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Sony Privacy Media Music Software

Sony Repents Over CD Debacle 227

Posted by Zonk
from the please-don't-burn-us-at-the-stake dept.
schnikies79 writes "Sony BMG is rethinking its anti-piracy policy following weeks of criticism over the copy protection used on CDs. The head of Sony BMG's global digital business, Thomas Hesse, told the BBC that the company was 're-evaluating' its current methods. This follows widespread condemnation of the way anti-piracy software on some Sony CDs installs itself on computers. The admission came as Sony faced more censure over the security failings of one of its copy protection programs."
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Sony Repents Over CD Debacle

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  • Not too hard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bnet41 (591930) * on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:48PM (#14224096)
    This isn't difficult to figure out, and I am not sure why the music companies are having trouble with this.
    DRM can't work on CD's that need to play in a normal CD player. Basically any attempts to install the DRM software can be thrawted, so basically they hope they can fool you into installing something. Well, thats ok I guess, but then the software needs to do all sorts of wacky things to make sure nothing can override it in Windows. All can be defeated by a Linux machine, or a Mac as the software doesn't work on those, and also we all know about the shift-key for auto-run.
    I am waiting for the industry to force us all to buy new cd players so they can create some super secure format.
    • Um you have heard of HD-DVD and Blue Ray right?

      they are working on that as you speak. It just won't be ready for mass market for another decade.
      • Re:Not too hard (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dgatwood (11270)
        As long as there is at least one audio CD player still in active use, the data format will have to be compatible with that of an audio CD or customers will return them in record numbers as being defective. So no, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are irrelevant. GP is both correct and irrefutable.

        • Re:Not too hard (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jonfelder (669529) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:03PM (#14224251)
          I guess all those round CD things are getting returned because they don't work in cassette players.

          All they have to do is provide some sort of incentive for switching to the new format, and before long there will be more people using the new over the old.
          • Re:Not too hard (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mooingyak (720677)
            CDs were able to do things that cassettes weren't. Maybe there will be things that a new format might allow that isn't possible on a CD now, but I can't think of any overly compelling ones (and yes, I had been able to think of the most obvious advantages of CDs before they came out).
            • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:21PM (#14224389)
              CDs were able to do things that cassettes weren't.

              You see? The seeds of obsolescence are already taking root. You're already referring to CDs in the past tense.
              • Re:Not too hard (Score:3, Interesting)

                by geekoid (135745)
                But the trhings they do as an advantge, were't nearlty as good as the things that they lost. recordability. At the time.

                See a similiar trend there? attempt to remove the technolgy that wasn't controllable, cassettes, and replace it with a technology that was.
                Of course they failed, becasue market forces allowed consumers to still do what they want. In this case, make recording to share and listen elsewhere.
                • Maybe, at the time, you couldn't record a CD to another CD, but there sure was a lot of ways to record a CD to a cassette. Everybody I know had one of those direct-dub CD/Cassette players, made precisely for this purpose.
          • Re:Not too hard (Score:5, Insightful)

            by pyrrhonist (701154) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:09PM (#14224297)
            All they have to do is provide some sort of incentive for switching to the new format, and before long there will be more people using the new over the old.

            The odd part is that we've already had two high quality audio formats for years now: DVD-Audio and SACD. Neither of those formats are selling very well.

            • Re:Not too hard (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              The odd part is that we've already had two high quality audio formats for years now: DVD-Audio and SACD. Neither of those formats are selling very well.

              You know why this is? People are now demanding different things.

              • Cassettes -> CDs = Better quality sound and slightly easier to use.
              • CDs -> SACD/DVD-A = Better quality sound (again).

              The thing is, most people are happy with the sound of CDs, and even 128kbps mp3s. What people now want is flexibility / portability. They want to listen to them on

              • Re:Not too hard (Score:3, Insightful)

                by dgatwood (11270)
                More like:

                Cassettes -> CDs: noticeably better quality and much better ease of use.
                CD -> SACD/DVD-A: theoretically better quality outside the range of human hearing, and better bit depth that gets compressed away when listening in your car anyway.

                In other words, major benefit in one case, no perceptible benefit in the other. Seems perfectly straightforward....

