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EFF Pushes Consumers to Claim Rootkit Compensation

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the you're-on-my-list-sony dept.

189

An anonymous reader writes "'It's time for music fans who bought Sony BMG CDs loaded with harmful XCP or MediaMax copy protection to claim their settlement benefits', says the EFF's Derek Slater in an awareness campaign that is urging those inflicted with one of Sony BMG's rootkit infected CDs to collect what is due to them. The compensation is a DRM-free version of the original CD, $7.50, and album downloads from iTunes, Sony Connect, and others."

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i would like claim... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903268)

FRIST P0ST

Summary correction: (5, Interesting)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903269)

is a DRM-free version of the original CD, $7.50, and album downloads from iTunes, Sony Connect, and others.

Should read:

is a DRM-free version of the original CD, $7.50, and DRM-laden album downloads from iTunes, Sony Connect, and others.

I'd also like to know if anyone is going to try for a real settlement - like a company having to audit their network after finding one PC rooted.

Re:Summary correction: (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903313)

To be fair, the DRM on iTunes songs isn't even in the same league as the DRM on the Sony CD in question, let alone the same ballpark - at least it only affects the affected song, and doesn't open the entire PC up to compromise.

Re:Summary correction: (3, Insightful)

Grant29 (701796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903371)

True, and at least most everyone knows the iTunes DRM before buying. It's not as bad as someone sneaking some software onto your PC without you knowing.
--
Find the lowest price at PriceAge [priceage.com] . Comparison Shopping with online coupons.

Not as bad... up front, maybe. (2, Insightful)

Kristoffer Lunden (800757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903411)

In a way it's even sneakier though, as it teaches the public that DRM is ok. Just watch how many who otherwise claim to love freedom who readily defends it whenever the issue comes up. As soon as the mindset it firmly in place, there will be no problem rolling out worse and worse protections, until we have "Trusted Computing" telling you exactly where you want to go today.

No thank you.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (4, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903476)

In a way it's even sneakier though, as it teaches the public that DRM is ok.

Because people knowing about a fair(er) form of DRM and agreeing with it is SO evil.

iTunes' DRM is very acceptable to most people, as its limits aren't very strict, and it only applies to music. Trusted Computing or whatever bollocks they call it now isn't in the same ballpark.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (2, Insightful)

scuba0 (950343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903530)

If you give in to one DRM-type, it means you are more welcome to accept the next one. Some people might say that it isn't like that but it does not matter, the media industri and the lawmakers sees it as acceptable.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903711)

It's not like that. The gateway drug thing didn't hold true for marijuana, and it doesn't for DRM.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (0, Troll)

Kristoffer Lunden (800757) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903747)

What can I say... you make an excellent job at illustrating my point.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (2, Insightful)

honkycat (249849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903786)

Your logic is amazing! The way you refute his argument without even addressing its merits is a sight to behold. Aristotle would be proud.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (1)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903947)

I'm used to it...this is after all Slashdot, where all DRM, no matter how unrestrictive, is evil and anyone who suggests otherwise is just deluded or stupid.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903976)

Because people knowing about a [less intolerably unfair] form of DRM and agreeing with it is SO evil.
There, fixed that for ya. As we all know, DRM is unfair by definition because it is incapable of accounting for Fair Use.

Re:Not as bad... up front, maybe. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903749)

People who love freedom usually love the freedom to choose. iTunes, while restricting some of freedoms, offers value that many find worthwhile.

Re:Summary correction: (4, Interesting)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903466)

To be fair, the DRM on iTunes songs isn't even in the same league as the DRM on the Sony CD in question, let alone the same ballpark - at least it only affects the affected song, and doesn't open the entire PC up to compromise.

I completely agree with you - but itunes was not the only music service mentioned. From the EFF's site: CONNECT Music, f.y.e., iTunes, or Wal-Mart.

Whilst you might be prepared to trust Apple's DRM (and to be fair, I don't see much wrong with its terms either), read this thread [rokulabs.com] before trusting Wal-mart's. (I don't think I'd have to work hard to convince most people here that putting faith in Sony's DRM is a bad idea as well.)

The ultimate trouble with drm - any drm, is that it restricts your right to do what you want to do with your music. It's like giving a company the keys to your CD cabinet & trusting them to unlock it when you ask them.

Re:Summary correction: (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903621)

Except that in Apple's case the cabinet is made of chicken wire- you can convert the songs to Redbook audio with a minimum of effort and the cost of a blank CD.

Re:Summary correction: (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903696)

Except that in Apple's case the cabinet is made of chicken wire- you can convert the songs to Redbook audio with a minimum of effort and the cost of a blank CD.

Again, I agree. Apple's drm (along with both Sony's & Microsofts) can be easily defeated. It still doesn't really change the inention - to restrict me.

The fact that I'd have to:

a) Find a blank CD (why would I have one around for when I buy my music online anyway?)
b) Encode using a highly compressed source

to listen to music I've purchsed legally purchased on ITMS on a different player in the event that my ipod dies really irks me.

