Sony's CEO Sir Howard Stringer was at CES last week, and it gave a chance for reporters to finally ask him about the Sony BMG rootkit fiasco -- to which he seemed rather dismissive. "Clearly the perception out there is that we shouldn't be doing too much of that copy protection stuff." The perception? A more accurate statement would be that the perception is that you shouldn't treat all your customers like criminals, while opening up huge security holes on their computers. That's a bit different -- and suggests he doesn't actually see the seriousness of this whole thing. He then trots out the corporate line about "balance": "We have to walk the line at Sony between the needs and technology of the customer and the rights of the artist." Which artists are those? The ones fighting back against their own label to make sure copy protection isn't included on their CDs? The ones who feel the need to recall their own CDs and offer burned CDs in exchange, because Sony pissed off all of their fans? Apparently, he's been talking to different artists. As for the PR hit from the rootkit fiasco, Stringer is somewhat upset... not because of the bad PR, but because the bad PR focused on Sony and not Sony BMG. He literally complains that it "was somewhat unfair" that Sony's name got dragged down, and he wished all of it was focused on the company that still is a subsidiary of Sony last we checked.
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