Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Privacy Sony

Sony, Amazon Detail Rootkit CD Buybacks 240

Posted by Zonk
from the finally-some-customer-service dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Washingtonpost.com is reporting that Sony BMG today detailed a program that should allow customers who bought one of the 52 titles known to be tainted with the company's deeply flawed anti-piracy software to exchange them for CDs of the same title, sans rootkit of course. Oddly enough, Sony is offering those who want to return the CDs the chance to download MP3 versions of the discs, but only after Sony has received the returned discs. Amazon.com also is sending out e-mails to customers who bought the discs, offering to replace or refund them at no cost."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Sony, Amazon Detail Rootkit CD Buybacks

Comments Filter:
  • by sehlat (180760) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:25PM (#14067486)
    And how will we know Sony isn't trying something *ELSE* with their dissatisfied customers as guinea pigs?
    • Sony and Satan (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:15PM (#14067784) Journal
      Well the Devil had a brand new plan,
      "I don't want any ordinary DRM!"
      So he called his boys at Sony Corp,
      "I'll make this fast and I'll make it short."

      "There's a Limey company, as evil as hell,
      They've got a rootkit they're waiting to sell.
      So grab some cash, make it quick,
      There's a half million networks we just gotta fix."

      Now Sony knew the Devil well,
      Why these guys were already half way to Hell.
      So off they went to England fair,
      And bought themselves a rootkit there.

      To protect themselves and their evil scheme,
      They wrote a EULA that would make you scream.
      "No problem," they said, "we can do as we please,
      We're all scummy bastards, so what's some more sleaze?"

      But not all were asleep when they played Van Zant,
      And the racket grew so loud Sony just had to recant.
      "We'll take back all those discs, we really were wrong,
      Oh, and you Mac users, your turn's coming before long."
    • Customers (Score:3, Funny)

      by simpl3x (238301)
      You installed a rootkit on a customer who bought Neil F'ing Diamond! Get a grip on your demographics! WTF!

      Yes, I know that ND has sold lots-o-albums...
  • sans rootkit of course.

    Are you sure or are you just giving them the benefit of the doubt?

    • Re:Sans (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:35PM (#14067552)
      It'd be easy to tell probably. If the disc lacks a data sector, you can be sure there isn't one. CDs have different kinds of sectors for audio and data. So if it's all audio, there's no possibility of malicious software since there's no software.
      • Re:Sans (Score:3, Informative)

        by JoeCommodore (567479)
        So if it's all audio, there's no possibility of malicious software since there's no software.

        Ddn't people say that about JPEGs and other media files? If it involves a Windows player, there's a way...

    • Re:Sans (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:56PM (#14067686) Homepage Journal
      On the Sony site, they are talking about a secure updater which removes the rootkit:

      If you obtain regular security updates from a major anti-virus service, you should receive an update through that process. You may also download the update yourself from http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/updates.html [sonybmg.com].

      The update its talking about simply removes the rootkit, but does not remove the copy protection portion.

      Therefore, I believe these disks will still be executable in format (besides, any with images/videos on will need the media player software as well...)

      Just read the home page on the sony site, they still don't get it:

      Going forward, we will continue to identify new ways to meet demands for flexibility in how you and other consumers listen to music.

      We just want true cds without any bullshit, plain and simple.
      • Going forward, we will continue to identify new ways to meet demands for flexibility in how you and other consumers listen to music.

        "meet" means "deny", the problem as Sony see it is that CD's are already too flexible!

        Just as the minister for public safety gets to define where public safety ends, so will Sony meeting demands for flexibility define where that flexibility ends.

        Sam
    • Re:Sans (Score:4, Informative)

      by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:22PM (#14067822) Homepage
      Easy, just check that it has the logo "Compact Disc Digital Audio" [wikipedia.org]. If they put that on anything that is not compliant to the Red Book standard - that is, not a pure audio CD - Philips can sue them for trademark infringement.
  • No Cash? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mysqlrocks (783488)
    No option to get cash back? I'd want my money back if I were one of the unfortunate people who had bought one of these CDs.
  • MP3 files (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arth1 (260657) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:27PM (#14067497) Homepage Journal
    I bet that the MP3's will be watermarked with the individual downloader's unique ID, so Sony/RIAA can later sue their customers...

    That said, what bitrate, frequency and codec is used for the MP3s?

