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A Legal Analysis of the Sony BMG Rootkit Debacle

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the bad-ideas-just-keep-on-coming dept.

Security 227

YIAAL writes "Two lawyers from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology look at the Sony BMG Rootkit debacle: 'The Article first addresses the market-based rationales that likely influenced Sony BMG's deployment of these DRM systems and reveals that even the most charitable interpretation of Sony BMG's internal strategizing demonstrates a failure to adequately value security and privacy. After taking stock of the then-existing technological environment that both encouraged and enabled the distribution of these protection measures, the Article examines law, the third vector of influence on Sony BMG's decision to release flawed protection measures into the wild, and argues that existing doctrine in the fields of contract, intellectual property, and consumer protection law fails to adequately counter the technological and market forces that allowed a self-interested actor to inflict these harms on the public.' Yes, under 'even the most charitable interpretation' it was a lousy idea. The article also suggests some changes to the DMCA to protect consumers from this sort of intrusive, and security-undermining, technique in the future."

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FP? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723002)

I sure hope so, bitches.

Re:FP? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723004)

oh snap

Nothing like... (5, Insightful)

ellenbee (978615) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723012)

Good old greed..

Re:Nothing like... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723034)

I agree... greed kills greedy killers [myminicity.com]

Re:Nothing like... (0)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723070)

more like good old Sony. They don't even care about money. It's like making stupid decision is their hobby. Hurting their customers and creating crappy products is like a game to them

Re:Nothing like... (3, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723142)

They don't even care about money.

Look at it this way. During the time you spend filling the tank in your H2, you will have made ten or twenty times the the money you will spend on the gas. You don't need to care about the money. It ended up being a pittance anyway. They effectively lost nothing. And consumers still flock to buy their stuff as fast as they can put it out. How much longer till someone discovers XCP v2.0? Rinse, repeat. v3...4...5 This won't stop until we vote their shills out of office and quit buying their "crappy" products, from them and from any other company in their portfolio.

Re:Nothing like... (1)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723210)

They don't even care about money.

Look at it this way. During the time you spend filling the tank in your H2, you will have made ten or twenty times the the money you will spend on the gas. You don't need to care about the money. It ended up being a pittance anyway. They effectively lost nothing. And consumers still flock to buy their stuff as fast as they can put it out. SNIP
Sony doesn't care, They only have that end of the biz to offset the huge buckets of money they get from their electronics and movie side. Rock stars are whinny little bitches with attitudes. They make no money from Sony until the fourth album and most of their living comes off their concerts. Oh and Sony gets a nice slice of that too.

And nobody bothers with Payola anymore as they stations get a slice of the concerts that they promote. Maybe the DJs get some duckets from up and comers but self interest on the part of the station is what pushes music. If Britney is coming to town then she gets more airplay magically.

Re:Nothing like... (3, Informative)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723378)

In fact Sony/BMG gets no money from electronics because they don't make electronics. Sony Corporation makes electronics. Sony/BMG is not Sony, that's why they have the "BMG" in their name. In case you were interested Sony/BMG was formed by the combination of spinoffs Sony Music and 'B'ertelsmann 'M'usic 'G'roup, with all of the higher ups from the Bertelsmann side. It is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann.

Re:Nothing like... (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723516)

I suppose anything that uses DRM protection can be considered greed because this uses some form of stealth to stop so called unauthorised use.

Actually I think you really need to define what a root-kit is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rootkit [wikipedia.org] (I particularly like the part about "non-hostile rootkits") and in the case of the Sony-BMG root-kit it all boiled down to DRM and greed if you like which actually installed hidden files which were difficult to find by "normal" means. Ok this was not a good thing but when you really think about it should we not point the finger at the Operating System for allowing a so-called normal user to install files in a system area and the so-called virus protection for not picking it up.

What is even worse quite a lot of software many not create hidden files (some do) but actually create entries in the "registry" and even if the software has a removal tool (ie. Uninstall) some registry entries are not removed. Of course we know these entries are there for the users own good (cough!). The best way of checking this is to download a demo program of some commercial software and test it for the trial period until the license expires. Now remove the demo program and try to re-install it. Depending on the program you may not be able to do this since in some cases hidden files or registry entries are used to protect against re-installation. The definition of rootkit starts to get very murky when considering this, although I suppose if you really read the Eula it would have mentioned this.

More legal stuff? (1, Redundant)

angryfirelord (1082111) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723014)

Just send Chuck Norris over there for crying out loud!

It's the wee hours... (1, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723054)

... of the morning, so I'll bite. I'll admit that I only got as far as reading the abstract, so sue me. I really don't see the need for a journal published paper to dissect the situation. Sony got caught up in the zeitgeist over Napster and how digital distribution was going to destroy their business model, just like how Hollywood freaked over the VCR. I think paranoia and utter indifference to the customer pretty much sums up the whole situation. Other than that, I don't see the need to dredge up a two-year old incident with a published paper, other than it's pretty late.

Re:It's the wee hours... (2, Interesting)

qzjul (944600) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723264)

My immediate thoughts upon reading it were quite the opposite actually: Having a journal article written about this might make these issues more difficult for congress to ignore or dismiss as sensationalism; if they actually take note, those who are not already in the pockets of the recording industry may find it more difficult to follow those who are.

Any piece of solid, credible research that demonstrates the reality of the situation is welcomed by me; eventually - if enough of these sorts of things are published - the weight of the evidence may become too overbearing for even the recording industry to buy off elected officials.

Its a moral issue. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723066)

This shouldn't be about laws, its a moral issue.

Laws don't and should not be the only guiding factor in the actions of people or corporations. It is not the case that anything specifically prevented by law is allowed. A person or corporation should also be a good citizen, and there are things you just should not do, such as inflict root kits on other people's computers.

The question then is; how did somebody at Sony arrive at the conclusion that they should try to protect their IP right in this manner?

Waas this a comittee decision where moral judgement went out the window in a corporate meeting? Or are people at Sony severely lacking personal moral judgement?

I would like to know.

Re:Its a moral issue. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723090)

this article uncovers the modivation behind the rootkit project... Rootkit Open Sourced [myminicity.com]

Re:Its a moral issue. (2, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723484)

this article uncovers the modivation behind the rootkit project... Rootkit Open Sourced (link to http://fohootville.myminicity.com/ [myminicity.com] )
Link in parent is some sort of datamining site

[06:52] gotcha: MyMiniCity is designed to capture information from all its visitors. thank you for your participation.

Re:Its a moral issue. (5, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723180)

The problem is that morals are specifically off the society book nowdays. Standalone (without religios tint) morals and how society functions are not something kids study in school or at home. At best they get a version which was skewed and slanted through the prism of their family religion. At worst they do not get anything. The situation is same all over US, UK and most of Europe. The rest of the world closely follows.

