (assuming conservativly only 1 infected PC per CD) is:
2,000,000,000,000 or 2 trillion dollars. Of course what percent are provably installed in Texas? is it Five percent? even if it's two percent that's $50,000,000,000 or 50 Billion dollars.

Lets take a conservative estimate.

In the 2000 census, Texas had a population of 20,851,820 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas [wikipedia.org]
and the whole US has a population of 281,421,906. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States [wikipedia.org]

So Texas had 7.4% of the US population.

Sony claims that all DRM disks where sold domestically, but lets be kind and say that 80% of the disks were sold domestically so 19,200,000 disks in the US.

Lets assume that the consumers in all states have similar buying habits.
So 7.4% of 19,200,000 US disks is 1,420,800 Texas sold disks.

1,420,000 times $100,000 max fine per disk is: $142,100,000,000 or 142 Billion Dollars.

I have seen estimates as low as 500,000 DRM infected disks sold in the US.

That number is much lower.
500,000 * 80% * 7.4% * 100,000 max fine is: 2,960,000,000 or 2.96 Billion dollars.

Any way you spin it, this is going to get ugly for Sony.

cloak and dagger (1)

anandpur (303114) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086665)

cloak-and-dagger (klkn-dgr) adj. Marked by melodramatic intrigue and often by espionage.

Scotch Tape (5, Interesting)

crabpeople (720852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086667)

Not the only bit of news worth covering on this today. Aparently someone [informationweek.com] found out how to defeat the copy protection with an ordinary piece of tape.

from the link:

Sony BMG Music's controversial copy-protection scheme can be defeated with a small piece of tape, a research firm said Monday in a demonstration of the futility of digital rights management (DRM).

According to Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire, Sony's XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD.


Can anyone verify this on their own disks?

Re:Scotch Tape (1)

MightyMait (787428) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086703)

Saw this at The Register as well. The note had been ammended to indicate that putting tape on your CD is not a very good idea (most of us could probably figure that out for ourselves). Disabling Auto-run is a much less messy way of getting the same result.

But, then, you were being funny weren't you?

Re:Scotch Tape (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086728)

Sony's XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD

Um, that might defeat their DRM, I guess, but wouldn't it also throw the CD off balance? Waka-Waka-Waka-Waka.

Reading the CD at that point might be difficult.

Re:Scotch Tape (4, Informative)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086744)

I believe it can also be bypassed by holding down the shift key while inserting the CD into the drive (temporarily disabling AutoRun), or by permanately disabling AutoRun.

Using a bit of tap to do it is just grandstanding.

Re:Scotch Tape (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086751)

I believe it can also be bypassed by holding down the shift key while inserting the CD into the drive (temporarily disabling AutoRun)

Congratulations, you just violated the DMCA.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

YA_Python_dev (885173) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086779)

Please mod the parent up, thanks.

Re:Scotch Tape (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086792)

First the DRM on video DVD's is bipassed with a well-drawn pen, now DRM is bipassed with a well-placed adhesive tape!

What next? Voluntary compulsory direct taxation on Income? Oh-- errm, wait...

I could see an Attorney for Sony argue that this has always been compatible with their gray venue *adhesion* to DRM, balancing the breach of contract in becoming custodian to a record and not allowing unhindered exhibition of that record. What part of Holder in due course does Sony not understand, when by selling its RECORDS that it is transferring what little interests to whomever is buying?

Soon there will be conditional sales of food, preventing people from re-planting seeds of that food, and waiving liability of the advertised purpose of that food. Oh-- errm, wait...

[Google] Beta, limited liability, everywhere!

Re:Scotch Tape (2, Insightful)

Horizon_99 (58767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086800)

Just hold the shift key when you pop in the cd. Or better yet, disable the windows autorun "feature" [annoyances.org] .

Whoever thought that running unverified code from a cd automatically without warning the user was a good idea should be shot.