    Regards,
    --
    *Art
    • Re:MP3 files (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not watermarking to sue... watermarking to "prove their point" that they need the rootkit stuff because if they distribute mp3s, they will be spread throughout the internet and ruin their revenues.
    • Re:MP3 files (Score:3, Insightful)

      by masklinn (823351)
      That said, what bitrate, frequency and codec is used for the MP3s?
      It doesn't matter, the sole fact that they're trying to swap CDs with mp3 is a joke already, no matter what the quality is.
    • by minuszero (922125) on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:05PM (#14067734)
      Judging by their alleged previous use, probably LAME encoded...

      although you can bet they'll be DRMed too.
    • Bitrate, OK... frequency, OK... but codec? They're *MP3s*, for goodness' sake. MP3 is not a container format like Ogg, it *is* the codec. I'm sorry, but I'll have to confiscate your geek license now. :)
  • Lawsuits? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by r_glen (679664) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:28PM (#14067499)
    A refund isn't enough - I hope to see some lawsuits go forward against Sony, as the very least to scare other companies from trying something like this.
  • by Work Account (900793) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:28PM (#14067500) Journal
    I have owned Sony Walkmen, Playstation, Playstation 2, etc.

    I have owned dozens of Sony CDs.

    I have 6 Sony audio components.

    I will NEVER buy another Sony product ever again, and I urge ALL of you to do the same.
    • by arth1 (260657) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:31PM (#14067534) Homepage Journal
      I have owned Sony Walkmen, Playstation, Playstation 2, etc.

      I have owned dozens of Sony CDs.

      I have 6 Sony audio components.

      I will NEVER buy another Sony product ever again, and I urge ALL of you to do the same.


      Keep in mind that this is Sony/BMG, where Sony only owns 50%, and where BMG were the ones who brought DRM into the picture. Sony on the other hand is selling MP3 players and Vaio PCs with bundled ripping-hadware/software.

      Anyhow, heads *should* roll over this in Sony. Instead I fear they will just sue First4Internet and pretend that ignorance is acceptable.

      Regards,
      --
      *Art
      • by BushCheney08 (917605) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:38PM (#14067573)
        Could you please point to your source regarding BMG being the ones who brought DRM into the picture? You make it sound like Sony is new to the music game. They've been at it for a very long time, via the Sony Group, Columbia Records, Epic Records, and many imprints that fall under those labels.
      • Keep in mind that this is Sony/BMG, where Sony only owns 50%, and where BMG were the ones who brought DRM into the picture.

        Isn't this the same Sony who tried to foist their ATRAC proprietary codec on us which locks us into their hardware and requires their Sonicstage crap? I don't think that is the BMG side.

      • Keep in mind that this is Sony/BMG, where Sony only owns 50%, and where BMG were the ones who brought DRM into the picture. Sony on the other hand is selling MP3 players and Vaio PCs with bundled ripping-hadware/software.

        Wanna bet? Sony doesn't give heck about their customers, not only their products are often no more than average, but they want full control over their customers (backers of blu-ray, DRM schemes, ... )

        Had you ever played a SoE MMORPG (be it either EverQuest or EverQuest 2), you'd know how

        • I never said that Sony excels at customer support. My point was that Sony BMG is not the same as Sony, and that (perhaps especially) with Sony, one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. Thus you had ATRAC3 being pushed at the same time as they sold CD burners, and now you have Vaio ripping stations and MP3 playing Walkman cell phones being sold at the same time as CDs that won't work with either.

          Perhaps Sony has become so big that it's time for a split. Sony BMG is obviously not part of Sony itself
          • "My point was that Sony BMG is not the same as Sony, and that (perhaps especially) with Sony, one hand doesn't know what the other is doing. Thus you had ATRAC3 being pushed at the same time as they sold CD burners, and now you have Vaio ripping stations and MP3 playing Walkman cell phones being sold at the same time as CDs that won't work with either."

            In that case they shouldn't have acquired (or been allowed to acquire) BMG. The parent company *IS* the responsible entity. That is why you have language in
          • And made good tapes...many of which are still good 20+ years later :)

            SONY turntable to radioshack EQ to SONY tape deck to SONY tape. They may have had a small hand in copying in the past, hehe.

            Can you believe as a teen i actually used quality tape to copy my albums !

            Thanks Sony you saved my record collection from extinction i wouldn't want to buy all those again...now pull your heads out please ;p

            Ok, i actually have most of my original albums.