Maybe Apple's DRM is the 'best' out there, but no DRM can really be good.

Re:Summary correction: (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903825)

a) Find a blank CD (why would I have one around for when I buy my music online anyway?)

To back up your purchase, of course, as anyone with half a brain will do. (What do you think Apple is going to say when your hard drive crashes and you come crawling to them for permission to re-download all your iTunes purchases?)

b) Encode using a highly compressed source

Which I guarantee you don't notice when you listen to the music. If you could hear artifacts from 128K AAC-compressed tracks, you wouldn't want to use iTunes in the first place, DRM or none.

Re:Summary correction: (1)

WebScud (662900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903750)

Except that it's not your music at all. The only thing you get by buying a movie, music, or game is the right to watch/listen/play. Purchasing copyrighted material is nothing more than a "lifetime rental fee".

Re:Summary correction: (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903850)

Purchasing copyrighted material is nothing more than a "lifetime rental fee".

You also get the right to give your license away to someone else. If I get a book, I can resell it after reading it. If I get a Windows CD, I cannot resell it, because there is no way of "disabling" my Windows license.

Re:Summary correction: (4, Insightful)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903702)

2 Hours of PC repair at $100/hr. per computer affected. It seems reasonable. The average user doesn't have the tools/knowledge to un-root their system, so lets assume they had to pay someone to do it. Time is money anyway, having to spend an afternoon to fix it is worth something.

That would be a painful settlement. How many thousands/millions? of PCs were hit?

Apologize (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903271)

They don't mention it here, but in A civil action [imdb.com] , one of the quotes (paraphrasing) is "Corporations say they are sorry by paying money". If a corporation gets away with crap like this without a significant blood letting (law suits), they will try it again soon. It will be a more refined approach, you can be sure. But it will happen again.

Companies who pull this shit need to be punished. Badly. Not a public tounge wagging followed by a pseudo-aplogy. They hire people to do PR and deal with that. When the company's bottom line is hurt, they will be more cautious in the future. And if it takes months or years of cases hanging over their head, the stock will suffer. And when the stock suffers, so do the folks at the top.

Anything else is just the cost of doing business.

Re:Apologize (5, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903296)

Companies who pull this shit need to be punished. Badly.
Yeah, they need to be barred from doing business for a period of time, and have their board of directors and CxOs jailed.

Re:Apologize (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903331)

What about the guy who put the worm into GCC? Should he be jailed? What about the guy who got the rootkit code into the linux kernel, should he be jailed? What about all the members of the cDc? Should they be jailed?

Pot. Kettle.

Re:Apologize (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903804)

What about the guy who put the worm into GCC? Should he be jailed?
Yes, if it can be shown in a criminal court that this was a violation of the law, the violation warrants a jail term, and he was guilty of the crime.

What about the guy who got the rootkit code into the linux kernel, should he be jailed?
Yes, as above.

What about all the members of the cDc? Should they be jailed?
If they can be shown to be guilty of crimes, then yes. On the merits of their association alone, no.

Re:Apologize (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903822)

You get a bunch of people working for you and order them to put rootkits on people's computers and we'll see how fast you wind up in jail. Why the hell shouldn't Sony's CEO go to jail just like anyone else who told people in his employ to rootkit computers belonging to other people? Just because he's the CEO of a corporation? Do you realize what that means? It means the CEO of a corporation has immunity to prosecution from the crimes he commits that you don't. The same logic applies to the guys who developed the rootkit in the first place - why should they be immune to prosecution just because they work for a corporation? If you coded a rootkit for a hacker to use on people's computers, you'd go to jail.

Re:Apologize (1)

Psykosys (667390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903965)

There's a little thing here called intent. Sony did not intend to leave computers open to hackers, they just paid absolutely no regard to security. That would certainly seem to qualify as some kind of negligence, but there's no getting away from the fact that there was no ominous intent here, just stupidity.

Re:Apologize (4, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903332)

I disagree. This only puts people out of business, putting people out of work. Like rats, CEO's find another place to make their millions. It only punishes the bottom -- much like our wonderful international sanctions. Ever notice how the dictators are the only ones who don't seem to suffer?

Re:Apologize (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903398)

You must not have been paying attention when I mentioned jailing the management.

Re:Apologize (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903485)

They wouldn't be able to find another place to make millions in the same way if we held all companies to the same standards.

Re:Apologize (1)

unix_core (943019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903528)

If they find better ways of making their millons then forcing the installation of rootkits on their coustomers computers, mabye that could be a good thing...

Nobody wants a system where companies are allowed to take any measures to secure their profits, just so that pepole won't loose their jobs.

Re:Apologize (1)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903598)

Board of directors? are you crazy?

Assuming somehow you could prove that the directors and CxOs knew that the DRM was even sold, (what chances are there that those individuals are even tech savvy enough to know what DRM is), what justifies this? What are the losses? Has anyone stepped forward and said, 'My machine was hacked because of a defect in your product!'

