While Sony was incredibly slow to react to the whole rootkit fiasco when it first broke, the company is now rapidly trying to clean up the mess it caused. The latest is that the company has agreed to settle a class action suit filed over the matter. Beyond the basic recall they had already announced, consumers who return an XCP-infected CD will get to download either three free albums from a list of 200 albums, or a cash payout of $7.50 for their troubles. While Sony still refuses to recall CDs that include the SunnComm MediaMax copy protection (which installs without permission), they will let people download the MP3s of the albums they purchased with that software on it. Sony BMG also says it will no longer use either of the two copy protection systems (though, you wonder if they'll move on to something else). Alex Eckelberry has more details at the Sunbelt Blog. It's not clear how this settlement (if approved) will impact some of the other lawsuits against the company. The fear, though, is that once everyone calms down about this, they (and the other labels) will simply go back to their old tricks. Still, it is fairly ironic that this program whose main purpose was to avoid Sony BMG music being ripped into MP3 form (a goal that was pointless from the beginning) has now been turned around to the point of Sony BMG handing out free, unencumbered MP3s.
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