Re:Scotch Tape (1)

OfNoAccount (906368) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086804)

Apparently tape can unbalance high speed CD players. So, why not just use the age old marker pen technique? Luckily I don't have any of the XCD discs to test it on anyway :)

george dubya? (4, Funny)

meccaneko (844665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086670)

Guess we really neednt worry about the president getting on this band wagon since he cant even load songs on his ipod.

Re:george dubya? (3, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086830)

He managed to fall off a Segway.

Do you have any idea how much trouble the designers went through to make sure people couldn't fall off a Segway?

I'm less worried about what would happen if he got on the band wagon than what would happen if he tried to get off.

Re:george dubya? (3, Informative)

terrymr (316118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086855)

I believe it wasn't turned on. It doesn't self balance when its off.

Re:george dubya? (1)

suwain_2 (260792) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086834)

since he cant even load songs on his ipod.

Isn't the problem everyone had with these CDs?

(I was going to make a joke about him not being able to open doors either, but decided to stay on topic)

Re:george dubya? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086866)

He can't even leave a press conference through the right door!

In other news (5, Informative)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086671)

Re:In other news (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086746)

And no, I didn't read it on digg.com.

That should add up to some millions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086678)

All your base are belong to the Lone Star State

Dugg (-1, Offtopic)

teutonic_leech (596265) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086679)

Digg.com had this several hours ago - /. is becoming a has-been. Sorry, I have karma to burn...

Re:Dugg (-1, Offtopic)

zoloto (586738) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086738)

I'm wondering, why slashdot.org just doesn't get an AP feed via email like so many other professional news organizations? They have plenty of subscribers, plenty of revenue from their parent OSDN. It would be trivial to hire a competent tech nerd who also happened to be a broadcast/radio journalism major (or graduate) and apply their knowledge to slashdot and other OSDN sites.

If they really want to be taken seriously, a little bit of that plus the cool tech geek stuff would really help this place out.

OUTGOING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086680)

HELLO WORLD
34146 34146
HELLO WORLD
46536 46536 86230 86230 80895 80895 96841 96841 26877 26877
51669 51669 20791 20791 20037 20037 55239 55239 75209 75209
03359 03359 82494 82494 29167 29167 73003 73003 61679 61679
88290 88290 33202 33202 94745 94745 08931 08931 45924 45924
05874 05874 41436 41436 97392 97392 60101 60101 17086 17086
66972 66972 04329 04329 50486 50486 05132 05132 70115 70115
96966 96966 21155 21155 01881 01881 47200 47200 19906 19906
33307 33307 26546 26546 21261 21261 17000 17000 51735 51735
67174 67174 75137 75137 66428 66428 20704 20704 61907 61907
43694 43694 15058 15058 20238 20238 27770 27770 75522 75522
41302 41302 79773 79773 84252 84252
K-BYE

That takes balls.... (5, Funny)

steveshaw (690806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086685)

which are exceedingly difficult to find in a politician these days.

Unfortunately, his opponent in the next election can back the Brinks truck up to Sony HQ at his convenience.

Re:That takes balls.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086796)

Abbott is a Republican, and this is Texas.

Unless someone backed by Sony decides to challenge him in the GOP primary, he will be re-elected.

Re:That takes balls.... (1)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086878)

What did you think the plan was!?!?!

See, they are working together, the opponent and he.
Good pol, bad pol. They take turns.

huh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086686)

What's going on here? Sony did what now?

Attorney General's Press Release (5, Informative)

scottd18 (593645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086687)

Here's a link to the official Texas AG's press release.

http://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagNews/release.php?id= 1266 [state.tx.us]

They even have an online complaint form. Be the first on your block to get in on the lawsuit!

Civil? Where are the criminal penalties? (5, Insightful)

Harodotus (680139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086694)

IANAL but it seems to me that criminal rather than Civil penalties is the way to go here.

Of course, the correct answer is both.

Call me naive, but I'm just not seeing action on the criminal side of things. Whatever happened to "equal protection under the law" principal where I would face jail time if I did this, even if I did it through my own 1-man consulting corporation?