Without quantifiable damages or actual harm, what right do you have to call for them being jailed? I think what's fair is a new copy of the CD without DRM. that's just. Also, a CD mailed with a utility that will clean the rootkit from the machine. That redresses the grievances. The rest of what you wrote is probably driven by anger either at corporate america in general, or at Sony in particular for this sneaky, underhanded tactic. I agree that Sony did a stupid thing, and risked people's computers. I think the FTC should examine and possibly give a fine, on the whole.

Imagine you're a CxO or Board Member. You're job is to predict music taste trends, and to make deals with other companies as part of marketing and such. Then police cuff you during a meeting, because a middle manager told his IT staff to use a contractor to customize and develop a tool for anti-piracy that you had no idea about. But you work for a company, so groupguilt applies.

The only reason we're even debating this issue is because a user didn't know the software was installed. Companies usually indemify themselves against lawsuits and charges by saying 'this software comes with no warrantee, implied or otherwise', so that if there is a bug that could cause a hack, they already told you there's that chance. That's part of that EULA that you clicked through.

Re:Apologize (0)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903968)

Imagine you're a CxO or Board Member. You're job is to predict music taste trends, and to make deals with other companies as part of marketing and such. Then police cuff you during a meeting, because a middle manager told his IT staff to use a contractor to customize and develop a tool for anti-piracy that you had no idea about. But you work for a company, so groupguilt applies.
No, if you're upper management, your job is to accept responsibility for the running of the company. If your employees do something illegal, then you screwed up too, by failing to prevent them from it.

I suppose it could be possible that claiming an underling acting on his own was responsible could be a defense, but in that case it should just result in both the manager and the underling being guilty, but splitting the sentence between them (unless, of course, the underling could document being directed to take the action, in which the blame would fall solely on the manager).
The only reason we're even debating this issue is because a user didn't know the software was installed. Companies usually indemify themselves against lawsuits and charges by saying 'this software comes with no warrantee, implied or otherwise', so that if there is a bug that could cause a hack, they already told you there's that chance. That's part of that EULA that you clicked through.
That's just a load of bullshit anyway.

Maybe so, but... (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903602)

Maybe so, but... You can froth at the mouth, and wave your arms around demanding this and that. Or, you can take a more realistic approach, and join a class action that has a much much bigger chance of success.

Re:Apologize (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903646)

Going by your logic, maybe we should abolish capitalism and go the way of communism. Isn't that what you GPL sheeple want?

Re:Apologize (2, Insightful)

joeljkp (254783) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903823)

This wasn't a criminal case, it was a civil settlement.

get the fuck into the soup, faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903279)

frost? i doubt

jews must die

all of them

in the oven

fuck you

Compensation...? (3, Insightful)

Omaze (952134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903280)

Typically the EFF seems to be on the right course but, in this case, the EFF is promoting the idea that a major corporation can force its will on the consumers preemptively and then, when the consumers revolt, all they have to do is say,"Oh. Sorry 'bout that. Here's a lollipop. No go away."

There needs to be a clear signal. What we're seeing here is just a buyout.

Re:Compensation...? (1)

JFitzsimmons (764599) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903297)

Which is worse than just going silently into the night?

Re:Compensation...? (2, Insightful)

Omaze (952134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903364)

The point is that advice like this encourages two patterns of behavior:

1) Like mail-in rebates a good portion of the tactic relies on the fact that many people will simply not find it worth their time/trouble to bother pursuing the claim. A good portion of people will take the first couple of steps and then find that other things in life demand more attention. Eventually the claim period expires or the person simply doesn't feel like devoting effort to it. This is unacceptable. It allows corporate criminals to get away by doing little more than using their superior economic position to make the retribution process tedious. Creating tedium is the best defense against someone seeking compensation for wrongdoing. Time passes, people move on. With this type of system the criminal is allowed to endlessly continue on with their pursuits.

2) It sets a precedent for future infractions. Today it's system monitoring software on a CD, tomorrow it's the black box monitor in the car, the next day it's mandatory spy cams in subsidized housing, the next day it's a legal right for property owners to install spy cams in their rental properties. Every step of the way there will be consumer backlash, and every step of the way the courts are supporting a system which allows the violators to say,"Oh. Sorry about that. Just give us a minute to assess your arguments and figure out how we can pass legislation to get around them."

The criminals are being allowed to pass laws by which their particular crimes can be argued to be legal while at the same time passing laws which legally criminalize people who are doing nothing wrong.

Well... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903282)

Haven't bought any Sony CDs recently, but even if I had, I wouldn't bother. Recompense enough to see a megacorp lumbering toward extinction.

Your Sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903317)

Oi! The song is called "Wot" cuz the man is saying "WOT"

And the correct lyrics are,

He said, "Captain"
I said, "Wot?"
He said "Captain"
I said, "Wot?"
He said, "Captain"
I said "Wot?"
He said "Captain"
I said "Wot d'ya want?"

Re:Well... (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903636)

If consumers don't get what is owed to them, then Sony won't learn their lesson.

