Monday, November 21, 2005
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|Lawsuit Against SONY BMG|
|List of SONY BMG Artists|
|Online Complaint Form|
Sony BMG CD's
SONY insists on its Web site that it has recalled all affected CDs. However, Attorney General’s investigators were able to purchase numerous titles at Austin retail stores as recently as Sunday evening.
According to SONY’s Web site, the company recently distributed millions of CDs across the nation on 52 CDs by various artists. These CDs contained embedded files used for copy protection or XCP technology. The files prompt consumers to enter into a user agreement to install SONY’s audio player. By opting into the agreement, which Sony represents is the only way a consumer can listen to these CDs on a computer, the consumer is unaware that SONY secretly installs files into the computer’s Microsoft Windows folders. Consumers are unable to detect and remove these files.
SONY BMG claims on its Web site that this XCP technology merely prevents unlimited copying, is otherwise passive and does not gather personal information about a computer user. However, the Attorney General’s investigation into this technology revealed that it remains hidden and active at all times after installation, even when SONY’s media player is inactive, prompting concerns about its true purpose.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit also alleges that a phantom file is installed to conceal the XCP files from the user, thus making it difficult for the user to remove the files from his or her computer.
Moreover, recent news accounts allege that newly created viruses that exploit this phantom file have been spreading. A user unfamiliar with installation and removal of this technology may be vulnerable to new security risks and possibly identity theft.
Because of alleged violations of the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware Act of 2005, the Attorney General is seeking civil penalties of $100,000 for each violation of the law, attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.