            Do they still make blank tapes...might be willing to still buy th
        • I'm shocked that no one has mentioned SOCOM 3's credit card farming^Wverification system [wikipedia.org] yet, which has gotten thousands of CC numbers from SOCrack addicts* who consider their clan/friends list system the only real way to play.

          Sure, it's Zipper Interactive doing it, but (like the XCP discs) Sony publishes and "presents" the damn product. I think the fact Zipper enticed people to give them a CC and address made Sony's heads swell and set them towards the XCP route. They thought they could do anything, an [sonybmg.com]

      • I'm not going to boycott Sony over this. Not Sony hardware at least. BUT, Sony's not the cheapest on the market. I bought my Sony receiver, and my daughter's Sony camcoder, for example, because I had some degree of TRUST in their products. If they shatter that, and they have, why exactly would I pay a premium for Sony products? I'm far less likely to buy Sony than I was, and it's not because I'm boycotting -- they've simply destroyed part of the value I found in them. Now they're no different from "unnamed
        • "But right now, I'm left feeling that Sony thinks they have a PR problem, not that they think they did something deeply wrong."

          And that's it in a nutshell. Since all they can think about is money, I'm going to oblidge them. I AM boycotting Sony and everything dealing with them. A boycott of BMG alone does nothing to address the Sony corporate issue of accountability.

          B.
      • by trudyscousin (258684) * on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:04PM (#14068044)
        ...and where BMG were the ones who brought DRM into the picture."

        Is that so?

        Sony pulled the same crap [newscientist.com] with Celine Dion's album A New Day Has Come in 2002 using their key2audio DRM--the scheme that could be defeated with a felt-tip marker.

        As far as I'm concerned, there should have been the same degree of outrage then as there is now.
    • I will NEVER buy another Sony product ever again, and I urge ALL of you to do the same.

      Sony earns royalties from every CD and DVD sold, as well as most of the hardware. Uh oh.
    • Check out http://www.boycottsony.com/ [boycottsony.com] for some organizational goodness.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:28PM (#14067503)
  • Turn of the tide? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:28PM (#14067504)
    Nice of Amazon to do this, since it wasn't really their rootkit (or maybe they're thinking about potential liability, doesn't really matter).

    It'd be great if Amazon and other big vendors refused to carry discs with this sort of horrible DRM. That'd probably get the music company's attention a little better than a few geeks organizing a boycott.

  • Updates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dorkygeek (898295) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:29PM (#14067506) Journal

    Why does Sony not simply provide an update for their rootkit? Improved security, expanded DRM, and distinguished keylogging, get it all now with Sony's rootkit 2.0. New and improved.

    Always at your service

    sincerely yours, Sony.

    • Yep - the silly thing is that despite all the negative publicity, no one wants to ask how this 'helps' the artist and how it *never* helped anyone but Sony. This is another clusterf*ck brought to you by Sony. I suspect we still have a ways to go with this one.
  • by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:29PM (#14067512)

    offering to replace or refund them at no cost

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:29PM (#14067513)
    Sony seems to be in PR-damage control mode but they could care less about the customers. Sony *still* has failed to release any sort of uninstaller that truly cleans up the affected systems. Great move, there.
  • what about.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ltwally (313043) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:30PM (#14067521) Homepage Journal
    "Sony BMG today detailed a program that should allow customers who bought one of the 52 titles known to be tained with the company's deeply flawed anti-piracy software to exchange them for CDs of the same title, sans rootkit of course."
    What about damages incurred to those who unknowingly installed the rootkit? What about the cost of removal? IMHO, it would be in Sony's best interest to offer something beyond just replacing the defective rootkit'd product... As an added incentive to Sony, such an action might look good in their up-coming trials from the lawsuits resulting from their rootkit.
  • Even if lawyers end up making lots of money from them, law-suits do work. Boycotting is not enough, voting with your wallets is not enough. The best way to stick it to the man is to file law-suits!
    • This is truly the equal of two evils. If a law were passed that forbid an law firm or attorney from collecting any more than a certain percentage of the overall award, it would help immensely. However, I remember about three years go, when American Express was being sued by a class claiming that Amex had been less than forthcoming about the terms of their travel insurance plan (I think that was it, but I might be wrong). In any event, the proposed settlement was that the class get $15K, and the attorneys wa
      • There's a surprising amount of work that goes into processing class action claims, that is what the fee is for. It's not just collecting a fee and mailing a bunch of checks to class members.
        • This make no difference whatsoever.

