by Mike Masnick

Sony BMG's Other Copy Protection Tech Installs Even If You Tell It Not To

from the that-seems-illegal dept

Yes, the never ending saga of Sony BMG and their copy protection technologies continues. This time, it's more about Sony BMG's other copy protection system, MediaMax, from SunnComm. As you may recall, Sony has only recalled CDs using the XCP copy protection technology from First4Internet. Once again, we have Alex Halderman to thank for bringing this to light. Halderman noted that MediaMax has many spyware like qualities and also discovered the security hole in SunnComm's uninstaller. However, the latest finding is perhaps more problematic. The way MediaMax works is, if you have autorun enabled on your Windows PC and insert a MediaMax-enabled CD, it pops up an end user license agreement (EULA), not really telling you what it's doing. If you realize that you don't want this installed on your computer and hit "no," it's already installed some amount of code that isn't easily removed. However, the latest finding is that inserting another (or the same) CD with MediaMax on it (even if you hit no to the EULA again) will install even more code that will run on your machine even though you specifically told it not to. As Halderman points out, that certainly seems like it's breaking some sort of law. Putting up an agreement that someone declines should mean that no software is installed.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    mike-ish, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 5:16pm

    No Subject Given

    everyone together now: Disable AutoRun!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jasen Webster, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 5:21pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    There's a group policy for that, even ensures it stays off. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    theStorminMormon, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 7:03pm

    not the point

    The computer-savy among us aren't likely to be buying Sony BMG cd's in the first place.
    Ask your average computer user who picked up a Dell or a PC from a warehouse store how to turn off autorun. Yup - that's right - you'll get a glazed expression.
    But even that isn't really the point. You're supposed to be taking protective measures to protect you from hackers - not from CDs you PAID GOOD MONEY FOR.
    I hope Sony get's REALLY burned on this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    dorpus, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 7:23pm

    Just like Quicktime, Real, Netscape, ....

    Even if you check "no", they still install a lot of crap that will start up with your machine as background processes, plus other software like i-tunes that you did not agree to install.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    worldscolide, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 7:46pm

    Things keep getting worse

    like mentioned before disable auto run for cd's, as far as quick time real and netscape there are alternative vursions of each, anyway i hope Sony burns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ryan, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 7:53pm

    Re: not the point

    Yeah, kinda ironic that most people that are downloading these CDs for free(illegally) don't have to worry about the viruses and code running from the original store bought cd. Almost makes me wanna switch over. Hint. Hint. lol... yeah its stupid how far theyve gone with this. Just say sorry, we're stupid, heres a freakin good uninstaller, nothing left behind.... and give money back... and pay for virus infected systems...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    RR, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Disabling Autorun

    To all those who are advocating disabling Autorun, did you think what might happen to your CD/DVD bruner software? Disabling Autorun can disable your burner. The only solution: DO NOT BUY SONY BMG CDs. Period. Whether the package says it's copy protected or not. I mean, can we actually trust anything they say anymore?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 10:04pm

    Re: Disabling Autorun

    "Disabling Autorun can disable your burner."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    matt, Nov 28th, 2005 @ 11:41pm

    No Subject Given

    Surely if you decline to agree to the agreement, no contract is entered into and by installing the software, Sony has a hard case in front of them. I would love to see this one tested.

    Anyone able to copy the user agreement?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Ghost, Nov 29th, 2005 @ 1:10am

    Re: Disabling Autorun

    Disabling autorun = good.
    "Disabling Autorun can disable your burner"
    Oh, do tell how! I'm sure Sony BMG will be
    delighted to know there's no two word solution
    that can be used to prevent their righteous
    DRM software from installing!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Hedwig, Nov 29th, 2005 @ 1:59am

    How to disable Autorun?

    Start RegEdit (from the Start menu, choose Run... Type "regedit" and hit return).
    On the left side of the Registry editor, navigate to:
    My Computer
    --> SYSTEM
    ---> CurrentControlSet
    ----> Services
    -----> Cdrom
    Select the Cdrom entry by clicking on it.
    On the right side of the Registry Editor, doubleclick on the key "AutoRun". A popup appears. In the field labeled "Value", enter 0 (zero). Close the dialog by clicking OK.
    Close the Registry Editor.
    AutoRun is now disabled.
    Cheers, Hedwig

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    giafly, Nov 29th, 2005 @ 2:09am


    OK guys, Sony is evil and everyone should disable Windows auto-run.

    But, when you install a CD in your PC, it's a reasonable assumption that you want to "run" the contents. If running requires installing a small amount of software, then maybe no other permission is required to install this small amount.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Hedwig, Nov 29th, 2005 @ 2:48am

    Re: Disagree

    I want nobody to make assumptions on what I intend to do. And definitely not if they change the way I have always done things.

    First of all, I don't 'install' the CD in my PC, I 'insert' it in the same way as I have inserted diskettes, zip-drives, USB-sticks etc. Second, my intention is not to 'run' the content, but to have access to it. There's a difference: I determine which program I will use to access the data on the CD.
    And since I have this program on my PC that can access AUDIO CD content (see the label on the box), I want to use that one, not some bundled coding that I cannot trust. Remember that I have bought an AUDIO CD, not a "music player program".

    So if you think that inserting a CD in your drive is the same as giving permission to install whatever is on the CD, don't come complaining when you "run" into an internet site that uses the same logic to install an "upgrade" of your browser to better view the spam (or other) content of that site without asking your permission...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Spunky, Nov 29th, 2005 @ 4:13am

    Re: Disagree

    I always wonder about people who make these types of comments and come to the conclusion that they fall into one of three types.

    1. They are just plain stupid.
    2. They are employees of the company practicing these illegal methods.
    3. They are trolls.

    Personally I'd go with options 1 and 3.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Chris, Jul 12th, 2007 @ 9:27am

    no opnion, just a quick question

    I can't figure out how to turn the auto-run off of this damn quick time player. It automatically installs with my iTunes, I don't rly mind it being there because I don't use it for anything. but I hate the auto-run feature, because I can't figure out how to turn this one off...

    anyone help?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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