              • by Excelsior (164338) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @01:27AM (#14226705)
                Cassettes -> CDs = Better quality sound and slightly easier to use.

                Slightly easier to use? Crusing with a friend in the '80s went something like this:

                "Hey, Frank, get the Def Leppard tape out of my glovebox. I know, the tape comes out and gets tangled. Stick a pencil in the hole and turn it for a bit. Okay, now the fifth song on the first side is 'Pour Some Sugar on Me', and it totally rocks. You need to fast forward. No, that's not it...forward some more. More. Now you've gone too far...rewind. Damnit Frank, who taught you how to use a tape player? Ah, that's it, now find the beginning."

                "See, I told you that song rocks. Now, go in my glovebox and find Van Halen's 1984. The second song on the first side is Jump, and it totally rocks."
            • Re:Not too hard (Score:5, Informative)

              by Tackhead (54550) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:23PM (#14224400)
              > > All they have to do is provide some sort of incentive for switching to the new format, and before long there will be more people using the new over the old.
              >
              > The odd part is that we've already had two high quality audio formats for years now: DVD-Audio and SACD. Neither of those formats are selling very well.

              Because everything is "good enough" these days.

              I'm no audiophile, but on decent headphones, I can't tell LAME-encoded MP3 at 320kbps from CDs. Most of the time, I have difficulty telling LAME-encoded MP3 at 192kbps from the CD sources.

              I've had this conversation with about dozen friends and cow orkers over the years, and found that about half of this admittedly-limited group can't hear the difference between Xing-encoded 128kbps (which to my ears, is unlistenably compression-artifacted) from CD, and that there are some who can't even hear the difference on headphones, never mind the crap desktop PC speakers most of these people are using.

              Expecting people like me to pay a premium for the improvements in the audio fidelity offered by DVD-A/SACD versus CDDA is too much. Audio's reached the stage of "good enough" that only a small amount of the market is willing to pay a premium for anything better.

              The initially-small market means that it's unlikely that economies of scale will develop, ensuring that the price gap between "better than CDDA" and "CDDA" will forever remain too wide to entice folks like me (never mind my 128kbps Xing friends) into it.

        • No no, we'll all replace our music collections with Blu-Ray discs in glorious remastered 1000 kHz digital audio (you even get the same 70 minutes per disk you used to!), for the true audiophile.
    • Christ! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:04PM (#14224255)
      I am waiting for the industry to force us all to buy new cd players so they can create some super secure format.

      Shaddup dumbass! The RIAA reads /.!

    • Whats this about the shift key and autorun?
    • Re:Not too hard (Score:5, Insightful)

      by happyemoticon (543015) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:08PM (#14224290) Homepage
      I am waiting for the industry to force us all to buy new cd players so they can create some super secure format.

      And as long as it has a component audio out, I can rip it.

      They have all sorts of plans, the least of which would make even the most level-headed person strap tinfoil onto their head and genitals. However, they've sold us so many damn gadgets that they just can't do it. What they really want is for every single device to have DRM hardcoded in it, so it can pick up watermarks in copyrighted content and blink them out. For example, your camcorder would not work when pointed at the television, or would put a censor box over it.

      Of course, it's not going to work any time soon. Even some middle-aged people I know, who are barely computer literate, own digital cameras, digital camcorders, dvd burners, and HDTVs. You tell these people they're going to have to replace all of their I/O devices, and possibly their amplifier, speakers, and cables, and they'll ask, "Oh, is it better," and of course the bottom line will be "No, it's far more sluggish because of all of the decrypting that it needs to do," despite what the sales/marketing slimeballs say, they'll say, "Fuck you, I don't want to spend 20 grand replacing all of my equipment," more than likely. Also, it'll require total industry collusion and a complete exclusion of any pre-East Fork devices.

      What strikes me as the most profound absurdity, though, is that the world has fundamentally changed, and they need to create an artificial environment in which their outmoded business model can still function, rather than changing with the times. It's like adding more and more life-support systems to a person who's braindead and rapidly dying - no matter what you do, you can't cheat the inevitable.