Re:Civil? Where are the criminal penalties? (1)

deranged unix nut (20524) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086733)

Here Here! I would love to see some Sony execs do jail time over this!

Re:Civil? Where are the criminal penalties? (1)

VENONA (902751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086934)

I'm rather in favor of whatever hurts them. Ideally, that would be a criminal case filed prosecuted by the US DoJ, or it's Nipponese equivalent. But I don't think that's likely. The only criminal case I'm aware of is ALCEI-EFI (Association for Freedom in Electronic Interactive Communications - Electronic Frontiers Italy) filing a complaint with Guardia di Finanza.

I'm hoping that Italians, or at least someone who speaks Italian, is planning to track this and file articles to our lame editors.

Summary: (4, Funny)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086695)

RIAA: "Sony BMG did nothing wrong. We love Sony BMG. They clean our pool."
Texas Lawyers: "Pardner, yer full o' bull puckey."
Sony BMG: "Can't you sue any better than that?"
Consumers: Yeah, you can all go screw yourselves. Give us some cash.

Re:Summary: (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086846)

You're a God damned idiot.

It's nice to hear... (5, Insightful)

georgewilliamherbert (211790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086697)

...that it's not just geeks getting upset over this.

It's a good feeling when it doesn't even take a month for a major state's state government to sue over a consumer issue that has so many people I know riled up. No, it's not just us getting ourselves worked up, it really was that slimy and abusive a thing for Sony to have done.

Let the floodgates open! (5, Insightful)

LeninZhiv (464864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086706)

Last week there were complaints here and elsewhere that class-action and criminal prosecutions were slow in coming, with only California and I think New York having responded promptly. This is great news* that this is starting to be prosecuted more widely (as it should be), and encouragement to everyone lobbying elsewhere for lawsuits in their own states/countries.

[*] Technically it's not "great news", it's simply the just application of the law. But when a mega-corporation such as Sony is the spyware distributer, it doesn't take a cynic to fear that justice come second to capital, as was the case for a certain monopolist...

Re:Let the floodgates open! (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086918)

Hey man, this is America.

Just application of the law IS great news. It's certainly news. And too damn rare.

Link to the lawsuit & the official press relea (4, Informative)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086708)

The PDF is available here [state.tx.us] . The press release is here [state.tx.us] .

(cough [slashdot.org] :) )

The EFF Suit (4, Informative)

kerecsen (807268) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086710)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing too. Sony claims that they are unaware of any case where their rootkit caused damages to customers. See details here [internetnews.com] .

If you have been damaged in any way, shape or form, it's time to call their bluff!

Word is Spreading (5, Interesting)

BigDork1001 (683341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086715)

One thing I was worried about was that this story would get mostly buried and that word of this would not get out to many people. I've tried explaining the Sony rootkit and DRM in general to a couple co-workers the other day and it didn't go so well. To them it's too technical and so they don't care. Even when I tried to re-explain it less technically they lost interest right away.

Well today I felt a bit better about the situation. First my wife asked me about it which surprised me. She hasn't shown much interest in stuff like this in the past. And then a little later on when I went over to Stars and Stripes to read todays news they had a story [estripes.com] about the rootkit and that they are pulling them out of the BX/PX's.

The more word of this gets out the more DRM will come to light. Eventually most people will know how bad DRM is and maybe, just maybe Sony and the rest will start to feel some pressure to stop trying to push it on us.

Re:Word is Spreading (1)

chadjg (615827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086904)

Ohhh, this has to be a good one! A foreign company installing spyware on military machines. There has to be a penalty that really hurts for this chicanery, right? Leavenworth PMITAP?

Good! (1, Redundant)

damg (906401) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086717)

With all this noise being made about Sony's "DRM software", hopefully the general acceptance of DRM will be set back.

That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086718)

When you mess with Texas! :P

hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086722)

World vs. Sony, guess who wins?

