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Sony's EULA Worse Than Its Rootkit? 521

jaaron writes "If you think the Sony rootkit is bad, check out the accompanying EULA! From the EFF's summary: 'If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. ... Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to "enforce their rights" against you, at any time, without notice. ... Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling.'"
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Sony's EULA Worse Than Its Rootkit?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:21AM (#14020159)
    By now I really think it's gotten to the point that it's more unethical to give money to a company like this than to download their music without paying. I'm not anti-copyright in general, but the music industry is just so evil these days.
    • by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:33AM (#14020214)
      Actually, if you look at the history of that industry since the invention of the player piano, it has always been an evil enterprise. One could easily argue that they are a parasitic group riding on the backs of our most creative individuals. And perhaps that parasitism (they would call it "symbiosis") was necessary at one time, I don't know.

      The difference between the industry today, and our perception of it in decades past is that modern technology has forced them out into the open. Right there for everyone to see, peer-to-peer lawsuits, corrupt lawmakers, broadcast flags and all. The buying public can begin to understand the nature of the organizations that provide our entertainment, if such knowledge is considered important. I think it is, and obviously you do, but given that sales of CDs and DVDs are on the rise, even now, I tend think that most people simply do not. But from Disney to the RIAA to the MPAA to Sony, we have one of the most corrupt, dissembling groups of corporate thugs in existence anywhere. Well, perhaps they're overshadowed by the oil companies ... hard to say which is more evil. But fortunately I can choose where to spend my entertainment dollars: unfortunately I have to buy gas to get to work.
      • by ndtechnologies ( 814381 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:55AM (#14020324)
        The Recording Industry tried to sue radio broadcasting out of existence back in the 1920's, because they feared that people wouldn't buy their records if people could listen to it for free on the radio. They were forced to evolve their business model, and have since learned that radio is their biggest method of getting music out. The internet is much the same. The Recording Industry is trying the internet and it's users out of existence as well. Soon companies like Sony and other labels are going to find out that they can not bite the hand that feeds them. Which is exactly why we created our online music store. It is for independent artists. Check out my sig for more info.
      • by idunno2112 ( 852110 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @01:00PM (#14020653)
        I agree.

        In the Internet age, do we really need the RIAA or MPAA? All any band/movie producer needs creative people and market themselves because the distribution channels, formerly controlled by the RIAA/MPAA, are now open to the common folk because the cost to produce such works is within the budget of anyone willing to work a minimum wage job and live in their parent's basement.

        I can produce, distribute and market my own movies/garage band on the Internet. If people like the product, it turns a profit. If the product sucks, it doesn't profit. Why did Barney the Dinosaur become so huge? Marketing. Do you think a parent who cares about their child would subject their child to the mind numbing antics of a purple dinosaur? Do parents who subject their children to Barney even watch and see what they are showing their children?

        The RIAA/MPAA is not dedicated to quality. Why? Quality is subjective, profits are objective: some business manager OK'ed the Hulk movie because, hey, everybody knows who the Hulk is so at least N people will go see it/buy it, plug that into the profit-o-lator, and bingo, they figure out they should at least break even, which isn't bad business practice because a bunch of people got paid in the process. However, such a scenario does not bode well for the "art".

        Similarly, at its height of popularity, Atari was making a killing with their 2600 console. Alas, they let piles of steaming crappy games get published in quest of more profits. Where are they now?

        Having a work earn its value spurs creativity and innovation rather than remakes and rehash. With hokey television series like Dukes of Hazzard being remade, what's next? The A-Team? Chris Tucker as Murdock, the Rock as Mr. T, Leslie Neilsen as Hannible and Michael Jackson as Face?
      • by Esion Modnar ( 632431 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @04:28PM (#14021644)
        modern technology has forced them out into the open

        If it weren't for sites like this and others, and independent researchers who expose these shennanigans, their unethical behavior would go largely unremarked.

        Even as it is, only the few in the world who actually keep up with stuff like this, know anything about it. Sure, CNN has a story on their website, buried deep, but there has been no mention on their headline news channel. (But we can always find out how long that blonde chick has been missing.)

        These people are allowing their journalistic principles (as if they had any) be corrupted by the business interests of their corporate masters. Sure, this is nothing new. But I should would love to see this story spread wide enough so that 95% of the people in the US know about it.

    • Ironic but true.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by canuck57 ( 662392 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:04PM (#14020359)

      By now I really think it's gotten to the point that it's more unethical to give money to a company like this than to download their music without paying.

      It is ironic but true that your computer is now safer to download pirate copys of entertainment than to buy the authentic thing. WTF was Sony/BMG thinking? Most of us are honest!!

      Do keep in mind this tech can also be delivered on DVDs. Although I don't believe it has been done to the masses yet, there is no reason why it couldn't be on a DVD.

      And I for one would have never thought to read the EULA verbose legal microprint to see if it would rootkit my PC. Fortunately I never put the BMG ones I have in my PC.

      Which makes me think this industry just shot itself in the foot.

      • by chronicon ( 625367 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @01:02PM (#14020668) Homepage
        It is ironic but true that your computer is now safer to download pirate copys of entertainment than to buy the authentic thing. WTF was Sony/BMG thinking? Most of us are honest!!

        That is such a solid point. The whole issue is out of control. What if Sony-BMG is allowed to get away with this? What kind of precedent does it set? Will we now have to worry about every release from every media company that may follow the Sony model and employ their own variant of spy/malware-type Digital Restriction software on their CD or DVD?

