Wednesday, March 21, 2007

FTC and Sony - Consent Agreement on Digital Rights Management

For those of you who remember when Sony's CDs installed a rootkit onto computers, the Federal Trade Commission and Sony are entering into a consent agreement which is open to public comment. The full notice is here, but this is an excerpt to jog memories:

This matter involves respondent's use of content protection
software, also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) software,
embedded on its music CDs and the use of a proprietary media player on
many of these CDs that must be used to listen to them. When played on a
Windows-based computer, Sony BMG's DRM software is installed on
consumers' computers and restricts the use of the audio files and other
digital material on the CDs. In addition, the ``XCP'' and ``MediaMax
5.0'' versions of respondent's DRM software create security
vulnerabilities on consumers' computers, and, when consumers' computers
are connected to the Internet, the media player monitors users'
listening habits and sends back relevant advertisements.

I heard plenty about this when it happened and I suspect the FTC will be hearing a lot more. Probably something like along a Client Eastwood theme: Hang Them High.