Holy shit! - Do the math (4, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086736)

$100,000 per rootkit'd CD times 20,000,000 million CDs [eff.org] = $2,000,000,000,000 (2 trillion dollars)

Re:Holy shit! - Do the math (5, Insightful)

BigDork1001 (683341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086753)

Sure, why not? When the RIAA sues people for sharing songs online they sue for a ridiculous amount of money per song. It's only appropriate that they are on the other end of it for a change. $100,000 sounds good to me.

Re:Holy shit! - Do the math (4, Funny)

millennial (830897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086813)

Maximum penalty for illegally copying and distributing a single song? $150,000. Maximum penalty for installing security-hole-riddled spyware/malware on a person's computer? $100,000. Number of illegally copied songs on the average college student's PC? Estimated at around 3,000. Number of college students in America? Conservatively estimated at 3,000,000. 3,000,000*3,000*$150,000 = $1,350,000,000,000,000. Number of malware-infested CDs? 20,000,000. 100,000*$20,000,000 = $2,000,000,000,000. Let's see... Sony and co. stand to lose $2 trillion, but earn $1,350 trillion. Maximum. Seems the odds are weighted in their favor.

Re:Holy shit! - Do the math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086769)

Sweet jesus, 20,000,000 million CD's! I didn't know Sony was that succesful as a record company. In fact, I didn't even know that there had been that many CD's sold period! :)

Re:Holy shit! - Do the math (4, Funny)

pegr (46683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086770)

$100,000 per rootkit'd CD times 20,000,000 million CDs = $2,000,000,000,000 (2 trillion dollars)
 
(Oblig: pinky to mouth...)

First CA, then NY, now TX; the good news is (1)

merc (115854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086810)

we have 47 states to go!

*grumblecakes*

Help or hinder? (1)

Bifurcati (699683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086814)

I wonder if their offer to "remove" the software, replace the CDs, stop selling them, etc, would count for them or against them? On the one hand, they're taking "positive" steps to resolve the problem, but on the other hand it's kind of an admission that they're in the wrong (or at least, everyone thinks they are and so they're doing something about it!)

One can only hope that the analysts are right, and that this has set CD copy protection back 10 years :)

Re:Help or hinder? (1)

potpie (706881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086879)

I'm afraid that trying to fix their error by those methods can't erase the crime itself. I can't steal steal things from stores then offer them replacements for the items I took. It simply doesn't change that I committed a crime in the first place. Sony's atonements are pretty much just a way of saying "Please don't sue me, here's some stuff to make up for it." It's what any corporation would do simply to protect its assets, and I don't think it should count for or against.

Re:Help or hinder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14086898)

I dunno, but if the RIAA sued an illegal music downloader, and the downloader said "Gee, I'm sorry, I'll delete all the music I downloaded", do you think the RIAA would let them off the hook?

Canada should sue too (5, Interesting)

k00110 (932544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086816)

In Canada, the levy allows you to make copy of music CDs, even your friends CDs for you own personnal use without restriction. The 3 limit per CD is a clear restriction that goes against what Canadians pay for. I feel another law suit comming.

Everyday I learn something new about r00tkits... (5, Informative)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14086859)

"The MediaMax software also installs files on users' computers even if they decline to accept SunnComm's terms in a licensing agreement. That software allows the company to track customers' listening habits despite denials the company collects such data."

So basically, the rootkit would install itself on your PC even if you clicked NO on the popup that appears after inserting the disk? Wow... Now re-read this (different article, posted on Slashdot earlier):

"Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" the head of Sony BMG's global digital business, Thomas Hesse, told National Public Radio.

I don't know... So they are counting on tricking gullible PC users into installing something which will ultimately harm their PC, which is heinous in itself, but somewhat legally "murky" enough for them to get away with it. But when your answer to the EULA actually has no effect whatsoever on whether the r00tkit is installed or not, that is beyond words. It shows how much these corporations disrespect their customers. We are sheep. With cash they gave us for working for them... and they want it back.

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