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Settlement proposed in Sony BMG case
Published: 2005-12-29

The attorneys in a New York class action lawsuit filed against Sony BMG and its two copy-protection software providers, SunnComm and First 4 Internet, proposed a settlement on Wednesday requiring--among other stipulations--cash payments to plaintiffs and consumer-friendly changes to copyright holders' anti-piracy initiatives.

The settlement, if accepted by the court, would resolve six cases filed against Sony BMG and the copy-protection software providers in the Southern District Court of New York. Fifteen other lawsuits have been filed with substantially similar claims outside of that particular district court, according to the filing. The Attorney General for the State of Texas has also filed an action against Sony BMG, while the Attorneys General of both New York and Illinois are investigating the issues.

Under the settlement, people who have bought music titles distributed by Sony BMG that include the copy protection software created by First 4 Internet or SunnComm would be entitled to compensation, easily accessible software utilities to uninstall and update the copy-protection software, and protection from any collection of their personal information by the companies. Sony BMG would also agree to not enforce certain measures in the end-user license agreements, recall CDs with First 4 Internet's XCP copy protection and not manufacturer MediaMax CDs for two years.

The agreement could spell the beginning of the end of a public outcry aimed at Sony BMG for its controversial copy protection measures. After the software was first analyzed by two groups of security researchers in October, a backlash against Sony BMG left the company scrambling to contain damage to it public image. The debate also renewed scrutiny of the measures that copyright holders had started pursuing to protect their content.

The filing was first posted on the Sunbelt Software blog.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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Settlement proposed in Sony BMG case 2005-12-30
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