      • Re:Not too hard (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Scoth (879800) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:27PM (#14224437)
        There's a problem though. I agree with your reasoning inasmuch as replacing equipment without any benefit except the DRM. If you're leaving the functionality the same but adding a layer of "protection", which requires large expenditure, then it's not going to fly. However, when a new generation of foo comes out, and everything in that new generation has DRM, then there's a problem. Let's say Blu-Ray or HD-DVD or whatever comes next has legislatively-enforced DRM in every component. Now to avoid it not only do you miss out on DRM, but the entire new generation of equipment. Eventually more and more content will be phased over to the new technology and you're faced with the situation of upgrading, or being left behind. Now I know some people still trucking along with Windows 98 on a P2 because it's all they need and they refuse to use XP, but how many people have you met that still use 8-track and/or cassette exclusively because they hate CDs? Even with VHS tapes it's getting harder to find new releases available on them.

        That's pretty much what it comes down to. Not only do we have to prevent current-gen from getting replaced with DRM'd crap (possible to prevent, even easy), but we have to watch out for next gen too. And that's where we have to look to.
        • Suppose they put DRM into all new equipment, or even just all new kinds of equipment (blue-ray etc). If it talks to old equipment, they have lost the battle and the war. If it doesn't talk to old equipment, then no one will upgrade. Someone asks the salesman about the new whizbang camcorder, learns they will have to buy all new stereo, tv, speakers, everything, so that $1000 camera turns into $10,000, and walks out the door, cursing every store employee in sight.

          There is no way to phase people over to t
        • Re:Not too hard (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Ken D (100098)
          Well, yes and no,

          look at DAT and MiniDisc. Both had DRM, and both went nowhere in the mass market. I guess you could add Divx to that too.

        • This is what makes me miss my old turntable and vinyl LPs.

          These days it's a neverending upgrade cycle and battle, but it's "good for the economy" because it's a neverending cycle and battle.
      • They have all sorts of plans, the least of which would make even the most level-headed person strap tinfoil onto their head and genitals.

        I don't know about you, but after hearing what tinfoil absorbs i'd rather like to have children in the future thanks. No tinfoil for my love tackle.
    • Dont laugh, that time will come. Eventually.
      • And what advantage will the offer the consumer over a CD player? Believe me, it is hard enough to get people to change media when the new media is superior, it will be impossible when it is a downgrade (as any DRMed CD is likely to be)

        Finkployd
        • When that is all that is offered, consumers will slowly migrate to it.

          Eventually most conusmers will have the new player, due to the old ones dying.

          Then, the DRM is turned on with no way to go back. ( for the average guy )
          • by finkployd (12902)
            When has this ever happened? (something customers not wanting being forced upon then, then removing a popular alternative)

            I'm not saying it couldn't happen, just that what is just more likely is that the vast majority of people will simply download and burn rather than buy the newer, (most likely) more expensive, less useful, DRMed media. Everyone has CD burners, everyone has CD players in their car, and everyone has cd players at home (by "everyone", I mean everyone in the music buying demographic).

            For som
            • cheaper prices (Score:4, Insightful)

              by zogger (617870) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @12:01AM (#14226354) Homepage Journal
              The RIAA folks could get people to switch to the new drm'ed format easily by using human nature-greed. Cheap sells. Witness Walmart. It works. By offering the disks much cheaper than standard disks are today they could influence the hardware market. Store shelf, old CD title, 20$, new DRMed disk that needs the new DRM'ed hardware, same title, 3$. Something like that, side by side. They could easily drop prices to only 10% (whatever) of what they charge now (which is what they should be doing business-ethically and then there would be no problems really), sort of a generational loss lead. the first few years they could dump the hardware cheap too for that matter. Want the cheaper discs with DRM,OK then, they work in these approved players, etc. A few years later, poof, a done deal. Millions will adopt and adapt. Cheap *works*. And because the music industry is by and large a closed shop cooperating monopolistic cartel, if they all did it at once, well there ya go, a fait accompli. You combine that with increasingly severe laws for "piracy",which is happening,and you now have the carrot and the stick approach, a time tested workable solution. You won't get everyone, but if you get the bulk of them, you win. They have the organization, the cash and the bribery expertise with congress. How are they going to lose eventually? The US in particular has an offical economic position of a raging hard on for "IP" protection, because we have decided manufacturing tangibles is passe. Copyrighted music is right up there in that scene.

