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Sony Proudly Rolls Out Spyware/Restrictions System 527

jhonny writes "Sony announced a new DRM technology called OpenMG X. Basically it keeps track on how many times you played/viewed (or tried to copy) your product and sends these statistics to the copyright holder."
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Sony Proudly Rolls Out Spyware/Restrictions System

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  • by SpanishInquisition ( 127269 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:03AM (#4038907) Homepage Journal
    The Spyman!
    • by uncoveror ( 570620 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:28AM (#4039136) Homepage
      Now that Sony's computer division is on the same page as their music division, it is time to boycott all their products, not just their CDs. [] Don't buy anything from Sony.
      • by splanky ( 598553 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:19PM (#4039937)
        Sony Music was the first major label to quit accepting open CD returns. They're the reason that very few stores accept opened CDs for a refund. They sent out this letter saying that since they don't manufacture defective CDs that they will no longer accept open returns. They said they'd give us about 10 cents on each CD to take care of returns that customers would have. Since then, they've reduced that amount to about 6 cents. Within a month of that original letter, our store got returned a bunch of open Sony CDs from customers - the problem? They bought Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits only to find Simon & Garfunkel inside the case.

        I relate this story to warn everyone that Sony is tenacious, arrogant company that will follow through on their threats. Think about how long they stuck with Beta or now they are trying to jam SACD down everyone's throats.
    • by skotte ( 262100 ) <> on Friday August 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#4040307) Homepage
      on the subject of names, isnt it kinda offensive they use the term "open"? I mean, the Open Source Initiative doesnt own the rights to the word, obviously. but isnt it somehow misleading or deceptive or some kind of annoying they should use "open" like a generic buzzword here? "Open" as the suggestion of being something specific, which this is almost certainly not. it would be like me making a beef product and calling it Vegi-Stuff.

      what are they claiming is especially open about this piece of software?

      yes, i probably am nitpicking. but....
  • by Marx_Mrvelous ( 532372 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:04AM (#4038916) Homepage
    Finally, a real erason for someone with a Windows machine (or Linux for that matter) to have a firewall...
    • My thoughts exactly. The only problem is, what if Sony
      • requires
      the product to be able to communicate with the "server module" at some point in the future? Basically, I fear a movement towards disabling hardware if reporting does not take place. This may be a first step in that direction.
      • by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:18AM (#4039056) Journal
        I remember when 3d studio max started to require a peice of hardware for their program to work. Sounds impossible? It was cracked before it came out of beta. Basically, if sony does something like this, it will take someone about an hour to write a simple DNS server that will re-route all requests to a certain server (or loopback devide) and to reply to the program how it wants to, so that for all the program knows, it's talking to the real server. Sure, they'll throw in encryption and such, but that will be breakable as well. What Sony will see as a huge investment, a lot of hackers / crackers will see as an exercise in server emulation.
  • by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:05AM (#4038920) Homepage Journal

    How is it spyware if they tell you it's sending data to the copyright holder? Isn't spyware supposed to be a bit more subtle than that?

    • Yeah, it's kinda like a FBI agent turnign to you and going... "Hang on a second, I have to phone the FBI and tell them you are about to sell me illegal goods. It'll only take a second. Just wait right there."

      I think letting people know you are spying on them, will only tick them off, and lead to more protection against being spied on. (Or more linux, or firewalls.) But hey, won't fire walls circumvent this DRM... isn't that illegal by the DMCA? hmm... interesting.
    • How is it spyware if they tell you it's sending data to the copyright holder? Isn't spyware supposed to be a bit more subtle than that?

      Obviously you've never seen Spies Like Us. I mean they were spies, right, but was there any subtlety? No, I thought not. Don't even get me started on Ishtar...

    • It's kind of worse than spying. Spying, at least you're being tricked. This is really domineering (spelling?).

      "We're going to watch you silly consumers, so you don't do things with our product that we don't want you to do. Why? Because we're bigger and stronger, that's why."

    • How is it spyware if they tell you it's sending data to the copyright holder?

      More likely it's actually communicating with a central service. With that service (allegedly) informing the copyright owner. Since the file itself cannot possibly know who it's current copyright owner might be.
    • What do you want to bet that the guy at Best Buy that is trying to sell you this thing won't tell you that it reports everything you watch? I bet it's not listed as a feature on the box either. It's most likely buried in a EULA somewhere inside the box. You won't even know about it unless you get it home and read the EULA. Shouldn't we know about these things before we buy so we don't end up wasting a lot of time buying something that is useless to us?

