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Friday, November 25, 2005

sony sings the "rootkit" blues

I've really grown to loathe Sony over the years, and this is just the latest reason why. To defend their "intellectual property", they have no compulsion to deny your rights to your personal property. This latest fiasco involves their "Rootkit" program, part of the copy-protection software found on some Sony-BMG audio CDs. After finally admitting that Rootkit created a security risk, they issued a "patch". The only problem was that the patch was also a security risk!
At about the same time things went from bad to worse. It was soon discovered that Sony's patch created its own security risk - potentially leaving personal computers even more vulnerable than with the initial rootkit - and was pulled from its website.

The company also recalled millions of CDs, losing tens of millions in revenue and effectively acknowledging that the CD was a hazardous product.

The recall was even bigger than anticipated as Sony disclosed that there were at least 52 affected CDs. Moreover, researchers estimated that the damaging program had infected at least 500,000 computers in 165 countries.
And note this bit of irony:
Finally, just when it appeared that Sony had hit bottom, analysis of the rootkit revealed that it included open source software code contrary to the applicable licence.

In other words, Sony itself may have infringed the copyright of a group of software programmers and be on the hook for significant copyright infringement damages.
Sweet justice! Read the whole BBC article, which specifically addresses the personal property vs. intellectual property issue, not something you see every day in the mainstream media. Link spotted on


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