                They really don't care much yet in the "developing world", where copying is even more widespread and common, because there's not much cash there anyway for full price disks, so for now if they strictly enforce it law-wise and do the loss lead concept, they could conceivably win in the developed world where there's still serious cash to be grifted.

              The music industry isn't in the "Music" business, they are in the music "Distribution" business. It's easier to see how they think if you look at it from that angle.
    • > This isn't difficult to figure out, and I am not sure why the music companies are having trouble with this.
      >
      > DRM can't work on CD's that need to play in a normal CD player.

      Because that's not the answer the consultants and salesweasels are giving the C-level execs (because the consultants want the contracts to implement the production processes, and the salesweasels want the commissions from the consultants), and nobody in-house dares tell the C-level folks that the Emperor Has No Clothes.

    • Re:Not too hard (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ENOENT (25325)
      It's easier than that. They'll just ban Linux.
      • though a flame, probably not too far off. A lot of people thought the Apple/Intel cuddling was all about TPM, Apple's quest to be the center of home entertainment. I don't think Linus and Grove will be partying soon. Soon there will be media that will only work on TPM capable boxes. Linux will not be illegal, jsut less relavant.
        • Indeed, being able to change and compile the software yourself doesn't mean a damn thing when the hardware refuses to run any unsigned binaries!
    • I am waiting for the industry to force us all to buy new cd players so they can create some super secure format.

      Sony tried that with SACD (no digital outputs on SACD players). The success of SACD can be measured by their inability to sell more copies this year than were sold of vinyl records.

  • Hitting your head against a brick wall hurts. -- Captain Obvious
  • by bobocopy (816690) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:49PM (#14224104) Homepage
    If I'd waited this long to apologize to my wife for doing something obviously wrong, I'd be sleeping on the sidewalk.
  • by mellon (7048) * on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:51PM (#14224117) Homepage
    What I'd like to see is Sony doing a cost/benefit analysis for this fiasco and realizing that they actually lost more money dealing with the aftermath of this mistake than they could possibly have lost from "piracy."

    Unfortunately, I haven't seen any honest CBA's out of the music industry, so I'm not holding my breath.
    • What I want to know is what protects artists from dumb-ass corporate moves? I mean don't they feel the financial hurt if their publisher throws cash away so flagrantly? Or is that factored into "losses incurred by piracy" too.
      • by mellon (7048) * on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:02PM (#14224240) Homepage
        What I want to know is what protects artists from dumb-ass corporate moves?

        Nothing at all. In fact, unless the corporation has assumed liability on behalf of the artists, the artist is theoretically liable for damage caused by the CD that installed the malware. In the publishing industry, if you are worried about being sued, you have to get your own liability insurance - the publisher isn't going to indemnify you.

        This situation is a bit different because the publisher added the malware, not the artist, but it's still not out of the question for the artist to be named in the lawsuit and wind up having to spend money disputing the assertion that they might be liable.

        Of course, the artist can also sue the publisher for putting the malware on their CD, and in fact it wouldn't surprise me if we start seeing lawsuits from these artists, because regardless of whether or not they are sued, the fact that the music they've published isn't getting to the fans because of this fiasco is costing them money, and possibly also fans.
        • They've now got several class action lawsuits in project, one of which is EFF/Lerach... I think a couple from state AGs... most of the music with the malware on it tanked in the charts as soon as the word got out... and I suspect that they're waiting for legal action from their artists against them, especially the ones who were looking for an excuse to break their contracts anyway.

          But that isn't enough. Their stock needs to be hammered down to 10% or less of their pre-rootkit price. If their price goes so

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:20PM (#14224382)
      Neil Diamond's new CD opened in the top ten, then sank down into the mid 50's the following week when the news about Sony DRM hit. Same goes for new CD's by their other major stars. The artists this affects are already mighty pissed.