Fortunately there are still legal actions in progress in Canada, and some other states.

Re:Well... (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903654)

Sony not learning its lesson only hastens its demise. Besides, point to one large company "learning its lesson" from a lawsuit.

Very Little Compensation (4, Insightful)

kabz (770151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903284)

This is very small compensation for machines that may have been damaged by this rootkit. Sony should allow people to claim actual damages if people can show that damage has been done.

The best thing that may come out of this is that the rules on what companies can and can't do have been clarified.

If I install software on my machine, I expect it to behave itself, providing I believe that the company itself is reputable. Sony have damaged themselves through this.

Re:Very Little Compensation (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903329)

What would be a better amount: 750$, 1500$.

I call this "cornering the individual". 7.50 is hardly worth anyone's time.

Re:Very Little Compensation (1)

sglider (648795) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903355)

Agreed. What's worse is that there's no way of actually knowing how much damage was done. Anyone who knew of the exploit could plant another trojan or backdoor or keylogger on your system, completely undetectable because of the rootkit. Now you have the propensity to lose anything you held deal, to include financial information. There should be punitive damages, to the tune of $1,000 (the cost of a new PC, roughly) in the very least.

Re:Very Little Compensation (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903422)

Sony damaged themselves the very instant when they decided to become a media company. They've never recovered from that, and I doubt they ever will. They've been infected by SES (Studio Executive Syndrome), a degenerative, wasting disease that is invariably fatal.

Re:Very Little Compensation (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903611)

"... grandfather liked it," said Chester, averting his eyes from a lithograph titled Rush Hour at the Insemomat.

I just read The Great Time Machine Hoax. Very cool.

Re:Very Little Compensation (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903629)

Yeah ... I'd like to have a computer like that one in my basement. For that matter, I'd settle for the "mobile speaker".

Re:Very Little Compensation (3, Informative)

CuriousKangaroo (543170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903508)

Please read the EFF FAQ regarding the settlement.

If you participate in this, you are NOT giving up your right to sue for damage to a computer or network!

Even if you get the small amount from this claim, you can still go on to sue for actual damages, should you have them.

http://www.eff.org/IP/DRM/Sony-BMG/settlement_faq. php#8 [eff.org]

Re:Very Little Compensation (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903540)

Sony should allow people to claim actual damages if people can show that damage has been done.

Difficult to prove. Expensive and time-consuming to pursue. Take Grandma out on BINGO night instead. The odds are better that you will come home a winner.

Re:Very Little Compensation (2, Informative)

jimicus (737525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903640)

Sony should allow people to claim actual damages if people can show that damage has been done.

Allow? Allow?! Surely the whole point of a lawsuit is that Sony don't get any say in what's allowed - that's down to the court.

Re:Very Little Compensation (2, Insightful)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903660)

If I install software on my machine, I expect it to behave itself, providing I believe that the company itself is reputable.


And even more importantly, if you put what you were led to believe is an audio CD in your computer's CD-ROM drive, you should expect it to behave itself by simply playing the music encoded on it and nothing more.

Friends (4, Interesting)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903288)

I guess if I foolishly allowed a friend to stick one of their DRM rootkit-infected CD into my drive, I don't get a share of the settlement, because I can't provide the required proof-of-purchase documentation.

That doesn't seem fair. One CD could have infected multiple machines, but only the original owner gets "compensated" by Sony.

Re:Friends (2, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903391)

How many owners keep proof-of-purchase beyond maybe the CD and the little plastic thing it came in? I mean, most of these people could have paid cash, and not kept the receipet.

Re:Friends (1)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903928)

If you don't have the receipt, you can exchange the actual CD as proof of ownership.

Re:Friends (5, Insightful)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903420)

If it were up to them, you wouldn't be allowed to listen to your friend's CD in the first place.

Re:Friends (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903448)

Hey, if their crap even worked, it wouldn't have been an issue. So not only was their rootkit harmful, it was defective. I wonder what that gets you...

Re:Friends (2, Funny)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903529)

So you made unauthorized copies of their rootkit? I'm sure they already know and will be in touch shortly.

Re:Friends (3, Insightful)

Buran (150348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903554)

Sue 'em yourself. If you can prove their crap is on your computer, you have proof of damage. Go after them in small claims court. If enough people did the same thing, they'd be hit with too many tiny lawsuits to fight them all.

They didn't tell you or the original owner of the malware on the disk, so they are liable because they were aware of its existence.

Re:Friends (1)

blibbler (15793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903951)

Sony has a duty of care to their customers, not to every joe on the street. If the grandparent found the CD on the street and put it into his computer, should he have a right to compensation? Or to remove the CD altogether, if he found a bottle of pills on the street, and took a few, should he sue the pharmaceutical company?
On the other hand, he can sue his friend, who lent him the CD.

Which CDs have the rootkit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903291)

So I can get a million free downloads...