        An EULA for CD audio?! When I first read this stuff I could NOT believe what I was seeing! [blogspot.com] We saw the writing on the wall with CueCat (remember that nonsense?). Do we just get to expect that everything we buy will now include "instructions" on what we can & cannot do with the things that we purchase? This goes beyond killing innovation--heck, instead of selling us merchandise it seems as if we're just paying a leasing fee: the manufacturer still owns the product and gets to tell us how we can use it. Licensed audio CDs, subscription software. I think it is only the beginning. Can't wait until I am forced to buy only certain brands of gasoline for my car based on the EULA I signed when I purchase my next vehicle...

        This all ties in with the honesty factor you mention. Sony (and others) simply use piracy as an excuse for this kind of awful behavior on their part. Please don't swap non-redistributable copyrighted files, if you do, you're ruining it for the rest of us! [blogspot.com]

        As you can see from the links, I've been stewing over these disturbing trends for days. Years actually. Any excuse to control the consumer seems to be grabbed up immediately by the powers that be...

        • Re:Ironic but true.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fordiman ( 689627 ) *
          Unfortunately, there are enough of us who don't see anything wrong with swapping coprighted materials that uncontrolled P2P filesharing is not going to wink out of existance any time soon.

          And, regardless of what you think, you _can not_ ask or order a significant portion of a population to change their habits. It doesn't work, never has. So the recording industry tries to fight it, but it just reinforces these habits - incites them towards more and more anti-DMCA activities - until someone with a brain ov
          • Unfortunately, there are enough of us who don't see anything wrong with swapping coprighted materials... regardless of what you think, you _can not_ ask or order a significant portion of a population to change their habits.

            Sure I can ask (who said anything about "order"?). Why not? Your actions are going to have a negative impact on technology I use for legitimate purposes. Why can't I point this out? I don't agree with the current state of copyright law, I think it is massive overkill with its term of

        • I don't understand why anybody acts as if these EULA things mean anything. Under U.S. law they have no force at all. If they sold you a product that damaged your computer or data, sue them. The judge won't even let them enter the EULA in evidence.

          If you didn't get to read the EULA before you paid for the disc, it's just wastepaper. Even a button presented on-screen, "I Agree", is meaningless. (You can click those without reading them.) Under the Uniform Commercial Code, Sony has no right to place extra c
        • An EULA for CD audio?!


          And for years, I was under the impression that this... http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode17/us c_sup_01_17.html [cornell.edu] was the EULA for music and other copyrighted works.

    • by uncoveror ( 570620 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:06PM (#14020372) Homepage
      Just boycotting Sony's music products isn't enough to fix this. We need to boycott every Sony product, even Playstation. Any other company that tries these tricks also needs to be smacked down by losing their customers. Continuing to buy things from such racketeers only encourages them to keep up the bad work.
      • Because I refuse to fund the RIAA but still want to ensure the artists I like are compensated for their work, I buy merch and boycott CDs off of Big 5 labels. As I understand it the RIAA does not get a cut of that money, instead it all goes to the artist (less production costs). Any idea whether or not that's true?
    • I trust an anonymous P2P peer more than I trust Sony, Microsoft etc. Everytime Apple releases a iTunes update I start asking myself it this is the release where the iTMS pervades iTunes (before you say anything, it's already half way there; before version 5 you could remove all iTMS items from iTunes, now you can only remove the arrow links from your database) or when they will give me a hard time on loading my MP3s onto the iPod. Each Quicktime or Acroboat or whatever software upgrades just seem to add mor

      • Yeah, even if I disable this and that, I'm sure Media Player keeps an eye out for all the CDs I put in my computer or will in the future and god knows what it will do. So, if I want a music, I trust P2P to give me a simple, clean MP3 file. I'm even afraid of downloading from iTMS and WMA files since now, they might be innocious now but, who knows, they could any day change to do nefarious "upgrade". Or maybe have latent tags and all that will one day become active as certain hardware standard enforcemens

        • Well, if you're truly paranoid, there's no reason to believe than an MP3 cannot have 'latent tags' in it either, encoded in a manner similar to (but different from) ID3v2, and perhaps mangled so you cannot see them there. So, as long as you use iTunes, WMP, or any other similar proprietary software, you cannot truly be sure that some DRM scheme won't be activated one day and suddenly apply to all your old files retroactively, MP3 or not. FOSS players are somewhat safer, not only because you can, in theory,

    • by bmac83 ( 869058 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:18PM (#14020437) Homepage

      I've been fairly moderate about DRM in the past, until I purchased the rootkit-encumbered new Foo Fighters album. I placed it in my CD-ROM drive to encode some MP3's for my portable player, and I noticed a licensing agreement popped up. I hate those "software enhancements" on movie DVD's and audio CD's, and I did what I have always told my girlfriend to do when the InterActual ones come up: I closed the window without accepting the licensing agreement.

      The software was still installed on my computer. The dirtiest thing about all this, in my opinion, is that the "A" in EULA (Agreement) is nothing of the sort. If I had agreed to the EULA and got the rootkit with the garbled audio and everything else, I would say caveat emptor until the laws are changed or lawsuits create a deterrent. Even if the contract is 200 pages long, we should probably be reading them. Or, we should demand a law like what the credit card companies have that requires a standardized matrix that summarizes how we're going to get cheated, monitored, and butt-raped.

      They could have done this legally (we can talk about the ethics another day), but they chose to circumvent their own legal measures: the "yes" and "no" that is supposed to make all this work. Now, I'm glad to see that this will give the world a reason to say caveat venditor.

      • I've been fairly moderate about DRM in the past, until I purchased the rootkit-encumbered new Foo Fighters album. I placed it in my CD-ROM drive to encode some MP3's for my portable player, and I noticed a licensing agreement popped up. I hate those "software enhancements" on movie DVD's and audio CD's, and I did what I have always told my girlfriend to do when the InterActual ones come up: I closed the window without accepting the licensing agreement.

