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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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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.


"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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