EFF Files Lawsuit Against Sony BMG

Not long after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced he had sued Sony BMG over its invasive copy-protection scheme, the Electronic Frontier Foundation said it filed a class action lawsuit against the record label in Los Angeles. The EFF's suit goes beyond the rootkit and includes SunnComm DRM used by Sony as well.

While acknowledging that Sony has taken steps to recall CDs affected by First 4 Internet's rootkit DRM, known as XCP, the EFF says "these measures still fall short of what the company needs to do to fix the problems caused to customers."

The organization also chided Sony for ignoring altogether concerns about the SunnComm MediaMax software. MediaMax is used on over 20 million CDs -- ten times the number of discs containing XCP. The EFF claims that the software installs on a user's PC even if they do not accept the license agreement and has no uninstall facility.

SunnComm's software tracks when a user listens to CDs and reports the information back to the company. Security researchers have also discovered that an uninstaller provided by SunnComm opens the door to security risks, just like the XCP uninstaller provided by Sony.

"Sony BMG is to be commended for its acknowledgment of the serious security problems caused by its XCP software, but it needs to go further to regain the public's trust," said Corynne McSherry, EFF Staff Attorney, in prepared remarks.

"It is unconscionable for Sony BMG to refuse to respond to the privacy and other problems created by the over 20 million CDs containing the SunnComm software."

The EFF says Sony has not widely publicized the XCP problem, and "has failed to compensate users whose computers were affected and has not eliminated the outrageous terms found in its End User Licensing Agreement (EULA)."

"Regular CDs have a proven track record -- no one has been exposed to viruses or spyware by playing a regular audio CD on a computer. Why should legitimate customers be guinea pigs for Sony BMG's experiments?" remarked EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn.

Sony is facing six other class action lawsuits in addition to the Texas suit, according to the EFF. The group has posted information about the litigation on its Web site.

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