Sony get off too lightly by half (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903295)

I'm not sure about this. Here it costs at least 40/hour to have a decent engineer come over and reinstall windows, back up your data and restore the machine to working condition. Taking the settlement Sony offer might prejudice getting a proper settlement, which I estimate at between 60-80 per affected user.

Thats's the civil liability. Here in the UK what Sony have done is a *criminal* offence under the computer misuse act.

I hope we haven't even started to see the scale of damage this is going to cost Sony. Frankly I hope it bankrupts them.
If some 14 year old kid wrote this rootkit he would be staring at 10 years in jail.

Re:Sony get off too lightly by half (4, Interesting)

penix1 (722987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903360)

"Here in the UK what Sony have done is a *criminal* offence under the computer misuse act."

It is supposed to be criminal here to under the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) [panix.com] . Of course, you will never see them charged like they are supposed to be.

B.

Re:Sony get off too lightly by half (1)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903463)

I find your use of the word engineer rather jarring.

I am a professional engineer, and obtaining that title is a long process, and at no point is Windows installation, spyware removal, or other pc-geek-bitch work taught or tested.

Re:Sony get off too lightly by half (1)

AndyboyH (837116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903597)

All it takes is a few police reports, and then I imagine the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit http://www.nhtcu.org/ [nhtcu.org] may become involved, however from their website it appears all they do is link to other sites. :(

who is the ass master (4, Interesting)

dubiousmike (558126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903300)

who decided that a free album was appropriate compensation? How about the cost to archive all important files and reinstall the afflicted OS at the very least. They could forgo the time lost without a shitted on computer

Re:who is the ass master (1)

boingo82 (932244) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903365)

Besides the time wasted uninstalling their crap software on my computer, now in order to get my mp3 download of my affected album, I have to disassemble and cut up the artwork/case in order to waste MORE time sending in the original UPC code from my discs - and I don't know about you, but part of the reason I BUY music instead of pirate it is so I'll have the INTACT case/artwork.

All that to get a lousy mp3 copy of the album, so I can FINALLY listen to the damn thing in my car.

Screw SONY. This is not a settlement. This does not make me "whole" after what they did. This just wastes MORE of my time, requires me to destroy the album I purchased, and all I get is some crappy mp3s which I could rip anyhow with any decent oss software.

Re:who is the ass master (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903445)

I agree. If it were ME who had to reinstall windows because of their crap, I would be billing them for the time it took me to do said reinstall.

I know of at least one person who paid someone to do that, and I have already recommended that they go that route, instead of accepting the settlement. I have no idea if they did (will) or not.

H.

Re:who is the ass master (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903583)

This is a settlement for selling you a bad CD. They have not settled any actual damages, take them to small claims court for that.

Re:who is the ass master (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903713)

If your backing up the files NOW after you are infected, then you have a BIG problem with trust.
The files have already been compromised.
The only restoration process left is to restore to the backup taken BEFORE inserting the first Sony CD.

Lets face facts, no normal person is gonna reinstall Windows purely because of this, they will uninstall it and that will be that.

We can only hope (3, Interesting)

DarthChris (960471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903314)

This will like set an important precedent w.r.t. rootkits and other commercial malware (Starforce anyone?). I only hope the result will be good for the customer and not the corporations. If Sony don't get the punishment they deserve for this, everyone else will jump on the bandwagon.

Re:We can only hope (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903358)

This will like set an important precedent w.r.t. rootkits and other commercial malware (Starforce anyone?). I only hope the result will be good for the customer and not the corporations. If Sony don't get the punishment they deserve for this, everyone else will jump on the bandwagon.

I avoid buying Sony products, unless the product is substansially better than the competition. If more people buy fewer Sony products, you can be sure that Sony execs will take notice. So their CD stunt had effect spilling into other Sony divisions, like sales of TV sets.

Re:We can only hope (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903934)

I avoid buying Sony products, unless the product is substansially better than the competition.

So you're boycotting PlayStation-exclusive franchises, right? So what's the big-ball-of-garbage game that you substitute for Katamari Damacy (only on PS2), We Love Katamari (only on PS2), and Me and My Katamari (only on PSP)?

Re:We can only hope (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903993)

So you're boycotting PlayStation-exclusive franchises, right? So what's the big-ball-of-garbage game that you substitute for Katamari Damacy (only on PS2), We Love Katamari (only on PS2), and Me and My Katamari (only on PSP)? I don't play console games.

Windows only? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14903327)

Mark me down as a troll if you wish, but I don't have such problems on my Mac mini with OS X. Neither does people running Linux.

Could we ask for compensation, if only because the "CD" wasn't a real "Audio CD"? (or was it?)

Days of War, Nights of Love. (2, Insightful)

qualico (731143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903341)

The problem is that the typical consumer really has no interest in wasting their time with lawyers, paperwork, and beuracracy.

Knowing this, is how politics take advantage of the mass consumer thinking.

Days of War, Nights of Love is a collection of political essays which may touch on these ideas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Days_of_War%2C_Nights _of_Love [wikipedia.org]

Re:Days of War, Nights of Love. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903655)

The problem is that the typical consumer really has no interest in wasting their time with lawyers, paperwork, and beuracracy.