  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    Do I need to be connected to the internet to use it? And does it honestly think I'm going to let it past my firewall to report its findings?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:12AM (#4038991) Journal
      That's always been my thought. However, what happens when the game doesn't work unless it can get to Sony? You will take it back. I will take it back. 99.99% of the population will play it, happily submitting all of their demographics to Sony.

      So the end result is that the only people who would do something about it get marginallised, and can only avoid it by not playing. Whee.
      • Re:So... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by moncyb ( 456490 )

        It appears you haven't tried to return software (or music or movies) to some stores. Many of them will tell you "because of current copyright laws" you can only exchange them for the same item. Even if the product's design is defective, and it doesn't work with any of your equipment!

  • PS 3 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by new_breed ( 569862 )
    "Installation not only on PCs, but also on networked devices such as PlayStation 2, AV devices, and mobile devices" Great..if this comes with my PS 3, I'm not buying one.
    • Re:PS 3 (Score:3, Funny)

      by David Wong ( 199703 )
      Oh, you'll buy a PS3. Haven't you heard the news [] that it will be powerful enough to watch your body's movements via digital cameras and translate them into hyper-realistic digital virtual worlds on a processor 1,000 times more powerful than the PS2?

      I think it also says somewhere in the article that you'll be able to strap it to your back and it will fly you to the moon.
  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by jamis ( 16403 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:06AM (#4038935) Homepage
    What company needs to know that...

    DVD - Naughty Coed Cheerleaders in Heat IV
    Viewed 23,433 times
  • OpenMG X? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hornsby ( 63501 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:06AM (#4038936) Homepage
    It seems like the latest trend is to prefix Open on anything that's proprietary and evil to try and trick "Open Source" hackers into thinking it's not so bad.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I try to copy it 1,000,000 times?
  • by philzama ( 582467 )
    So how much do I get charged if I hum a tune in my head? Oh Shit, what If I have a dream and its a musical? Damn!
  • Glad I use zone alarm. It seems like their is a lot of this "phone home" technology being built into more and more applications. I like knowing whats trying to get in and out of my system and being able to accept or deny it.
    • Re:zone alarm (Score:4, Interesting)

      by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica@[ ] ['sup' in gap]> on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:15AM (#4039026)
      hope you dont allow web browsers to get through zonealarm. As it has been shown before, a program can open a URL with your default browser, then hide the window before you see it. All sony has to do is put the tracking information in the URL and submit it, bypassing zonealarm.
      • hide? you mean minimize? I don't think so. Their is the task bar...
      • Re:zone alarm (Score:4, Informative)

        by Jucius Maximus ( 229128 ) <> on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:56AM (#4039346) Journal
        "hope you dont allow web browsers to get through zonealarm. As it has been shown before, a program can open a URL with your default browser, then hide the window before you see it. All sony has to do is put the tracking information in the URL and submit it, bypassing zonealarm."

        All you do is when you install a suspicious application, you close of ALL access via the firewall, and then you see what tries to connect via sniffers or firewall logs. If you see the iexplore.exe is unexpectedly trying to connect to a certain IP, then you ban that IP and then open up access to trusted applications again.

      • Re:zone alarm (Score:2, Informative)

        by Eccles ( 932 )
        hope you dont allow web browsers to get through zonealarm. As it has been shown before, a program can open a URL with your default browser

        That's why I've left Netscape 4 as my default browser. Anything that tries to start a URL triggers the Netscape login screen, and I just exit from that. Highly recommended...
    • Re:zone alarm (Score:4, Informative)

      by Lussarn ( 105276 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:17AM (#4039046)
      A personal firewall isn't good enough. If the software who is phoning home disables the firewall you wouldn't notice. A firewall needs to be on it's own secure box.
      • I guess it would use the .Disable() method on the exposed zone alarm api?

        I also suggest running a firewall on its own box (as I do myself) but disabling a built in firewall would be both difficult(anything is possible though) and possibly illegal. There is no exposed API so they would have to reverse engineer is, thereby opening themselves up to legal action under the DCMA, the very thing they are trying to uphold. Kind of a paradox.

