Blogs + Lawsuits = Less Spyware


Here’s the wrap up on the Song BMG spyware story. Recall that I and many others have posted about hidden and unwanted copy protection software that some Sony music CDs install on your computer if you play the CD on your computer. This software can render your computer’s CD drive useless and is a potential security risk that could allow virus makers to access your computer.

Since I last posted on this topic, a couple of things have happened. First, some lawsuits were filed. These lawsuits added the prospect of economic pain to the immense public relations pain Sony was already self-inflicting on itself. It is my personal opinion (shared by Adrian Kinglsey-Hughes) that most of these lawyers who run around filing class action suits are doing it for only one reason- to pad their pockets with money while the alleged victims each get a coupon for 5% off their next purchase. But once every hundred years or so maybe a class action lawsuit results in some positive change. Maybe this was one of those times.

In addition, some trojans (the software kind, not the condom or USC kind) were discovered that exploit the Sony hidden software. So the argument that this hidden and unwanted software is harmless went out the window.

And most importantly, Sony announced yesterday that it would suspend manufacturing copy protected CDs and re-examine its copy protection strategy. Perhaps getting blasted by The Department of Homeland Security helped move Sony off the dime.

It’s a positive sign that bad publicity generated largely by blogs can actually result in positive change. Hopefully Sony will learn from this mistake and not resume making copy protected CDs or allow itself to get lead down some other improper path.

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