Activist students like Diana Rosenthal are sticking it to the man with their Free Culture group at NYU, protesting the use of Digital Right Management by companies like Sony BMG. Sony had acknowledged their form of DRM leaves computers vulnerable to viruses but elected to nothing about it until last Monday when they finally agreed to pull the offending CDs off store shelves.
DRM or digital rights management has been a thorn in the side of computer using music fans for a long time. Music companies have the right to protect their property from illegally distributed, but the way Sony is using DRM goes too far. Companies purposely make their music incompatible with software and devices from competing companies. Sony’s CDs can’t be played through a competing company’s media player like for instance Apple’s iTunes or Musicmatch. Apple has their own DRM they call FairPlay, with it they try to prevent iTunes downloaded songs from being played in competing media players like non-iPod digital audio players or even Windows Media player. But Sony took it a few steps further.
To play a Sony CD title on your computer you must install Sony / BMG software that includes hidden files that expose your computer to security risks from hackers. Sony hiding files on your system that are a security risk represents a level of contempt for their customer base indicative of Sony’s hubris. Sony BMG titles like Van Zant’s Get Right with Man have been blamed for installing spyware-type files on a PC.
Chernayak of Free Culture at NYU says: “My feeling about DRM was that it was infringing upon my rights as a consumer. Now, with what Sony has done, I feel it's also infringing upon my personal property. They're putting something on my computer I'm not aware of."
Well, now is your chance to get out there and get right with the man as Sony is now recalling all of their CDs that include the malevolent copy protection and anyone who bought it can get an exchange from Sony.
But don’t make the mistake of trusting Sony again! Freedom-to-tinker.com bloggers claim that they’ve already found Sony’s uninstall utility for their Root Kit again exposes computers to further security risk. They’ve traced the Web-based XCP uninstall utility to even further spyware-like programs. Will Sony ever learn?
Microsoft vs Sony
Don’t fear, Microsoft is here to protect your PC interests from the dastardly villains at Sony. Jason Garms, program maanger of the Anti-Malware Technology Team on Microsoft’s Technet blog said they’ll include detection and removal of the rootkit component of the XCP software to the Windows Anti-Spyware beta. Detection and removal of the rootkit will also be included in Windows Defender when it arrives to public in beta. Jason Garms added “We also plan to include this signature in the December monthly update to the Malicious Software Removal Tool."