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Another Attorney General Targeting Sony BMG?

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Friday she is investigating whether Sony BMG violated privacy and consumer protection laws, noting that her office has requested information from the company regarding anti-piracy software it included on music CDs that experts have shown exposes Microsoft Windows users to security holes and computer viruses.

Madigan is the latest attorney general to target Sony BMG for the anti-piracy debacle. Last month, Texas AG Greg Abbott sued Sony BMG, saying its invasive software -- which installs on Windows PCs when users merely listen to one of the affected CDs -- violates Texas anti-spyware laws. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Massachusetts AG Tom Reilly have launched similar investigations. In addition, a number of state and federal class action suits have been filed against Sony BMG.

By Brian Krebs  |  December 12, 2005; 12:26 PM ET
Categories:  From the Bunker , Piracy  
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I had been avoiding Sony CDs because of the rootkit hoopla. After all, Sony doesn't need my money and I don't need anyone messing with my things. I went to the Best Buy store right after Thanksgiving and purchased a few CDs, none of which (I thought) were Sony products. However, when I took my purchases home I noticed an acknowledgement to Sony/BMG on the liner notes to (say it isn't so Carlos) Santana's newest Arista album. I did not load the the CD on my machine and took it back to the store. I also posted the story on my website, emailed friends and the local media to be on the lookout for Best Buy's practice.

I returned to the store to exchange my product and ran into their "return of software" policy. I explained to the young lady that this was no mere "I didn't like it" return but that ten days before my purchase Sony had instructed retailers to remove any unsold music discs containing the rootkit software from their shelves. So, I inquired, "Why are you selling it?" She referred me to the store manager who told me it was my fault for buying a recalled item, that it was a matter between me and Sony and that there was nothing that she would do. She thanked me in that phony Merchandizing 101 tone (you know, the "Hi, How are you doing?, Can I help you find something?") but told me that there was nothing that she could do. "Thank you and (Smirk!) Have a nice day, Sir." I left Best Buy, now pissed at them and not at Sony.

My voicemail hell complaints to their national headquarters were finally met with the same response: We don't care that we sold a recalled item, that's between you and Sony.

I've put my Santana CD in the trunk of my car and when I get over being angry at Sony, Artisa, Santana and, most of all, Best Buy, I may put it in my CD changer and listen to it. That's a shame, because I had been excited at the idea that one of my favorite performers had a new release. I understand that Best Buy made a marketing decision to sell the product because of the impending holidays. But rest assured, my marketing plans no longer call for purchases at Best Buy.

Posted by: Domingo Soto | December 13, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm with you all the way.
No SONY no time,No Best Buy,and no more BMG.
We can all do quite well without any, and all of them.

Posted by: Warren G. | December 13, 2005 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you all the way,Domingo.
No SONY no time,No Best Buy,and no more BMG.
We can all do quite well without any, and all of them.

Posted by: Warren G. | December 13, 2005 4:19 PM | Report abuse

When will industry learn from their customers? The primary success of MP3s were (initially) a direct response to the music labels pulling good content on albums and replacing it with 'filler' music for the same price. People do not wish to buy a product with less quality for the same price.
MP3s allowed people to cherry pick music without paying for an entire album. The music labels felt like they were being ripped off and resorted to all kinds of extremes to protect their interests - all at the customer's expense.
Ironically, it's the music labels that are driving the bad behavior of the consumers who resort to MP3s to avoid being ripped off by the labels.
MP3s offer some obvious advantages that consumers want - why not listen to the customer (instead of exploiting them) and give them what they want? If they chose to listen to the market, they wouldn't have needed to sue to take over Napster, they would have started it on their own.

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