Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Copying Music Can Kill Your Computer

Lesson today: Don't buy CD's that have an Anti-theft Protection symbol and add them to your music library...especially from Sony.

This could be all a hoax, but sounds pretty serious.

Sony Music Sued Over Anti-Piracy Software
(courtesy of pitchfork)

Jonah Flicker and Amy Phillips report:
In the slow and perhaps inevitable movement towards microchip implantation of the entire human race, Sony BMG Music just took the lead. According to the Washington Post, a class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court November 1 alleges that the label's anti-piracy software, installed in several recently released CDs, is harmful to computers.

The suit claims that when a copy-protected CD is loaded onto a hard drive, it installs a hidden program known as a "rootkit," which not only keeps track of the computer's activity, but depletes the drive's resources in the process. So Sony is basically eating up your hard drive space while keeping track of all the porn you watch, just because you actually spent money on a My Morning Jacket CD.

Thanks, guys. This is even better than getting the RIAA to sue us.

The rootkit also makes the computer more susceptible to viruses. Sony falsely states that its copy-protection software can be easily removed, when in reality, getting rid of a rootkit can be damaging.

Here's the crux of the suit, straight from the legal papers: "As a result of Sony's failure to disclose the true nature of the digital rights management (‘DRM') system it uses on its CDs, thousands of computer users have unknowingly infected their computers, and the computers of others, with this surreptitious rootkit. This rootkit has been responsible for conflicts within computer systems, crashes of systems, and other damage."

The suit, which accuses Sony of "fraud, false advertising, trespass, and violation of state and federal statues prohibiting malware, and unauthorized computer tampering," claims that the suspect software has been included on certain Sony BMG Music CDs since this spring. Albums to watch out for include Amerie's Touch, My Morning Jacket's Z Kasabian's Kasabian, Neil Diamond's 12 Songs, Cassidy's I'm a Hustla, Kings of Leon's Aha Shake Heartbreak, and, appropriately, the Bad Plus' Suspicious Activity and the Coral's Invisible Invasion, among others.

In short: if you're about to load that new My Morning Jacket disc onto your hard drive, STOP. Sell the album back to the record store and buy something on Dischord.
(november 11, 2005)


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