        The software was still installed on my computer. The dir
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @08:16PM (#14022871)

        When you run the application that shows the EULA, it also runs the copy protection. If you accept the EULA the software is installed, otherwise it only remains running until you reboot.

        Reboot and it will be gone.

        Please mod this up. It doesn't install unless you say yes. I would never have implemented it if it worked the way the parent post describes.

        --
        ex sunncomm developer

  • by yagu ( 721525 ) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:21AM (#14020160) Journal

    Disclaimer: I hate Sony. Hate them, hate them, HATE them!

    That said, I was a little put off by the article and suspected it was a bit hyperbolic, designed to whip the masses into an unwarranted (unwarranteed?) frenzy.

    But, a funny thing happened on my way to show this critique a bit harsh. I read the actual Sony EULA. Wow! I'll still say there is a little hyperbole in the /. article but, on whole, it's true! Holy Shit Batman (probably get a DRM ding for that!).

    It's time to take SONY to the woodshed. Don't purchase anything with any SONY signature (this may require a little research, SONY makes ccd's for lots of digital cameras).

    I am saddened a little more each new DRM'ed day and more thankful each day I was alive early enough to amass a comfortable 1000-CD collection of music I can freely copy, rip, etc.

    I hope only better days for the X, Y, and Z generations. God Bless all of you.

    (Seriously, if there were some visible and concerted effort to boycott one of these leading vendors, maybe there would be some softening of this death march to control content (most consumers, contrary to popular belief, are willing (and DO) to pay for their media, don't abuse fair use priveleges, and are NOT criminals). I can't contribute much more against SONY since I swore them off from the MiniDisk debacle -- sold all of my SONY equipment, won't buy ANY SONY equipment -- my house is as SONY-free as I've been able to make it.)

    • by penix1 ( 722987 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:35AM (#14020219) Homepage
      "It's time to take SONY to the woodshed. Don't purchase anything with any SONY signature (this may require a little research, SONY makes ccd's for lots of digital cameras)."

      No that never works, it is time for people to get off their duff and take Sony to court. Strangly enough for copyright violation! Title 17 allows for archival and educational study use (things commonly known as "fair use"). By instituting DRM in this fashion they have deprived us of those rights. For added measure include a charge of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

      But of course we know that none of that will happen. The media lobbies are too powerful. Let's face it, we have the best legislature money can buy.

      B.
      • by nasor ( 690345 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @03:08PM (#14021263)
        I'm afraid you're mistaken about this. Title 17 doesn't grant you an inalienable right to fair use; it merely states that it isn't a violation of copyright law for you to engage in fair use. Sony isn't under any obligation to make it easy, or even possible, for you to engage in fair use because of Title 17. They simply can't take you to court over it if you manage to.
    • by Berserk CEO ( 929265 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:48AM (#14020299)
      It's time to take SONY to the woodshed. Don't purchase anything with any SONY signature (this may require a little research, SONY makes ccd's for lots of digital cameras).

      I support you in this fight, but when the PS3 comes out, the battle is most probably lost. Masses don't care about their digital rights, as long as they get their daily shots of soap operas and Final Fantasies. You and I know what's going on, but in the grand scale the corporate brainwashing works.

      How to fight an enemy this big? Some form of consumer guerrilla tactics are needed. Tell all your friends what's going on. Most people won't care. But at least that's a start.
      • Product Review Wiki (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fossa ( 212602 )

        Question: Is there a wiki or something that has product reviews, product maker reviews (e.g. Sony == evil, in a somewhat more impartial way), product component manufactures, etc.?

        Or some easy way to research a particular product before buying it? Ideally, it'd be set up in a way that could allow searching like "DVD player that (not Sony) (ignores Macrovision) (lets me ff whenever I want) (plays PAL and NTSC) (region free)", but that sounds pretty difficult if the wiki/database covers a wide range of prod

    • Seriously, if there were some visible and concerted effort to boycott one of these leading vendors...

      Would you like to boycott Sony [petitiononline.com]?

    • There is unfortunate side-effect.

      Sony Classical is one of the biggest classical recording & CD publishing companies. If you will look into classical guitar (for example) you will find that about 90% of artists are published by Sony Classical.

      I already hate SONY - with just this one little exception...

      P.S. I recently bought a pile of CDs from Sony Classical, expecting to find a lot of (CP) markers, DRM toolkits, root-kits, thousand clause EULAs, etc. To my disappointment there were none included, even wi
    • by Ahnteis ( 746045 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:10PM (#14020396)
      What if I have autoplay turned off and I "abuse" the "CD" by treating it as a normal CD? The EULA never shows up and so I never agree to it.

      What about the person who uses a "normal" CD player? They certainly aren't going to be reading anything.

      (Unless of course this is one of those "by opening this package you agree to the EULA inside" things which I doubt could be enforced.)
  • Rootkit worse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by external400kdiskette ( 930221 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:21AM (#14020164)
    EULA's are just things nobody reads or pays any attention to that basically say the company isn't responsible for anything but that hasn't stopped them from being sued in the past so who cares about it.

    Rootkits on the otherhand are dangerous to your computer and in this Sony case even caused conflicts with other problems and could disable your drive. So it's hard to compare, the rootkit seems infinitely worse to me.
    • Re:Rootkit worse (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:31AM (#14020204) Homepage
      EULA's are just things nobody reads or pays any attention to that basically say the company isn't responsible for anything but that hasn't stopped them from being sued in the past so who cares about it.

