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Sony Tries to Sneak Out of Spyware Damages

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Sony Music has submitted a proposed settlement for their XCP malware debacle in US District Court in Manhattan.

From the LA Times:

The proposed settlement, detailed in court papers filed Wednesday, would require Sony BMG to offer the 2 million to 3 million customers who purchased CDs containing XCP software a replacement disc not containing anti-piracy software and a choice between two compensation options.

The first option would give customers $7.50 and a code to download an album from a list of about 200 titles. Customers who forgo the $7.50 could download three albums from the list. Court papers said Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes Music Store might be one of the download services fulfilling the settlement.

An additional 8 million customers who bought Sony BMG CDs containing MediaMax anti-piracy software would be eligible to download unprotected replacement tracks and, in some cases, an album from the list of 200 titles.

Nice deal for them if they can get away with it. This hacker-style software buries itself down into the roots of user’s operating systems, very difficult to get out short of erasing the hard drive and starting over for purchasers of the 175 million infected CDs.

Considering that, I’d say they should have the opportunity to absolutely replace everyone’s computers who made the unfortunate mistake of trusting their malware albums, such as Neil Diamond’s 12 Songs – though I suppose you could make an argument that anyone buying the Celine Dion album deserves what they get.

Besides being the simplest and cleanest way to fix it, that’d be about the only way I’d feel confident that the problem was resolved. Also, that would be punitive enough to send a message about screwing with people’s computers.

As it is, this deal would be getting off scott free. It would cost them almost nothing, and would NOT fix the problems they have created on people’s computers. Heck, these schmucks would probably manage to take a tax deduction for the retail value of the free albums, and come out ahead even on that.

Sony sucks, but


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  • Bliffle

    I eagerly await the day when consumers become utterly exasperated by the predations of entertainment industry maniacs on their rights. Personally I fight back two ways: (1) boycott – I find that I can live quite happily without most of their products. they are luxury items after all, not necessities, and it hasn’t taken much to get myself to stop buying overpriced CDs and DVDs, (2) pirate egregiously overpriced content.