States Let BMG Off on Anti-Piracy Program Computers

by Gerard Simington - Date: 2006-12-22 - Word Count: 492 Share This!

As you may recall, Sony BMG ran into a bit of bad publicity earlier this year when it started issuing music CDs that installed an anti-piracy program on user computers. Well, Sony just got off light.

States Let BMG Off on Anti-Piracy Program Computers

As you know, Sony is a huge company in the entertainment industry. One of the company's assets is BMG, a CD distribution company. You know BMG, the group that gives you 12 CDs for a penny and then pesters you each month with mailings to buy more.

With music file sharing becoming a bigger concern on the web, Sony BMG decided to do something about it. The company created an anti-piracy program and started loading it on to the CDs it was distributing. If a user listened to the CD on their computer, the anti-piracy program was automatically installed. Then the problems started. First, Sony didn't tell anyone it was doing this. It just invaded the computer with the program. Second, the program created holes in security programs that allowed viruses and other nasty things to access the files in the computer. Removing the program was impossible without doing immense damage to ones system. When the stuff hit the fan, BMG tried to release a remove and repair program that caused even more problem. Truly, it was a disaster for Sony on all fronts.

All of the above led to a lot of bad publicity for Sony. It also led to lawsuits being filed by the attorney generals of Texas and California. Well, those cases have just been settled and Sony got off easy. The deal works as follows. Sony is paying a $1.7 million dollar fine, offering refunds on the offending CDs and a massive $175 for computer repair to anyone who had their computer damages. With 450,000 CDs distributed, this equates to a minimum settlement of roughly $3.50 per offense. Obviously, some people will go for the $175 computer repair which will add to the cost, but probably not a lot of people.

Assume you own a small business based on the web. Assume you were listening to one of these CDs and found out about what Sony was up to. Supposed further you tried to remove the program using the very removal program supplied by Sony. You lose your hard drive. You lose all your emails. You system is corrupted and doesn't work. How much time are you going to spend dealing with this? How frustrating will it be? How much will you have to pay for replacement software, not to mention someone to reset everything? The total cost in hard cash and dollars is going to be far beyond these settlement figures.

The settlement reached by California and Texas with Sony is a disgrace. The powers that be in each Attorney General office should be ashamed. Sony broke the law in a variety of ways and has to pay $3 or $4 per CD as a fine? What a joke.

Related Tags: sony, cd, legal, law, california, texas, piracy, bmg, anti-piracy, computer program, attorney genera

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