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Sony Rootkit Settlement Gets Judge's Approval 187

Lewis Clarke wrote to mention a ZDNet story about Monday's final approval of the rootkit settlement in the case brought against Sony BMG Music. From the article: "The agreement covers anyone who bought, received or used CDs containing what was revealed to be flawed digital rights management (DRM) software after Aug. 1, 2003. Those customers can file a claim and receive certain benefits, such as a nonprotected replacement CD, free downloads of music from that CD and additional cash payments ... At least 15 different lawsuits were filed by class action lawyers against the record label, and the New York cases were eventually consolidated into one proceeding. The parties reached a preliminary settlement with Sony BMG in December, leaving it up to a judge in a U.S. District Court in New York to make it official. "
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Sony Rootkit Settlement Gets Judge's Approval

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:07AM (#15386737) Homepage Journal
    Imagine if after reading about the original rootkit & associated vulnerabilities, you check your DNS records & see that indeed, one or more PCs you're responsible for are infected. You spend hundreds of hours following it up, removing the PCs from the network, checking to see there were no secondary malware infections, etc, etc, etc.

    At the end of all your time, you still can't claim the replacement CD + download + patch, (let alone compensation for your lost time) because you didn't buy the offending CD (it was a temp receptionist).

    I really want to see someone go after Sony for a real settlement. For that matter, I'd like to see a government go after Sony. Corporations have the same rights as individuals, how about we give them the same responsibilities as well. I think a four or five years of community service for the entire company (say 20 hours a week), would be about what's deserved for a widespread crack attempt like this.
  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy ( 963289 ) * <> on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:22AM (#15386821) Homepage Journal
    Cause clearly a filing clerk working at a completely unrelated division of Sony should be punished for this.

    You know, if I worked as a filing clerk, and got to do 20 hours / week cleaning the local church or helping old people or something whilst getting paid for and not doing my normal work I wouldn't consider it punishment.

    But, what I meant was Sony as a company, doing the equivilant of 20 hours community service per week per employee for four-five years. They could pay others to do it, pay their employees to do it or whatever.
  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:26AM (#15386845) Homepage
    "...a government go after Sony"

    TFA: "Sony BMG still faces a separate lawsuit "over materially the same subject matter" from the Texas attorney general."

    I've been trying to get Greg Abbott (TX's AG) to go after the antivirus companies, refuse to settle, and various other things that might keep this from getting swept under the rug. This was a devious and dangerous product that was released, not a minor technical flaw in a few CDs.

    That's why I take Major issue (below) with the phrase "flawed digital rights management (DRM) software". It is as though someone sold microwave ovens that secretly (by design) emitted chloroform and put you to sleep when someone at a remote location pushed a button, so they could come rob you. And it is as though someone figure this out, and the nice rich guys came to a settlement with the other nice rich guys over "flawed microwave oven buttons"

  • by rabun_bike ( 905430 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @10:31AM (#15386870)
    Usually in a class action lawsuit those harmed get a coupon or replacement product that's pretty much worthless. The lawyers get millions of dollars in fees in the name of "protecting consumers." So, how much did the attorneys get in this case?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @11:14AM (#15387184)
    I work for a media company and recently met with the global "head" of SonyBMG's digial licensing group. I brought up the rootkit thing and asked how that was going to affect them going forward. He seemed suprised that I had even heard about the issue and basically said "I can't believe these people are making such a fuss over it. People are going to eventually get used to it." (not a verbatim quote, but that was the gist)

    So I wouldn't consider this much of a "win" at all. Next time they'll just make damn sure they're more stealthy about it. I bet a vanishingly small number of people actually apply for their "relief" so this isn't likely to be a very expensive lesson.

    Posting anonymously since I don't think they'd think twice about yanking our license...

  • by snoig ( 535665 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @12:51PM (#15387971)
    The worst part is that the so called recall was only for the large retailers. I work in a friends shop that sells CD's. He still has these CD's sitting on the shelf. When I told my friend about this fiasco he talked to his CD distributor about the recall and they knew nothing.
  • Not enough time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by danelav ( 906834 ) on Tuesday May 23, 2006 @01:50PM (#15388333)
    We accept unjust settlements and rights infringments not because we don't care, but because we don't have time to do anything about it. People work 40, 50, 60+ hours a week just to make ends meet. Add in 5 to 10 hours of commuting, and the result is very little spare time. I have very little inclination to spend my precious off-hours studying a convolted legal system, promoting a political justice in the community, and organizing a defense against perpetators of injustice. But I also recognize that no one will defend my rights for me, and if I don't defend them myself they will be taken from me. So what can I do? Decrease my living costs rather than increase my income--increasing income always requires an increased expenditure in time, and time is the real resource, the resource that is needed to pursue legal defense and community organization. I believe the largest single expenditure for most Americans is 30-year mortgage or an infinite-year monthy rent payment. If I can use alternative building techniques [] and piecewise home construction (reducing or eliminating interest, which doubles or triples the cost of a thirty-year mortgage), then expenditures go down, requisite work time goes down, and active time devoted to useful pursuits goes up. We'll see how it goes.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak