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Sony BMG rootkit settlement finalized
Published: 2006-05-23

A U.S. district court judge in New York signed off Monday on a proposed agreement to a class-action lawsuit filed against Sony BMG, which claimed that the company had surreptitiously installed, what amounted to, spyware on customers' computers.

The agreement marks the end of a six-month saga for Sony BMG of how not to protect music from casual copying. In November, a security researcher found that certain compact discs distributed by the company installed digital-rights management software without adequately notifying the user and which insinuated itself into the lowest levels of the Windows operating system--all hallmarks of rootkit techniques that online attackers use to compromise victim's computers. One security researcher found data suggesting that computers on as many as 570,000 networks had been affected by the software.

Cindy Cohn, senior counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, urged affected consumers to sign up for the settlement.

"Participating in the settlement is a way to show Sony BMG -- and the entire entertainment industry -- how important this issue is to you," Cohn said in a statement. "If you take the time to claim the product you deserve, maybe other music labels will think twice before wrapping songs in DRM."

The 49-page settlement (PDF) applies to everyone who used CDs containing Sony BMG's digital rights management software at any period after August 1, 2003. Anyone who meets the requirements will be allowed to download free music, receive a replace CD and, potentially, receive additional cash payments. An initial version of the settlement got approved by the judge in January.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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