Sigh... As usually Heinlein "Starship Troopers" is probably right. We need "History and Moral Philosophy" lessons in school. Though there is noone to teach them in the current generation.

Islam will bring morality back to Europe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723276)

Agreed.
Which is why conversions to Islam are so high in Europe.

And don't worry Islam teaches morals in school. In fact, that is pretty much all they teach.

Re:Islam will bring morality back to Europe (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723470)

Islam certainly teaches a system of morality. Whether it is the one you want taught is another matter.

http://humanists.net/alisina/islamic_morality.htm [humanists.net]

Re:Islam will bring morality back to Europe (2, Insightful)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723514)

Read my post again. The bit about "prism of religion". In fact Islam and the Evangelicals was exactly what I meant there. Sigh...

Re:Islam will bring morality back to Europe (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723624)

I wasn't responding to your post, I replied to this one

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=390868&cid=21723276 [slashdot.org]

I don't disagree with this post

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=390868&cid=21723180 [slashdot.org]

In fact I'm sure Mr. Rasczak [imdb.com] would explain the morality of dealing with alien enemies of the State, especially ones that are numerous but low tech and and rely on suicide attacks and indiscriminately targetting civillians ;-)

"Some say US foreign policy has encouraged militancy in the Middle East and a live and let live policy would have been preferable"
"I'm from New York and I say KILL EM ALL!"

Re:Islam will bring morality back to Europe (2, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724070)

Ugh... The movie... Puke...

It has nothing to do with the original message from the novel. The novel had a number of very powerful messages regarding social structure, moral, etc. These are all absent from the film. And in the novel the enemy was anything but low tech.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723326)

Sigh... As usually Heinlein "Starship Troopers" is probably right. We need "History and Moral Philosophy" lessons in school. Though there is noone to teach them in the current generation.

Quite probably, but his main point, which that lesson was supposed to back up, was granting of franchise only on completion of public service. You'd never get that one through.

As much as I like that story, and its one of my all time favorite books, it starts with the premise that returning soldiers would essentially take over the world and everything would be wonderful thereafter. History has shown quite clearly that every time this occurs things go badly.

Re:Its a moral issue. (4, Interesting)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723656)

As much as I like that story, and its one of my all time favorite books, it starts with the premise that returning soldiers would essentially take over the world and everything would be wonderful thereafter. History has shown quite clearly that every time this occurs things go badly.

Except that they don't become "Citizens" until *after* they have served, and are no longer in the military. History has indeed shown that when the military takes over the government, then yes, bad things happen. But that's not the system that was described. It was civilians who had *previously* served in the military. Even today, one of the qualifications that many people look for in their elected leaders is previous military service.

History has shown that when citizens are ignorant of history, the means by which they both first gained and retain their freedoms, and by which their country remains free from attack, very bad things happen. Pearl Harbor happened because Japan saw that America after WW1 had shrunk their military to a fraction of its' previous strength, and the citizens and most of the government had a policy of isolationism and retreat from world conflict. Japan failed to take into account the American peoples' outrage and anger, and the sleeping industrial might America could bring to bear.

The surest way to get robbed in a big city is to look and act like a victim. The surest way to start a war is to appear conquerable to other nations with acceptable losses. That's precisely what the people who advocate unilateral disarmament, and also those who preach disengagement when targeted by terrorists, fail to understand.

As to the Sony/BMG rootkit incident, as long as the punishment for getting caught in bad corporate behavior is acceptable, expect to see such behavior repeated.

Cheers!

Strat

Minor correction (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723730)

"Even today, one of the qualifications that many people look for in their elected leaders is previous military service."

"Even today, one of the qualifications that many people IN THE USA look for in their elected leaders is previous military service."

The US has a weird, hyper-patriotic society that a lot of Europeans find bizarre, brainwashing and militaristic.

And only giving the franchise to people who have previously served in the military? Screw you! What gives you the right to decide that? What gives those citizens the right to decide how everyone else gets to live? Nothing whatsoever.

Re:Minor correction (0, Flamebait)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723796)

The US has a weird, hyper-patriotic society that a lot of Europeans find bizarre, brainwashing and militaristic.

It's the USAs' military might that saved Europe in WW1 and WW2, and recently through NATO that allows much of Europe to eschew a large military for protection and kept them from becoming another Soviet satellite nation or becoming another Chinese Tibet.

You're welcome.

And only giving the franchise to people who have previously served in the military? Screw you! What gives you the right to decide that? What gives those citizens the right to decide how everyone else gets to live? Nothing whatsoever.

Doesn't have to be military, as in Heinleins' world it was simply public service, of which the military was one branch. Plus, we're talking theoretically about a science fiction novel. Nobody is taking anything away from anyone. Chill!

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Minor correction (1, Troll)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723822)

"It's the USAs' military might that saved Europe in WW1 and WW2"

That's a subject for debate, not proclamation, as is the rest of your nonsense about soviet satellites. Plus, given the Iraqi mess and the despicable things your country asks of its allies, I'm willing to say we don't want your sort of protection. And we don't need it.

"Plus, we're talking theoretically about a science fiction novel."

And people are proposing it as a good model and a natural one. It's not, it's only in the US that the military are seen as some sort of gods. To much the rest of the world they are brave people but that doesn't necessarily make them smart or right about anything.

Re:Minor correction (3, Insightful)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724322)

"It's the USAs' military might that saved Europe in WW1 and WW2"

That's a subject for debate, not proclamation...


I think Britain, France and Italy might might disagree. Without the USA's support, Britain would have been invaded by the Nazis. France and Italy were liberated.

And people are proposing it as a good model and a natural one. It's not, it's only in the US that the military are seen as some sort of gods.

I don't know whose post you're responding to here. I said nothing about anyone being gods nor does anyone I know in the USA think of the military in that way or even close. Nor was I seriously proposing the Starship Troopers society as an actual model. Just the un-arguable fact that a weak military invites attack from others that have expansionist aims.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Minor correction (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724136)

And only giving the franchise to people who have previously served in the military? Screw you! What gives you the right to decide that? What gives those citizens the right to decide how everyone else gets to live?

If you do not feel ready to stand up to the bullies, then what are you complaining about? Either *you* decide how you get to live or someone else will. Ethics will only survive if there are enough people ready to defend basic principles, even by force if necessary.


The simple fact is that if you are not ready to fight for your rights you cannot complain when somebody takes them away. Unfortunately, people like Hitler and Stalin and Mao and Saddam exist. It's up to you to choose whether you want to be a Neville Chamberlain or a Churchill.

Re:Its a moral issue. (5, Interesting)

lareader (1191563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723686)

Just a minor thing on Starship Troopers:
Not all the people who volunteered for public service ended up as soldiers - they simply ended up doing what their society thought it needed and they had the ability to do.

