Boycott Sony

“After weeks of criticism, Sony has finally agreed to temporarily stand down on an abusive and likely illegal copy restriction practice. Hold the applause,” Dan Goodin writes for Wired News. “On Friday, the world’s second-biggest record label pledged to temporarily stop making CDs that leave computers vulnerable to security breaches. This is a step in the right direction, but it does not go nearly far enough toward correcting a serious ethical lapse. In fact, it is proof positive that Sony is unworthy of our trust or our business.”

Goodin writes, “A lot has been written about this issue already. But a lot more needs to be said to ensure Sony gets the message: This kind of behavior can never be tolerated. It may be unrealistic to think many will heed this call, but someone’s got to say it: Boycott Sony. Boycott them until they come clean and recall all the infected CDs. Boycott them until they distribute a removal program. Boycott them until they promise never do anything like this again.”

Goodin writes, “Even Microsoft, which is trying to court content providers with so-called digital rights management software that limits the way audio and video can be used on computers, took a stand against the unrepentant label. On Saturday, it agreed with the chorus of critics that Sony’s rootkit poses security risks and that the software company will update its antispyware and malicious software removal tools to uninstall it.”

Goodin writes, “I’m generally not a fan of services such as Apple Computer’s iTunes store. For one thing, songs from those sites are encoded at lower bitrates that can lead to poor sound quality in some cases. And for another, the music has too many restrictions on copying. But for the time being, I recommend these online services if you plan on buying any of the 20 titles EFF says contain the rootkit in their CD form.” [Note: Not a complete list, see link for info on how to identify tainted Sony products.]

Full article here.

“EFF has confirmed the presence of XCP on the following titles (each has a data session, easily read on a Macintosh, that includes a file called “VERSION.DAT” that announces what version of XCP it is using). If you have one of these CDs, and you have a Windows PC (Macs are totally immune, as usual), you may have caught the XCP bug,” Fred von Lohmann explains over on the EFF site and then lists the titles. “This is not a complete list. So how do you recognize other XCP-laden CDs in the wild?”

von Lohmann explains in the full article here.

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We agree with Goodin on the boycott issue and our boycott of all Sony products continues. We also agree slightly with Goodin about the Apple iTunes Music Store’s bitrate (it’s not nearly as bad as Goodin paints, in fact it’s pretty good, but we’d still like to see Apple offer higher bitrates, even if just as a higher-priced option). As for the iTunes Music Stores’ copying “restrictions,” if you can call them that; we disagree with Goodin. The iTunes Music Store’s DRM is among the most liberal in the business and the vast majority of customers will never encounter any limits or even know that they exist.

Related articles:
Boycott Sony products: Sony music CDs can install kernel extensions on Mac OS X – November 10, 2005

20 Comments

  1. Ive been using iTMS since day one and have yet to run into ANY issues with the DRM being too restrictive. As a matter of fact, sometimes I forget it’s even on there.

    This guy obviously doesnt know enough about iTunes to make a proper comment.

  2. Janice – I don’t see any Sony ads on MDN.

    Oh, you meant ads for the resellers who carry, among other things, Sony Products. Well come on now, the line has to exist somewhere. For me, the hastle of finding a reseller that DOESN’T cary Sony products would be more of a pain in the ass than just buying non-Sony stuff.

    MDN word: human

  3. The problem with the iTMS DRM is that it can be (and has been), altered in the past FOR MUSIC YOU ALREADY ‘OWN’.

    So while it may not be that restrictive right now, it’s possible that they could make much more restrictive FOR THE MUSIC YOU ALREADY ‘OWN’, not just the new stuff.

    This is like a vague law. It may be good for its intended use, but can be abused by the authorities, even after they assure the public that they wouldn’t dream of abusing the law’s use in that way.

  4. Sony doesn’t even care nor do they apologize. They still believe they have the right to protect teir interests whaever it takes.
    Check out the following
    http://internetweek.cmp.com/blog/archives/2005/11/sonys_future.html

    The only way to give them the message, is to boycott everything SONY. I wanted to purchase some songs through iTunes last night, but then saw that they were distributed by SONY…screw them. As much as I wanted to get the songs, this to me is more inportant for the future. The harder they get hit, maybe even the artists under contract will begin to bitch. There should be something in their contracts that they can use against SONY due to loss of sales because of actions like this?

    This also is a way to send the message to the other companies that consumers will not tolerate this sh!t and there will be consequences to those actions.

  5. I agree with Hywel that it was bad form for Apple to alter the deal after they started selling tunes on iTunes. It would have been more complicated but it would have been better to have two kinds of DRM, the original and the new altered one.

    To give them a break this was towards the beginning of the whole thing when they were still more or less working the kinks out and things have been stable since then but I would like to see some form of commitment on Apple’s part to never ever alter the DRM rights again on music already sold.

    As an aside, I personally like the new rules better than the old ones (If I remember correctly the old DRM was play on 3 computers, burn 10 times and the new is play on 5 computers and burn 7 times). I much prefer to be able to play the music on more computers and burn the same play list fewer times – especially when you only have to alter the play list a very little to be able to continue burning.

  6. I agree with boycotting Sony until they sort this mess out. It’s a very low point in technology when security breaches are caused by playing a CD on your computer (not to mention cases where secure CDs wreak havoc on standard CD players.)

    However, I reckon there are also other issues which also need looking into. Namely:

    The lower bit rates do suck. Any serious music lover will demand full resolution recordings. It’s a shame that the mass market (once again) has screwed it up for (music) lovers by supporting this low-fi format.

    The other issue with the iPod is the gaps between songs. Makes it annoying when listening to some classical and concept albums which have music joined together (yes, i know, you can join the songs in iTunes, but why should I have to? A CD player doesn’t put gaps in, why should the iPod?)

    Of course, the counter argument is that the iPod provides a portable listening experience, and isn’t intended to be used for serious music listening. I agree, but would counter argue again that should the music biz ditch CDs in favor of iPods & downloading music, they should provide full res recordings for people who’d like them, and gaps between songs be eliminated, otherwise they are taking us two steps forward and one step backwards (if one doesn’t consider DRM as a huge step backwards.)

    To be honest, I’ve not bought as many CDs as I had done prior to about 2001, nor have I downloaded much music (legally or illegally). I refuse to until these quality & DRM issues have sorted themselves out. If we have to live in a draconian world where everything is controlled and quality is compromised, where’s the enjoyment??

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