Music giant Sony BMG settled two lawsuits brought by the Attorneys General of Texas and California on Tuesday, agreeing to pay fines of $750,000 to each state and up to $175 per consumer impacted by the company's decision to include invasive copy-protection software on dozens of music CDs.
The case came to light a year ago, when an antivirus company and a security researcher separately discovered that a music CD published by Sony BMG silently installed rootkit-like software on the purchaser's computer. Sony BMG quickly became the poster boy for dissatisfied netizens' pent-up anger over the increasing erosion of digital rights by copyright holders.
Among other consumer lawsuits, both Texas and California's top attorneys filed their own lawsuits against the company.
"Our first-in-the-nation action against Sony BMG shows that consumer privacy will be vigorously protected," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a statement announcing the settlement. "Todays settlement removes harmful products from the marketplace, compensates consumers for any harm they have suffered, and sets best practices that we hope will lead to reforms across the industry."
California also announced the terms of the settlement.
The resolution of the state lawsuits wraps up the last loose ends from Sony BMG's problematic protections. Last year, a settlement in the consumer lawsuits had been proposed, and a U.S. district court judge in New York approved the terms in May.
Posted by: Robert Lemos