In some case, the demonstration of the ineptitude of some companies is sooo easy to make. This is what just happened with the mini-scandal in the United States around the technology used by Sony BMG to protect the rights of the artists on some of its recent audio CDs (for example, the last Van Zant).
These music CD from Sony BMG include one mighty rights protection key. If you insert the CD in your PC, it automagically installs a software program aimed at limiting PC access to this CD-A. Up to now, it may look pretty inocuous, but there are several problems:
After all that, you may still think that if your are a common normal customer and you paid your dues at an official Sony reseller (like the next department store). Let's compare with the life for the dangerous terrorist that Sony says they want to fight.
If you look about a minute on eDonkey or Kazaa, you will find the Sony album properly encoded in MP3 and it can be downloaded to your MP3 player (did you notice that the honest buyer had already lost the right to listen to the music she just bought on a Mac, a Linux PC, her PC if its was reinstalled, her MP3 player, her iPod).
You may wonder how this disk arrived on the Internet. This is not so complicated: You just have to know (being a computer enthousiast helps here) that keeping the Shift key pressed while the CD is loaded into the PC, the rootkit won't install and the CD content will be rather easily copied. Is that really protection and Rights Management? Was it worth rendering a PC nearly unusable for only this?
My 0,02$ advice: Avoid buying a CD from Sony! You would be stuck with a licence bringing you only worrysome details, you would not be able to read before buying the CD. Worrysome details? This little software program removes your usual fair use rights, damages your computer installation, damages your computer when you try to remove it and uses yor CPU without even asking.
And some analysts are still wondering why the CD sales are only growing slowly (don't worry too much about the financial health of Sony BMG and other majors. The sales keep growing - albeit slowly - and the music industry shouts only when sales slow down in a local market of for a few months).
If it was not one of the first three disc producers in the world but some friend who would give you this CD, you may be tempted to complain about his apparent tentative to damage your PC, wouldn't you?
Let's suppose you want to uninstall this software pest and you go to the Sony web site. You will have to give at least your email address (as if Sony needed to be able to trace you back to your home because you are probably one of these dangerous pirates they claim to be up against if you did not accept their outrageous licensing terms), you will have to give reasons to explain your acts. Then, you'll discver that the uninstall program only makes it visible. You wanted to remove it? You must be kidding. Sony never thought you would be serious about that. With Sony, think different!
If you really insist, you can now obtain the uninstall, but after that this Sony CD (and other similar Sony CDs) will not be usable on your PC.
As said by Sony on its web site: "this component is not malicious, nor dangerous for the security of your system". How dare they to write just this? It must be a Sony thing.
Welcome in the marvellous world of music protected against dangerous pirates. Please, pardon me if I think that simply downloading music form the Internet is the choice of reason here.
Copyright (c) 1999-2008 - Yves Roumazeilles (all rights reserved)
Latest update: 30-oct-08