Sony BMG's Rootkit Violated Federal Law; Company Agrees To Pay To Fix Damaged Computers
from the pay-up dept
While Sony BMG already settled the class action lawsuit against it for their rootkit copy protection that opened up security holes on computers that were difficult to fix and hidden in a way that made them difficult to find, that didn’t get them totally out of the hot water. There was also an investigation to see if the rootkits violated federal law — and apparently they did. The company has reached an agreement with the FTC, and unlike the typical agreement where a company “doesn’t admit guilt,” in this case Sony BMG clearly states that they violated federal law with the rootkits, and will reimburse people up to $150 if their computers were damaged by the software. This is interesting for a variety of reasons, including that it should help make various companies a little more careful before just throwing any kind of copy protection on their media without knowing what it’s actually doing or what liabilities they might face for using the copy protection. The most amazing thing in all of this, though, is that the DRM in question did absolutely nothing positive for Sony BMG. It cost them money directly in having to pay for the software. It cost them their reputation. And, now it cost them from a legal standpoint. And, despite all of that, it never even came close to protecting the content that it was associated with. So, what, exactly is the benefit of DRM again?