      Do you think that Sony is tripping all over themselves apologizing for the DRM fiscao hand-in-hand with the Free Software Foundation because they give a shit about your computers? Read the numbers in Billboard - Sony sure as hell does.
      • by OzPhIsH (560038) on Friday December 09, 2005 @08:41PM (#14225155) Journal
        "Neil Diamond's new CD opened in the top ten, then sank down into the mid 50's the following week when the news about Sony DRM hit. Same goes for new CD's by their other major stars. The artists this affects are already mighty pissed."

        Now I'm not saying that the news about Sony DRM didn't affect the slides of these albums down the billboard charts, but certainly other factors that need to be considered. Really, was Neil Diamond's latest really destined for anything more than 1 week in the top 10? Probably not. I would imagine most all the Neil Diamond fans bought the album in the first week. The slide down the charts is probably the result of the rest of us not giving a fuck about Neil Diamond, or about any other of those artists. I know I don't.
        • Really, was Neil Diamond's latest really destined for anything more than 1 week in the top 10?

          Maybe not Neil Diamond, but generally products (or in this case, music) released just before the Thanksgiving/Christmas season tend to maintain high sales until the end of the season. To go from the top 10 to mid-50s is a huge drop considering decreases in sales are generally in gradual. Say 5 to 9 to 15 to 25 and so on. Not 10 (the lowest possible start point) to 25 ("mid 50's").

          • I sort of see what you're saying but I think this is kind of a flawed analysis when talking about music CD's. There is just way too many things you have to consider. First there is the market for Neil Diamond's music. Just because his album release was during the holiday timeframe, doesn't suddenly mean that the market for his product will somehow increase. I'm thinking that a large chunk of the market for Neil Diamond products went ahead and bought the CD on first week of release. After that point, there i
      • by ChrisKnight (16039) <merlin&ghostwheel,com> on Friday December 09, 2005 @10:38PM (#14225938) Homepage
        "Neil Diamond's new CD opened in the top ten, then sank down into the mid 50's the following week when the news about Sony DRM hit. Same goes for new CD's by their other major stars."

        You don't think this had anything to do with Sony pulling these CDs off the shelves when the shitstorm hitr the media? I'm pretty sure having the albums unavailable in stores had a lot to do with the sales numbers dropping.

        -Chris
  • Napoleon has been "rethinking" the wintertime invasion of Russia.

    The Bush administration is "rethinking" the use of tortured confessions supporting Iraq-Al Qaida ties. [slashdot.org]

  • Re-evaluation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gryle (933382) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:52PM (#14224136)
    the company was "re-evaluating" its current methods.

    Translation: We're trying to figure out how not to get caught next time.

    • The biggest untold story in this saga is the refusal of bit anti-virus software makers to detect and report this software as a virus/trojan.

      This means in the future content providors will be able to install anything they want without interference from the anti virus makers.
    • Re:Re-evaluation (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NickFortune (613926)
      Yup. I trust their "repentance" like I trust their rootkit uninstallers.

      Let me be amongst the first[1] to say "yeah, yeah, yeah, like we haven't all heard that before!"






      [1] The first million or so, that is. Obviously.

    • Re:Re-evaluation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:37PM (#14224536) Homepage
      Translation: We're trying to figure out how not to get caught next time.

      Translation: Next time we'll want it built into the machine, not as a trojan but as a feature. A "trusted computing" machine is pretty much like being rooted. Your system appears to work, but there's some files (protected by the rootkit) that you can't seem to read/copy/move/delete/execute as you would like to. It'll come complete with "call home" features you can't read or control, since you're basicly running executables on blind faith and if you don't it could disable several features. Yay for pre-rooted computing.
      • The day Windows is not the pirate's OS of choice will be the day Linux is officially ready for the desktop. How do you think Windows got it's market share in the first place?
      • How is a "call home" feature going to work? If you have any kind of network that The Combine and its Fog Machine do not control, then there is the possibility of intercepting the packets and ushering them elsewhere.
        As far as corporate and government markets go, the whole thing is a wash; the cartel-like behavior of The Evil Ones fits nicely in with Digital Restrictions Management and Trustworthless Computing.
        Best the technorati can hope for is to draw attention to the Mephistophelean nature of the evil,
  • $sys$ (Score:2, Funny)

    by The Vaxorcist (918432)
    Yeah, their just gearing up for...

    $sys$copy protection
  • by gasmonso (929871) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:56PM (#14224172) Homepage

    Dear consumer, we regret that we were caught releasing this abomination to you. We really don't believe in fair-use and will do everything in our power to prevent law abiding consumers the right copy their songs freely. We will invest more time and money developing a more secretive method of copy protection. Thank you for your understanding and we take comfort knowing that you'll forget about this in a few months. Have a nice day.

    gasmonso http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
    • I don't think most people knew about it in the first place. A friend of mine manages a virgin music store and when I asked about it he hadn't had anyone try to exchange a DRM cd for a new one.

      All the other people I've talked to about it had blank faces.
    • Bingo. The only way a company like Sony (especially Sony since they are more into DRM and lock-in than all of the other labels combined) will stop this nonsense is with MASSIVE fines that way more than any minor setback from bad PR and a friggin court order preventing them from releasing DRMed discs.

    • We will invest more time and money developing a more secretive method of copy protection.

      Despite the fact that it is impossible to make copy protection secret. When someone tries to convert a file from a CD he bought to a file for his iPod and the conversion fails, he knows he has been denied his right to fair use of his property. It doesn't matter how sneaky the fair-use theft program is, it always reveals itself by its function.

      The only approach to take is for consumers to avoid all products with the Sony

  • I'll never buy another damned thing under the "Sony" brand as long as I live unless it's by accident.
  • by kcbrown (7426) <slashdot@sysexperts.com> on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:58PM (#14224200)
    They may be "reevaluating" their methods, but you can bet what that really means is that they're investigating less visible means of achieving the same thing: as much control as possible over how you use the music you purchase.

    Sony certainly isn't "repenting" over this. Not at all. They don't care, and haven't for a long time.

    I expect to see more of the same shit from Sony. They'll claim they're "changing" but in reality nothing will change.

  • Consumer Trust (Score:5, Interesting)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:01PM (#14224229)
    I'm sure even Sony's dimwit management has to realize that they are losing sales due to slipping consumer trust. As media devices become more intelligent, the opportunities for manufacturers to secretely audit and control your use of media will increase. Trust wil become more and more important. Two years ago Sony was on my golden halo list of clever manufacturers. First I bought a Vaio computer and ran into severe issues upgrading the OS. Then I noticed that they keep pushing for proprietary formats for encoding and storage. Now this. Today a guy brought in a nifty looking PSP and all I could think of was what DRM easter eggs are waiting for the unwitting consumer.
  • by Chaffar (670874) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:02PM (#14224232)
    "Even if the issue is only a slight one, at Sony BMG we are very clear that any software security issues are taken with the utmost seriousness," said Mr Hesse.

    Slight issue? Then that must be why we got to bash Sony twice/day everyday for the past month or so. That is why if you type "Sony Rootkit" [google.com] you get 1,630,000 hits. We're just all overreacting to your illegal attempt to hijack our computers against our will with an auto-installing rootkit.

    BTW does anyone know what the patch does to the rootkit ? Does it remove it? Or does it "patch" the gaping hole it represents but keep all the other effects it had i.e the 3-copy limiter?

    • Slight issue? Then that must be why we got to bash Sony twice/day everyday for the past month or so. That is why if you type "Sony Rootkit" you get 1,630,000 hits.

      Unfortunately, 1.6 million geeks amounts to roughly one half of one percent of the US population. Assuming this affects Western Europe as well (and Google's count includes sites from there), we have a really sad representation overall. Certainly not enough to hurt Sony's bottom line by a boycott, by ourselves.


      On the bright side, geeks tend
  • Yes, and in other news Bill Gates regrets his billions of dollars. More at eleven.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:09PM (#14224295)
    CD Copy Protection: The Road to Spyware

    So if you're designing a CD DRM system based on active protection, you face two main technical problems:

    1. You have to get your software installed, even though the user doesn't want it.

    2. Once your software is installed, you have to keep it from being uninstalled, even though the user wants it gone.

    These are the same two technical problems that spyware designers face.

    You can read the rest of his fascinating article here. [p2pnet.net]

  • Words are cheap. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann DOT slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:09PM (#14224304) Homepage Journal
    We want UNINSTALL. And I don't mean an "inhabilitating patch", i mean a full uninstall of the rootkit.

