Sony has caught a lot of more than well deserved grief this week over the DRM copy protection software they're putting on some of their commercial music CDs. THIS STORY gives the report of a high level independent tech geek name of Mark Russinovich who's figuring out what kind of stuff they're doing. Blogcritic Bruce Katofil has a summary.
I'm not much of a tech geek myself, but let me try to give a real dumbed down version of this what a Kentuckian might understand. Specifically, Mr Russinovich bought a simple factory copy of the Van Zant brothers CD Get Right with the Man. Turns out that this CD comes with some malicious hacker code that automatically without asking installs itself way down in the roots of your operating system which is nearly impossible to get off your computer without severely tearing up your whole system.
It's putting in crap down in the root of your operating system that's automatically in your boot files as you even try to start your computer. You can't readily delete this crap, and you're likely to completely uninstall your CD drive trying.
But wait- this gets better! The corporate crapweasels have graciously offered a patch. That's danged nice of them.
But here's the new part of the story: Their fix is just as bad as the problem- or perhaps worse. It's not uninstalling the nasty DRM software that no one agreed to have take over their frickin' computers in the first place. More like it makes the files that you still can't take out lay out openly visible on your computer- the better to taunt you.
Dig this update to the story by Edward Felten:
Yesterday, the companies released a software update that they say “removes the cloaking technology component that has been recently discussed in a number of articles”. Reading that statement, and the press statements by company representitives, you might think that that’s all the update does. It’s not.