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Canadian Sony Rootkit Settlement Stirs Controversy 96

An anonymous reader writes "Canadian law professor Michael Geist is reporting that Sony BMG Canada has quietly kept a key legal document secret as part of its class action settlement over last year's rootkit case. The document, which is not on the Sony settlement site but has now been posted on Geist's site (pdf), contains a series of bogus arguments about why Canadians are receiving far less than U.S. consumers."
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Canadian Sony Rootkit Settlement Stirs Controversy

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  • by HatchedEggs (1002127) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @06:42PM (#16109802) Homepage Journal
    It was nice of them to throw that on their discs in some shabby attempt at DRM. I remember when I first found it installed on my computer. Needless to say, you're not going to find me purchasing anything else that contains a DRM anything akin to that.

    Customers need to stand up and show media organizations that ther are limits to what we are willing to deal with.
    • by HatchedEggs (1002127) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @06:46PM (#16109816) Homepage Journal
      Er, in regards to the article though, it is too bad that Canada didn't seem to push more than it did. The reason the US got more is because it seems they asked for more.
      • Actually, it would be because the *lawyers* asked for more.
      • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:10PM (#16110893)
        but the Canadians should haved asked for much more... they already give their record industry per-cd and other media stipends as compensation for "piracy". Sony taking extra, invasive, illegal, restrictions in addition to the consideration they already get is gross contempt for the Canadian People, eh.
        • by ultranova (717540) on Friday September 15, 2006 @04:55AM (#16111907)

          but the Canadians should haved asked for much more... they already give their record industry per-cd and other media stipends as compensation for "piracy". Sony taking extra, invasive, illegal, restrictions in addition to the consideration they already get is gross contempt for the Canadian People, eh.

          Well, to be fair, how much respect would you have for someone who pays you tribute ?

      • by XB-70 (812342)
        According to SONY's own affadavit, Canadians did absolutely nothing to counter this outrage. For my part, I'm incredibly perplexed about why. What public representative would not froth at the opportunity to get themselves publicity by defending the 'little guy'?!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Crilen007 (922989)
      Customers do need to stand up.. however most customers don't know what DRM is, and this is where the problem resides.

      What customers need is to educate themselves, or be educated about such things so they can make an educated decision.
    • by AlHunt (982887)
      > Customers need to stand up and show media organizations that ther are limits to what we are
      > willing to deal with.

      They won't - most people don't care and won't educate themselves because it's not important to them. The average person buying music, either CD or download, is not a Slashdot-type. You can beat your chest and scream all day - we'll all feel bad for you, but other than that you're a fart in a whirlwind.

      • Proud to be a fart (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @07:57PM (#16110161) Homepage
        Thanks, I'll keep beating my chest. Just 'cause the average person doesn't bother to protect rights X,Y, and Z doesn't require that I surrender them.
        • by rkcallaghan (858110) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @08:37PM (#16110329)
          Just 'cause the average person doesn't bother to protect rights X,Y, and Z doesn't require that I surrender them.

          It does if you live in the United States. If you don't think this is true, there's some men in Guantanamo Bay that would like their speedy trial.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by plover (150551) *
            Big Brother? Check. Evening News 2 Minute Hate? Check. Telescreens? Check. We have always been at war with Terrorism.

            Callaghan, RK-858110! You forgot the part where they dressed Emmanuel Goldstein up in a turban and renamed him "Osama".

            Oops, I almost forgot, his name always was Osama.

            I love George Bush.

            • I love George Bush.

              Hmm? Are you gay or something? If not, then why do you have to explicitly state that you love him? Isn't that implied that you love our great leader? Do you want to hide something by pretending you support the worthy cause?

              Why do I feel more and more like in a game of Paranoia, just without the clones?
              • by plover (150551) *
                If you've already read "1984", go re-read the last paragraph []. It'll make sense then.

                If you haven't read the book, take a couple of hours. It's short, a quick read, and I promise it's worth it. The full text [] is even online, if you have no money. But you never know when they're watching the telescreens, though, so you might want to just buy a copy in paperback and read it on a nice park bench. ;-)

        • Thanks, I'll keep beating my chest. Just 'cause the average person doesn't bother to protect rights X,Y, and Z doesn't require that I surrender them.