  • Actually if Sony was smart, they would spin off the whole music right now...that way they could distance the rest of the company from BMG's actions... If they were to do this soon, they could claim that the parent company was not responsible.
  • Being sorry and being sorry you got caught are two different things entirely.
  • I will never buy another Sony product! Not just because of the DRM debacle but also due to shoddy workmanship in most products. Sony can come up with some of the best ideas there are, but they should license them out to be built by someone that can produce quality goods.

    Why do I say this?
    Stereo - exchanged 3 times before the warranty ran out, CD player broke again a month later.
    PS2 - Son in law has had to send his back 6 times now for the infamous 1st Gen laser problem, sometimes it works, sometime
  • Sony isn't repentant, you kidding?

    For Sony to truly regret their acts, they would have to drop DRM alltogether. Who is to blame here: the people who coded this restrictions for our computer (XPC) or the company that wanted those restrictions to begin with? But like the kid who'se afraid of being punished after having done something wrong; Sony is trying to suckup after having all this bad press. They won't drop DRM though. Nothing is going to change, except Sony maybe choosing a different DRM-maker. And
  • by SengirV (203400) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:24PM (#14224407)
    ...Sorry they got caught. That is it. Why do you think they have been trying to push their own crappy MP3 type format? To get you to buy all new hardware that WILL work with their form of DRM. The best thing we can do as a customer base is to avoid all Sony CDs like the plague. It's the only thing they can possibly understand.
  • "The key point to remember is that copyright infringement is a huge issue for the recording industry as a whole and that's where we came from originally," [Thomas Hesse] said.

    Doing the wrong thing for the right reasons is still wrong. It shouldn't have taken them this long to figure that out. Although, if I may say, they already knew this. And, as others have said, they're only sorry they got caught.

    In the previous story, they said this was done to prevent "illegal copying". Interesting... How is that the

  • by ucblockhead (63650) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:26PM (#14224430) Homepage Journal
    What often gets lost in all this is that "Sony BMG" is a joint venture owned equally by Sony and Bertelsman and is NOT the same thing as "Sony Music". AFAIK, they are fairly independent of each other. I do not know if all this copy protection bullshit was added before or after Sony acquired half of BMG, but I am pretty sure that Mr. Hesse does not at all speak for Sony music.
    • That's his problem, not mine, isn't it? I mean, they decided to use the "good name" of sony in both companies, and now they get the bad part of name recognition as well. It would be silly of them to expect only the positive effects of name recognition to work.
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:26PM (#14224431)
    Today class we will have a lesson on "How to get Busted and Not Apologize for It" I submit to you the following 'must-use' phrases:

    "But this whole story has led us to look at the approach we have to take going forward..."

    "...diligently re-evaluate..."

    "Its fairly common and the fix is easy to provide through a software update."

    "Even if the issue is only a slight one, at Sony BMG we are very clear that any software security issues are taken with the utmost seriousness."

    Now you will know what to say if you ever get caught in a spyware scandal. Class dismissed.
  • by msbsod (574856) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:28PM (#14224445)
    What bothers me most about the discussion is that DRM (restriction of consumers' rights), rootkits (hiding certain software), spyware (online monitoring), trusted computing (owners denied access to their own computer) and all that crap will be part of the next Microsoft Windows release. Soon companies like Sony will no longer have to distribute malicious CD. The malicious software will be installed on most PC's by default. Heck, even the signals over the monitor cables and be encrypted. The future already arrived with some products. Popular DVD players for PC's do not play some DVD's if the TV output of a graphics adapted is enabled (this is absurd!). Proprietary file formats require Internet access so that companies can monitor everybody and, if they wish, deny access. People are buying such products. Most people do not know what they buy, because the mass media are either in one bed with those who advocate the malicious software or they are completely blind. Sony rootkits are just the beginning.
  • "Sorry, Only Not Yet!"
  • You can re-evaluate all you want.

    I will not be re-evaluating my commitment to avoid your products.

    or in Dear John terms,

    Dear SONY,

    It's you, not me. There is nothing for you to evaluate here, so you can stop with the pathetic PR bullshit.
    It's sad to see you so desperate for my attention, when I have no interest in you.
    I ended this relationship because of your actions, you need to move on and get over it.
    I never want to see you again.
    No matter how you claim to have changed, and how much you have claimed to
  • by keraneuology (760918) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:40PM (#14224567) Journal
    They didn't go far enough.

    Saying they're sorry is not enough.

    Being sorry is not enough.

    Understanding that they were wrong is not enough. (Though I doubt that they actually grasp this concept... Sony's executive and official remarks along the lines that since most people don't know what a rootkit is therefore they shouldn't care about one fairly accurately indicate the corporate culture over there. They aren't sorry that they did wrong, they are sorry that they had to listen to their customers and non-customers alike whining about the situation.)

    I want somebody fired over this. The president would be great, but handing a sacrificial pink slip to a VP would suffice. Such a great and monumental screwup - including the intentional introduction of inadvertant (no, not a contradiction) security holes onto the computers of the people who are paying their salaries is, IMNSHO, criminal, but fat chance of charges ever being pressed. I'm sure the execs would fire their assistants for putting Splenda (tm) in the morning coffee instead of Equal or printing out the day's email in 11.5 New Roman instead of 12 Times, but when it comes to something that actually matters not a demotion or even a negative review in the executive's employment file. In fact, I'll wager the screwup who gave the green light to this whole project still gets a fat six figure bonus for "great" performance.

    If Sony wants my money again they they have to can an exec and have security escort him from the building. If all sony music fans followed suit then a message would be sent loud and clear that this abuse of the customers will not be tolerated and execs throughout the industry would understand that what they do may actually have ~gasp~ consequences.

    • Fired? That's it? I want someone in jail over this. No golden parachute, no "I'm sorry it's not working out" million dollar severance package, no re-hiring in a subdivision or rival, but a pound him in the ass jail. Some real consequences. Hopefully, that will get execs thinking next time they cook up a scheme like that.
    • I want somebody fired over this.

      I want somebody perp-walked. If the RIAA thinks someone should go to jail over song lyrics, then fine, send some of these higher-ups to jail. (Some pimple-faced teen hacker, doing the same thing to Sony, would get no less.) And real jail, not some Martha Stewart summer camp.

      Three to Five hard labor would be good, but even 30 days in the pokie would send a strong message.

  • I seriously doubt that Sony's behavior has changed in any significant way. Here is what Mark Russinovich had to say on November 30, 2005: Premature Victory Declaration? [sysinternals.com]
  • Sony Repents Over CD Debacle

    Sony could no less repent than a rock on the ground. Unless you have some type of being that feels emotions then stop trying anthromorphize corporations.
  • Repent? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snorpus (566772) on Friday December 09, 2005 @08:32PM (#14225080)
    I don't see repent in "reevalutate."

    I don't see "We're sorry." I don't see "We were wrong." I don't see "We promise we won't do it again." I don't see "Please forgive us."

    All I see is "We're going to think about how we do this in the future."

  • I read an article that the spyware hadn't affected CD sales. Sony is there to make money not friends. Unless it makes an immediate impact on revenue they won't even notice.

    Join me in wishing the whole Sony corporation a cold dark Christmas [boingboing.net] this year.

  • SONY: I'm so sorry baby. Can't you see how you hurt me leaving me this way? I promise I'll never hit you again... It's just that when you do that I just can't control myself. Can you forgive me this one last time?

    CUSTOMER: Well.. ok.

    SONY: Oh... thank you baby. I'm so lucky to have you... And BITCH!, if you EVER try to leave me again I'll knock your skull so hard you'll do a backflip!
  • by tube013 (309846) on Friday December 09, 2005 @09:10PM (#14225383) Journal
    I was out at Best Buy today, and was looking at a few cds. And came across a whole stack of cds with the suppossedly recalled xcp copy protection. I thought about saying something to the store. Sort of bewilders me that this shit is still sitting on shelves at the store. I almost bought one so I could join in the class action lawsuits.
  • Translation: "I'm sorry I got caught".

Those who do things in a noble spirit of self-sacrifice are to be avoided at all costs. -- N. Alexander.

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