Texas and EFF Sue Sony

By Jon Newton 11/22/05

Things just keep getting worse for Sony BMG following its foiled attempt to plant DRM spyware on customers' computers.

Now the EFF has joined the class action party, "demanding that the company repair the damage done by the First4Internet XCP and SunnComm MediaMax software it included on over 24 million music CDs".

Sony BMG took several panicky steps to try to repair the damage, but its efforts were far too little and way, way too late.

Jon Newton

"It is unconscionable for Sony BMG to refuse to respond to the privacy and other problems," says created by the over 20 million CDs containing the SunnComm software," says EFF staff lawyer Corynne McSherry.

The law firms of Green Welling and Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman and Robbins have joined EFF in the case, it says, adding:

"Sony BMG is also facing at least six other class action lawsuits nationwide and an action by the Texas Attorney General."


The state of Texas is suing Sony BMG Music Entertainment for secretly embedding CDs with Digital Restrictions Management spyware that leaves computers open to hackers.

Texas was the first, but it won't be the last.

"Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak-and-dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," the Houston Chronicle has attorney general Greg Abbott saying.

The lawsuit calls for $100,000 in damages for each violation to the state under the new Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act of 2005 which bans hidden tracking tools.

"Consumers who purchased a Sony CD thought they were buying music. Instead, they received spyware that can damage a computer, subject it to viruses and expose the consumer to possible identity crime," says Abbott in the story.

Sony BMG is "fully cooperating with the attorney general," it says, going on, "Abbott's lawsuit seeks to determine what purposes Sony might have had in placing the software on computers, which affects Microsoft Windows folders, beyond merely tracking piracy violations."

Sony BMG says the descriptionof its spyware as spyware is inaccurate and has opened an "information" spin site. It says victims can get replacement CDs snail-mailed postage-free.

"The company initially rejected the uproar over XCP as technobabble," says the Associated Press.

Sony BMG (Japan and Germany) has also been named in a number of class actions.

"When XCP-enabled discs are loaded into a computer - a necessary step for transferring music to Apple Computer's iPods and other portable music players - the CD installs a program that restricts copying and makes it extremely inconvenient to transfer songs into the format used by iPods," says AP, going on:

"Security researchers say XCP is spyware because it secretly transmits details about what music the PC is playing. Manual attempts to remove the software, which works only on Windows PCs, can disable the PC's optical drive."

In another interesting development, SunnComm has hired ex-Sony BMG execuctive Kevin M. Clement as its president and ceo for MediaMax.

"I am looking forward to building a world-class technology organization focused on delivering high-quality consumer friendly content protection products," says Clements.

So far, there have been no demands from Lamar Smith to have Andy Lack or any other Sony BMG executives thrown into jail.

Lack is also one of the people behind Mashboxx, the corporate 'p2p' application which was due to launch a beta this month.


Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.

Other MP3 stories:
Bush Administration to Sony: It's your intellectual property -- it's not your computer.
Europe Groups Demand Consumer Digital Rights


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