          Well, if majority is like the "average person" that doesn't bother, guess what!??

          Government, by the People.....

          The People aren't interested in preserving your rights.

          Either convince "the People" or find a different set of "People".....
          [For myself, I'm not sure which to pick]
          • There's probably a Diet Godwin law I can invoke when we're talking about CDs and the digression is all about Guantanamo. But anyway...

            Fair use etc. is the current law; it's not a sweeping change I'd like to bring about in the copyright system. It is Sony et al. who would like to introduce a sweeping change, namely the notion that a little c with a circle around it constitutes a legally binding contract never to access "their" content except under the circumstances of their choosing.

            As TFA points out, the

    • I'll go one better, I haven't, and won't by a sony *anything* after the DRM bit..
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) *

        I was already boycotting Sony before the DRM, just because I'm annoyed at them for coming up with stupid proprietary formats. All this stuff (not to mention the PS3 debacle) did was deepen my conviction...

        Nowadays, my opinion of Sony is about equal to my opinion of Microsoft (or, dare I say, worse?), and that's pretty damn bad.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by aztracker1 (702135)
          Heh, well, I still use MS stuff, because 1) I'm stuck with it, 2) their development tools are pretty nice, and 3) they keep me employed.. ;)
          • I'm a student, and I had a summer job writing Microsoft-centric software. When this semester started, I had a choice to either continue working there part time, or to work on related software written by my university. I chose the latter, in large part because I'd be able to work in a UNIX-type system instead of being forced to use Windows.

            In fact, the software I'm working on now had originally been written to be cross-platform between UNIX and various mainframe systems, but has (relatively) recently become

            • by dryeo (100693)
              However, because it's a university setting, I'm free to basically do what I want with it (my job is to "make it work with a modern compiler (i.e., without Watcom since they're out of business)")... so I'm porting it back to UNIX as I go! : )

              Wouldn't it be better to help with the Linux and BSD ports of Watcom (now Open Watcom, []?
              At least when Watcom went out of business they open sourced their code and released it. And it is still a pretty good compiler that is being brought up to todays
              • I'm aware that Watcom has been open-sourced, but I'm still a bit leery about relying on it because it might die out due to GCC being so much more popular. And how good is it compared to GCC anyway?

                Besides, the less compiler-dependent this code is, the better.

                At least I'm not converting it to use Visual Studio, which is what the original suggestion was...

                • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

                  by dryeo (100693)
                  I don't think there is much chance that OpenWatcom will die out as Scitech depends on it for their graphic drivers.
                  Scitech has a pretty good business supplying video drivers for older OSes. At that I don't know if you remember back in the DOS days when you often needed a VESA driver to play games Display Doctor was considered the best. See ad.html [] for some of their products.
                  Watcom at one time was considered the best compiler for gaming due to its speed and
                  • Ah, well that's nice to know! By the way, how well does OpenWatcom work on Linux, and does it work at all on Mac OS X?

                    • by dryeo (100693)
                      The Linux version is getting there. As far as I know the main thing still missing is multithreading support so no xlib yet. Fine for text mode though.
                      Also it does not link with GCC produced shared libs so libs have to be built with OW. Its still got away to go I guess and at this point you have to build it and most likely a daily tarball would be best.
                      One thing about OW is it is fast compared to GCC.
                      As for OSX, I doubt there is any support besides the PPC support. Also I see it now supports Alpha and MIPS.
        • by dryeo (100693)
          The difference is that it is easy to avoid Sony. At that in 45 yrs I've never given Sony any of my money and don't own one Sony product with the possible exception of a used CD or 2.
          Whereas Microsoft has gotten too much of my money over the years even though the last MS product I bought intentionally was their Z80 card for the Apple II.
          Still even MS hasn't gotten any of my money for close to 10 yrs.
        • by houghi (78078)
          It IS the year of the Linux desktop if Sony can install DRM on Linux without you knowing it, because with your hatred of Microsoft, you couldn't be running Windows.
    • P2P time (Score:3, Informative)

      by phorm (591458)
      So far as I can tell, with the CD-copying levy etc and various other factors, there have been no cases of somebody being sued for downloading music in Canada. That being said, perhaps that's the best way to get a song distributed by sony without getting the malware?
      • So far as I can tell, with the CD-copying levy etc and various other factors, there have been no cases of somebody being sued for downloading music in Canada.

