Sony to consumers: We wish you a merry MediaMaxmas

It’s taken nearly a year, but Sony BMG has finally begun to make amends for peddling music CDs carrying a Digital Rights Management rootkit called MediaMax or XCP that made the PCs of those who purchased them vulnerable to attack (see “And we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids,” “Sony inducted into FUBAR Hall of Fame,” “Sorry, we thought ‘rootkit’ was Finnish for ‘congratulations on your DRM scheme’,” and “Sony BMG’s new corporate anthem: Benny Hill Theme“).

The company will pay $4.25 million and refund thousands of dollars to customers to settle lawsuits brought by California, Texas and 37 other states. Under the terms of the settlement, consumers will be eligible for compensation of up to $175 for those who can provide documented evidence that a Sony rootkit caused damage to their computers. It also stipulates DRM disclosures on CD packaging and forces Sony to submit any software it ships with music CDs to third-party audits for the next five years. Consumers “deserve to be protected from
harmful, hidden files that threaten their privacy or the integrity of their computer systems,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. “Our first-in-the-nation action against Sony BMG shows that consumer privacy will be vigorously protected.”

Much as Sony wishes otherwise, this debacle is far from over. The company hasn’t yet felt the wrath of the Federal Trade Commission, which launched an investigation into it earlier this year.


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  • O.k., so I get some postage back … In a backhanded sort of way, we can all thank the evil vermin @ Sony/BMG for their deviousness and bringing the whole rootkit issue to the fore. Thanks Sony/BMG, you devious bastards!