Heinlein actually wrote a bit about the "world" of Starship Troopers in Expanding Universe (in a retrospective on his literary career).
At the time when the events in the book take place, quite a lot of people were needed as soldiers - but due to the way we people are wired (with tight-nit social groups as soldiers), soldiers were usually the last to stop serving in public and thus the last to actually get to vote.
Yes, you didn't get the franchise until *after* you've stopped serving in that world.

I do agree that the premise is shaky - but the idea of not giving everyone franchise just because they were 18 years old and alive was one of the ideas Heinlein was toying with in that book.
Of course, he argued that clearly the founders of US of A never intended everyone to get the franchise either - his criterion were simply a bit more merit-based.

In Expanding Universe he did mention that the idea of having stable people with a stake in maintaining a working society as a rather good idea, and goes on arguing for removing the franchise from men and giving it to women who have born children, as they have a personal reason for being interested in having a society that works... and makes a rather convincing argument of it.

I can heartily recommend Expanding Universe if you are interested in what Heinlein said he was thinking when writing.
As with all things written down, of course, you must consider the source - but I got a lot of amusement out of his writings, and like his meritocratic views personally.
The book "Requiem" is also a good read, if a trifle sad at times - but it did contain his speeches at a few scifi conventions which I hadn't read - highly interesting for a person not born until the last years of the Red Scare.

(Sorry for pushing Heinlein, but I really liked those books and they represent a very enlightening perspective on what Heinlein professed to believe.)

Re:Its a moral issue. (2, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724118)

***Quite probably, but his main point, which that lesson was supposed to back up, was granting of franchise only on completion of public service. You'd never get that one through.***

Eh, why not? The US political system accepts more peculiar stuff than that every year -- DMCA, prohibition, NAFTA, the War on Drugs, Guantanamo. A few TV ads; a couple of movies; an all out offensive on the talk shows; (and a grandfather clause for the current crop of reprobates). I think it'd be an easy sell.

***As much as I like that story, and its one of my all time favorite books, it starts with the premise that returning soldiers would essentially take over the world and everything would be wonderful thereafter. History has shown quite clearly that every time this occurs things go badly.***

Actually, history pretty much neutral on the subject. Military men are not necessarily either authoritarian or pro-war. Witness Carter (he's an Annapolis graduate and served 7 years on active duty) or Colin Powell who seems to have been the only guy in the top rank of the Bush administration who tried to head off the Iraq fiasco. Not that military men are necessarily the best men to put in charge. Some -- Washington, Eisenhower -- did pretty well. Some didn't.

As I recall, Heinlein was quite specific that public service was not limited to military service. OTOH, public service is not a guarantee of quality. I have trouble imagining either our current Dear Leader or his predecessor signing up for any job where their precious ass was likely to get shot at, but, I'm quite sure the Clinton at least would have found a (safe) way to check off the Public Service requirement.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

Azuma Hazuki (955769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724144)

*WE* need to teach them. We, the parents and future parents. School, in the US at least, is glorified babysitting, and our children sure as hell are not going to learn anything good from mainstream TV or community leaders. It's up to us.

Notwithstanding stupid adoption and marriage laws I think my girlfriend and I could do a better job than the bog-standard heterosexual Christian couple this country seems to fetishize as the epitome of "fammiwy valyoos." We've both studied a lot of holy scripture, history, psychology, and parenting books (I even took a 300-level psych course in child development as a college freshman), and I've been dreaming of a daughter since age 14, more than a third of my life. We could do this.

It seems that the problem is that no one educated the parents. They were either too busy (secular), too scared (religious), or too cynical (either one) to get a solid grounding in the timeless morals, the ones that are good for humans no matter when and where they live. People like us are probably pretty rare in that respect, but it's our duty to do what we can.

What is this morality you speak of? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723234)

Most companies, like most people, will take what they can. Only the law limits what most companies/people would take. Is it morally right that some have so much, and continue to take, while some have so little and seem to have less each day? It should not be like that, but it is.

Re:What is this morality you speak of? (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723310)

Ooooh, now you're going to hear from the libertarians or what they call themselves these days that preach taking as much as you can and crushing as many people as possible is the ideal market because when only the strongest survive there will be some sort of equilibrium.

Re:Its a moral issue. (4, Insightful)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723248)

"The question then is; how did somebody at Sony arrive at the conclusion that they should try to protect their IP right in this manner?"

Seems like when it comes to protecting their a$$e$, they don't care about morals. Anything goes. It's sad to say, but it all comes down to the all mighty dollar for these companies/corporations.

Then again, I'm a cynic.

Re:Its a moral issue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723486)

Laws don't and should not be the only guiding factor in the actions of people or corporations.

Sorry, aside from not explicitly breaking the law, the only responsibility of a corporation in the United States is to enhance shareholder value. If they fail in this, the shareholders can sue management's ass off.

If management can somehow argue that a public good (charitable donations, installing green technology, etc.) can increase shareholder value, they can get away with it.

WalFart will plow enough money into local projects to make it seem like they're good corporate citizens, thereby providing some kind of a buffer against local opposition to locating a new store. But they will damned well expect to make enough profit off the new store to repay themselves well beyond the value of the donations.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723616)

Laws are there to make immoral and amoral people act according to the moral will of society.

In other words, laws enforce society's idea of moral behaviour.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

Karellen (104380) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723618)

It's one of the reasons I run Linux -

"Let's put it this way: if you need to ask a lawyer whether what you do is "right" or not, you are morally corrupt. Let's not go there. We don't base our morality on law."

  -- Linus Torvalds

Re:Its a moral issue. (4, Interesting)

Frater 219 (1455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723728)

The question then is; how did somebody at Sony arrive at the conclusion that they should try to protect their IP right in this manner?

This is probably not best discussed in terms of "protecting IP rights" but rather in terms of:

  1. Individual decision-makers in the organization trying to protect their own personal interests (cover your ass, look busy, do something!);
  2. An interest in seizing control (squatting, adverse possession, invasion) of the user's desktop, in order to use that as a foothold to greater control over the medium;
  3. High-pressure and deceptive sales tactics by the spyware makers.

Someone at Sony was charged with "doing something" and "making the piracy problem go away". They were desperate. They also wanted something to show for their efforts, namely, an ability to exercise power on user desktops. (Recall, the copyright terrorists have long wanted "self-help" capabilities that amount to sabotaging users' property at will.)

Spyware must have seemed like a perfect solution: it doesn't just "do something" about the pirates, it accomplishes a long-standing goal of seizing greater control of the medium. It is not at all about "IP rights"; it's about power -- in this case, about ripping power out of the users' hands.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724246)

Spyware must have seemed like a perfect solution: it doesn't just "do something" about the pirates, it accomplishes a long-standing goal of seizing greater control of the medium. It is not at all about "IP rights"; it's about power -- in this case, about ripping power out of the users' hands.

There are only three basic goals that humans pursue:

  • pride,
  • power (aka money), and
  • pussy

And deep down in our genes, the first two are little more than a means to the third. ('Novelty' may be in there too, but probably not at the same urgency level as the others.)

A corporation is a social pattern that focuses these motives from many people into one direction. It reinforces and excuses the baser ways of obtaining these things, making both perpetrators and victims faceless... but the motives are the same.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723816)

Morals is something personal that differ from person to person, Laws is something decided by society.
Companies and Corporations will often ignore morals either because the profit is worth it or because the person making that decision has differeing moral values. The chances of both these events happening increases relative to the corporation's employee base and yearly product.

Same things applies to laws except that the deciding factors is punishment and likelihood of getting caught. Thus the punishment ought to be fluid(percentage of gross yearly product for example) because the larger a company/corporation is the less impact does a set value fine impact it.

In my personal opinion society should not rely on the moral conviction of a corporation's employees to guide corporation's action because as we've seen time and time again moral values fail to keep corporations in line, stiff fines relative to said corporation's gross yearly product would be a bigger incentive to keep them in line.

Re:Its a moral issue. (1)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724344)

A person or corporation should also be a good citizen

emphasis mine

I am quite intrigued by your wording here. You imply that Corporate entities should be citizens of their resident country in and of their own right. Would this too imply that they have rights like Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Bare Arms, does this include the right to vote? Does this mean that they are punishable for Treason?

I do not mean to belittle your choice of words, but the implications are fascinating. Imagine if Corporations were indeed subject to all the above and more, give GE and Google a vote (only one, they are only one entity as it is; also they would need to have their headquarters here in the states wouldn't they? If they left then they couldn't be a citizen of this country right?)

Just thinking through the implications for corporations if they were to be treated as a full fledged citizen, well its quite mind boggling, but very, very interesting.

Precedent. (4, Interesting)

Raindance (680694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723078)

It was a push on legal norms. The recording industry has done it before, and more successfully.

A quote from Lessig's Free Culture:

After Vivendi purchased MP3.com, Vivendi turned around and filed a malpractice lawsuit against the lawyers who had advised it that they had a good faith claim that the service they wanted to offer would be considered legal under copyright law. This lawsuit alleged that it should have been obvious that the courts would find this behavior illegal; therefore, this lawsuit sought to punish any lawyer who had dared to suggest that the law was less restrictive than the labels demanded.


Legal norms are not just about judicial precedent.

Auto-run is evil (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723082)

Of course this would be a non-issue if Windows didn't automatically run software when you put a CD in the drive; this is just another reason why auto-run is an insanely bad idea.

Re:Auto-run is evil (1)

Tanman (90298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723124)

That's why I always put the power tools, available fo-ree from microsoft.com, on any windows computer. I then completely disable autorun.

Re:Auto-run is evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723278)

I agree that Windows is inherently insecure but you are completely missing the point here. The primary problem is soulless profit hungry corporates pulling a sly one on the users and taking advantage of what was intended to be a useful feature. Can you imagine the outcry if MS decided that Windows no longer had any form of auto run capability? Things like that are what make users switch platforms.

Re:Auto-run is evil (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723316)

Put a link to the CD drive in their quickstart bar and they'll shut up quickly.

Re:Auto-run is evil (2, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723500)

Vista prompts you before autorunning stuff

http://www.phdcc.com/shellrun/autorun.htm [phdcc.com]

And actually from the same link -

In Windows NT4, 2000 and XP systems, only Administrators and Power Users can use AutoRun.

Not so much, IF... (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723600)

If they added an autorun that worked in a restricted mode it wouldn't be to bad. Perhaps a simple hyper linked document type of application, something very specific and limited. As all I seem to recall autorun being good for is launch menus for games to run/install.

I'll try one more time (5, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723084)

Can we please get an Icon that has a foot and a handgun?

Re:I'll try one more time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723360)

Can we please get an Icon that has a foot and a handgun?

Or even one with lots of feet and a machine gun.

Re:I'll try one more time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723480)

I'd say the SONY Logo is just as good.

what they are really saying is... (1, Redundant)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723092)

the market-based rationales that likely influenced Sony BMG's deployment of these DRM systems and reveals that even the most charitable interpretation of Sony BMG's internal strategizing demonstrates a failure to adequately value security and privacy. After taking stock of the then-existing technological environment that both encouraged and enabled the distribution of these protection measures, the Article examines law, the third vector of influence on Sony BMG's decision to release flawed protection measures into the wild, and argues that existing doctrine in the fields of contract, intellectual property, and consumer protection law fails to adequately counter the technological and market forces that allowed a self-interested actor to inflict these harms on the public.' Yes, under 'even the most charitable interpretation' it was a lousy idea. The article also suggests some changes to the DMCA to protect consumers from this sort of intrusive, and security-undermining, technique in the future." ...the market-based rationales that likely influenced Sony BMG's deployment of these DRM systems...
  That's pretty simple. They thought that there was a vast network of 13-year-old superhackers that were going to destroy the company by sharing files of music recordings. Then some schmuck (names? anyone who knows?) in the firmware special projects department told some marketing manager that he knew how to keep 13-year-old superhackers from copying music from CDs by simply adding a little piece of code. ...demonstrates a failure to adequately value security and privacy.
  The only security and privacy that they care about is their own. These concepts don't exist for people who are not executives in the company. Especially customers.

... then-existing technological environment that both encouraged and enabled the distribution of these protection measures...
  "Since we own the music on the disk that is placed into a computer CD drive, we, by the simple and obvious extension of corporate logic, thereby own the computer and all of the data inside it." If you want to become a corporate executive, you need to start thinking like one. ... flawed protection measures...
  If it keeps ordinary people from copying stupid pop songs from our CDs, then it is not flawed. If it destroys or corrupts the data on user's PC, we don't care. Serves them right as they are supposed to only be listening to CDs on a real Sony CD player. After all, we invented the CD so we can set the terms on its use. ... contract, intellectual property, and consumer protection law... ...is whatever the hell Sony's legal department says it is. And we have many, many millions of dollars, euro, UK pounds, or yen to prove it. Without the cash, talk is trash.

... Yes, under 'even the most charitable interpretation' it was a lousy idea...
Next year's rootkit software will work. And the first thing that it will do is send your name and address to our lawyer's office who will prepare a standardized form charging you with theft of intellectual property (which is some illiterate junkie thug under Sony corporate contract moaning 'baby, baby, baby' over and over). Our bot software will then serve this to anyone who puts a Sony music CD into any device with internet access (unless, of course, the device is a $999 Sony model DRM-XKE CD player with hi-def 2-inch LCD screen and wireless internet access). After all, we invented the CD so we can set the terms on its use.

suggests some changes to the DMCA ...
    The only changes that our legal department will allow the US politicians to pass will be ones that increase the criminal penalties for possession of music. This will happen when Sony completes its corporate merger with Wackenhut and CCA and completes the vast network of corporate prisons being built in distant lands. These will be needed to hold the vast number of unemployed former American college students who not only illegally listened to music, but also fell behind on their student loan payments.

what their saying (reformated better) (4, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723100)

...the market-based rationales that likely influenced Sony BMG's deployment of these DRM systems...
  That's pretty simple. They thought that there was a vast network of 13-year-old superhackers that were going to destroy the company by sharing files of music recordings. Then some schmuck (names? anyone who knows?) in the firmware special projects department told some marketing manager that he knew how to keep 13-year-old superhackers from copying music from CDs by simply adding a little piece of code. ...demonstrates a failure to adequately value security and privacy.
  The only security and privacy that they care about is their own. These concepts don't exist for people who are not executives in the company. Especially customers.