In the run up to Easter people have other things on their mind than a refund from SONY. I don't give this "awareness" campaign much chance.

No thanks to ANYTHING from Sony (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903352)

I never bought one of these. Instead, I suffered at the office as the IT guy who had to clean up the mess that Sony left behind. I would like to sue them for the labor, time and frustration they caused... and continue to cause! Those things are still out there drifting about. Just last week I had to reverse the damage one of those CDs caused. A real pain in the ass it is. So far, that makes over 10 machines trashed because of that stupid crap.

And the "real" punishment, as far as I'm concerned, is that I had the opportunity to explain to a lay-person what Sony has done, why they did it and why they shouldn't trust Sony with their dollars ever again. I truly think it's a powerful thing since these people found out first-hand that it wasn't "their fault" and that trusting a big company like Sony to always do the right thing is pretty wrong. The opinion these people, and those they that hear their story, hold of a much lower opinion of Sony than they once did.

May Sony feel the wrath of the consumer!!

Re:No thanks to ANYTHING from Sony (4, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903382)

Explaining it to the end users was probably a waste of time, since THEY didn't have to clean up their machines - they foisted it on you. Its the same as explaining to an IE addict why they should switch to Firefox ... over and over and over and ...

Besides, I see that there's a Celine Dion album on the list. I would argue that the world is a better place if everyone who bought that CD ends up with a non-functional computer.

Re:No thanks to ANYTHING from Sony (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903593)

"Sony put a virus on one of their music CDs. When you play it, it installs the virus and trashs your PC".

That's how I explained it to Joe sickpack, and it worked perfectly. They hated Sony as much as we do and it's the truth.

Remember "Virus" is a scary word for the uninformed, they think it means "everything gone" or "credit card details stolen". It also does it quick enough for them not to get bored, hence perfect solution and the truth in 1.

EFF "needs your help" (0, Troll)

gkuz (706134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903392)

From TFA:

"But Sony BMG won't be held accountable if music fans don't have an easy way to learn about the flawed software, the settlement, and how to submit claims. That's where EFF needs your help."

The help EFF needs is in growing a pair of balls. This "settlement" will in no way hold Sony/BMG accountable, and is just rolling over for a buck. I guess the new "Electronic Frontier" is the almighty dollar.

My reply from the EFF (5, Interesting)

cove209 (681558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903416)

Greetings,

I just read on your website where the EFF has agreed to settle with Sony BMG.
What a pathetic settlement that does nothing to assist consumers with the costs of removing the rootkit software and in addition, fails to act as any sort of a deterrent to Sony BMG.
Way to knuckle under for the little guy.
Unhappy in California

Hi ,

I'm sorry you feel that way and there may be nothing I can do to
convince you otherwise, since I understand some people want Sony
BMG's head on a pike and nothing less will do. I don't necessarily
disagree, but the law limits what we can get in the context of a
class action settlement. But I hope you'll at least give me a hearing.

First, you understand that the settlement *preserves* the claims of
folks who have hardware damage due to the rootkit, right? They can
still sue to get more and we're happy to help. The scope of the
settlement is for a different harm -- the harm of merely having
bought these bad CDs.

The main reason that we didn't settle those claims is that we haven't
had enough people come forward with proof that the CDs harmed their
computers to constitute a sufficient number for a class action. Class
actions require "numerousity" and "uniformity" of claims. If you
know of such people, please send them our way. They can bring small
claims actions. If we do discover enough folks with a common pattern
of harm, we will consider another class action.

Second, as for whether this will serve as a deterrent to Sony in the
future, I guess we'll see in time. Even if we had taken the case all
the way through to a trial and been completely successful, a court
would not be able to order Sony to cease using all DRM under current
law. So as much as I'd like to see Sony do that, this case alone was
never going to accomplish that goal.

Right now they have stopped pressing *any* CDs with DRM on them,
agreed to independent review of any future DRM (with a report to the
lawyers involved in the case), and agreed to allow non-DRM/non-EULA
versions of all of the music that was affected by the bad DRM. The
cash cost of the settlement is hard to value but Sony says that the
value of album downloads are $10 per album. If the 5 million people
affected by MediaMax get a free album download that's a cost of $50
million to Sony. That's before the $7.50 per album for the 3 million
XCP users and the extra downloads that they get, or the replacement
music for the MediaMax 3 users.

While the settlement terms are the product of negotiation and so
aren't perfect, I do think we got a good deal in the settlement for
purchasers of the CDs. Believe me it was hard fought and there is
much in there now that Sony started out by flatly rejecting. I
certainly understand if you disagree and want to try for more on your
own. You absolutely have the right to opt-out of the settlement and
bring your own action. I'd be very curious to hear how that goes if
you choose to do it.

Most important for us was:
1. stop production of any more CDs with the dangerous DRM on it.
2. get people non-DRM'd/non-EULA'd versions of their music (this was
strongly resisted by Sony)
3. do it quickly
4. get people some free music (or in the case of XCP, money) for
their trouble.