          Since the class was harmed, and not the attorneys, it only stands to reason that the class should receive the bulk of WHATEVER payout is involved. In this particular case, it was clearly evident that the attorneys had picked two token class members to receive the massive $15K in compensation, while they (may have) walked away with a mountain of cash. The purpose of a class action suit is not to enrich greedy lawyers, but to seek compensation for damage to class members. If
          • I'm not sure what case we're talking about anyway ... the only Amex travel insutance case I've found so far is still ongoing. It would be extremely weird to see a case where the class members only got a total of $15,000 with a 4 million fee to the lawyers.

  • Hmm (Score:3, Funny)

    by Trip Ericson (864747) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:32PM (#14067541) Homepage
    Step 1: Buy DRMed CD off a friend cheap.
    Step 2: Return to Sony.
    Step 3: Download free MP3s.
    Step 4: ???
    Step 5: PROFIT!
    • Re:Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

      by JWtW (875602)

      "Step 3: Download free MP3s."

      Why do I have to download them? Can't the rootkit just go fetch 'em?

  • MP3 poisoning howto (Score:5, Informative)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:32PM (#14067544) Journal
    Let customers download the MP3s via a server side script which quietly puts their customer number for tracking and a hash for non-repudiation into the ID3 tags, which'll survive most transcoding. Then if it appears on a P2P network (not likely, unless it's not already there), they'll know who did it.
  • by Coopjust (872796) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:35PM (#14067551)
    Recalling the CD's is merely a slap on the wrist. It doesn't cost Sony as nearly as much money as a lawsuit, costs Amazon money, and it does not repair the damage to numerous artists names by this rootkit.

    If Sony actually would own up to their stupid mistake, the artists wouldn't be impacted so much. Look at Van Dant's CD on Amazon. 1.5 stars, 300 reviews, most mentioning the rootkit. Do you think that he'll fare so well in the future.

    I have lost faith in Sony. Propietary formats and other things were a little odd, but I accepted them. But rootkits, a patent for games that only play on the console they were originally put in...seems like a ridiculous infringement on user rights.

    Rather than losing money to pirates, people will turn to better solutions and Sony will be the loser.
  • Whew... (Score:3, Funny)

    by GmAz (916505) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:43PM (#14067598) Journal
    Dodged a bullet there. I thought they would be popular titles people would auctually buy. I sure feel sorry for those couple hundred people that have the rootkit on their system from buying the CD.
    • Re:Whew... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CastrTroy (595695)
      I've noticed this a lot with copy protected CDs. Most the the time they seem to be artists that a very small percentage of the population listen to. The only artist I see on the list that is even somewhat popular is Our Lady Peace.
  • WHAT??? (Score:2, Funny)

    by chord.wav (599850)
    They, for once, were doing the right thing preventing that music from infesting your favourite p2p network!!!
  • Who would buy these? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by affliction (242524) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:46PM (#14067620) Homepage
    6. Bette Midler - Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook

    Who in their right mind would subject themselves to such torture. And, what's more, someone paid for the privlege.

    • Dude, you should have seen the CD Collection my mother had when sh passed away (2 copies of the Titanic soundtrack???). All three of us kids decided to give them away to the thrift store along with a lot of her clothing and other things that were good, but not usable by ourselves. ...and yes, I have done penance for it.

      H.
  • by holden caufield (111364) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:47PM (#14067628)
    This is on her own damn label and they can't get Lady Day's name right?

    Unbelieveable. They could have at least looked at the CD cover.
    • This incompetency extends itself to real-life packaging as well, apparently. Consider the curious disclosure at the bottom of the page that two CD's had copy-protection marked on their package, but didn't actually have it on disk.
  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:50PM (#14067643)
    Sony BMG today detailed a program that should allow customers who bought one of the 52 titles known to be tained with the company's deeply flawed anti-piracy software to exchange them for CDs of the same title, sans rootkit of course.

    No no no! They got it all wrong. They should do what my friend's landlord did when he kept complaining that the dishwasher didn't work: They came, turned it on, and when it made noise, they said, "It works fine." And of course, it didn't: First, it smelled disgusting in there, like there was rotten food inside the machine. Second, just because it sprayed (dirty smelling) water doesn't mean it "works fine." Third, if you put a dish in there that was clean to begin with, it came out dirty. And I believe that such a dishwasher makes a perfect analogy for compact discs that contain defective software.

    So what Sony should do is this: They should publicly offer customers who bought one of the flawed CDs to exchange them for identical ones! As if we're talking about workmanship in the production of the compact disc proper and not the contents. Hey, just act like you don't know a darn thing about technology when it comes to this type of thing! And when the customer complains that the replacement still contains the rootkit, just say, "It works fine."

    Sony. Where do you want to go today? (Hell, they almost make Microsoft look good in comparison. Almost.)

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:52PM (#14067658)
    ... 2 weeks waiting for my replacement disc, and when I opened my "Suspicious Activity" CD again, I just didn't really feel like listening to it any more.
    • Dude! You bought "Suspicious Activity?" by "The Bad Plus", and got pwn3d.
      You can't say they didn't warn you.

      It's a little bit like Wacko Jacko's early albums, "Thriller", "Bad", and "Dangerous". Perhaps he was trying to tell us something?

  • Ahoy! (Score:3, Funny)

    by jim_v2000 (818799) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:53PM (#14067660)
    Sony is offering those who want to return the CDs the chance to download MP3 versions of the discs

    Too late ya bastards, I already ripped me music off ye DRM'd cd. Yarrr!
    • Re:Ahoy! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jim_v2000 (818799)
      And on a serious note, does anyone find it comical that now they are offering MP3 downloads? Seems like Sony realized that it's a CHEAPER and more EFFICIENT way of distributing music. Too bad the music companies aren't realizing this sooner.
      • Why would they want to distribute music more cheaply, when the expensive archaic methods can give an excuse to crank up profit margins? They're not realizing crap, just saving the PR. Or as Barret would probably tell Sony [eternal-legend.com], "You don't give a damn 'bout no one but yourself!"
  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:53PM (#14067665)
    And well they should be! In many countries what they did is criminal and should land the decision makers in prison. Both the computer sabotage and the code theft are an issue. Even if Sony can claim they trusted the vendor of the rootkit, then people there should go to prison and Sony would not look that much better.

  • by SpammersAreScum (697628) on Friday November 18, 2005 @06:55PM (#14067679)
    The article seems to indicate the offers cover CDs with First4Internet's XCP crap, but that's it. There's apparently similar ugliness with CDs using Sunncomm's MediaMaz copy protection (see http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=925 [freedom-to-tinker.com]) which is not covered. I guess that one hasn't gotten enough mainstream media coverage yet...
  • 40. Pete Seeger The Essential Pete Seeger CK92835 827969283523
    They applied DRM to a disc by Pete Seeger [harvardsquarelibrary.org]?
    Man, I don't know where to begin with THAT one!
  • by bosewicht (805330) on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:17PM (#14067796)
    lmao Before
    Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?
    After
    We share the concerns of consumers regarding these discs, and we are instituting a program that will allow consumers to exchange any CD with XCP software for the same CD without copy protection. We also have asked our retail partners to remove all unsold CDs with XCP software from their store shelves and inventory. Please click here for exchange program details. We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers and we are committed to making this situation right. It is important to note that the issues regarding these discs exist only when they are played on computers, not on conventional, non-computer-based CD and/or DVD players.
  • Ah, the irony (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stuffman64 (208233)
    I just love the fact that when my friend put the Natasha Bedingfield CD to listen to it, I told him I wouldn't be suprised if his computer broke (or at least got mad at him) by putting that crappy excuse for music in there. Seems I was right- his attempt to remove the rootkit totally borked his XP to the point it no longer boots. Guess he should have read the article [theregister.co.uk] at the Register first.

    I really wanted to buy the NW-A3000 [engadget.com] MP3 player when it's released here (everyone and their mom has an iPod... literally)
    • stuffman64 said:

      I really wanted to buy the NW-A3000 MP3 player when it's released here (everyone and their mom has an iPod... literally). iPods are nice and all, but I'd like something a bit different. Now that I don't know if I can trust Sony, where am I to turn? That thing was so cool looking too.

      So, you mean that you don't know what to do because you were mainly basing your MP3(etc.) player purchase on what everyone else is using?

      No offense, but here is an idea: how about you go out and try some of t

  • Sony is just trying to get people to agree to a settlement before they can be found guilty.