... then-existing technological environment that both encouraged and enabled the distribution of these protection measures...
  "Since we own the music on the disk that is placed into a computer CD drive, we, by the simple and obvious extension of corporate logic, thereby own the computer and all of the data inside it." If you want to become a corporate executive, you need to start thinking like one. ... flawed protection measures...
  If it keeps ordinary people from copying stupid pop songs from our CDs, then it is not flawed. If it destroys or corrupts the data on user's PC, we don't care. Serves them right as they are supposed to only be listening to CDs on a real Sony CD player. After all, we invented the CD so we can set the terms on its use. ... contract, intellectual property, and consumer protection law... ...is whatever the hell Sony's legal department says it is. And we have many, many millions of dollars, euro, UK pounds, or yen to prove it. Without the cash, talk is trash.

... Yes, under 'even the most charitable interpretation' it was a lousy idea...
Next year's rootkit software will work. And the first thing that it will do is send your name and address to our lawyer's office who will prepare a standardized form charging you with theft of intellectual property (which is some illiterate junkie thug under Sony corporate contract moaning 'baby, baby, baby' over and over). Our bot software will then serve this to anyone who puts a Sony music CD into any device with internet access (unless, of course, the device is a $999 Sony model DRM-XKE CD player with hi-def 2-inch LCD screen and wireless internet access). After all, we invented the CD so we can set the terms on its use.

suggests some changes to the DMCA ...
    The only changes that our legal department will allow the US politicians to pass will be ones that increase the criminal penalties for possession of music. This will happen when Sony completes its corporate merger with Wackenhut and CCA and completes the vast network of corporate prisons being built in distant lands. These will be needed to hold the vast number of unemployed former American college students who not only illegally listened to music, but also fell behind on their student loan payments.

(^_^) (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723250)

Glad to see
I"M not
the only one who
forgetsto
hit the "Preview" button!

Re:what their saying (reformated better) (3, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723376)

The only security and privacy that they care about is their own. These concepts don't exist for people who are not executives in the company. Especially customers.

Add "copyrights" to the list. Since there are several cases showing how little the "entertainments" industry cares about other people's copyrights.

The only changes that our legal department will allow the US politicians to pass will be ones that increase the criminal penalties for possession of music.

Unless someone can get the changes sneaked past. e.g. something tacked onto the end on an anti-terrorism bill :)

Re:what their saying (reformated better) (1)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724280)

The only security and privacy that they care about is their own. These concepts don't exist for people who are not executives in the company. Especially customers.

Add "copyrights" to the list. Since there are several cases showing how little the "entertainments" industry cares about other people's copyrights.
The Sony BMC Rootkit was actually one of those examples. First4Internet used GPLed code and didn't publish the source for their product, and neither did Sony BMC which distributed First4Internet's modifications.

So Sony BMC was infringing on someone else's copyright there.

Re:what their saying (reformated better) (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723438)

You seem to be confusing Sony/BMG and Sony Corporation. It wasn't Sony that installed the rootkit on CDs it was Sony/BMG. Sony/BMG is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann with most of the decision makers (at the time) being from the BMG side. It isn't too much of a surprise really, given than BMG had such a crappy reputation previous to the merger. Sony does hold some blame being a major shareholder, but the ultimate decision was not theirs. If anything Bertelsmann holds more blame than Sony, but no one is suggesting a boycott of Random House, for example.

Left hand, meet right hand (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723102)

Unfortunately, due to scaling problems, any sufficiently large and diverse corporation will have components that exhibit behavior that are detrimental to other components, or even the whole. While this can be reduced and discouraged, I do not believe it can be completely solved - something will always manage to slip its way through the cracks.

Sony has a huge image problem (especially among the geek elite) due to this effect, and due to the fact that its goals do not seem to align with the geeks of Slashdot's dream of free content for all. Maybe better laws, regulation, and consumer awareness will provide the sticks and carrots necessary to help guide this behavior to constructive not destructive purposes. If that happens, I'd suggest investing heavily in porcine aviation stocks, however.

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723146)

One quick check of your post history:

"I hate the PS3 (though I love the cell, but not for gaming, because that's too complicated for most game programmers to handle). I love my XBox 360 and Wii"

As someone who has worked on almost every console going back to the Genesis days let me say for the rest of us console engineers in saying to you:

Go fuck yourself. Your stupidity is nauseating.

And what the hell? 'geek elite'???

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (1)

QuantumFTL (197300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723400)

As someone who has worked on magnetohydrodynamic simulations on a massively parallel cluster (#50 supercomputer in the world, at the time), I can say that the Cell architecture is not well supported by current programming language paradigms. And, if you look at the current crop of PS3 games, it's clear that they are not living up to the potential of the hardware - with all of it's power it should blow away the 360, and yet it does not.

That's not why I hate the PS3. It's just that, well, I like to have fun playing games. I can do that on my 360 (I have no love for MS, but the 360 is absolutely fun w/ the current crop of games, as long as the RRoDs don't come your way), and I can do that on my Wii, and I can do that on my PS2.

There's just nothing compelling about a PS3, and I think part of it is because Sony didn't take adequate steps to make things work well for game developers. The Cell architecture is ambitious, and trying to adequately take advantage of that in an outdated programming language like C is pretty ridiculous - it's clear that we need languages that have built-in constructs that directly support parallelism (similar to High Performance Fortran, Parallel Haskell, etc).

Anyways, I take whatever Anonymous Cowards say with a grain of salt, but seriously - if you're offended that my observations that video game programmers are not trained to think in ways that lend themselves to this kind of parallelism, I'm sorry. However, having played many video games, I can attest to the fact that they are often unstable, buggy and or otherwise poorly constructed - game publishershave no economic motivation to put the time, money, and human resources into making bulletproof code. And I'm sorry, but if you're good enough to push something like the Cell to its limits, you're probably doing something a little more serious with your time than programming video games, the market tends to work that way. It's just that damn hard of a problem.

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723512)

Only on the Internet could a preference for one game console architecture bring responses like that.

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (5, Insightful)

otomo_1001 (22925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723160)

And now meet what I like to call handcuffs.

