In a move that will be seen by some as 'coming to their senses' yet viewed as PR damage limitation switching to overdrive, Sony BMG have publicly apologised
for producing audio CDs that install aggressive copy protection
on your PC without permission.
Not only was it The Right Thing to do, but this humiliating back-down may well be motivated by their possible legal liability for any damage this 'technology' may cause. There have already been reports of class action lawsuits
Here is Sony BMG's statement in full:
November 16, 2005
To Our Valued Customers:
You may be aware of the recent attention given to the XCP content protection software included on some SONY BMG CDs. This software was provided to us by a third-party vendor, First4Internet. Discussion has centered on security concerns raised about the use of CDs containing this software.
We share the concerns of consumers regarding these discs, and we are instituting a program that will allow consumers to exchange any CD with XCP software for the same CD without copy protection. We also have asked our retail partners to remove all unsold CDs with XCP software from their store shelves and inventory. We will make further details of this program available shortly.
We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers and we are committed to making this situation right. It is important to note that the issues regarding these discs exist only when they are played on computers, not on conventional, non-computer-based CD and/or DVD players.
Our new initiatives follow the measures we have already taken, including last week’s voluntary suspension of the manufacture of CDs with the XCP software. In addition, to address security concerns, we provided to major software and anti-virus companies a software update, which also may be downloaded at http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/updates.html. We will shortly provide a simplified and secure procedure to uninstall the XCP software if it resides on your computer.
Ultimately, the experience of consumers is our primary concern, and our goal is to help bring our artists’ music to as broad an audience as possible. Going forward, we will continue to identify new ways to meet demands for flexibility in how you and other consumers listen to music.
Please click here for an FAQ on this topic.
Blimey! Well, if that isn't an example of a Free Market Economy, I don't know what is. People have voted with their feet, and caused a major multi-national company into reversing their policy. The recall / trade-in scheme will cost Sony BMG a fair chunk of cash, never mind the interruption in production and the money already invested in this 'technology'.
Who says you can't make a difference these days?
With this aggressive form of copy-protection clearly not a good idea, what other options do Sony BMG have? We want to hear your suggestions
for alternative ways of piracy limitation and general DRM. If we can come up with some good ideas, who's to say that they may not be considered in the future?