Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Texas sues Sony BMG for spyware violations

Yahoo! News reported Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott filed a civil lawsuit on Monday against Sony BMG Music Entertainment (6758.T) for hiding "spyware" software on its compact discs in a bid to thwart music copying. According to the lawsuit filed in Travis County, several of the company's music compact discs require customers to download Sony's media players if they want to listen to the CDs on a computer. Software included with that media player "remains hidden and active" after installation, the Attorney General's office said, and makes users vulnerable to security risks and possible identity theft.

Users should be able to use any Media Player they want.
Sony said on its Web site that it had recalled all CDs that were installed with its XCP technology designed to prevent illegal music copying, Abbott said, but Texas investigators were able to purchase several of the CDs at Austin retailers on Sunday. Texas is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 per violation of the state's Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act, which was enacted earlier this year. "Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak and dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," Abbott said. Sony announced on Friday that customers could exchange CDs that contained XCP software for new copies without the spyware, and download software designed to fix the security vulnerabilities.
Since they are willing to let you exchange to get CDs that don't contain it, and let you download software to disable the XCP software, it appears they are admitting it is spyware.

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