Thursday, November 10, 2005

Sony Grows Ever More Evil

Well, the Sony copy-protection scam has garnered ever more attention this week. As noted earlier, the press has been all over Sony's scummy use of spyware technology hidden within its Digital Rights Managment copy-protected cd's; buyers who put the copy-protected cd's into the pc's will unknowingly be installing spyware on their hard drives. Reporters have noted that the Sony discs do not include any means of uninstalling the malware, and trying to do it yourself can apparently disable your cd drive. Sony tried posting patches, but apparently these can also screw up your computer. Today, the first reports started surfacing of viruses circulating that capitalize on the system corruption that Sony has surreptitiously caused to pc's playing Sony cd's. Yet Sony continues that cd buyers are too stupid to understand the issue.

Fortunately, several lawsuits have already been filed against Sony.

Unfortunately, while the media has focused attention on the spyware aspect of the copy-protected discs, few writers have taken up the issue of copy protection itself. Personally, I think the copy protection is every bit as much an assault on consumers as the spyware. If I'm paying for a disc -- and, yes, I'm still among those who dump tons of money on discs, preferring good old-fashioned music ownership to downloading mp3's -- I should have the right to make my own mixes and to listen on my own equipment, but Sony deprives me of these rights. Am I buying Sony products? No way. Which is ironic, isn't it? The people who spend the most money on music are those most harmed by the copy protection scam. People who tend to download without paying and engage in file-sharing are far more likely to have the technical savvy (and, arguably, lack of ethics) to hack the discs and find a way to circulate them on file-sharing systems. So Sony is essentially fucking over its paying customers while doing absolutely nothing to stop those most at risk of engaging in piracy.

[The Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together a partial list of cd's that have the spyware (and some tips to see if one of your cd's has it); however, my understanding is that the list of cd's with copy protection itself is much larger. I've already inadvertently ordered a couple of thse online, which I will be returning as defective.]

Incidentally, while we're on the subject of unbelievable idiots -- can we talk about Kansas for a second? I try to look at the bright side, assuming that by giving creationism (or its bogus imitator, so-called "Intelligent Design") equal footing with evolution, they are creating a generation of morons, which will make it that much easier for my own kids to get into a good college. What decent college is going to admit the product of the Kansas public school system (or any other school system where kids are given religious indoctrination in lieu of actual science)? Still, it's embarrassing enough having a barely-literate idiot serving as the President of our nation; do we really need a whole new generation of idiots?


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