      For now. In the not so distant future the DRM will basicly stop you from doing anything at all and when you complain "it's in the EULA and has been there for 10 years, our hardware is simply enforcing the agreement". Once they have the means to back up all the ludicrous terms, you won't be ignoring it and you won't be laughing.
      • Once they have the means to back up all the ludicrous terms, you won't be ignoring it and you won't be laughing.

        True - We'll stop laughing long enough to put Sony's execs up against the wall.

        They can only get away with this precisely because they can't enforce it (physically - legally still hase a lot of uncertaintly, particularly with some of the more bizarre terms).

        As soon as people start coming home and finding their laptops "courtesy-wiped" after a break-in, you can bet the public won't just hap
      • Re:Rootkit worse (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dolda2000 ( 759023 ) <fredrik@noSpAm.dolda2000.com> on Sunday November 13, 2005 @01:14PM (#14020708) Homepage
        Once they have the means to back up all the ludicrous terms, you won't be ignoring it and you won't be laughing.
        And the worst thing about it is the fact that it's only normal, legal customers that won't be laughing. The real pirates will still be able to crack the DRM one way or another and not be put off even the slightest. Remember, it only takes a single rip off of a DRM:d media, and the content is completely loose. It's only the legal people that get screwed, when they can't burn a collection CD for the car stereo or rip it to their MP3 players.
  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gothic_Walrus ( 692125 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:23AM (#14020170) Journal
    The "I'm going to pirate because the record companies are fucking us over" excuse actually holds water!

    I'm just not going to pay $15 for the right to listen to music in a fixed order in a certain CD player on the second Tuesday of each month between five and eight PM. The things Sony is demanding go against the concept of fair use...and I get the feeling that thi story could do just as much damage as the rootkit one did, if not more.

    • I suggest not downloading / pirating the media in question. Don't give them any scapegoats, and besides, it shows that you don't have to have the media.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hackstraw ( 262471 ) * on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:30PM (#14020502)
      I'm just not going to pay $15 for the right to listen to music in a fixed order in a certain CD player on the second Tuesday of each month between five and eight PM. The things Sony is demanding go against the concept of fair use...and I get the feeling that thi story could do just as much damage as the rootkit one did, if not more.

      Ah, but we all now respect Sony's intellectual rights now, right?

      Fuck these people and their "intellectual" property. Fuck them right in the ear while I "break the law" and smoke pot in my house.

      I've found that its easier to think of large groups of people as one person. It seems to make sense, like a country or a corporation. When countries fight, bicker, or have issues or get along, its just like individuals. The same goes for a corporation.

      If I were to know somebody that sold me a car, I would think they were paranoid and psychotic if they came over and inspected if I were changing the oil regularly and made sure I didn't take the american brand name emblems off of it and rice it up with some V-TEC stickers. Lord fucking forgive me if I wreck the car, it gets stolen, or I sell the thing and buy another one.

      Instead of being psychotic you stupid rich fucking music pimps, and either get out of the way because your doing a shitty job, or sell us a product that we want.

      Apple is close with iPods and iTunes. The downside is that 1) you can only really "properly" get your music from them 2) its a hack at best if you want to do something stupid like listen to your music in your car or home stereo instead of earphones.

      We don't want CDs anymore. Don't you realize that? People throw away the plastic cases that break and take up too much room. They trow them in a CD book, and over time they get scratched because the technology sucks for portability and convenience. Its next to impossible to switch and hear one song from another CD while you are driving in the car, and then listen to another CD. CD changers hold what? Maybe 10 CDs. Whoopty shit.

      We want more music at a reasonable price that is convenient and portable to listen to.

      I repeat.

      We want more music at a reasonable price that is convenient and portable to listen to.

      We don't want stuff that you have to listen to on one piece of equipment (DRMed to hell). We don't want early 80's shiny fragile disks that hold about 45 minutes to an hour of music provided that every song is worth listening to.

      People on average are not unreasonable. Or at least not like you're trying to be.

      Proprietary things like game cartridges are OK, because they work, and its a thing. My large stereo speakers are OK at my house, but suck in my car, or if I'm walking down the street. Your 45 minute at best CD is barely acceptable in a car, barely acceptable when walking, and barely acceptable at home.

      We want playlists, smart shuffling, portability, variety, and are willing to pay for it.

      I mean, what does this stupid company Sony do besides fuck around with music recordings and DRM and rootkits? Oh, I've heard they make electronics for the home, the car, portable audio, and even computers. In fact at one time the word Walkman (didn't even get caught by my spell checker) was as big as the word iPod. In fact, that was about the time the CD came out. If you had your shit together and made electronics to satisfy our needs, you could give the music away and still make money. What the fuck have you done differently since 1982 Sony? Times have changed. People are very willing to pay money for convenience and entertainment. We don't go around stealing shit at every chance we get.

      So finally, fuck you and your DRM, your EULAs, proprietary redundant formats, and everything else.

      The shit you do is stupid, and we simply are demonstrating this fact by the way we spend our money on other goods and services.

      I never, ever though that when I was a kid who liked the songs I heard on the radio and the albums that I had at
  • by a_greer2005 ( 863926 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:26AM (#14020180)
    I can't wait untill these fuckers try to enforcfe this on some 12 year old after his/her home burns down. I can see the headlines now: "Youngster looses everything in fire; Media companies say (s)he must now erase ipod and laptop backups of her music."

    If you think the rootkit caused a backlash, just wait.

    • " I can't wait untill these fuckers try to enforcfe this on some 12 year old"

      I want to see them enforce it on our troops abroad. I know many a troop that travels not with dozens/hundreds of cds but instead with a compact mp3 player that's more out of the way. Why would Sony care? Well check out this tidbit:

      From TFA: "If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids "export" outside the country where you reside."

      From TFEULA: "(e) You may not exp
  • by irote ( 834216 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:26AM (#14020181)
    Has anything been heard from employees of Sony's consumer products arm? By and large, they manufacture high-quality kit - they have high standards, and one assumes they can't be happy to see this coming from their music arm. Not to mention the fact that, AFAIK, Sony BMG is essentially a US company, steeped in copyright culture, whereas the consumer electronics arm remains largely Japanese and engineering-led.

    do we know about the relative profitability of the two arms? Is this likely to bring forward the day when the two companies go their separate ways?
    • "By and large, they manufacture high-quality kit - they have high standards" Do you, by any chance, still live in the 80's? Maybe their professional gear are still high quality, but their consumer stuff is not that "it's a sony" anymore...
    • by NCraig ( 773500 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:54AM (#14020318)
      You are, I assume, referring to the same "Japanese" electronics arm that is behind Blu-ray DRM [arstechnica.com]?

      Judging by the tricks Sony is developing for consumer electronics, I'd assume their "engineering-led" arm is saying "Hell yeah, BMG, lead the way!"
    • I can't find a link, but iirc the entertainment arm is essentially carrying the electronics arm at the moment in terms of profitability.

      Oh, and it's been a long, long time since I automatically considered Sony-made electronics kit to be high quality. The last few Walkmans I had especially fell apart within about 6 months... (Meanwhile, my iRiver is still going strong 18 months of daily use later)
    • This is true. I know of a friend who worked for sony back in the day who confirmed this observation. For all practical intents and purposes, sony's various divisions are completely separate companies with little more in common then their name.

      When the various divisions begin to interact, it has always ended in disaster. Betamax. Atrac8. Minidisc. DRM. Blu-Ray.....
  • EULAs are not legal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by abigsmurf ( 919188 )
    especially outside the US in places like the UK where they try and take away rights from the consumer rights act which are illegal to sign away. Also they're 'legally binding' contracts that almost always never once ask for an adult to agree. Guess what, contracts aren't valid if only signed by a minor. It's about time someone sued these companies for illegal EULAs
    • like the UK where they try and take away rights from the consumer rights act which are illegal to sign away.

      Do they send you to jail for attempting to sign away your consumer rights? "Yes sir, I know it isn't possible for me to sign my rights away. But they had such a shiny pen I wanted to use it. Please don't send me to jail, I promise not to sign my consumer rights away again."

      Sorry, it just seemed an odd way to word what you meant.
  • Misleading Artical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by totuck ( 870615 )
    "If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home." That's quite a misleading interpretation of what the EULA actually says. Now, I want to make it clear that I'm no fan of Sony, but that is merely someone's interpretation, not an actual part of the EULA. The EULA actually says "In the event that you no longer possess or have the right under such license to use the original CD product, your rights hereunder to use the DIGITAL CONTENT shall expire immediately.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:43AM (#14020263)
      To me, it seems that if your CD is really stolen, you can still use the back-up you have. That's part of fair use, isn't it?


      That IS part of fair use and thats why there is a problem. The EULA stating that you lose rights to the "digital content" means that if you don't have the physical CD, then you're not allowed to have the music it contained. The original authors statement is an extreme case, but his interpretation of the license agreement is correct.
    • That is exactly what the EULA stipulates. If you nolonger have the original CD, you nolonger have a license to use copies of it. You must delete them. Maybe the EULA would not stand up in court due to "fair use", but the matter here is only what the EULA says, not whether it is enforceable. The EFF is correctly translating what it says into english. The truth is not sensationalism.
  • by Ankou ( 261125 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:30AM (#14020199)
    Yet another stupid requirement to the EULA is according to this article here [cnet.com]: "You must delete your songs if you move out of the country or if you file for bankruptcy."
  • I realize this comment is now making /. violate the DMCA, so if they feel like deleting it for legal reasons, fine.

    The CDs "protected" by this scheme are very easy to copy and have no "skip-gap" style protections that break normal cd-copy mechanisms and theoretically work "fine" on normal cd players (experience has shown otherwise).

    cdrdao can read the cds just fine (I used it on the G3 Live in Tokyo release that just came out last week), and quickly identifies the data/file-system tracks from the main. rip with cdrdao, edit the toc file to remove the data tracks, and burn away. the resultant cdrom can load anywhere and is easily ripped into mp3s for your *legal* right to listen to music you purchase your way.

    in fact, the most rediculous thing about their "protection" of the G3 cds is that for the 2-cd set, the second cd isn't even "protected" with that filesystem. protecting the 2nd disk relies directly on the root-kit hack that detects and analysis when sony cds are inserted, that SONY expects you would have installed by sticking the cd-1 in first.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:34AM (#14020216)
  • It gets worse... (Score:5, Informative)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:35AM (#14020221) Homepage Journal
    The Sony uninstaller is an ActiveX object marked safe for scripting (which means any website can use it in their code)

    Its got some wonderful entries which still leave holes in your system (like rebooting your computer, and a method called "ExecuteCode")
    The guys has only just started work, but has an expliotable test together which will reboot your machine.

    Look here [hack.fi] for more info about Sony uninstallation fun.

  • by TooMuchEspressoGuy ( 763203 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:35AM (#14020222)
    ...perhaps I should force Sony to sign the following when I purchase their CD's...

    I, the undersigned, agree to the following terms of the use of TooMuchEspressoGuy's money (hereafter referred to as "my money") as it has been spent on Sony music products:

    1) If Sony HQ, any factories, or any other property owned by employees of Sony gets burgled, you must give me back my money.

