Friday, November 04, 2005

Sony's Chutzpah

The news that Sony's music CDs install rootkit app when you play them on your Windows PC, without your permission, has created an outpouring of outrage in the blogsphere. Rootkits are these apps which are hidden from windows apis and users, so non-windows expert have no way of finding out what is on their computer. You can read more about what rootkits are here and download this utility by windows expert Mark Russinovich, who accidently found this problem, to reveal rootkits.

I think it is very brazen of Sony to do this for Digital Rights Management. No one wants anyone to have some invisible utility installed on the computer to keep you from copying a music CD. This basically hits directly those users who have no intention of p2p-ing these music files anyway. I will certainly not buy Sony music CDs till they publicly declare that they don't do this anymore. I think in the short run, it can only damage Sony's music sales since in today's networked world, this kind of news spreads like wildfire. I agree with BBC's Bill Thompson that in the long run Sony will find a way to make this happen, but in the short run, they are not getting my business. Besides, the hard core copiers who actually do the harm will find a way around this anyway.

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