Tuesday, November 22, 2005

SonyGate : Lawsuits abound

Several legal suites are springing up in the wake of SonyGate and my guess is that this is going to be providing Sony management with a lot of headaches for a very, very long time. Perhaps if Sony management had not been so dismissive of the whole episode in the beginning and discarding it as "technobabble", things might not have turned out so bad for them. To add insult to injury, and demonstrating the futility of copy protection, it appears that with a small bit of tape on the outer edge of the CD the copy protection is completely disabled.

I have just completed reading SONY:The Private Life by John Nathan and could not help but thinking how Sony's life has been chequered with corporate and strategic blunders that they never seem to learn from. The classic VHS vs. Betamax wars are now subjects of corporate training. A Google search for "Sony mistakes" or "Sony Blunders" yields a few hundred pages of very interesting reading too, and Sony features prominently on most books titled "Greatest corporate blunders", "Worst strategic mistakes" etc. Anyway, on to the lawsuits...

The attorney general for Texas filed a suit against the music giant for allegedly violating the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act of 2005. "Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak-and-dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers. Consumers who purchased a Sony CD thought they were buying music. Instead, they received spyware that can damage a computer, subject it to viruses and expose the consumer to possible identity crime." The state is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 for every violation of the anti-spyware law, attorney's fees and investigative costs.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against Sony BMG on Monday. Two other legal firms, Green Welling and Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman and Robbins, joined the digital consumer advocacy group in the suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The lawsuit is the EFF's response to the music giant's tepid acknowledgment of the security and privacy issues that came with music released on copy-protected music CDs, lawyers said. The EFF is seeking compensation for any damages caused by the digital rights management technology and a refund for the copy-protected CDs, lawyers stated. While the EFF lauds Sony for taking initial steps to fix issues related to one form of the rootkit, known as First4Internet XCP, the filing claims that a second variation of the software, labeled as SunnComm MediaMax, has not been addressed and affects 20 million of the involved CDs.

RELATED TOPICS: Sony security blunder, SonyGate: It keeps getting worse, SonyGate:This will be a very expensive mistake, SonyGate: Now artists baying for blood

CATEGORIES: 1watergate, 1privacy, 1rootkits, 1spyware, 1legal, 1lawsuit, 1drm
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