Techdirt: Sony BMG To Offer Unprotected MP3s In Exchange For Rootkit CDs

Took them long enough, but it looks like Sony BMG has finally recognized what sort of PR nightmare they’ve unleashed by dragging their feet and denying there was a problem on the whole rootkit situation. While they finally agreed to pull the CDs and recall ones that had been sold, many saw it as a too little, too late response. Some reports even highlighted that Sony’s management team still didn’t think this was a big deal. It looks like someone there finally figured out that the company really had to go a bit beyond what they were doing. They’ve now announced that the exchange program will require you to send in your existing CDs, to which they’ll send back a regular, unencumbered copy of the CD — but, while you’re waiting, you’ll be able to download unprotected MP3s of the songs on the CDs you’re sending in. Of course, I imagine a few people might want to wait and make sure those MP3s really are plain old MP3s. I have one of the CDs in question, and I think I’ll be waiting until we hear from Ed Felten and Alex Halderman as to how safe those downloads are… Still, it’s quite ironic to note that Sony BMG went through all this trouble to (in their minds, at least) prevent the songs on these CDs from ever reaching the MP3 format (an impossible dream), and now, here they are, handing out plain old MP3s of those very songs.

Thanks Mike. And I don’t blame you for waiting to hear from Ed Felton and Alex Halderman over at Freedom to Tinker.

This does appear to be a move in the right direction for Sony. Especially in light of the recent Business Week Poll where nearly 80% of responders were not at all happy campers and can you blame them.

A friend who is a Business Week subscriber sent me the poll stats to date after voting in the poll.

The poll question?

TECHNOLOGY: Sony is recalling millions of CDs with a copyright protection program that leaves PC users prone to viruses. How should consumers respond?

Response?

Avoid Sony CDs from now on 77.1 %

Sony took copyright protection too far. But the company is now doing the right thing 15.5 %

Sony should embed copyright protections on its CDs. Now the company just has to make its programs virus-proof 6.1 %

Not sure 1.3 %

Now that’s a PR nightmare.

I am glad to see that finally Sony is backpedeling as fast as they can by offering unemcumbered mp3 files to those who have been so violated by their DRM ‘Rootkit.’

It still is not enough in my opinion, but it’s an excellent start.

However, after the recent list of 52 titles that were disclosed on Sony’s site affected by the XCP ‘rootkit’ DRM (see 2nd comment on post here), and the fact that there are likely millions of PCs still affected by this ‘rootkit’ on the Internet (see Doxapara numbers in earlier post here), I personally think they should be taking the bull by the horns on the issue of the damages that their DRM ‘rootkit’ has caused their customer’s computers.

Despite their EULA’s lame (oh, did I say LAME?) compensation for any damage that could be inflicted by this ‘software,’ this is a real financial loss to their customers. They can take it out of F4I’s hide if they want to, but they should just do it. It’s the right thing to do. IMHO.

And don’t forget, we are not even talking about the potential danger other people’s computers on the Internet because of these rootkit’d (and even quote, end quote ‘fixed’ computers).

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Comments on: "Techdirt: Sony BMG To Offer Unprotected MP3s In Exchange For Rootkit CDs" (3)

  1. You just smell the desperation…

  2. I hate typos…

    You can just smell the desperation…

  3. Yes, and they have every reason to be sweating right now….this was a stupid move on their part. Believe it or not, Sony (until they started trying to cut corners on quality) was my favorite tech company for many years. And their Sony DVD Burners have been awesome. But with this fiasco, I am not sure I will ever trust them enough to buy another product from them, ever. Who knows what they will put in their hardware if they are willing to do this to their music customers. Sigh…

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