    2) You cannot keep my money in your pocket at work, or in any bank or online service such as Paypal.

    3) If you move out of the country, you must give me back my money.

    4) You must install any and all software that I decide should be on the computers of any Sony employee, or else give me back my money.

    5) I reserve the right to install any backdoors on said computers stipulated in (4) in order to enforce my rights as proper holder of my money.

    6) I will never be liable to you for more than exactly $5.00 for damages to you or your property through the use of any of the rights granted to me in this EULA.

    7) If you file for bankruptcy, you must give me back my money.

    8) You have no right to transfer (i.e. spend) my money, even along with the original coins, dollar bills, etc.

    9) You may not use my money for personal use, including but not limited to: origami; flipping coins; lighting expensive Cuban cigars; et al.

    As soon as Sony agrees to this EULA, or gets rid of its own, I will begin buying Sony music again.

  • by RonnyJ ( 651856 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:36AM (#14020223)
    On a related note, it looks like Microsoft have decided to add detection/removal of the Sony rootkit to Anti-Spyware (details here [technet.com] - though it sounds like the non-rootkit DRM part won't be touched).
  • by adnonsense ( 826530 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:38AM (#14020235) Homepage Journal

    I haven't got the full text back from my lawyer, but in future all of my transactions with Sony will be accompanied by a "vendor user license agreement":

    ...

    IMPORTANT-READ CAREFULLY: By accepting my (hereafter: "CONSUMER") purchase of your product, you (hereafter: "VENDOR") will need to review and agree to be bound by an vendor user license agreement or "VULA", the terms and conditions of which are set forth below.

    As soon as you have agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the VULA, this transaction will automatically install a small proprietary software program (the "SOFTWARE") into YOUR BOOKKEEPING SYSTEM.

    ...

    From time to time CONSUMER will use the SOFTWARE to enforce his statutory rights, including checking the validity of any data held on him and updating it as he deems fit and in accordance with relevant privacy and data protection laws.

    ...

  • No juries allowed... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rworne ( 538610 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:39AM (#14020240) Homepage
    Article 10. GOVERNING LAW AND WAIVER OF TRIAL BY JURY
    ...

    2. YOU HEREBY WAIVE ALL RIGHTS AND/OR ENTITLEMENT TO TRIAL BY JURY IN CONNECTION WITH ANY DISPUTE THAT ARISES OUT OF OR RELATES IN ANY WAY TO THIS EULA OR THE SOFTWARE.


    Wow, no jury trials, eh? They are really covering their bases here if they cannot count on the "common person" to agree with them in a jury trial.

     
    • That's a joke, right? This can never be legally binding. Why don't they take away your right to any kind of independent jurisdiction, while they're at it?
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:40AM (#14020248)
    Music Label: We grant ourselves the authority to do anything we want inside or outside your house, to you and your family, with or without notice, including but not limited to: erasing your wedding photos, replacing all your music with Milli Vanilli's Greatest hits, recording you singing in the shower, ruining your kid's christmas, getting you fired from your job, anally raping your poodle with a steel toothbrush, and force-feeding you your own dead grandmother's ashes. You hereby agree to hold Music Label harmless and you expressly waive all rights to damages, compensatory and punitive, arising from Music Label's actions.

    Joe Consumer: What is a rootkit? Is it dangero---WHOA NEW ALBUM ADVERTISED AT ME! MUST BUY IT NOW!!! MUST BUY IT NOW!!!
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:41AM (#14020250) Homepage Journal
    I don't like to reduce these things to the absurd, but these EULA are silly, and the music EULAs doubly so. Typcially in software they had some justification as they, at least at first, limited the liability of the producer, although in an extremely clumsy way. As time went on, these things have gotten more insane, and frankly make software of so little value that I tend to limit what I use and buy.

    But at least most software producers understands the relationship between the paying customer and the company that depends on those customers. Even MS has gotten some sense by allowing copies of software to be stored on multiple devices. This is in sharp constrast to the music industry that seems to belive they could exist without customers. I mean deleting music off a harddisk is not that big a deal, but why force the situation. I mean, sure, if one sells a CD one should delete all copies, but why make a victim pay twice? I mean if you just lost all your possesions, except for the few items that were with you, is the music industry going to begrudge you a few copies. If all your money it tied up rebuilding a life after being violated, are they really going to sue you for damages?

    It is so absurd, it is hard to properly reduce. Perhaps asking a women who raped at a dance to pay for the repairs for the dress she rented. Which might happen, but it would be a pretty heartless company.

  • by antdude ( 79039 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:42AM (#14020256) Homepage Journal
    My friend sent me this bash.org quote link [bash.org].

