Print 31 comment(s) - last by Chaser.. on Jul 16 at 11:48 AM

Users sued Sony; Sony sues its partner

Early last year the Electronics Frontier Foundation went very public with Sony BMG and its case regarding music CDs sold with a copy protection called MediaMax. Developed by a company called The Amergence Group Inc., customers complained that Sony's music discs caused a number of discs to be unreadable on their computers. The biggest complaint was that customers were unable to extract tracks for playback in other devices.

Because of all the lawsuits and complaints, Sony was forced to settle litigations with $5.75 million USD. This week, Sony BMG filed a lawsuit against Amergence alleging MediaMax did not perform as expected.

Using rootkit technology, MediaMax installed low level software on a user's computer system without permission from the user. Rootkits often cause problems and many users complained  Sony's discs using MediaMax even forced them to have to reformat their systems.

Sony BMG seeks roughly $12 million USD in damages from Amergence. Representatives from Amergence disagreed with Sony's lawsuit and said Sony's claims were unwarranted. Amergence also noted that discs exhibiting problems used different types of technologies Amergence did not supply.

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<no subject>
By Scabies on 7/12/2007 5:09:30 PM , Rating: 5
love, Sony

RE: <no subject>
By SiN on 7/12/2007 5:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
i think if they "proved" that it was not their idea (sonys) to have it installed in the first place it would put some trust back into sony, after all, they've had a pretty rough ride for a long long time now.

still think their pissing in the wind though.

RE: <no subject>
By fic2 on 7/12/2007 6:04:28 PM , Rating: 2
I would image that the rootkit was pretty much designed and written to Sony's specs, except as the OP said - not sneaky enough.

Maybe Sony is sueing because it didn't piss off enough customers...

RE: <no subject>
By hardwaremister on 7/13/2007 9:14:52 AM , Rating: 4
Probably they paid for a 100% sealth-mode rootkit... but they forgot people nowadays have wayyy wayyy wayyy more general knowledge, information is spread quickly on the net, and there are more available skilled programmers today online than ever.

They paid someone else to do their evil-dirty work, probably because they expected to never be caught on the rootkit. This guys probably sold them the idea of a realiable and undetectable solution, and sony paid.

So, with the Ps3 bleeding money at an amazing rate, the accountants are probably revising where the money is draining, and they probably are asking why did they pay for that "copy protection system" to someone else, and then get sued for their work... I can even imagine it..

<Sony CEO> "remember we paid a bunch of money to those guys to do the evil transparently?... we got caught and i want that money back"
<Lawyer firm> "Mmm... i've read the contract and the clause 1.2b in the section 2.3.c.45 of the 'transparent malware rootkit design' has something we could use against them to bring money back home"
<S_ceo> "Yeahhh... Go for them!"
<L_firm> [thinks]Lol... another bunch of money!!

The problem of sony is their arcane bussiness logic. The world has changed! Technological IP is just an addon... a goodie! Nothing to force people on!
We all use standards, both software-wise and hardware-wise, and people are no longer wanting to have new expensive toys with closed standards, crippling their freedom and raising their prices.

Sony thinks the closed-IP hw/sw-wise they add, turn into value for customers, but that logic is FLAWED!

RE: <no subject>
By Proteusza on 7/13/2007 6:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
quite simply, if the contract states the software was to be transparent to the customer, and clearly it wasnt, then that would be a contract violation.

even so, its seems that sony got caught red handed, and now, red faced with shame, they want the finger of blame pointed elsewhere at a time when they really need trust for both blu ray and the ps3 to take off.

RE: <no subject>
By Scabies on 7/12/2007 6:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
ehh, I dont think that the fact sony has been battling bad public reception for the past x year(s) should automatically demand respect/consumer interest. The fact that they messed up in the past does not mean that they are less susceptable to such "issues" in the future.
(Don't get me wrong, I own a PS3, so I'm not a "Sony Suxxorz" prejudice bandwagoner [and an Elite and a Wii])

RE: <no subject>
By whickywhickyjim on 7/13/2007 1:48:07 AM , Rating: 4
If we're talking about the rootkit Russinovich exposed, Sony definitely went along with it - Russinovich definitively proved that the rootkit phoned home to a Sony server to gather data on usage. There is really no way they can pretend they didn't know about it on one hand, while they were actively collecting data from it on the other.

RE: <no subject>
By Zoomer on 7/13/2007 7:26:35 AM , Rating: 2
They probably outsourced (read: contracted) the job of protecting music from being copied on computers to the lowest bidder: Amergence.

Remember, it's Sony BMG we're talking about, and company executives. They most likely know jack shit about computers, save for the essential Outlook / Word.