  • ...probably within the week. anything that Phones Home can be effectively neutered by changing a few bytes.
  • by Mexican ( 323519 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:08AM (#4038954)
    And how long will it be before blocking their DRM management server in your personal firewall is considered circumventing the DMCA?
    • That's silly.

      The DRM will need the feedback to function.

      So... blocking the feedback in the firewall will just make it impossible for you to use the music/film/whatever you "own".
      • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:58AM (#4039369) Homepage
        We all *know* it's going to be part of their licensing agreement.

        By walking through the store and looking at this package you agree to the following terms.

        You allow Sony full access to a listing all of your media materials that can be used with this device. You allow Sony full rights to any information public or private that we deem as important in one way or another. Any thought about getting around this soul binding contract will permit full persecution by the government under which you reside and will persecute you at our request. By agreeing to this contract you agree to plead guilty to any charges brought against you by our company or any of its subsidiaries and pay any damages that we set. You also agree to not speak in a seditious way against our company or any of it's subsidiaries and also agree not to use any competing product or license of any competing company or government.

  • Pot, Kettle, Black (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnPM ( 163131 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:08AM (#4038956) Homepage
    It's humerous that one of the biggest Japanese companies is so concerned with intellectual property. The Japanese reputation with regards to Patent enforcement is a model for the anti-Amazon burn-the-patents crowd. This is illustrated by, for example, Texas Instruments getting bent over by Fujitsu in 97 [].

  • by floppy ears ( 470810 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:08AM (#4038962) Homepage
    Sony says:

    In future, the following capabilities will be required for DRM (Digital Rights Management) in expanding the digital content distribution business. ...
    3. Installation not only on PCs, but also on networked devices such as PlayStation 2, AV devices, and mobile devices.

    I'm not eager to have Sony keeping track of the games and music I'm playing on my PlayStation. This is a good opportunity for Nintendo to distinguish themselves by embracing freedom.
    • I'm not eager to have Sony keeping track of the games and music I'm playing on my PlayStation. This is a good opportunity for Nintendo to distinguish themselves by embracing freedom.

      Unfortunately, little does this have anything to do with 'embracing' freedom or supporting anything that even vaguely resembles it.

      It's got everything to do with marketing, and money. Sony is probably testing waters by introducing such DRM "sensitive" devices into all their products. When all the capitalistic forces jump onto the bandwagon (if it works out for Sony), the actions of other companies would be guided by market forces.

      Even assuming that Nintendo does take an openview of things and says Go EFF, it'd still not do much good for Nintendo for 2 reasons -

      a] The fraction of population that actually understands what Nintendo is trying to do, and buys things to help them do so would be very very small indeed. Besides, it's a good product that sells, based on the needs, immaterial of how laudable your goals are. Look what happened to Loki. They made very good products, and definitely had a great vision. But just that does not suffice in an evergrowing corpy environment.

      b] If all the big players take on such measures, then Nintendo will have to follow suit, else they risk being sued/litigated to kingdom come. If some performer claimed that because Nintendo lacked the technology to prevent abuse, people were pirating, Nintendo would be up against the wall.

      Also, in the article -

      "OpenMG X" flexibly adapts to the distribution of content to PCs, as well as services which distribute content directly to AV and mobile devices.

      Now that would be a killer. Because, right now the only people who can actually help you here are the PC Industry manufacturers. As long as they don't stick up an OEM deal to you that voids your hardware if you do not own their "h4xor pr00f 4nt1 p1r4cy" software or something like that, it's good for us. But once you get embedded software onto the ROMs that would do something along the lines of what Sony is suggesting, then the bells start tolling.

      Until them, we have some (borrowed?) time.
  • Thanks (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica@[ ] ['sup' in gap]> on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:08AM (#4038963)
    Thanks for the announcement Sony. Now I know to avoid your products. I wish more companies would tell me about their stupid ideas sooner.
  • Hey Sony, just implant it right into my ear canal and get it over with!
    • by FreeUser ( 11483 )
      Hey Sony, just implant [DRM] right into my ear canal and get it over with!

      Of course, for you to be fully DRM and DMCA compliant, you will have to cut off your Left Ear, in the grand tradition of that Digital Rightion Visionary, Van Gogh.

      After all, you might otherwise hear someone humming a copyrighted tune, and once that tune is stored in your brain's neurons and repeatable by your mind's software, only summary execution will make you Copyright Compliant once again.