    Getting your money back is not enough.
    The bad press sony is feeling is not enough

    I don't doubt that sony will try this again only they will dump money in so it isn't a half assed rootkit. They will make sure the EULA covers all actions and potential damages. A court ruling sets precedent and will deter future attempts. Accept the payoff and you're only taking a step closer to the confined world of DRM.

    • I agree. If I used windows, I would expect Sony to allow me to have a "qualified" computer specialist back up my important data, reinstall windows, and configure my computer to be in the same state it was in before their software damaged it. Also, they should be required to pay damages to the developers of LAME for violating the GPL. Anything less just isnt fair.
  • Sony Sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sabre307 (451605) on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:28PM (#14067859) Homepage
    Even without the root kit, Sony is being obnoxious with the DRM shit. I got a copy of Chevelle's new album and couldn't even rip it into MP3 without installing some damn proprietary Sony software, and then it would only rip into locked down WMA format. The CD was so screwed up that an older car CD player of mine wouldn't play it, Linux wouldn't recognize it, Windows kept trying to autorun it, but wouldn't recognize the audio side of it. Mac was the only one that would, for some reason, play it just fine. I finally got pissed off and downloaded the whole album via P2P. It was more file sharing than I've done in the last year. Congratulations Sony, now you're going to insent the legitimate people into sharing the files! To me, a CD I can't get into MP3 is useless and defective. I only listen to music on my car stereo in MP3 format, or on my computer in MP3 format, or on my Zen in MP3 format. The original CDs get stored away for safe keeping. I only have two words for Sony... BITE ME!!!
  • MP3 replacements? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imidan (559239) on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:40PM (#14067929)
    I'm curious about one aspect of having .mp3 replacements of the defective CDs that you've purchased. TFA says you have to physically return the CD to Sony in order to get access to a set of .mp3 files for that disc. So what becomes of your license? I mean, we've been making a big deal for days now about how your .mp3 files are only legal if you've got the original disc, as well. So, what, are they going to send you some kind of certificate that says you have a right to own these .mp3s? Or how could you possibly prove that your files were legal?

    There's muttering here about digital watermarks or somesuch to uniquely identify each set of .mp3s with a particular customer. But then who has the proof that your files are yours? Sony? I'd feel a lot more comfortable with a new, DRM-less CD that I could rip to my computer, so I'd have proof that I own the CD.

    On another note, the digital watermark doesn't seem like it would be effective. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to send in a real copy of the CD and download the .mp3s using bogus contact information. You UPS a disc to Sony with completely unverifiable and incorrect return information, they email your brand-new Hotmail account with the .mp3 download URL, you get the files on a public terminal, walk away, and never look back. You can share these .mp3s with anyone you want to, and Sony will never be able to identify you as the originator. Though all of that seems like more trouble than it's worth, since you could accomplish the same thing by getting a DRM-less copy of the CD, ripping it, and distributing it.
  • Demographics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Durzel (137902) on Friday November 18, 2005 @07:47PM (#14067960) Homepage
    Oddly enough, Sony is offering those who want to return the CDs the chance to download MP3 versions of the discs, but only after Sony has received the returned discs.

    They probably want to determine what percentage of the people who were sufficiently outraged by XCP to go to the trouble of sending back the CD are interested in a MP3 version instead (and therefore the sort of people who would've probably tried circumventing said copy-protection in the first place) vs those who actually had genuine technical issues with it.

    Good market research for them really.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Here's some favorable press that First4Internet received a couple of years ago.

    http://www.xcp-aurora.com/press_article.aspx?art=x cp_art8 [xcp-aurora.com]
  • by ONOIML8 (23262) on Friday November 18, 2005 @08:23PM (#14068114) Homepage
    If there were any justice in the world, the next step would be an artists revolt.

    If I were one of the artists involved my lawyer would argue something along these lines: Obviously all this negative press will result in fewer of my art being sold. Some number of my fans (regular customers) will no longer trust my work because of this and refrain from future purchases. This is, of course, the fault of Sony. Therefore Sony should pay me the difference. In addition, Sony will immediately consider any contract with me to be null and void because I can no longer count on them to represent me and my work in a respectful manner.

    But I'm betting that the artists themselves don't give a wet slap about this either way.
  • Maybe if the recording industry had to buy overpriced 1 hit wonder cds back from consumers for 20 bux a each, maybe they would think twice about ripping off the public
  • ...for buying Bette Midler CDs.

Always draw your curves, then plot your reading.

Working...