RE: <no subject>
By Macungah on 7/12/2007 7:30:42 PM , Rating: 5
It's somewhat akin to sueing a gun company, complaining that you got caught because the noise suppressor didn't work well enough, even though it was your intent to use it in a harmful manner.

RE: <no subject>
By hardwaremister on 7/13/2007 1:27:25 PM , Rating: 2
Hahaha... that was brilliant!

RE: <no subject>
By BladeVenom on 7/12/2007 7:48:07 PM , Rating: 5
It's always the henchmen who take the fall.

RE: <no subject>
By bbomb on 7/12/2007 11:28:53 PM , Rating: 2
That was so fucking good I wanted to vote you higher but unfortunately we cant. LMFAO.

RE: <no subject>
By ncage on 7/13/2007 12:05:35 AM , Rating: 3
Scabies you are hilarious. I was seriously laughing when i read your comment. Could have not said it better myself.

By kattanna on 7/12/2007 5:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
it costed sony almost $6 million in a lawsuit..yet they are suing for $12 million

LOL they are gonna try to make money off being sued by their customers

By othercents on 7/12/2007 5:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
They paid 6 mil, but they still had to pay their lawyers.


By darkpaw on 7/12/2007 5:59:46 PM , Rating: 4
The lawsuit cost them $6m, they also recalled the cd's and had to spend the time cleaning this up. Thier image is still dogshit too.

That said, Sony got exactly what they asked for. They wanted to screw their customers and just managed to shot themselves in the foot in the process.

By Faust0 on 7/12/2007 9:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
It's probably the the amount they originally paid Amergence yo develop RootKit [plus the damages they suffered from the class action lawsuit].

Passing the buck.
By spookynutz on 7/12/2007 5:26:48 PM , Rating: 5
I suppose I won't be surprised when I see the headline here 12 months from now.

Amergence sues former software engineer for 15 million dollars.

RE: Passing the buck.
By IcY18 on 7/12/2007 6:08:42 PM , Rating: 2

It will be Amergence sues actual developers of the technology causing the problems, called Americom.

RE: Passing the buck.
By jskirwin on 7/12/2007 10:05:56 PM , Rating: 3
Amergence sues former software engineer for 15 million dollars.

They'll have to file in a New Delhi court.

I think this is a GREAT idea!
By Wolfpup on 7/13/2007 12:15:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad Sony's doing this. Anything to hurt the companies who propagate this trash is a good thing.

RE: I think this is a GREAT idea!
By Chaser on 7/13/2007 5:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
I guess you didn't read the prior brlliant comments.

It's like this: "Hello Amergence? Sony here. We're bored and for nothing better to do about how about you boys cook us up a rookit. With our CD distribution capbilities and those gullible customers that trust us we'll get that sucker saturated everywhere! Muahhahahahahahah!"

RE: I think this is a GREAT idea!
By harshbarj on 7/15/2007 8:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
How do you know Sony asked for a rootkit? No one knows for sure. They likely just asked for software that would block copying and to report on usage. Sony's not 100% off the hook but it may not be totally their fault as it all depends on the wording in the contract.

RE: I think this is a GREAT idea!
By Chaser on 7/16/2007 11:48:10 AM , Rating: 2

By Gul Westfale on 7/12/2007 6:36:37 PM , Rating: 5
the ass is suing the hole.

US Leagal system
By jonnybradley on 7/13/07, Rating: 0
RE: US Leagal system
By Hare on 7/13/2007 1:01:19 PM , Rating: 3
Well let's see. They infected countless computers, installed software on computers without any user consent or knowledge. Then spied their customers who had bought their CD etc not to mention make their customers suffer the problems caused by their rootkits. $5.2m is pretty much justified imho.

Here's the story:

RE: US Leagal system
By Hoser McMoose on 7/13/2007 5:23:49 PM , Rating: 2
A better question is why there were no criminal charges laid against Sony for this!

What Sony did was 100% illegal and criminal. They fully violated US laws regarding computer hacking. Had this being done by an individual they would be in jail right now.

So, getting away with ONLY $5.2M in lawsuits is a pretty good deal for Sony if you ask me.

What about XCP?
By darkfoon on 7/12/2007 8:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
This is a different case unrelated to the XCP rootkit CDs discovered by Mark Russinovich from Sysinternals, right?

By xbbdc on 7/12/2007 11:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
what i want to know is what took them so long in suing the company that did it... has it been m o n t h s ... since this happened?

By ethana2 on 7/14/2007 5:13:16 PM , Rating: 1
Oh, and by the way... Tux the penguin says "hi". ;)

I own my software. There's a lesson in there for you. But hey, if you want my help doing the same,

Always glad to help.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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