An easy solution to this problem, and it would only take a few instances, would be to seize all assets of the company in question and begin prosecution. If corporations are damn near treated like real humans, then let them see the other side of the coin. Make every failure in process hurt them where it matters, I guarantee we won't have this happen again. Or we end up with less corporations willing to "risk" product release in the US.

As it stands companies can seemingly get away with whatever they want to protect their business model.

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (1)

philipgar (595691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723936)

I think someone should be in handcuffs over this. At least a much more sever punishment. i don't agree that all of Sony should be split up or bankrupted over this, but the people who let this through at the top should have some serious punishments. I know if I installed rootkits on Sony's computers, and then logged remotely into them, and got caught, I'd likely be charged with computer crimes (or whatever the proper term is), and sent to jail for a couple years. Why if a major company does the same thing to millions of people, can they walk away paying a small fee that works out to a few dollars per affected CD. At the bare minimum, the punishment should make a major financial impact. If they can get settlements valuing a song at a couple hundred or thousand dollars per copyright infringement (i know these are unrelated cases, but the ideas are similar), then it's logical that they should be able to pay a couple hundred or thousand dollars per rootkit that they installed. Of course, in the current system this would never happen.

Phil

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723170)

If that happens, I'd suggest investing heavily in porcine aviation stocks, however.

On the Wall Street Wolf scale, Sony [yahoo.com] is not the worst investment you could make.

Re:Left hand, meet right hand (1)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723428)

Sony/BMG and Sony are not the same. Sony/BMG is a separate entity that is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann, with former Bertelsmann executives (at the time) in control of the top positions in the company. Unfortunately, Sony (proper) let them use the Sony name, probably for branding reasons. So all of the silly moves by Sony/BMG like the rootkit, are the responsibility of former BMG execs.

Law (2, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723114)

"The article also suggests some changes to the DMCA to protect consumers from this sort of intrusive, and security-undermining, technique in the future."

How about this, when an industry pushes legislative half assed measures and gets them passed in to law, they forfeit normal protections afforded every other group out there.

In this case DMCA law prohibits the consumer from doing all sorts of things, in an effort to protect a particular industry. Since Sony installed, without permission, software that effectively broke computers, they'd held to a HIGHER standard than any other organization.

In this case the law should have revoked the corporate charter surrendered all assets to the government. Since the Corporation is a "legal" entity, the same as a person, the government should treat it exactly like a person caught doing the same thing.

My $.02

It's Like People Still Trying To Make BSOD Jokes.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723174)

No one cares.
No one will ever care.

The only people who still hoping the world will finally become outraged at this non-event are Xbox fanboys.

NO ONE CARES.

Time to get a goddamn life and move on.

Legal solution? (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723178)

Why is a legal solution needed? Clearly, the whole incident worked out very badly for Sony-BMG. Any company can see this example and determine that this kind of software should not be used.

I don't hit my hand with a hammer, even though no law that restrains me from doing it. Is there a role for government in keeping folks from hitting their hand with a hammer?

Re:Legal solution? (1)

bubbl07 (777082) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723252)

I don't think that's an entirely accurate analogy. The Sony Rootkit fiasco also affected everyone that bought their products. Perhaps this situation is more akin to a pharmaceutical company not divulging all the side effects of a pill to the FCC/DEA and then putting it out to market. In that situation, of course there should be some sort of intervention.

Actually, that's still a pretty bad analogy, but you get the point. I'm not saying that this "legal analysis" isn't without its merits, just that you can't argue that by likening it to something not like it at all.

Re:Legal solution? (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723756)

Yeah, what with them filing for bankruptcy and pretty much giving stuff away just to get some cash flow as the general public decided to completely boycott...

Oh, wait, that's not what happened at all. Here's what happened - outside of a few geeks and a couple of other unlucky folks nobody cared. And even of those that did care, only a few geeks still do. Everyone else either didn't hear about it, didn't understand it, didn't care about it, or forgot. That's the way of the world.

Consumer protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723236)

Why do we provide for corporations what we do not guarantee for ourselves? If we who starve and suffer must earn our keep, why can't a corporation thrive or fail without government intervention?

boo ray (1)

waraey (1204246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723270)

and despite the debacle, people still want Blue Ray to win the Hi-def war.

I don't quite buy it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21723272)

I know Sony acted like a jackass, but it was more ignorance than malice. They didn't write the rootkit, they bought it from somebody else. And if they knew what a rootkit was, the people who wrote it didn't tell Sony it was a rootkit, and likely did not consider it to be a rootkit. They advertise the software as preventing users from making copies, and I'm guessing Sony considered the software on that criterion alone.

Much like the average sysadmin doesn't consider the privacy implications of leaving a backup tape in a car, the average music exec doesn't consider the privacy implications of some piece of copy protection software.

My point is that Sony didn't know what they were doing, nor were they competant enough to realize that they didn't know what they were doing.

dom

Re:I don't quite buy it (1)

diablillo (635954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723740)

It's true that they didn't write the rootkit code, but it's silly to think that nobody in Sony's production line knew about it. I really don't think that a company the size of Sony would sell something and not really know whats in it. They were certainly not all evil, but they were not all innocent by ignorance.

Sony's Pictures Entertainment Senior VP Steve Heckler said it best: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2000/08/23/we_will_block_napster/ [theregister.co.uk]
"The [music] industry will take whatever steps it needs to protect itself and protect its revenue streams," Heckler said. "It will not lose that revenue stream, no matter what."
"Sony is going to take aggressive steps to stop this. We will develop technology that transcends the individual user. We will firewall Napster at source - we will block it at your cable company, we will block it at your phone company, we will block it at your [ISP]. We will firewall it at your PC."


Seems to me that they were actually pursuing something that would do exactly what the rootkit did.

Who really should we be mad at? (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723386)

I was highly pissed at Sony for doing this.

But I am more pissed at Microsoft.

This is NOT supposed to happen - I would allow them a foulup of this magnitude only on the virgin release of WIN95.

Let's face it, neither people nor businesses are unconditionally honest. I believe the proper lawyerspeak for "dishonesty" is "realistic".

People will violate copyright and patent if they feel they can get away with it.

Business will write loans that nobody can pay, will insert phrases like "we reserve the right to make any change at any time to this contract" in their written contracts, and sucker customers will sign it anyway.

Both pranker/hackers and businessmen *will* write hostile code.

I am not nearly so mad at Sony for doing this as I am at Microsoft for having code that lacks resilence against such attacks. Even as much as simple integrity checking of core files would isolate tampering of those files.

This could be as easy as when the customer boots from his purchased legit installation CD and asks it directly to verify his OS. There is no way any hacker could compromise the code on a stamped CD. At least the computer owner would know his computer is telling him the truth over which processes and threads are running, and know the registry keys are being honestly reported.

