Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sony BMG's spyware music CDs

Sony/BMG (the giant recorded music conglomerate formerly known as CBS Records/Columbia Records and RCA Victor Records, has created an enormous controversy throughout the blogosphere and technology world with its recent release of "copy-protected" music CDs that can over-ride your home PC's security firewalls.

In many years of purchasing and collecting legal copies of albums on LP, CD, cassette, and even the venerable 8-track cartridge and reel-to-reel tape formats...I've never seen a record company go to such lengths to demonstrate CONTEMPT for its paying consumers.

Since March 2005, Sony/BMG has encoded some of its music CDs with Digital Rights Management (DRM) software which is intended to restrict "burning" and copying of music CDs. Playing these audio CDs on a PC forces a "rootkit" software download onto the user's PC, without their explicit knowledge and consent, creating a huge potential security violation for the PC user who simply thinks they are playing an ordinary music CD.

Is Sony/BMG knowingly attempting to KILL the Compact Disc Digital Audio consumer music format?? Do they have any idea how much legal liability they may face from consumers whose PCs now have a difficult-to-remove "rootkit" software application that impairs their PC's security firewalls and opens up their PCs to hacker attacks??

Among hundreds of articles on this topic, here are a few:
Sony BMG faces digital rights siege
Sony hit by lawsuits over root kit
Now the legalese rootkit: Sony BMG's EULA for music CDs??
End-User License Agreement for Sony BMG music CDs?
Is Your PC Infected by Sony BMG's Rootkit?
Investigation and Possible Lawsuits against Sony BMG
DRM This, Sony - CNET's critical analysis
Media Companies Going Too Far In Curbing Consumers' Activities

Speaking for myself, I plan to NOT purchase any new Sony BMG music CD titles. I encourage others to consider whether they want to buy Sony BMG music CDs as Christmas gifts, since such a purchase has the effect of casting an economic vote in favor of Big Brother intrusions into our PCs.

Finally, I take this chance to CONDEMN Sony BMG for violation of the Philips Red Book specifications for Compact Disc Digital Audio playback. By putting audio CDs into the stream of commerce which deviate from the Philips Red Book specs as ratified by the International Electrotechnical Commission, Sony BMG is jeopardizing the interests of recorded music consumers worldwide by creating SECURITY threats and a lack of compatibility with Red Book-spec CD playback equipment.

Closing parting shot: The great entrepreneurs who brought Columbia Records and RCA Victor Records into their golden age of greatness - people like Goddard Lieberson and David Sarnoff - would never have stooped to such despicable business practices.


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