Sony BMG rootkit settlement may offer free Apple iTunes albums as compensation

“Sony BMG has rushed forth to settle a class action lawsuit brought by Girard Gibs and Kamber & Associates in New York over its embarrassing rootkit scandal,” Ken “Caesar” Fisher reports for Ars Technica. “The settlement will include a promise by Sony to stop all use of the XCP and MediaMax DRM technologies, which is a given. Then, after paying lawyers’ fees (what is a class action for, if not that?), the company will recall all remaining XCP and MediaMax DRM-backed CDs, and then compensate customers who have purchased the ill-begotten discs.”

“Customers who purchased the poisoned discs will have two options. First, they can cash in on a payment of US$7.50 per CD they purchased (aka, much less than they paid for it), and snag one free album download. Or, if one don’t want to bother with cashing a check for $7.50, the cash payment can be cast aside in favor of three free album downloads. In both instances, the offending CDs will be replaced with DRM-free discs, but the album downloads will most likely use a less heinous form of DRM. The company will also be required to provide a safe tool for removing the rootkits,” Fisher reports. “Sony has the right to limit the albums that are available to a list of 200, but the company cannot force you to use their music store. Instead, Sony must use at least three different venues to distribute content.”

Settlement Class Members may download albums from any one of three major download services. SONY BMG will use commercially reasonable efforts to offer Apple Computer, Inc.’s popular iTunes as one of the download services available to Settlement Class Members.

Fisher reports, “The settlement will not take place until it is approved by the court. Proof of purchase will be required, or proof of a return if a disc was taken back to a retailer after November 14.”

Full article here.
If this comes to pass and Sony does indeed offer settlement members (in New York and elsewhere) the option of downloading from Apple’s iTunes Music Store (hence such tracks will work on iPods), we will seriously consider lifting our Sony boycott and again recommend waiting for PlayStation 3 instead of settling for a Microsoft Xbox to our 2.2 million unique visitors per month. Your thoughts?

The New iPod with Video. The ultimate music & video experience on the go. From $299. Free shipping.
Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.00.
The New iMac G5. Built-in camera and remote control. From $1299. Free shipping.
Apple USB Modem. Easily connect to the Internet using your dial-up service. $49.00.

Related articles:
Trouble snowballs for Sony – December 22, 2005
Apple tramples Sony in Japan: iPod grabs 60-percent share of DMP market, Sony drops under 10-percent – December 22, 2005
Texas expands tainted CD lawsuit against Sony BMG – December 21, 2005
Texas sues Sony BMG for ‘spyware’ on CDs – November 21, 2005
Sony Boycott continues: Sony recalls XCP-tainted music discs, offers Red Book compliant CD exchanges – November 17, 2005
Boycott Sony – November 14, 2005
Sony BMG ‘temporarily suspends’ production of music CDs with copy-protection scheme – November 11, 2005
Boycott Sony products: Sony music CDs can install kernel extensions on Mac OS X – November 10, 2005
Computer security firm: ‘Stinx’ virus hides within Sony’s copy protection scheme – November 10, 2005
Sony sued over copy-protected CDs – November 10, 2005
SonyBMG antics may well cause public to turn on them and turn many people onto Apple Macs – November 06, 2005
Report: Sony copy-protected CDs may hide Windows rootkit vulnerability – November 01, 2005
Analyst: Sony BMG’s boycott of Apple’s iTunes Music Store Australia won’t last long – October 24, 2005
Apple launches iTunes Music Store Australia – October 24, 2005
Japan music labels look to impose ‘iPod Tax’ while Sony, Warner still not signing with Apple iTunes – October 10, 2005
Why aren’t Sony, BMG, Warner, Victor making their artists’ music available on Apple’s iTunes Japan? – October 06, 2005
Sony and Warner holding out on Apple iTunes Music Store Australia – September 08, 2005
Musicians stage mutiny against Sony, defiantly offer music via Apple’s iTunes Music Store – August 10, 2005
Record company causes Apple to hit ‘pause’ on Australian iTunes Music Store – May 05, 2005


  1. MDN, please stop talking as if you are dictating consumer opinions. Every person who reads this site is either boycotting sony or not boycotting sony. I would guess more are doing the latter. But those who are boycotting are doing so for their reasons, which may coincide with yours, but they aren’t doing it because you say so. I am pretty sure no one is waiting to lift their boycott until the all powerful MDN says it’s ok. If I’m mad at sony I won’t buy a PS3, if I am not mad I will, and what you recommend in your “take” isn’t going to make one bit of difference.

    As a reader I’m offended that you think you have that much power of my choices. Complain if you want but don’t pretend you can threaten Sony with my buying power.

    note: I probably will not buy a PS3. Sony, you’ve been being a dick lately.

  2. But the fine print limits your iTunes downloads to songs by the Starland Vocal Band, Captain and Tennille, Leonard Nimoy, John Tesh, Paris Hilton rapping, Right Said Fred, Gerardo, and Color Me Badd.

  3. {Slightly off topic}

    MacMania and his affiliates will continue to also boycott MSFT and their lapdogs.

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool mad” style=”border:0;” />

  4. Still not buying any Sony products. Not supporting their artists, either. Their response to this fiasco is woefully inadequate. And, they need to be taught a lesson.

    I repeat: Not buying. End of story.

  5. MacAholic,

    I do see some similarities between Nintendo and Apple.

    For one, Nintendo and Apple were the first to make video games and computers popular. Now they are both underdogs, though in different ways. Nintendo tends to be looked down upon simply for the fact that they are slightly the underdog, as does Apple, at least when it comes to computers. I once heard a coworker who prides himself on being a computer nerd (fiddler…likes to “builld” computers) tell me that Macintosh doesn’t have things like Photoshop. I quickly corrected him. They are the underdog, so surely they couldn’t have something like Photoshop, right? Wrong.

    Misconceptions are a big part of it. People think there aren’t good games for the Gamecube, but there are. People think the GC is primarily for children which is wrong, too. As someone on this site said a while back, I want a game I can have FUN playing, not trying to be as realistic as possible.

    Personally, I can’t stand the Xbox culture. When I think of Xbox, I just think of a bunch of frat boys and immature men sitting around drinking beer, eating Cheetos and yelling every time something exciting happens in the game. Kinda like die-hard sports fans, which I also tend to dislike. I own a Gamecube and I love it, but all my favorite games have been on the computer.

  6. Nintendo focuses on making games fun, not just flashy. They don’t pump their specs and brag about the hardware, they release decent stuff that doesn’t overheat. The Revolution is coming with a wand that you can use to make 3D movements. Use as a baseball bat, a sword, a conductors wand, a knife, a pool stick, drum stick (non-meat), scalpel, joystick, mace, light-saber, magic wand, flashlight, etc… It also snaps onto a regular controller shell for use on regular games and ports from other systems. There’s already a gun attachment for it as well. Hey FINALLY people won’t pick up a controller and be made fun of for moving their arms while playing, it’s a system for “the rest of us” and not just gamers. Do a little googling, Nintendo has innovated a LOT in the console space, the others copy and toss around numbers. Sound familiar?

  7. It is not MDN’s duty as a responsible website to ask it’s readers not to buy Sony. It is their opinion as defenders of all things apple. I read MDN for news and links. Sometimes the “take” has a conclusion or view that I hadn’t considered but too often it makes a judement on something I feel perfectly capable of judging myself.

    When the readers beleive the judgements of a news site, and when the site uses that not to present different ways of thinking of the story but rather to make people support or reject products, ideas or companies, it is doing a disservice to it’s readers.

    On top of that the assumption that readers are going to obey to their call to boycott offends me. I don’t want MDN to think they can use my money to threaten companies. The way they write about their recommendations to their “2.2 million unique visitors” makes it seem as if they are a force in the market. I sincerely doubt that they are.

    If they want to present themselves as a news source they should have some professionalism. If they want to be apple fans stating their opinions they shouldn’t talk as though they are the WSJ. When Mossberg tells me I should boycott something, and explains why, then I’ll listen.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.