How a business claims "trustworthy computing" and such a thing happens makes me think of the banking industry repackaging all those toxic loans, then having some ratings agency stamp them with a high rating, then sell it all off to corporate pension managers - with every party in the whole sorry chain shielded by "hold harmless" law from the repercussions of their negligence.

All this "plays for sure" businesstalk rings of Circuit City Divx. Its marketing headhock which the technically illiterate ( even if they are business savvy; ) falls for over and over again. I realize a business appears to have much lower needs of system security than I feel is prudent - hence their acceptance of stuff that requires other companies products to crutch it up before it works. It seems to me that despite all the hoopla, we still have basically lousy stuff that hasn't seen any improvement since WIN98.

Linux seems to be the answer, as I know had this exploit been used on Linux, there would have immediately been free and open discussion of what happened and how to make damn sure it doesn't happen again. I can not count on that kind of support on proprietary systems, whose support is whatever the vendor sees fit to support - with any other help facing legal liability for even trying to help.

Remember Sony/BMG and Sony Corp aren't the same (5, Insightful)

Boycott BMG (1147385) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723410)

The rootkit was put on those CDs by Sony/BMG, which is a separate entity that is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann (BMG stands for Bertelsmann Music Group). Furthermore, the people at the top, who make all of the important decisions are all from the BMG side. So, if either company is more to blame, it is Bertelsmann. Does this mean you should boycott Bertelsmann? It does seem a bit silly to boycott Random House (major book publisher and Bertelsmann subsidiary) over what happened to some music CDs, and yet that is what some are doing w.r.t. Sony Vaio, Sony cameras, etc. My suggestion would be to boycott the product that Sony/BMG puts out-their music CDs.

Re:Remember Sony/BMG and Sony Corp aren't the same (1)

AlXtreme (223728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723636)

It does seem a bit silly to boycott Random House (major book publisher and Bertelsmann subsidiary) over what happened to some music CDs

Why does that seem silly? I say boycott both Sony and Bertelsmann, and all their subsidiaries. Give a clear signal to those in charge that you don't want to put up with BS like this: vote with your money and shop somewhere else.

Re:Remember Sony/BMG and Sony Corp aren't the same (1)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723640)

Does this mean you should boycott Bertelsmann? It does seem a bit silly to boycott Random House (major book publisher and Bertelsmann subsidiary) over what happened to some music CDs, and yet that is what some are doing w.r.t. Sony Vaio, Sony cameras, etc.


Or maybe that's just what's needed. A bit of collateral damage to cause corporations to tell other corporations to lay off the bad moves. Because so far just having a bunch of customers doing it hasn't worked.

Re:Remember Sony/BMG and Sony Corp aren't the same (1)

line-bundle (235965) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723646)

The rootkit was put on those CDs by Sony/BMG, which is a separate entity that is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann (BMG stands for Bertelsmann Music Group).



I was going to mod you down, but here goes.


Even though Sony/BMG is a separate entity it still has the Sony name. It's in their to make sure their name does not get sullied. It's not our job to find out exactly which part belongs to whom.


Also why do corporations not investigate which aspect of a person failed to pay their credit card bill. I'm talking about universal default here (not the best example though). They don't care. As long as your name appears somewhere you are in trouble

Re:Remember Sony/BMG and Sony Corp aren't the same (1)

Random_Goblin (781985) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724080)

It's in their to make sure their name does not get sullied.
Your post lacks interest

Downfall (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723434)

Is it just me or is Sony losing it? It seems that Sony has been making a lot of really bad mistakes and it is heading freefall. On the way to becoming a shadow of the former self?

Re:Downfall (1)

TheeBlueRoom (809813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723564)

I would agree, Sony was once a great company, I am now Sony free, so the new plasma will not be Sony, the HD video camera will not be Sony, The music I buy will not be Sony... Sony you are no longer welcome in my wallet

Re:Downfall (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723678)

My Mom has bought a Vaio to my brother and regretted it to the point of being in the process of engaging a lawsuit agains Sony. It has already written a letter to Sony Japan.

Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723768)

Moron.

Sony products are everywhere. I saw lines of people taking away sony tvs when they were on offer at a supermarket in the UK the other day.

PS3 outsells xBox 360 in the EU.
It's currently outselling the Wii in Japan.

They aren't going anywhere.

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723854)

Yes they are everywhere, you zealot idiot. But that just mean they are STILL there, for now. Many big companies have come and gone. But I wasn't talking about that.

I used to love Sony products. When I mentioned the downfall, I meant about quality and consumer relations. It is too big of a company to just disappear, but it is quickly loosing credibility within the consumer market from the recent events that casted a shadow upon it.

PS3 outselling xBox or Wii... don't know whether it is true or not but who cares? What's that got to do with this? What matters is that Sony recently is like oh, let's say, explosive batteries, or installing rootkits on the client machines, or purposedly misleading costumers and including false statements in the laptop packages and announcements relating to the software included with them. That is downright asking for a lawsuit and undermining its own credibility.

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723896)

I'm no zealot, but your original remark:

"It seems that Sony has been making a lot of really bad mistakes and it is heading freefall."

is just wrong. The company may have made a few mistakes from the geek perspective, but people as a whole just don't care. It's a sad fact, but companies all over the world do far, far worse things (in moral terms) than Sony have done, yet continue to go from success to success. Look at MS, look at Coca Cola, look at Nestle.

BTW, those things I said about PS3 - look 'em up. All true. The "outselling Wii in Japan" thing was reported on /. within the last few weeks, the PS3 has been outselling the 360 in europe for a while now. Not that it'll have the same install base yet (not been out nearly as long), but the sales are outpacing MS I believe.

(I apologise for starting my last post with the word "moron", I hadn't had my coffee yet).

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723952)

1) Your caffeine levels are no excuse. 2) As I said later, freefall not in a size/market point of view, but from a credibility point of view. 3) Yes, people do care. Wouldn't you care if you'd been mislead? "Here is your software!" "Gee, thanks! Erm... where's the software?" "It's not!" "No software?" "No. Just an empty box." "Ok, I don't care." 4) People do care about their privacy. 5) You continue to throw in the PS3 sales as an argument but it has nothing to do with the discussion. 6) Yes, lots of other companies do bad things in moral terms but there is one big difference between bad in moral terms and bad in business terms. They are not forcibly related.

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723986)

"1) Your caffeine levels are no excuse."

Fine, just trying to clear the air with a minor capitulation on my part, I can see the effort was unappreciated.

"2) As I said later, freefall not in a size/market point of view, but from a credibility point of view."

Umm, yeah, and as I said, the average person doesn't give a crap. The rootkit stuff either didn't affect them personally, or they didn't understand what it was, or they didn't care. Either way they've forgotten by now.

"3) Yes, people do care. Wouldn't you care if you'd been mislead? "Here is your software!" "Gee, thanks! Erm... where's the software?" "It's not!" "No software?" "No. Just an empty box." "Ok, I don't care.""

