Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Sony Faces Another Class-Action Suit

Sony BMG is facing yet another class-action lawsuit stemming from the controversy over its anti-piracy software, this time from a New York attorney who filed a federal case that could potentially include consumers in all 50 states.

Scott Kamber filed the lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, naming Sony and First4Internet, the company that produced the anti-piracy software (a technology the company dubbed XCP). The suit names two plaintiffs -- a James Michaelson from Illinois and an Ori Edelstein from New Jersey.

"To date, over 3 million copies of XCP encoded disks have been sold. It is probable that millions of consumers have played these discs on their PC's and thus compromised their systems without knowing it," the lawsuit claims.

This would be the second domestic class-action suit filed against Sony seeking monetary damages and a halt to the production of CDs equipped with the anti-piracy software. Last week, Security Fix broke the news that an attorney in California had filed a class-action suit on behalf of California consumers. A copy of the New York filing is here (PDF).

Security experts warned that the anti-piracy software's ability to hide on a Windows-based computer  could also be used by viruses to remain hidden on a PC, even from anti-virus programs. Last week, someone mass-spammed several versions of a virus that uses Sony's technology to remain cloaked on victims' machines. Since then, anti-virus companies -- and even Microsoft -- have said they will consider Sony's software as spyware and remove it as such.

Security expert Mark Russinovich, whose research kicked off this feeding frenzy, also found that removing the Sony software could cause some Windows systems to crash, and uninstalling any of the software's components without first going through Sony's multi-step authorization process can render the user's CD-rom drive completely useless for anything other than a cupholder. 

The New York complaint says the court needs to intervene to stop Sony from possibly using this type of technology in other product lines or reintroducing it in CDs at a later date. Sony said Friday that it would temporarily suspend production of CDs that include the anti-piracy software, but it did not rule out using it in future products, nor did it issue a recall of the CDs already sold.

"The plans Sony and F4i may have for future use of this technology in the game or video sector is currently unknown. Sony has even refused to disclose which music titles it sold that were encoded with the XCP technology."

To that end, the new lawsuit references a quote attributed to a First4Internet executive who said, "We've got lots of plans for the future. So it's all exciting times really."

Exciting times indeed ...

By Brian Krebs  |  November 14, 2005; 5:01 PM ET
Categories:  Piracy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Counting the Cost of Data Loss
Next: More Sony Problems to Be Revealed

Comments

As punishment why not have Sony pay the $52 million settlement that was just forced on Grokster.

Posted by: JB | November 14, 2005 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Customers should oycott buying any future Sony Products. They've already demonstrated that the company lacks any ethics. I'll NEVER BUY ANOTHER SONY product!

Posted by: Ric Moore | November 14, 2005 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Nowadays, I only buy groceries, gas and caffeine in meatspace, and get everything else online. These security breaches fill me with an almost apocalyptic sense of dred. I can't tear myself away from your blog!

Posted by: Susan W. | November 14, 2005 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Is it just me, or is anyone else disturbed by Susan W's description of "anywhere that isn't online" as "meatspace."

Ew.

Posted by: Spike | November 14, 2005 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Go read the metafilter (http://www.metafilter.com) articles about this, which chortle and cackle that all the security problems created tend to plague only the poor suckers who actually went out and spent money and bought a CD of Sony Music. Everyone else is safe from the cyber-terrorism of the Sony DRM rootkit software!

Posted by: evvstarr | November 14, 2005 6:22 PM | Report abuse

So when will I be able to make 5 legal copies of my DVD's since they should fall under these same Digital Rights?

Posted by: GC | November 14, 2005 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Go read the metafilter (http://www.metafilter.com) articles about this, which chortle and cackle that all the security problems tend to plague only poor suckers who actually went out and spent money and bought a CD of Sony Music. Everyone else is safe from the cyber-terrorism of the Sony DRM rootkit software!

Posted by: evvstarr | November 14, 2005 6:23 PM | Report abuse

boycott sony!

Posted by: boycott sony | November 14, 2005 6:26 PM | Report abuse

If the people of this Nation still had any balls ANY product from Sony would be considered off limits from now on.

Posted by: Dave | November 14, 2005 6:26 PM | Report abuse

$100.00 per person to have their PC's formatted * Plus $500 per person for computer downtime and the 2 day inconvenience of software installs - a very reasonable penalty for this Sony DRM debacle.

$600 X 3 million CD's out there =
Sony has to cough up 1,800,000,000.00

Ambulance chasers - start your engines!

Posted by: Bob | November 14, 2005 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Don't buy another Sony product. Period. They do not consider their customers as respectable citizens! They prefer to treat EVERYONE as a criminal. Nuff said.