    I would had copy and pasted in here, but /. didn't like the uppercase: "Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
    Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING." and I am lazy to lowercase them manually, and EULA is all CAPS. :(
  • BWhaa!!?!! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:51AM (#14020304)
    So you are allowed to make backups of your CD's for safety (traditional fair use),
    but now if you ever actually need to use those backups because you sat on your original CD, Sony says you must destroy them too. Nice.
  • Info-feudalism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tbuckner ( 861471 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @11:52AM (#14020308)
    Get used to using the word "info-feudalism", for that is what the corporations are creating. Think about it: under feudalism, the lord owned the land, the serfs worked on the land, and the serfs were not allowed to move away if they didn't like the deal.
    Under info-feudalism:
    Large corporations bribe legislatures to expand "intellectual property" to include many, many things that used to be open to all;
    Government spends your money on basic drug research, but drug companies patent the results;
    Copyright gets extended again and again so that works no longer pass into the public domain after the creator dies;
    Your DNA gets patented by someone else without your say-so; authors patent story lines (!), corporations apply for ridiculously broad patents in an attempt to control what others can and cannot invent;
    Police arrest scientists who publish papers on flaws in Digital Rights Management schemes;
    You buy a song or a movie but never really own it;
    Fair Use quotations are legally doubtful;
    Crooked churches sue their critics because their 'bibles' are copyrighted;
    Governments tell lies such as "piracy helps the terrorists;
    News media are corrupted by their connection to cash-cow entertainment conglomerates;
    And it's not like any of them truly invented the ideas all by themselves; all of society indirectly helped; yet they rob all of society by seeking monopoly. Oh, I could go on and on.
    See this demolition of the whole idea of "Intellectual Property":
    http://deoxy.org/aip.htm [deoxy.org]
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:00PM (#14020339) Journal
    From the preamble to the EULA
    Before you can play the audio files on YOUR COMPUTER or create and/or transfer the DIGITAL CONTENT to YOUR COMPUTER, you will need to review and agree to be bound by an end user license agreement or "EULA"
    I need to agree?
    Please keep in mind, however, that if you do not agree to be bound by these terms and conditions, you will not be able to utilize the audio files or the DIGITAL CONTENT on YOUR COMPUTER.
    O RLY?

    As far as i can tell, these are merely statements with no force of law.

    I think they're mixing two things together
    1. The DRM software on the CD
    2. The audio tracks on the CD

    There is no EULA that applies to the audio tracks on any CD. If I disagree with their EULA, all it means is that I disagree to use their software to manage my experience. Unless I'm way off base* my reading of the EULA doesn't suggest otherwise.

    They use CAPITAL LETTERS to make sure we know that the license we're being 'granted' is to
    1(a). "install one (1) copy of software"
    1(b). "install one (1) copy of any approved media player(s) contained on this CD"
    1(c). use the software and any approved media player(s)

    *I know the collective genius of /. will correct me if I am wrong
  • IANAL but it would seem...

    By putting in such goofy restrictions in their EULA, and people suing Sony for the damage they've caused it will force the issue of how lawful EULA's are.

    It's a lose lose situation. If they WIN because a judge upholds the EULA then there will be an outcry about EULAs.

    If they lose then basically the idea that you can put any restriction or clause that you want into an EULA will be proven bogus.
  • OK, maybe this is a stupid question, maybe it's been asked before and discussed ad nauseam. I don't know if it has. But why don't we simply stop buying CDs from these guys? Even better - why don't we buy only from recording companies/distributors/artists who put it in writing that they will respect our basic rights as we see them? We could use the web or even peer-to-peer to spread the word around about who's "music lover friendly" and who isn't. Thoughts?
  • Derivative Works (Score:3, Informative)

    by Carcass666 ( 539381 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:27PM (#14020491)

    From TFA:

    Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.

    My wife is a figure skating coach and it is common for us to create short cuts of tracks (usually between 1:30 and 4:00) for use in skating programs. I'm wondering if Sony truly wants to kill the use of its music for performances such as skating, dance, etc. At any rate, it seems based on this language that her students may not be able to skate to music released under such a license. If Disney were to release such a license for its soundtracks, it would kill about 80% of the programs in lower level competitions!

  • by WhiteWolf666 ( 145211 ) <sherwin@@@amiran...us> on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:47PM (#14020593) Homepage Journal
    If you disagree with Sony's policies, don't buy anything from them.

    It's _that_ simple.

    Until Sony is a monopoly, and you cannot buy alternative products, its really easy to get around this kind of thing. Don't buy from them.

    Don't buy Sony Computers.
    Don't buy Sony Electronics.
    Don't buy Sony Music.
    Don't buy Sony anything.

    *shrug*

    If you buy Sony products after they pull crap like this, quite frankly, you are part of the problem, not the solution, no matter how loudly you complain.

    You don't have to get your music through Sony. You don't have to get your laptop through Sony. You don't have to get your stereo through Sony.

    It's really not that hard; and sure, other people might continue to buy their stuff. That's not your problem; after all, there is _competition_ in these marketplaces, so you can safely stray away from Sony.
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @12:54PM (#14020631) Homepage
    When our society started getting away from making things with intrinsic value and started depending on brain share products for revenue growth this was bound to happen. Since the cost of making copies of a digital work is, essentially, zero, companies trying to squeeze more revenue out of the same entertainment products had only one place to try and mine for extra income. I don't blame them for trying to go after that pool, but do blame them for the tactics they employed.

    I think the shocker for most people is waking up to find how much the playing field has been tilted in favor of the corporation against the individual. All the laws are on their side, Congress has played along with whatever draconian measures they want to dump on common people including pulling the FBI away from terror investigations to go after copyright violators, and instead of throwing out click-through EULA's the courts have tended to back them up. There is no inherent fairness in your relationship with service providers anymore, it's an uphill battle for equity. That's not limited to the entertainment industry, it's an issue here because Sony went far enough over the line. But this same unfairness is woven through all our service provider relationships.

    I am doing something besides complaining. I'm working with the leader or our state house of representatives on a couple initiatives to even out the playing field a little. One is setting a higher standard for binding arbitration. The poster child I'm using for that one is car dealers trying to skirt consumer protection laws by legislating via contract, but that would also impact click-through EULA's. The other is making it more difficult to change the state venue of laws for products and services sold and delivered in this state. That got a surprisingly warm, almost enthusiastic, reception. My presentation line was asking why we were letting North Dakota dictate how we were going to do business. That provoked the legislative equivalent of a "Hell, yeah!" But there are legal issues associated with that one I didn't know about. It's not going to be as easy to change. The good news is I didn't get laughed at.