What are you referring to there? I'm a geek and even I have no idea.

"4) People do care about their privacy."

You car about your privacy. I care about my privacy. It seems a lot of folks care more about so-called security. And another lot of folks never even thought of it. And most of them will never of heard of this rootkit thing from Sony. Let alone known what it was or what the implications were.

"6) Yes, lots of other companies do bad things in moral terms but there is one big difference between bad in moral terms and bad in business terms. They are not forcibly related."

Oh I agree, I just don't think Sony have tarnished themselves in the eyes of the public. Much like Joe Public doesn't know why some folks have a grievance against Microsoft. Or care.

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724100)

"1) Your caffeine levels are no excuse."

Fine, just trying to clear the air with a minor capitulation on my part, I can see the effort was unappreciated.

Not to underappreciate your effort, but that was just a note/remark that in the future, you should try to refrain from making those comments instead of appologising for them. My policy is to avoid having to appologise, instead of misbehaving and appologising.

"2) As I said later, freefall not in a size/market point of view, but from a credibility point of view."

Umm, yeah, and as I said, the average person doesn't give a crap. The rootkit stuff either didn't affect them personally, or they didn't understand what it was, or they didn't care. Either way they've forgotten by now.

You're not european, are you? People here DO care a lot about the credibility of a company. Not only the geeks.

"3) Yes, people do care. Wouldn't you care if you'd been mislead? "Here is your software!" "Gee, thanks! Erm... where's the software?" "It's not!" "No software?" "No. Just an empty box." "Ok, I don't care.""

What are you referring to there? I'm a geek and even I have no idea.

Sony has been annoucing in some laptops included software that never was there. My Mom, a completely NON-Geek person has begun legal action about the laptops she bought for my brothers. As you see, my Mother does care. My Mother told about this to my Family, her friends and co-workers. Some were about to buy Sony laptops before knowing. None of them bought after knowing.

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724160)

"Not to underappreciate your effort, but that was just a note/remark that in the future, you should try to refrain from making those comments instead of appologising for them"

Well, I'm not _that_ upset over it, I was quite annoyed by the multiple backslapping "Sony are going down the pan!" "yeah d00d!" comments that slashdot has been running for a decade now on the likes of MS. It's all fun I'm sure, but largely incorrect and masturbatory. The world doesn't run on logic or good practice, much to my own chagrin.

"You're not european, are you? People here DO care a lot about the credibility of a company"

British actually, yes. You have more faith in people than I can muster these days. Maybe if you're French then your compatriots have a little more in the way of moral fortitude when it comes to these matters. I'm not convinced the British do (we still have a labour government for a start).

"Sony has been announcing in some laptops included software that never was there."

First thing I did with mine was wipe it and put Ubuntu on there. Did notice it was jammed full of "Trial versions" of things (i.e. pay us if you want your data next month). Doesn't sound like you issue has had a lot of press.

Re:Oh yes, It's just you. (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724362)

Actually I'm Portuguese. Please don't call me french. Or spanish. We take it personally.

People here actually do write in the complaints book even though merchants try to dissuade us and sometimes threanten us. I have made two complaints myself in the past 2 months. I have also sued - successfully - Compaq (a few years ago). My Mother has almost sued the local Toyota representative and our cable ISP (and backed off because they solved our problems when they got threatened). So we do take a stand. The complaints books here are inspected periodically by a national authority (which varies according to the business type) and companies are actually fined, even though the fine may or may not be anything significant.

In the laptops my Mom bought there was no "Trial version inside" but there were actually "full version inside" notices. I have no reason to be backslapping Sony, I have no personal grudge against the company, but it really did look like to me that Sony is in fact been showing some products. Maybe it's a phase the company is going through, maybe it's just an opinion biased by the multiple news about it (even though I had my own personal/familiar experience with Sony recently). Just shared my point of view and people either agree or disagree.

An excellent article ! (2, Interesting)

golodh (893453) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723712)

This article really was a pleasure to read (although it took me most of a day).

Not just because of the conclusions ("Part III examines potential market-based rationales that influenced Sony BMG's deployment of these DRM systems and reveals that even the most charitable interpretation of Sony BMG's internal strategizing demonstrates a failure to adequately value security and privacy.") but also because of the rant-free and very lucid and illuminating analysis of the factors involved.

To me, the best part was: "After taking stock of the then-existing technological environment that both encouraged and enabled the distribution of these protection measures in Part IV, we examine law, the third vector of influence on Sony BMG's decision to release flawed protection measures into the wild, in Part V. We argue that existing doctrine in the fields of contract, intellectual property, and consumer protection law fails to adequately counter the technological and market forces that allowed a self-interested actor to inflict such harms on the public.".

Those who have hopes for political action to amend the current crop of laws may be interested to read: "Finally in Part VI, we present two recommendations aimed at reducing the likelihood of companies deploying protection measures with known security vulnerabilities in the consumer marketplace. First, we suggest that Congress should alter the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by creating permanent exemptions from its anti-circumvention and anti trafficking provisions in order to enable security research and the dissemination of tools to remove harmful protection measures. Second, we offer promising ways to leverage insights from the field of human computer interaction security (HCI-Sec) to develop a stronger framework for user control over the security and privacy aspects of computers."

Still Sony got it right....... (1)

Blue_Wombat (737891) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723738)

Still Sony got it right with its laptop batteries. We should all run out and buy those. Apparently they're HOT HOT HOT!

Sorry, pinning it on BMG dosen't work. This is vintage Sony, and their contempt for their customer. In this country Sony DVD players were the only ones that wern't reliably region free (big deal if you want discs from other regions, which are legal and sold openly). Or then there's the noxious DRM on Minidisc - can't pull a digital copy of something you recorded onto your PC even if you own it, they lied and said minidisc played MP3 when it transcoded instead, the are a key bankroller of the RIAA's standover extortion from kids and grandmothers, they took DRM to a whole new level with Bluray, and of course there's ARCOSS. If you want to go back even further, goofle the underhand way they used misinformation to kill off the Dreamcast.

Sony is the vermin of the consumer electronics industry. You should boycott them not just to make a stand, but because the products they peddle are often no better than the alternatives - they just cost more and always seem to have hidden strings attached. They are underhand, arrogant, dishonest people. Why woould you give them your hard earned money?

Re:Still Sony got it right....... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#21723776)

Because they make powerful, lightweight laptops with very pretty screens.

They also make great TVs that not only perform well but are finished and styled well too.

Face it - they make good stuff and relatively few people heard of or care about this issue. And even if they did care, there's not many folks in the world that actually engage their brain when spending money.

"hanges to the DMCA to protect consumers" (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21724132)

Pigs will be ice skating in hell before that happens...

nig64 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21724176)

I've never seen fear the reaper oveRly morbid and every chance I got are about 7700/5 would choose to use
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