There's much more in the settlement than that, of course, but for the
purchasers these were the core goals.
Again, I appreciate your feedback.
- Show quoted text -
On wrote:
                                                          ---- .org
                                    ---- www.eff.org
Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 436-9333 x

Re:My reply from the EFF (2, Insightful)

rifftide (679288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903844)

At first I thought the EFF had sold us down the river, but now I think the settlement is reasonable. Sony agrees to cease and desist the practice, and they must provide a convenient mechanism for exchange of XCP disks. What it doesn't do is (1) provide reasonable compensation to people who suffered extensive system damage, or (2) blast Sony back to the Stone Age for having a corps of bozo executives running their music division. But as the EFF pointed out, those in the first category can opt out of the settlement and sue on their own dime (or perhaps join a separate class action), while the second criticism is just unproductive knee-jerk stuff.

The EFF gets their legal fees compensated, and I'm sure their hourly rates are of generous size by the standards of most IT workers. Sony did get off fairly cheaply. But in many class action suits involving low-ticket products, the law firm(s) representing the plaintiffs walk away with 40 percent of the pot while the consumers get peanuts, and the company does no worse than Sony did. The whole thing is basically a big reward for the law firm that filed the claim first. Here, we still get peanuts, and I personally don't intend to file a claim, but it probably wasn't a financial windfall for the EFF - just a nice little project for them.

Wow 7.50 plus free downloads! (1)

billybob (18401) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903423)

Gee, that will really teach Sony a lesson they'll never forget. We can be sure that such harsh punishments will encourage all companies in the future to never do things that they shouldn't do!! /sarcasm

This explains piracy (1)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903451)

If this is a risk of buying CDs, no wonder so many people pirate. I don't, but I can't understand how this is supposed to help Sony stop piracy. I'm sure some people pirate now just as a result of that, saying, well sorry, but I can't risk a rootkit.

If you want more blood (4, Informative)

codepunk (167897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903467)

If you want more blood out of sony here you go.... Nothing at all stopping you
from taking them to small claims court and getting what you deserve. Most small claims courts have a very small fee like $10 for filing, 5 minutes in front of a judge and bingo you have got cash!

        * damage to a computer or network resulting from interactions between the XCP Software or the MediaMax Software and your computer (e.g., damage to your hard drive);
        * damage related to your reasonable efforts to remove the XCP Software or the MediaMax Software; or
        * copyright, trademark or other claims arising from the development of the MediaMax Software or the XCP Software, or any uninstallers or updates thereto.

You may still sue Sony BMG for any such claims, whether or not you choose to take advantage of the settlement benefits. As part of the settlement process, Sony BMG agreed to waive its overreaching New York forum selection clause and $5 limit on damages, so you can take them to your local small claims court for your damages.

See here for more information about the small claims process.

Re:If you want more blood (1)

trooz1 (926198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903616)

See here for more information about the small claims process.
--

Got Code?

Have you got code? For the link?

Re:If you want more blood (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903679)

Most small claims courts have a very small fee like $10 for filing, 5 minutes in front of a judge and bingo you have got cash!

and if you believe this, I hold a lease on a bridge into Manhatten that you can buy out cheap.

only the bad publicity harmed Sony (2, Informative)

Lazy Jones (8403) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903479)

The settlement was a joke (sorry EFF). What kind of message is that - the typical guy who installs malware/spyware on a computer is fined heavily and sometimes goes to jail, while a big corporation Sony gets away with a ridiculous amount of cash per malevolent action? Where's the justice in that?

What I love is... (1)

danpsmith (922127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903496)

...even provided that everyone that bought the CD does all three of these things, I doubt that Sony is really even losing money on the initial sale to begin with. This penalty they are paying may wind up not even costing them any money at all.

Fairness Hearing Scheduled for May 22, 2006 (4, Informative)

marklyon (251926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903523)

SonySuit.com [sonysuit.com] has information about the fairness hearing on May 22, 2006 at 9:15 am at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse for the Southern District of New York at 500 Pearl Street, Room 2270, New York, NY.

Don't forget -- claims MUST BE submitted by December 31, 2006. If you want to be excluded from the settlement, you MUST FILE before May 1, 2006. If you do not exclude yourself, you can attend the fairness hearing, at your own expense, and be heard by yourself or through your attorney.

I run the SonySuit.com website an plan to start collecting messages about the settlement to submit to the court as exhibits to my statement at the fairness hearing. If you have a comment about the settlement, send it to sonysuit@gmail.com [mailto] .

The best customers can get now. (1)

Jachra (960690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903556)

/offtopic I hope that DoJ will sue SonyBMG and that the CEO and other responsible managers will serve sometime in jail. Maybe that will send a clear message to the industry. /ontopic

I think this is the best the EFF can offer right now. SonyBMG has to many cash to spend to take it further than the EFF. Too bad, but it is the sad truth these days.

