Sony rootkit settlement gets final nod – CNet/ZDNet

A federal judge on Monday gave final approval to a settlement in a class action suit against Sony BMG Music Entertainment over anticopying software the company had embedded in some music CDs.

At least 15 class action suits and the New York AG cases were rolled into one. The final settlement included both First4Internet’s XCP and SunnComm’s MediaMax DRM.

The court action picked up last fall when security researchers discovered vulnerabilities posed by two pieces of software, First4Internet’s XCP and SunnComm’s MediaMax, which are automatically installed on a user’s computer upon loading certain Sony BMG music CDs. The software’s presence was masked by a “rootkit” that can make the PC more vulnerable to viruses and other hacker attacks. The software also allegedly transmitted information about the listener’s computer use back to Sony BMG.’s SONY BMG Litigation page notes,

Sony BMG Litigation Info

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By including a flawed and overreaching computer program in millions of music CDs sold to the public, Sony BMG has created serious security, privacy and consumer protection problems that have damaged music lovers everywhere.

At issue are two software technologies – SunnComm’s MediaMax and First4Internet’s Extended Copy Protection (also known as XCP) – which Sony BMG claims to have placed on the music CDs to restrict consumer use of the music on the CDs but which in truth do much more, including reporting customer listening of the CDs and installing undisclosed and in some cases hidden files on users’ computers that can expose users to malicious attacks by third parties, all without appropriate notice and consent from purchasers. The CDs also condition use of the music on unconscionable licensing terms in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA).

After a series of embarrassing public revelations about security risks associated with the XCP software, including warnings issued by the United States Government, Microsoft and leading anti-virus companies, Sony BMG has taken some steps to respond to the security risks created by the XCP technology. Sony BMG has failed, however, to address security concerns raised by the MediaMax software or the consumer privacy and consumer fairness problems created by both technologies.

More on the page.

Details of the settlement at here (PDF) or go here to right click on the PDF to download it directly and find out more information and background.

Settle up with Sony BMG

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