Posted by: Sam T | November 14, 2005 7:01 PM | Report abuse

I will Buy nothing associated with or labeled with a SONY Logo! This I now swear!!

Posted by: W.C. McCombs | November 14, 2005 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Boycott all Sony products forever. They treat their own customers like scum. Reap what you sow, Sony.

Posted by: Larry L | November 14, 2005 7:28 PM | Report abuse

I will Buy nothing associated with or labeled with a SONY Logo! This I now swear!!

Posted by: W.C. McCombs | November 14, 2005 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Instead of admitting they made a big mistake and try to correct it and save their product lines, they explain it away and go on the deffensive thereby compounding their problems. Here's some advice for everyone: IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE. SAY YOU ARE SORRY. CORRECT YOUR MISTAKE. SAY YOU ARE SORRY. OFFER TO FURTHER CORRECT YOUR MISTAKE. SAY YOU ARE SORRY.

Posted by: AA | November 14, 2005 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Common guys, look at the plus side. Sony has given anyone taken to court for music pirating a reasonable defence. The purchased stuff is too dangerous...

Posted by: Bill | November 14, 2005 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I will still buy Sony. :-). There should be an antimatter somewhere.

Posted by: Buy Sony | November 14, 2005 8:03 PM | Report abuse

While it is good news that another class action lawsuit has been filed, we need to remember two points.

First, the purpose of the class action lawusit is to recover damages. Usually these lawsuits are settled out of court and do NOT result in the offending company actually changing its bad business practices or overturning the underlying law.

Second, To change corporate behavior and to overturn DRM we need to have a consumer orientated special interest group, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (http://www.eff.org/)

Posted by: Steve | November 14, 2005 8:25 PM | Report abuse

"Sony has even refused to disclose which music titles it sold that were encoded with the XCP technology."

This statement gives us all the more reason to dump SONY. Avoid SONY like the proverbial plague! I have already imposed a ban on ALL SONY PRODUCTS, NOT JUST CDs or DVDs. Why should I buy anything from anyone when I don't get to own it and do whatever I like with it? It is time that companies like SONY be taught a lesson that consumers like us cannot be held captive by their greed. SONY have blatantly ignored or forgotten the most sacred principle of good business and management which the late management guru Peter F Drucker so emphatically pronounced and embrassed: THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST and not the other way round.

Posted by: Seb | November 14, 2005 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"Sony has even refused to disclose which music titles it sold that were encoded with the XCP technology."

This statement gives us all the more reason to dump SONY. Avoid SONY like the proverbial plague! I have already imposed a ban on ALL SONY PRODUCTS, NOT JUST CDs or DVDs. Why should I buy anything from anyone when I don't get to own it and do whatever I like with it? It is time that companies like SONY be taught a lesson that consumers like us cannot be held captive by their greed. SONY has blatantly ignored or forgotten the most sacred principle of good business and management which the late management guru Peter F Drucker so emphatically pronounced and embraced: THE CUSTOMER COMES FIRST and not the other way round.

Posted by: Seb | November 14, 2005 8:57 PM | Report abuse

As a person who has spend 40 years of his life in television broadcasting, I must at least express the fact that this is all fruitless. Sony BMG is HUGE!! It also owns almost all the equipment supplied to keep TV broadcast on the air. Duh!! Count the number of Betacams in the B-roll garbage you see on the Cable 1 minute of programing 10 minutes of commercial TV networks. We're all being taken for a ride and nobody seems to truly understand. This is a "blip" on the radar for Sony. As long as America blindly consumes, anything "cute" on the 97 channels of infomercials we've lost the so called war on whatever we think is our "salute the flag, watch FOX TV NEWs flag waving duty" By the way..where do the Fox TV news profits go to Rupert? Could it be out of this flag waving country??? Load a CD? so what if the computer is comprimised, you got to hear the no talent mouth breather! PLEASE believe me..Sony doesn't care. They've been laughing at us for decades!! The money has been bleeding out of this country at a rate that is unbelievable, but as long as we have our toys and our gas pigs we'll be happy. And our entertainment toys that are all pumped out of sweatshops in Korea and China. Quit complaining, get a life, and an education, and find out what the hell is going on out there. We sleptwalked through all this and now we're crying like a bunch of spoiled COMPLETELY uninformed babies. Time to bend over, buy the Hummer, have fun!!!

Posted by: Squeeb norbach | November 14, 2005 9:09 PM | Report abuse

If Sony is found guilty they should have to pay the same amount per infraction (I think up to $3000 per infraction) as the people they are filing lawsuits against for stealing music.

What goes around comes around.

Actually the whole DRM thing is so anti-American. Think about it, I can rob a bank and be caught on tape and I am still innocent until proven guilty. In the eyes of the music companies I am proven guilty labeled a pirate and in the terms of their agreement give up my rights to privacy and forfeit parts of my hardware and software of my computer before I buy the CD. How exactly is that "fair use" when they disable my CD burner because I have made copies of a CD I have bought and paid for. They make the claim that the CD's are their intellectual property, yet if I try to return it after it opened they say nope you bought it. Its yours now. Nah, not so much. The jewel case it came in may be mine, the paper the lyrics are printed on may be mine but the actual physical CD and all of its contents belong to the record companies. They own it and everything you can do with it. There is something really wrong and perverse about this whole deal!!

Posted by: Get a Grip! | November 14, 2005 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Please see: An Open Letter to Sony-BMG http://www.eff.org/IP/DRM/Sony-BMG/?f=open-letter-2005-11-14.html

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has posted a letter to Sony requesting corrective action.

Posted by: Steve | November 14, 2005 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I am planning to purchase a new PC within the next few weeks, and I have until today been considering purchasing a Sony Vaio. I am no longer considering the purchase of a Sony PC (or any other Sony product, for that matter) due to Sony's heavy-handed application of digital rights management (DRM). Basically, I no longer trust Sony with anything PC-related, and I will not do business with a corporation with such obvious disregard for its customers.

Posted by: Michael | November 14, 2005 11:09 PM | Report abuse

I was an avid customer of Sony. I will never buy another Sony product EVER if I can at all prevent it and neither will any of my family.

Look out Sony, the word is spreading about how you treat your customers. How are we supposed to trust a company that places what I would say is basically a virus on our home computers that leaves us open for more harmful things or worse yet, destroying our home computers if we try to have them repaired?

I'd say there was an invasion of privacy committed along with destruction of private property with malicious intent.

I hope Sony goes down for this one...This kind of behavior shouldn't be tolerated by ANY company, I don't care who or how big they are.

Posted by: LD | November 14, 2005 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Sony is hurting. Its stock price has plummented over the past few years. The Playstation is probably the only thing keeping their consumer appeal afloat. The video game industry is expensive and Sony is probably losing money because they don't create their own games. However, Sony prices are too high. They have always used their name as a crutch. Now, they have gotten exposed for dubious music CDs. This is basically a commerical trojan horse. As a college student, I would be P.O.ed if I knew that playing a music CD screwed up my laptop. Computers are too valuable and integral to people lives for companies to unleash something like this. Sony execs should get a clue. Not everyone can afford to keep shelling out hunderds or thousands of dollars to replace PCs. Buy American..oops..there are no American PCs..

Posted by: JR | November 15, 2005 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Sony's posture is arrogant and despicable. If this sort of behavior fosters a desire in consumers to obtain media from other sources than "legitimate" publishers then I say let them live with the consequences.

Posted by: Loup Garous | November 15, 2005 3:24 AM | Report abuse

I saved up money to buy Sony products. I use Sony recording studio/mixer software and Sony music loops CDs which I was just beginning to benefit from, now I will change to a different product. I study/write/compose/record. I work with music, I do not want any of this DRM anti-piracy Police State crap on my computer, in any way shape or form period! I do NOT need a Sony or any other Police-State Officer inside my computer. I am quite capable of managing my own computer until now. This is a matter of fundamental principles and Sony violates them. I cannot even uninstall the software safely, or eliminate the hidden malware and spyware.
I liked the product but I despise Police-State mentality, so out it goes. No more Sony for me.

Posted by: sad guy | November 15, 2005 3:59 AM | Report abuse

Not only Boycott Sony but make sure you spread the word to EVERYONE you can to STAY AWAY from the up comming BLUE RAY format .

This is 1 of the NEXT formats fighting to REPLACE the DVD we have now.

Say no to BLUE RAY

Posted by: Support Sony | November 15, 2005 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I have been boycotting sony for years and this does not suprize me. I sent in a portable CD player that was dropped and needed the head aligned. 2 1/2 months later they send me an estimate to repair for about $500.00 and the player cost 300 bucks. I asked why and they said the unit was water damaged. I told them they obviously had the wrong player and told them what the problem with mine was and how it reacted. I soon received a call from the manager who said that the unit they have does malfunctionthe way I said it would and it is water damaged. I asked if the head was out of alignment, they replied the unit is too far dismantled to check it and it has water damage. Soon after I talked to the next manager up the line, told them the story and explained that a replacement player would now cost $150 and they want to charge me 500 fo fix mine, and I do not want them to repair it. She said the bill for a service check would be like 80 bucks. At that point I blew a head gasket and two more managers later I got my dismangled Diskman back for free, atleast they didn't get the satisfaction of selling it twice to a unsuspecting consumer who might buy a "water damaged" unit it at a sony closeout location for nearly new prices.

Posted by: SLS | November 16, 2005 1:35 AM | Report abuse

Stop screaming. I'm going to continue use SONY brand because it's high quality product for good price.

Posted by: Bob | November 16, 2005 8:49 AM | Report abuse

It should also be noted that Sony shipped on the CD some unlicensed software -- making them one of the world's largest copyright infringers as well.

I'm glad to see Microsoft and security firms putting out removal/blocking tools for the rootkit, but I'd point out that doing so would be a felony (as would receiving a copy). The DRM rootkit is an access control provision and circumvention is highly illegal, as is possession or distribution of tools to remove it, and so is dissemination of information about how to remove/circumvent it. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act quite intentionally contains no exceptions for this circumstance.

In fact, SONY doesn't even have the authority to remove it or tell people how to do it under the law. Why? Because, by doing so they may compromise other works similarly protected.

Technically, if you chose to be a law abiding citizen, you're just plain stuck. Return the CD and reformat your hard disk. It's the only way to be compliant.

Posted by: Toenut Finkelspank | November 16, 2005 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I have created http://sonysuit.com/ to monitor the progress of the both the class action and individual lawsuits as they spring up.

Posted by: Mark Lyon | November 16, 2005 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I've already had a bunch of customers tell me, "Screw Sony" - they will not buy Sony TVs, Sony Radios, Sony Cameras, or CDs or DVDs.

Toshiba, Samsung, Kodak, and Panasonic all make good products that my customers enjoy.

HDTVs, Stereos, Digital Cameras are all available from these other companies, companies you CAN trust. And, often times, Toshiba, Samsung, Kodak, and Panasonic prices are cheaper than Sony products.

There is no reason to reward a company that has abused it's corporate trust, and brought harm to the customer.

If Sony's Software damaged your computer or infected your company, remember THAT at the cash register the next time you shop for DVDs, CDs, and electronics.

Check the product packaging and see if the name SONY is on it anywhere.

As a retailer, Sony stuck me with this inventory, and now I have waste time and money packing it all up and shipping it back to Sony.

What about my lost revenue?
Who's going to reimburse me for my time and money?

This is the peak shopping season and Sony dumps this problem on the retail stores now?

I have lots of customers, and I can't be wasting time cleaning up all of Sony's problems.

What am I going to do with all this other Sony Inventory if customers wont buy it?

The name Sony is like a Plague now.
Customers ask me, 'Hey that Sony CD I bought last week, did it have that Virus on it? How do I fix my computer? Why did you sell this to me?'

What am I supposed to tell them?

Is my store Liable for selling these CDs?

Posted by: Retailer | November 18, 2005 8:12 AM | Report abuse

The following is Sony's response to my request to "BUY" a replacement recovery CD for one of the Vaio Laptops, and my "Thanks Sony!" reply..; )
Thank you for contacting Sony's Direct Accessories and Parts Center (DAPC USA).
Your question was: Need information about ordering a recovery CD for Sony Vaio
PCG-FX120


We are sorry, but the item you requested is no longer available.

Please visit our web site again for all your Sony parts and accessory needs.
Sony Direct Accessories & Parts Center web site - http://www.sony.com/accessorie
s

Thank you for your interest in Sony!
My Reply...
OK...your welcome?! I don't understand the part about "Please visit our
web site again for ALL your Sony parts and accessory needs"...?! Oh, NOW I
get it! You made a funny! He-he! How about this one..."Sony Vaio...Wanna
Vaio Piece of Shit?!" Or even better, "Please visit my ass hole for
all your eat shit and die needs!" You like that one?! Lol! I got a million
of em! All free, all for you, thanks to that
humble division of advertising called "Word of Mouth"
I am impressed with all the innovative new ways Sony thinks up to screw the
public REALLY good! (In spite of having been born with such tiny penis's!) Keep
up the good work guys! JD

Posted by: JD | November 20, 2005 12:59 AM | Report abuse

Complain - Complain... Sony makes it easy to just send back your CD's and get a free replacement.. I just went to their website, gave them a my name (I "MAY" have misspelled it) - My address (Might have mistyped it) and what CD's I wanted to replace (I May never have bought any..) I then printed out their FREE UPS shipping label, Boxed up an Old AOL CD, and 2 LBS. of rocks - and shipped it off.. WHat could be easier than that???

Posted by: Rich K | November 22, 2005 1:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company