Payment (4, Funny)

unix_core (943019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903564)

Can I please pay by paypal the next time I install a rootkit on one of Sony's workstations? $7,50 each, right? They pick some stuff from my mp3 collection too, if they want.

Not doing a good job (1)

HunterZ (20035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903617)

EFF's Derek Slater in an awareness campaign ... is urging those inflicted with one of Sony BMG's rootkit infected CDs to collect what is due to them."

Well the EFF isn't doing a very good job. Almost nobody I know - even computer geeks like myself - has heard or taken note of the whole Sony rootkit fiasco. I only know about it myself because of Slashdot. I was dragged along to Wal-Mart when visiting my brother recently, and had to explain the whole thing to several members my family when I saw that they were shopping for music CDs.

Incidentally, I didn't find it very easy to identify which ones were Sony discs (some said BMG or something similar, but other than that I didn't recognize any labels). I ended up just warning them away from anything that didn't have the official "compact disc digital audio" logo on the package, just to be safe.

Everyone send in a CD! (1)

MadWicKdWire (734140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903676)

After RTFA... I've decided it's in my best interest to download one of the listed CDs from the Interwebs for free. Then, after burning it to CD, producing a receipt of my web request for a torrent and finding enough stamp monies for my envelope, I will send my nice NON-drm-riddled into the company with my full name and address for some fun lawsuit action.

It did not specify that the CD must be the original did it? AND Do you think they will give me sweet iTunes downloads for the frees?

MadWicKdWire

What this is really about.... (2, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903693)

Don't you people realize that this so-called "settlement" is just a trick to enable the courts to collect the names and addresses of people who listen to creatively bland corporate musick?!

The Linked article was bad (4, Informative)

sgent (874402) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903698)

this is a claim merely for having bought the CD's in question -- it IS NOT COMPENSATION for damages that may have result from your network or computer. See http://www.eff.org/IP/DRM/Sony-BMG/settlement_faq. php [eff.org] for full information on the settlement.

exert...

Why does EFF think the settlement is a good deal for purchasers of the Sony BMG CDs?

EFF agreed to the settlement because we believe it provides a good compensation package for the group of people who purchased the CDs but did not experience any hardware damage as a result. This means purchasers whose claim is primarily based on their purchase of the CDs and experiencing the hassle of having to patch or uninstall their systems, or in the case of MediaMax 3, having had files installed prior to giving you a chance to agree.

EFF's goals for purchasers of the CDs were to :

  1. Stop production of any more CDs by Sony BMG with the bad DRM on them.
  2. Get people non-DRM'd/non-EULA'd versions of their music.
  3. Get this relief to people quickly, rather than after years of legal wrangling. This is in part why some of things in the settlement, like uninstallers, were available before the settlement itself was announced.
  4. Get people some free music, or in the case of those who were at risk from the XCP rootkit, a choice of some money for their trouble.
  5. Ensure that people get notice. Sony BMG has agreed to use the banner functionality on some of its CDs to give individual notice to purchasers at the time they put the CD into their computers, as well as put notices on many artists websites and purchasing adwords giving notice more broadly. We're still working with Sony about what these will look like, but EFF believes that taking extra steps to give people notice of the need to patch their systems, and of the settlement, is important.
  6. Ensure independent security testing and pre-launch EULA review of any future DRM, with a report to the lawyers involved in the case of at least the security testing.
  7. Agree to a quick process for response by Sony BMG, involving independent security reviewers and enforced by the court, in the event of any future discovery of a security flaw in their DRM.

There's much more in the settlement than that, of course, but for the purchasers these were EFF's core goals and the settlement meets them all. That's why we think the settlement is a good deal and we endorse it.

So much for compensation, how about the damage? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903827)

Who's gonna pay for the damage Sony's rootkit did to the poor fools' computers?

Imagine you're a computer illiterate. Like about 70% of the people out there, who just know how to slip a CD in and hope that autorun works. Who is going to pay for the expert they need to get the computer back into shape? Or, if they don't, who's gonna pay for the consequential costs those backdoor'ed and trojan-prepared machines are going to cause? Who's going to pay the hours necessary if you do it yourself?

My time has a price! It is currently $22.86 an hour. That's what I get when I spend that hour at work instead of trying to get buggy, shoddy, half-baked malware out of my system!

Who is going to pay that?

Title should be... (2, Insightful)

danwesnor (896499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14903843)

... EFF Finally Sells Out.

I would think they would be encouraging victims to withdraw from the class action. Maybe the victims who did so would get nothing (as opposed to next-to-nothing), but every victim who withdrew from the class would cost the lawyers who agreed to this worthless settlement a little bit of their fee.

Not only does the agreement not compensate the victims for real damages ($7.50 is what, 10 minutes of tech support?), but contains no punitive damages. Let's not forget that Sony didn't just use DRM, they infected their victims computers with a virus, stole personal information, opened up their computers to further attacks, and then took deliberate actions to cover up their wrongdoing. If you or I did that, we'd be facing jail time.
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