Boycott Sony/BMG

In the past couple of weeks, a lot of information has been coming out about Sony/BMG’s use of a “rootkit” to hide their XCP Copy Protection programs on your computer.  In one of the online communities that I manage, I called for a boycott of all Sony/BMG products.  Here are some reasons why this has been allowed to happen in the first place.

In the past couple of years, there have been sweeping changes to the Copyright laws in the United States.  The Digital Rights Millennium Act gave the companies more control over both the products they manufacturer, and over competitors ability to manufacture “generic” products.  This law passed with barely a whisper in the public forum, despite efforts by organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

To quote an article by Fred von Lohmann at
“First, a baseline. When you buy a regular CD, you own it. You do not “license” it. You own it outright. You’re allowed to do anything with it you like, so long as you don’t violate one of the exclusive rights reserved to the copyright owner. So you can play the CD at your next dinner party (copyright owners get no rights over private performances), you can loan it to a friend (thanks to the “first sale” doctrine), or make a copy for use on your iPod (thanks to “fair use”). Every use that falls outside the limited exclusive rights of the copyright owner belongs to you, the owner of the CD. “
According to Sony/BMG however, you are NOT the owner of that CD you just purchased.  You only have a license (much like you only have a license to use computer software programs).
To quote Mr. von Lohmann again…

  1. If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. That’s because the EULA says that your rights to any copies terminate as soon as you no longer possess the original CD.
  2. You can’t keep your music on any computers at work. The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a “personal home computer system owned by you.”
  3. If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids “export” outside the country where you reside.
  4. You must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer. The EULA immediately terminates if you fail to install any update. No more holding out on those hobble-ware downgrades masquerading as updates.
  5. Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to “enforce their rights” against you, at any time, without notice. And Sony-BMG disclaims any liability if this “self help” crashes your computer, exposes you to security risks, or any other harm.
  6. The EULA says Sony-BMG will never be liable to you for more than $5.00. That’s right, no matter what happens, you can’t even get back what you paid for the CD.
  7. If you file for bankruptcy, you have to delete all the music on your computer. Seriously.
  8. You have no right to transfer the music on your computer, even along with the original CD.
  9. Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.

So, this is what you paid your $14.99 for (or more in some areas of the country).  I’m not an advocate of piracy in any respect (especially since I’m majoring in the Computer Science field at my local college), but I WILL NOT purchase any music from any company who uses DRM tactics such as this.  I won’t purchase regular CD’s nor will I purchase songs or albums from online sources.  And, I encourage any people who read this blog to do the same.  Don’t acquire it illegally.  Simply DO NOT buy it.  You can live without that CD a few days/weeks/months longer, until they realize the stupidity in their ways and backtrack it.  Then, and only then, do you buy their music.  
As has been mentioned before (and I checked to confirm this) the most hilarious part about this all is, you can go online to the P2P sites, and download a few, if not most, of the albums that are “Copy Protected” with the DRM technology.  I haven’t downloaded them to see if the XCP software is included, but I’m willing to bet—No.  Way to go Sony.  Not only have you exposed the users who actually PURCHASE your CD to viruses and malware, you didn’t do anything to actually STOP the reason you’re doing this.  
Have a nice weekend (what’s left of it) everyone.

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