    What surprises me is companies taking a hard line with their customers. That just seems like such a no-win proposition, even for a large, diverse company like Sony. You're looking at DVD players and like the Panasonic and Sony. What's going to make the difference? You think back on this incident and buy the Panasonic. You're making a choice between a Sony and Canon video camera, even though Sony makes the CCD's for many of the Canon models, you might go with the other brand. This small segment of that giant company taints everything they do. It can't be worth it.

  • by eadint ( 156250 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @01:02PM (#14020664) Homepage Journal
    If you work for the DOD pleae read this.
    I will be talking to the director of IT for the base and this is what I will be discussing. Sonys installation of a root kit on home or work computers poses a serios security violation to military and DOD property. This root kit can compromise computers that may contain sensitive government data. Also most people will not place the cd in TS rated computers but they may play the cds in home computers or non TS computers where sensitive derivative works may reside. Sony is indirectly installing software on dod computers that may constitute compromising DOD clasified and sensitive information. This may be a form of treason and subversion, and because of this we should exclude and prohibit the use of all Sony CD's in their work and personall computers.
  • Very Depressing :-( (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DoctorPepper ( 92269 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @01:07PM (#14020689)
    I must agree with the poster that said he had amassed a 1,000+ CD library before copy protection and DRM started to come into play. While I don't have that many, I have quite a few. My wife and I just bought matching iPods yesterday (the 30 GB iPod Video unit), and I am currently going through this large library of CD's we OWN and am ripping them and uploading them to my iPod.

    What does this mean for Sony and other music companies? Well, I can't speak for everyone out there, but my wife and I are being very selective about the CD's we buy. If there is any copy protection what so ever, we will not buy the CD. Since it is just the two of us, I doubt if it is going to hurt any of the record companies bottom line much, but at least we have made the conscious decision to not purchase DRM'd content.

    I do feel for the younger generations that enjoy the new music. They are the ones that are going to have to fight the good fight with the record companies. My hat is off to you, and we will do what we can to help.
  • by gone.fishing ( 213219 ) on Sunday November 13, 2005 @02:05PM (#14020968) Journal
    From their Web Site "Contact Us" page:

    General SONY BMG: 212-833-8000
    Arista Records: 646-840-5600
    SONY BMG U.S. Latin: 305-695-3600
    J Records: 646-840-5600
    Jive Records: 212-727-0016
    RCA Label Group Nashville: 615-301-4300
    RCA Records: 212-930-4000
    SONY BMG Corporate Press: 212-833-5047

    WHOIS INFORMATION:
    Registrant:
    Sony Music Entertainment Corporation
    Sony Music Entertainment Corporation
    550 Madison Avenue, Sixth Floor .
    New York, NY 10022
    US
    Email: mis_online@SONYMUSIC.COM

    Registrar Name....: REGISTER.COM, INC.
    Registrar Whois...: whois.register.com
    Registrar Homepage: www.register.com

    Domain Name: sonybmg.com

    Created on..............: Tue, Jan 25, 2000
    Expires on..............: Sun, Jan 25, 2009
    Record last updated on..: Fri, Aug 19, 2005

    Administrative Contact:
    Sony Music Entertainment Corporation
    Sony Music Entertainment Corporation
    550 Madison Avenue, Sixth Floor .
    New York, NY 10022
    US
    Phone: +1.2128337305
    Email: mis_online@SONYMUSIC.COM

    Technical Contact:
    Sony Music Entertainment Corporation
    Sony Music Entertainment Corporation
    550 Madison Avenue, Sixth Floor .
    New York, NY 10022
    GB
    Phone: +1.2128337305
    Email: mis_online@SONYMUSIC.COM

    DNS Servers:

    udns1.ultradns.net
    udns2.ultradns.net

    Execuitives:

    ANDREW LACK
    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
    SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

    Andrew Lack is the founding Chief Executive Officer of Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a post he assumed in August of 2004. Sony BMG Music Entertainment is a joint venture between Sony Corporation of America and Bertelsmann AG, comprising the recorded music businesses of both companies. From January of 2003 to August of 2004, Mr. Lack served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sony Music Entertainment.

    As CEO of Sony BMG Mr. Lack oversees all operations of the global recorded music company, which is a leading producer and marketer of pre-recorded music and video.

    Previously, Andrew Lack served as President and Chief Operating Officer for NBC since June of 2001. During his tenure with NBC he oversaw the operations of most of NBC's divisions, including Entertainment, News and MSNBC, Network, Stations, CNBC, Sales, and Broadcast & Network Operations

    From 1993 to 2001 Mr. Lack was the president of NBC News, where he transformed the News division into the most-watched news organization in the world. Today, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, and Meet the Press are each No. 1 in their time periods, and the primetime franchise Dateline NBC is the top newsmagazine in key sales demographic categories and a significant part of NBC's primetime program
  • by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Sunday November 13, 2005 @10:53PM (#14023530) Homepage Journal
    I bought (yea, bite me) the DRMed Switchfoot CD for fun, and threw it into my Windows98SE machine. Upon install, the first thing it does is look for the XP registry, which it doesn't find, and edits the 98 registry. Upon rebooting, the computer totally died, going into a BSOD boot loop. Apparently, you try using this CD on anything windows except XP/2K and you're asking for a massive system failure. So now my question has become "What will happen when all those Windows 9x/ME users plug one of these discs in, and their computers all collectively get screwed?" Are we looking at potentially 90% of the computer world (or whatever percentage that runs Windows) turning around and suing Sony into absolute oblivion?

Memory fault -- core...uh...um...core... Oh dammit, I forget!

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