      And that would be trajedy, so take preventative measures now.
  • by philipdl71 ( 160261 ) < minus city> on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:12AM (#4038993) Homepage
    The more DRM (digital rights management) implementations there are, the greater the chance that the industry won't be able to get one to critical mass so that it's actually accepted by consumers.

    I applaud Sony for their recent contribution. Perhaps those proprietary memory sticks will be good for something, anyways.
  • How do they know? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gralem ( 45862 )
    Let's say the copyrighted product is a CD or DVD. Well, I can rip either one of those into another format. Let's say I convert it to MP3/DIVX. Then I could convert those formats to OGG/DV formats. By now, there is no way to track where it came from and what content is in the files, right? I mean, in the end all of these systems can be avoided. And if we know they're out there, we just don't buy any more sony computers EVER (or microsoft software or REAL software, etc, etc).

    I do not think there is any software that could scan an Ogg Vorbis file and determine at all what song it is. Even if it did that, it could not determine what album it came from (original/CD single/live/greatest hits/various artists version). The whole idea of DRM just drives me crazy!

    • Everyone is talking about firewalls, and other formats with-out DRM, thinking that blocking the DRM will just allow unlimited access.

      This isn't what the corporations want. They want it so the DRM bits must be verified before you can use any media. You firewall the requests, you can't play. You use a non-DRM enabled format your player won't open it.

      It may not be at this point yet, but I can see it quickly heading there.
    • I do not think there is any software that could scan an Ogg Vorbis file and determine at all what song it is.

      You think wrong. Relatable offers audio fingerprinting technology [] that creates a hash of an audio clip, which is useful for determining what recording it belongs to. Apparently, Napster was thinking of using it [] until the service was shut down and converted to a completely opt-in system.

      And yes, it may get confused sometimes on cover songs, but that's the whole point: under copyright law, a songwriter is entitled to a royalty for every sale of a CD containing his or her copyrighted work.

  • by Alcimedes ( 398213 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:13AM (#4039010)
    man, forget about "disabling" this device, this is exactly what we need!

    think about it. all that has to happen is one geek cracks the code. then distribute it. then get a few people together and make a database of all the different codes for different games. end result? get a nice little program that artificially inflates the stats for your favorite games!

    forget running SETI of, just run PS stacker in the background, sending of piles of info back to the mothership about how gamers REALLY LOVE BUSHIDO BLADE!!!

    at least that's one way to do it. besides, break it entirely and they'll come up with another one. better to tweak it and use it to your advantage.
  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:16AM (#4039042)
    Announcing "OpenMG X"
    - Digital Rights Management and Distribution Technology
    -Promoting distribution of digital content which respects copyright-

    Tokyo, Japan

    Sony Corporation today announced "OpenMG X", a digital rights manag ....

    eh, screw it, it's sony, let 'em hurt....
  • by Greenrider ( 451799 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:17AM (#4039047)
    Day 1: AIBO received as present

    Day 2: AIBO found looking through personal CD collection.

    Day 3: AIBO attempts to sabotage my chipped PS2. I reprimand it by frowning sternly and saying "Bad dog" but it just wags its tail and pretends like it doesn't understand.

    Day 4: AIBO swallows the laser assembly of my CD burner. Claims it was hungry.

    Day 5: AIBO starts leaving little piles of Memory Sticks all over the house.

    Day 6: AIBO trashes my RioVolt by trying to mate with it.

    Day 7: AIBO returned to store, exchanged for TiVo.
  • OpenMG X

    Let's see.

    Uses a word with benevolent connotations ("Open")... +2 points

    Followed up by a small abbreviation that terminates with the "ee" sound... +3 points.

    Incorporates X somehow... +4 points.

    Fails to use an "e" or "i" prefix... -2 points.

    2 + 3 + 4 - 2 = rights still getting FLUSHED DOWN THE TOI... I mean, 7 points! Good work to everyone involved!
  • "OpenMG X consists of the following software modules:
    1. An encoding module which adds digital rights management information, such as the number of times content was copied or played, to music/movie content and converts them into code at the distributors' end.
    2. A server module which distributes digital rights management information on content to the users' end.
    3. Client module for developing application software compatible with "OpenMG X" Sony has put the client module (#3) into practice and created "MAGIQLIP", the network music player for PC."

    It sounds like that as long as you don't use the MAGIQLIP software, you're fine. Tell me if I'm missing something here, or they just thought up another half-assed copyright protection scheme.
  • by David Wong ( 199703 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:20AM (#4039075) Homepage
    It says RIGHT IN THE RELEASE that:

    "This will provide content holders and distributors with the bigger opportunities to widen the ways of secure content distribution to various devices while consumers will enjoy more entertaining and exciting content, which will enlarge and vitalize the entire digital content distribution market."

    This will make your movies and music MORE EXCITING AND ENTERTAINING. Say goodbye to Britney and awful Elvis remixes. Say goodbye to slap-together Austin Powers' sequels crammed with product placements. THIS TECHNOLOGY WILL CURE US OF THAT.

    I have yet to determine exactly how, but I happen to trust Sony. They told me the PS2 would be 1,000 times more powerful than the PS1, and dammit, we've all seen the results.

    Why you guys can't get over your whining and just accept this new more exciting and entertaining future is beyond me.
  • Thank you Sony for once again reminding me why i don't buy Sony products anymore.

    Ever since the DCMA controversy started i stopped buying Sony products - any Sony products. I don't care if they're good or bad, geeckish or general consumer, music, video, electronics or whatever - i purposely avoid any and all products from Sony any any company i know is part of the Sony "empire".

    I've voted with my wallet - What about YOU?
    • by Russ Steffen ( 263 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:27PM (#4039986) Homepage
      Ever since the DCMA controversy...

      No no no, it's the DMCA. You can remeber it by the old Village People song:

      D - M - C - A ( It's fun to violate the )
      D - M - C - A ( You'll do more time than Manson )
      D - M - C - A!

  • Damn it...I can never keep up!

    Sorry guys, but I might have to like them again when the network package for PS2 comes out in a couple weeks. And online Madden 2K3...


  • by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:32AM (#4039165) Homepage Journal
    That I'm not going to buy:
    • A DRM-restricted PC
    • DRM-restricted (copy protected) media - CD's, DVD's, or otherwise.

    What corporate america fails to realize is that the value of a CD lies not just in the physical device, but in the ability for the end user to enjoy the content as they see fit - to copy it to their computer, to make mixed CD's, etc... So my question to Sony is this: How do you expect to make money selling a product that nobody wants? Consumers DON'T WANT copy-restricted media or PC's. I, for one, won't be buying any Sony products in the future for fear that I won't be able to copy CD's that I have legimately paid for, or burn CD's of my own "copyrighted" original material.

    How long will it be before running an unlicensed, unregistered software program will be illegal? This DRM scheme is just an incremental step in Corporate America's plan to levy a tax on everything done on a PC. Think about this folks - Sony is trying to take away our freedoms. Spend accordingly.

    • by ryanvm ( 247662 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:39AM (#4039634)
      Doesn't Sony realize that I'm not going to buy DRM -restricted media. [...] How do you expect to make money selling a product that nobody wants?

      Unfortunately not everyone feels the same way that you or I do about copy protection. Hell, it's probably only 3 or 4 percent of people that even understand the issue, and the number of people boycotting media they care about is going to be a fraction of that. How many people do you know that don't rent movies because of MacroVision?

      The sad truth is that if 90% (or more) of the population doesn't care about copy protection, the media conglomerates can pretty much implement whatever DRM they want and the consumers will eat it up. And Sony, as a hardware manufacturer and a media outlet, is in a perfect position to do so.
  • I've been bothered by their proprietary approach to many things, over the past few years (memory stick, absurdly expensive expansion components to their computers, etc.) and was looking at portable LCD Tv's yesterday. Thing is, in my gut, I already flinch at the prospect of buying from Sony for the concern of being locked into something else of theirs where only they sell (due to heavy copyrighting/patenting) and lack of desire to support such a business.

    I may just go with Casio. Seems like the strategy has backfired on this wallet.

  • It seems like no one, not even Sony, learned the lessons of the DIVX player -- no one wants to be spied on in their own home, making use of products that they own.

    I don't know if I'll be keeping my Playstation 2 (with LAN adapter) or even buying a PS3 now. If I do, I'll certainly be tweaking the firewall a bit, because, frankly, it's none of Sony's business how I make use of my hardware.

    If we were to compare consumer electronics to automobiles, it would be illegal for me to swap out the fuel injector chip in my car, to install a better air filter, or put a different brand of tires on it when the old ones needed replacing. Hell, it would require me to buy a whole new car when the tires went bald. Of course, laws like this might not be bad -- we'd get all those kids and their "race-ready" Civics and Tiburons off the fucking street. (I, for one, cringe at the sound of a 4-cylinder with a modified exhaust system. And those "carrying handle" spoilers ruining a perfectly nice-looking Mitsubishi Eclipse are just a fucking eyesore.)

    Anyway, the point being, if Sony thinks they can ram this down people's throats, they're in for a rude shock. It's bad enough that a game costs $50 -- even a year after it's been released, but now they're demanding to know how often you play it? Gimme a break.

    The social effect of this, I think is going to turn the neighborhood computer geek into the equivelent of the neighborhood car mechanic, circa 1930 -- the stuff's going to get so complicated that Joe Average isn't going to be able to make the modifications he wants, so he'll go to the neighborhood expert...and in exchange for some work, the expert gets some extra cash, food, beer, sex, or whatever.

    You know what, Sony? Bring that shit on. There's a hot lesbian couple down the block that I'd love to get between. Heh.
  • by mesozoic ( 134277 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:46AM (#4039287)
    Companies come out with competing DRM technologies. The industry will become clogged with this stuff, because they all think they're going to get rich if they make _their_ DRM the industry standard.

    Meanwhile, as DRM-enabled hardware starts making its way onto the market, consumers become aware of what's going on., NYT, WSJ, all the major media outlets start talking about how these new technology devices won't let you do things your old ones did. We're not just talking about PCs anymore, but DVD players, CD players, MP3 players, televisions, everything.

    Consumers say, "Screw that, I don't want disabled junk." A year or two passes, the market for DRM-enabled technology is totally saturated, and nobody's buying. People hold on to their old stuff. Sales plummet. Whoops.

    Meanwhile, pirates continue to find ways to circumvent copyrights. Sales keep dropping. The Supreme Court eventually shoots down key parts of the DMCA--and the DMCA is so screwy, this isn't a matter of if, but when--and suddenly we're allowed to _legally_ circumvent copyrights. Bye-bye DRM.

    Honestly, I don't think this sort of technology has any chance for long-term survival. All the advertising might and political influence in the world cannot defeat a marketplace full of frustrated consumers.
  • This from the press release itself:
    With this technology, the usage conditions for content can be controlled from the distributor's end and hence, content distribution can be secured from the beginning to the end of the service.

    By ``end of the service'' here, they clearly mean ``the moment that just one of the multitude of clued-up and highly motivated hackers out there cracks the protection and puts an unecrypted copy on a P2P network''.

    Ah, you gotta hand it to Sony. They have learned the lesson well: that you can always solve IPR problems with technology.

    Next week: Sony Announce New Initiative To Improve Morality By Legislation.

    The week after: Sony Announce New Initiative To End World Hunger By Telling People To Be Nicer.

    These are all great ideas.

  • Prior art (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bazzargh ( 39195 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @10:49AM (#4039310)
    Cartman: Okay, that's does it! Now listen! Why is it that everything today has involved things either going in or coming out of my ass?! [Farts. An anal probe comes out of his butt and expands] I'm sick of it! It's completely immature.
    Stan: Hey, it's happening again. [the probe is now a large satellite dish]
    Kyle: Whoa, look at that.
    Stan: Now, do you believe this, Cartman?
    Cartman: You guys can't scare me! I know you're making it all up.
    Stan: Cartman, there's a 80-foot satellite dish sticking out of your ass!
    Cartman: Sure, you guys, what-ever. [the dish sends a radio signal out to space]

  • Oh shit - now the whole world will find out that I spend 8 hours every night playing "Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen Magical Mystery Mall" on my playstation! Arrgghhh!!!
  • If you'd like to contact Sony Japan, this form [] appears to be a good place to start.

    Remember - be polite and direct in telling them that you will not support technology that negates the rights of the customer.
  • by simetra ( 155655 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:10AM (#4039451) Homepage Journal
    Sure, it's nice to hop on the Evil Companies bandwagon, but really.... why should everything be free? What if you ran a company? Would you give your product away? If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you do like it, buy it. Don't like asparagus? Don't buy it. Do like grapes? Buy them, don't shoplift them.

    As for privacy, so what? What if Sony finds out that you listen to Neil Diamond's greatest hits 10 times a day? What are they going to do, haul you into a dungeon and torture you? Are they going to take out a full-page ad in the NY Times, proclaiming that Joe-LOTR-Geek-Smith listens to Neil Diamond 10 times a day?

    I don't like this either, but how about a reality check every now and then?
    • "As for privacy, so what? What if Sony finds out that you listen to Neil Diamond's greatest hits 10 times a day? What are they going to do, haul you into a dungeon and torture you? Are they going to take out a full-page ad in the NY Times, proclaiming that Joe-LOTR-Geek-Smith listens to Neil Diamond 10 times a day?"

      A fair enough question, and one that many people don't understand the answer to.

      Here is "so what:"
      (1) I don't have to justify my want for privacy. You have to justify your taking it away from me. I don't want Sony to find out that I listen to Neil Diamond. That's all the justification I need to give.

      (2) I have a question for you, Simetra. How many times have you masturbated in the last month. How many orgasms have you had? What does your wife or girlfriend look like when she climaxes... does she grimace or smile? Please tell me and all of slashdot. Go ahead and tell - we're not going to haul you into a dungeon and torture you. Or do you think that its just none of my business?

      (3) Profiling: One of the current trends in "profiling" is to ignore causation and emphasize correlation. For example, in order to get some jobs, you have to take a "personality test" and the answers you give are translated to a chance you will commit employee theft. Some of the questions are hardly relevant (most, actually) but they have found that "I like chocolate" people are three times more likely to rob than "I like strawberry" people. Nobody, not even the psychatrists, are claiming causation- they don't need to.

      The United States is now requiring many data-gathering places (like libraries) to turn over their data so they can test for "potential terrorists." If it turns out that the music you like is also liked by the White Christians who were responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, you may find yourself on a list you don't like. It seems farfetched... but it is not. And even if you think that it is a farfetched idea, it is not for you to make that call for me.

      I have the right to privacy.

    • by Raphael ( 18701 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @12:59PM (#4040224) Homepage Journal

      I hope that someone will moderate you up because your comment is interesting, even if I disagree with it.

      You are right about the fact that some people deserve to be paid for their work. Let's skip the debate about whether the price of CDs and DVDs is right or whether the publishers reward the artists correctly. In the end, we (the consumers) should pay for the content that we would like to listen to or watch. If the artist or publisher did not intend to distribute their work for free, then copying it from someone else is stealing, plain and simple. This is wrong and should be prevented or punished appropriately. So I fully agree with you on that part.

      But there are many problems in the technical implementation and in the privacy risks associated with this DRM method (and most others).

      Here is an example: if I read the description correctly, OpenMG X requires the player to exchange some information with a server in order to allow the content to be played. Do you remember DivX? Not the video codec, but the company that tried to rent encrypted discs and is now dead. If the company goes bust, then the players cannot contact the server and you would probably not be able to play the content that you paid for.

      I also expect some problems if I would like to listen to the music or watch the video while I am sitting in a plane with my laptop or in some remote area from which I cannot connect to the server.

      Also, as noted by many others, there are many copies that are not illegal. The protection scheme will probably allow some of them (maybe only one copy to another protected device) but will not allow all of the copies that would normally be considered as "fair use". I buy lots of CDs but I always make a copy of them if I want to listen to them in my car (otherwise they could be damaged by heat or dust). I also encode them as Ogg or MP3 if I want to listen to them on my laptop (because carrying the CDs when I travel is not very convenient). Note that only one of these copies is used at a given time. I bet that most of these copies would not be possible with this protected content. So if OpenMG X is successful and if in the future most of the content is protected or if the "best stuff" is only released with OpenMG X protection (or released first in that format and much later in some unprotected format), then my choices as a consumer would be significantly limited. I know that these reasons are often used by freeloaders who shout "fair use rights" whenever they are afraid that they would have to pay for the stuff that they are getting for free from their friends, but believe me: I'm not one of them and I am really concerned about the choices that would be available to me in the future.

      Regarding the privacy risks, you do not have to be paranoid to imagine some of the things that could be done with your listening habits or with the "criminal record" listing the the number of times that you attempted to copy something. Beyond the marketing tricks (more junk mail or e-mail about "related products" that I am not interested in) there could be some issues if your personal data is not suitably protected or if it is incorrect because someone else used your equipment. Imagine, for example, that a friend of yours uses your player while you are not there and attempts to copy some content that you bought. He will not be able to do it (e.g., because the owner of the target device would not be the same as the owner of the content) but this attempt may be logged. If this happens several times, you could be blacklisted and later you would not be able to play your music anymore. This could happen if all devices or content could be linked to their "owner" (correctly or not).

      You can also think about what could happen to your personal data if the company that owns the server does not protect it correctly. Or if the management of the company changes or if it is bought by another company. Do you want a future employer to know that you have been listening to or viewing some things that are not politically correct?

      There are many other risks and problems associated with this and other DRM methods, but I should probably stop here because this comment is getting a bit long already...

    • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @03:45PM (#4041631)
      "What if Sony finds out that you listen to Neil Diamond's greatest hits 10 times a day? What are they going to do, haul you into a dungeon and torture you?"

      No. They are going to torture me in situ. Saves on the transport costs.

      The are going to fricking SPAM the crap out of me every time a new album by an artist for who I own one disc comes out, and then once a week after that for the rest of my fricking life, until they see I've bought the damned thing by way of my player reporting the fact to them.

      This will happen, even if the original disc was a present, and I played it *one time*, just to be polite.

      If I play something multiple times, then every time before the player is willing to play the disc I already own, it's going to play a K-TEL commercial for the new disc or "if you like Bob Marley, you'll LOVE Jimmy Cliff!" or *whatever*.

      Every time I pick up my Sony cordless phone, it's going to complain that I haven't called my mother in a while, would I please press "*" now, so that they can connect me "using their honorable partner MCI's new, cheaper long distance service". Only after three repetitions of this will I get a dialtone and be able to use my phone to call who I wanted to call in the first place.

      If I don't buy anything from them in a while, they'll mark me "inactive" in their database, which means that I'm not making them money, so they will feel free to capitalize on the information by selling it; after all, if I'm not "loyal" to their brand, why shouldn't they turn the information they have into money some other way, since there's no risk of them offending me into not buyinf from them -- I'm already not buying from them?

      The *ONLY* benefit to consumers in this case is that they *WON'T* SPAM me about things I already own.

      Unless they are about to release a new album by an artist whose disc I haven't played in a while, in which case they'll remind me to play the thing to "prime the pump" so I'll be more likely to buy the new one.

      Until they figure out how to convert everything to "pay per listen", at which point, they will SPAM me for *everything*, ALL THE FREAKING TIME, FOR THE REST OF MY SHORT, MISERABLE LIFE!

      And as I lay DYING in my bathtub, the BLOOD running from my GINSU(tm)-KNIFE-SLITTED WRISTS,
      finally escaping this horror... the Sony shower radio will come on and try to sell me MR. SPARKLE cleanser for my bathtub that is guaranteed to get out the blood stains I'm likely to leave.


      -- Terry
  • Hitler and IP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:13AM (#4039473) Homepage
    You might think that Hitler, who got elected with the financial support of big business (while in the US, Henry Ford was a major fan too), wouldn't have resorted to intellectual property [] to meet his need to acquire vast wealth. Not only did he earn millions in royalties from Mein Kampf [], but he got a share in the proceeds from sales of photos of him by his official photographer, on whose behalf he extended the copyright law, showing that there's more than one mousey little guy with an appreciation of the value of his image!

    Perhaps if Sony technology had been in place, he would have gained enough through IP control to have been satiated, and not forced take extreme measures to try to make the world a better place through his policy of regime change in neighboring lands.
  • Stay Offline?
  • Inform (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:42AM (#4039659) Journal
    You could block this with a firewall, but then Sony could counter-attack by hiding the signal on the back of something else.. On the whole these companies are only telling us what they're doing in the small print which no-one reads. Most people I know haven't a clue about DRM or whats going on with it. Its (usually) perfectly legal to do what they are doing, and illigal to by-pass it. More of the general population needs to be aware of whats really going on, and that the corporations are shafting them behind their backs. Posting on /. is preaching to the converted. The internet is supposed to be the big medium for mass communication to enlighten the masses, but everyone is still in the dark..
  • Magic Gate by Sony (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <> on Friday August 09, 2002 @11:43AM (#4039664)
    Does anyone how successful Sony's MagicGate [] technology has been?

    Is anyone actually buying it? Has it been defeated yet? Though that might require substantial modification to the hardware involved....

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun