Lawsuits, incompetence, and denial: Some news in the case of Sony's music CD's installing nasty hidden software on people's computers. (Prior articles: Sony CD's caught... & Sony releases PR "patch"...)
Declan McCullagh writes in CNET about a class action lawsuit being prepared against Sony, and the possible reverse lawsuit that could occur from Sony against those who dare to remove the malware from their own machines:
Now the lawyers are taking aim, too. Robert Green, a partner at the San Francisco firm of Green Welling, says he's readying a class action lawsuit against Sony.
[...] In a bizarre twist, though, it's not only Sony that could be facing a legal migraine. So could anyone who tries to rid their computer of Sony's hidden anticopying program. That's because of Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which bans the "circumvention" of anticopying technology.
An Italian group (ALCEI: Electronic Frontiers Italy, which is the "Association for the Freedom in the Interactive Communication Electronic" using a bad translating program) is pursuing a suit against Sony. (Here's the suit announcement, badly translated from Italian.)
Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals receives a response from First 4 Internet, author of Sony's DRM malware, denying all wrongdoing. Russinovich refutes all their denials:
[...] Their claim that the communication is "one way" from Sony's web site is false, however, since Sony can make a record of each time their player is used to play a CD, which CD is played, and what computer is playing the CD.
[...] Sony's patch is dangerous because the way that it removes the cloak could crash Windows.
[...] Besides demonstrating the ineptitude of the First 4 Internet programmers, this flaw highlights my message that rootkits create reliability risks in addition to security risks.
[...] The comment does not explain why Sony won't simply make the uninstaller available as a freely accessible download like they do the patch, nor why users have to submit two requests for the uninstaller and then wait for further instructions to be emailed (I still have not received the uninstaller). The only motivation I can see for this is that Sony hopes you'll give up somewhere in the process and leave their DRM software on your system.
[...] Instead of admitting fault for installing a rootkit and installing it without proper disclosure, both Sony and First 4 Internet claim innocence. By not coming clean they are making clear to any potential customers that they are not only technically incompetent, but also dishonest.
UPDATE: Sony's Deteriorating DRM Mess: One Month Later (Dec. 1, 2005)