        It's not illegal here; or at worst it's a grey area. Attempts have been made, but the presiding judge (rightly, IMO) ruled that the evidence was insufficient for a warrant to get the names from ISPs.

        Also, a government agency has strongly implied that the losses from P2P file sharing are covered by the money from blank media levy that the record

  • by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @06:52PM (#16109848) Homepage Journal
    Well it would improper to ask for more. We wouldn't want to feel we were being to pushy.
  • What a funny story (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grail (18233) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @06:57PM (#16109873) Journal
    At the beginning of their statement, Sony BMG Canada says that Sony BMG Canada sources all their material from Sony BMG USA. Then at the end, they say that Sony BMG Canada will not use the specific technology that was the trigger for the injunctions in the USA - this is like saying, "we buy our apples from the USA ... we will make sure all the apples that we make will not have fruit fly in them."

    I wish people would read these arguments before accepting them in their court hearings...
  • "Bogus" Reasons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by loteck (533317) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @06:58PM (#16109883) Homepage
    The reasons include -

    -The fact that the US called for investigation into the Sony DRM debacle and dragged Sony USA into court. Cananda did not, and to date has not.

    -A large percentage of Canadian business with Sony goes through Sony USA instead of through Sony Canada.

    Sony has essentially offered to not infect Canadian computers with their software. I am no fan of Sony, but if Canada doesn't want to go through the procedures of taking Sony through Canadian courts, they shouldn't get to reap the benefits of the results that such an action might produce.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So, as usual, the victim is expected to work their ass off (and likely pay through the nose for lawyers) in order to obtain any sort of justice. And in the end, it's just the lawyers who win anyways.

      Is it any wonder so many people have lost all respect for the legal system?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Then burn them at the stake.
  • by User 956 (568564) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @07:04PM (#16109905) Homepage
    An anonymous reader writes: the document, which is not on the Sony settlement site but has now been posted on Geist's site (pdf), contains a series of bogus arguments

    Is it not completely obvious that this "anonymous reader" is either Bill S. Preston, Esquire, or Ted Theodore Logan?
  • Trusting Sony (Score:2, Insightful)

    The exchange of XCP CDs for identical CDs without XCP.

    How about: The exchange of XCP CDs for identical CDs with other soul-sucking DRM you haven't caught onto yet. That's what I'd expect Sony to attempt first.

    Trusting Sony to be good about this? Ha!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2006 @07:23PM (#16109992)
    ...for a laptop and I didn't buy a Sony. ...for a digital camera and I didn't buy a Sony.

    I am going shopping for a flat-screen TV and a fancy sound system. Guess what - I'm not buying a Sony. I have only negative things to say about Sony to my friends and family.

    Here is a big clue to the suits: If you're going to try to sneak (DRM or any) software onto *MY* computers, then you won't be selling me anything. Period.

    Funny thing is, back in the '80s I lusted after Sony products and bought them almost exclusively. Funny thing, indeed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nxtw (866177)
      looking at price and product quality, the premium of the Sony brand is usually not worth it.

      My 32" LCD TV was $900 ($1300 MSRP) and has recently sold as low as $800. It includes an ATSC/QAM HD tuner.

      A lower end 32" Sony LCD TV without HD tuner would cost $1330 ($1600 MSRP); then, they have at least two additional 32" models available that cost even more.
    • If you're boycotting Sony because of their nasty DRM, try writing them a letter telling them, otherwise they won't notice a handful of hackers boycotting them, it'll get lost in the noise of economics. Maybe if enough people tell them why their sales are slightly down, they might notice, and maybe even do something about it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by photomonkey (987563)
      ...And sadly, it doesn't matter. Many CCD and CMOS chips (sensors used in digital cameras) are manufactured by Sony, regardless of whether it's a Panasonic or a Nikon. I can't speak directly to computing components, but I'll bet Sony has a death-grip on many of the home theater components (by which I mean the pieces-parts inside the TV, cable box, DVD player, etc.).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      See I don't think boycott is the way forward. I think the way forward is to get a government with some balls so that whenever any limited liability company does anything even slightly wrong they are utterly destroyed in the courts. We fine them sums that they will never be able to pay, and then use the money from asset stripping them to prop up pension funds and release all their patents, copyright etc.

      As a limited company they have a responsibility to be perfect, and they would be if the economic incentive
    • by a.d.trick (894813)
      Yah, but your a geek. The people I know (and I'm Canadian too), don't know a thing about rootkits and Sony. Geeks make up only a fraction of the buying populace, and while some people listen to us, it's not really enough to make Sony's shareholders care.
  • by apnielsen (981522) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @07:25PM (#16110005)
    It's labeled Exhibit C to Settlement Agreement []
  • by cleverhandle (698917) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @08:34PM (#16110316)

    For those that haven't RTFDocument, it basically says two things:

    1) Sony BMG Canada will not accept any binding injuction based on legal proceedings from a different country with a different set of laws, but...

    2) Practically speaking, the actions of Sony BMG Canada will be the same as those of Sony BMG US (for technical/logistical reasons). That is, Sony BMG Canada will unofficially follow the terms of the injunction.

    What more do you expect? I'm no fan of lawyers, but certainly no company is going let a precedent be set that their operations in one country will be bound by the legal system of a different country. The document is just saying to Canadian consumers "Look, we can't legally submit to this injunction, but we'll be playing by its rules anyway."

    The whole Sony rootkit affair reeks, but this just looks like standard legal procedure - CYA of a fairly inoffensive variety.

  • by TheLink (130905) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @08:36PM (#16110324) Journal
    Unauthorized access and modification of computer systems?

    Does that mean if I spread malware/trojans using CDs I don't risk any jail time?

    Or it's only because a big company is involved that's why nobody is going to jail, whereas silly amateurs vandalizing stuff get in big trouble?

    My suggestion to all you "hackers" out there, if you want to hack millions of computers and get away with it- work for Sony.

    The spyware people seem to be getting away with it too. But it seems that Sony is a safer bet - guilty of everything lots of publicity, but nothing much happens to the people responsible.
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @08:52PM (#16110390)
    They give us a crappy settlement, I won't buy their crappy products.

    I have owned sony products, that has ended. The XCP fiasco is just the latest in a series of blunders on their part. The sony name used to be synonymous with quality. Now they are truly a clueless company that has deserved the beating their stock has taken. Anything I can do to drive it down more as a consumer, I will do and No.1 is buying someone else's products (which now are better anyway).
  • Why, it's because their dollar is worth less! ;)
  • An Issue of Karma (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    As an IT professional ive been in the front line thanks to Sony and its ******* drm rootkits, ive had to remove them from so many systems (which are under maintenance so i dont receive a damn thing for all this work), that Sony as far as im concerned are about as stupid (hey i know theyre a record company) as you can get. Unfortunately for them Im a great believer in Karma. One of my clients are a major electrical appliance chain which sells quite a lot of home theatre systems. Their music system is PC ba
    • by z3d4r (598419)
      which chain is that, and are their brisbane stores participating in this boycott? if they are, i'll reward such action with by spending my hard earned cash there.
  • Sony sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by caller9 (764851)
    Sony used to be synonymous with high quality cutting edge products. Now errr... they have a nice game console. The high-end audio is totally out of thier reach. They push overpriced middle market products which are often inferior. Depending on where you buy "Sony" you may or may not be getting products from the same manufacturer. Subtle differences in model # for quite a while have been the difference between quality hardware and crap. The model #s differ by a small degree. Basically there's a Wal-Mart Sony
    • by Dr Avatar (919137)
      With regard to Hi-Fi, Sony's SCD-1 to this date still is the reference design of all SACD transports. You can diss its sound as cold, analytical, digital, whatever, but it still holds its ground technologically. In the pro-audio world, Sony is one of the dominating manufactors in music production gears. At the lower end, Sony 7506 cans (headphones) are as legendary as Shure SM58 mics - you'd be hard pressed to find a studio without one.
  • Has anyone else noticed that whenever the editors want an action to appear sinister, their first instinct is to describe it as being done "quietly"?

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse