November 21, 2005 4:00 AM PST

Who has the right to control your PC?

Sony BMG Music Entertainment opened a rather ugly can of worms when it started selling copy-protected compact discs that planted so-called rootkit software on computers that played them.

Now, as Sony embarks on a nearly unprecedented recall and exchange program for the 4.7 million rootkit-carrying CDs already distributed to stores, industry experts say the record label's missteps highlight a broader question for the computer and entertainment industries: Who has the right to control your computer?

Sony's CDs, which installed a rootkit program that hid its copy protection tools deep inside computers' hard drives, crossed over a line of acceptable behavior, critics say. But the entertainment giant was hardly the first company to do something like this. Many other software programs also take over aspects of people's computers, often without consumers fully understanding what is happening.

"Consumers don't have any kind of assurance that other companies aren't going to do the same kind of thing (as Sony)," said Mark Russinovich, a software developer and blogger who first discovered the rootkit three weeks ago. "Which actions are considered actions for which users want really prominent disclosure? I think that's a complicated issue, but it needs to be addressed."

This issue cuts deep in the entertainment industry, whose music, movies and video games are particularly vulnerable to computers' ability to make perfect digital copies. But the question will increasingly cut across other industries as more products and services move online, requiring the use--or facilitating the abuse--of PCs.

"A personal computer is called a personal computer because it's yours," said Andrew Moss, Microsoft's senior director of technical policy. "Anything that runs on that computer, you should have control over."

Sounds simple, but it's not.

The average consumer PC is quickly filled with a myriad of applications, from instant messaging clients to media players to confusing DSL-networking software. Many of these make deep changes to the way a computer functions--often dropping automatic update features, for example--and rarely provide license agreements both technically specific and comprehensible to the nontechnical user.

"It really gets at how much control a user can reasonably expect to have over the amazing number of clowns that are inside the clown car of a computer," said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor of Internet government and regulation at Oxford University. "I don't know that there are good standards out there that respect the kind of colloquial property interest in computers that we as consumers have."

Culture clash inside the hard drive
The controversy over Sony's copy protection highlights two ideas of property that are clashing as the technology and entertainment worlds converge.

Record labels and movie studios have complained bitterly over the last few years that their intellectual property rights in films, music and games are routinely undermined by people burning copies of discs or DVDs, or trading files online. Recent analyst research suggests that nearly 30 percent of people in the United States have acquired music by burning a copy of a CD from a friend. Record labels are deeply worried that trend will do irreparable harm to their businesses.

They've responded by developing, supporting or lobbying for technology that shuts down the ability of a computer to make unrestricted copies. That ranges from Sony's rootkit software to the "broadcast flag" policies that would prevent digitally recorded television content from being traded online.

But if some computer owners have shown a lack of respect for intellectual property rights, Sony's invasive content protection tools displayed a similarly tone-deaf attitude to consumers' sense of ownership over their own PCs, critics say.

"If you wanted to take something from the lesson of Sony's rootkit, it should be that people want their demands for respect and autonomy to be taken more seriously," said Julie Cohen, a Georgetown University law professor who has written extensively on the intersection of property and technology.

Are these two sides always destined to clash? Executives on both sides of the technology and entertainment divide optimistically say no, and hope that gaffes like Sony's rootkit are a sign of digital growing pains.

CONTINUED: A proposed way forward…
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CEO's Outsource / Consumers Burn
CEO's are outsourcing us faster than they can cash in their lucrative million dollar paychecks. Governement officials ignore, outsourcing, ignore the budget, ignore laws that already exist. Consumers for the first time in decades are on even ground with companies because of the advances in technology are fighting back. Why should we be outsourced so that Jack CEO can take home 10 times what he is worth and we have to retrain our skills. On top of that, when CEO's go bad, the government doesn't enforce the laws. In the end, we are the ones getting screwed six ways to Sunday!

I encourage everyone to vote the incumbants out of office and to vote with your dollars against big companies like SONY and all the others who are screwing us.

I am mad as hell because good people aren't doing a thing!

Posted by juchestyle (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lack organization.
..we lack organization. If technology workers united into a global union, we could eliminate our exploitation.
Posted by lewissalem (167 comments )
Link Flag
Outdated thinking...
The artists who create the music, the programmers who create the applications/games, and the content developers who actually create the content should be the only ones who control how their content is handled.

The industries which are claiming that they are owed monies from the work of the above mentioned people are outdated. They are good for nothing more than marketing and distribution. Since distribution can be handled via the Internet, there is no longer a need for that arm of the respective industries...and so that just leaves us with marketing.

It's time that they step-aside and allow progress to take its natural course.

The MPAA, RIAA, and other organizations represent those who wish to keep the money rolling in from antiquated ideas that are based on mid-20th century ideas.

Like John Dvorak recently wrote...the industry is going to have to get used to it.

And as Microsoft so tactfully argued during their monopoly trial, "this stiffles innovation," and that's exactly what these dinosaur entities are doing..stiffling the free market.
Posted by jachamp (84 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Those who care are the minority
As I have talked to several people who do not work with computers or technology, they all seem to have one thing in common; they don't care enough to even know it's going on. Letting virus definitions or subscriptions lapse is just one of those things they do. They call the computer tech they know from church or are somehow related to and that person has to wipe the hard drive and re-install the OS for them when the techie find so many viruses that counting the number of infections is pointless.
The truth is that most computer users really don't care about viruses, rootkits, or anything. Sure, they want it to work, but they don't realize that there is a thousand times more maintenance that needs to be done with PC's than with cars. Instead of having a light come on indicating the oil is low, they ignore alerts on their PC's. There is a digital divide, and if you are reading this, you are the minority.
Posted by WesFlash (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not quite....
.... They don't know enough to care. And that ignorance is the key
element of MS sales and marketing. But so what's new????? The
entire success of advertising is built upon the same ignorance.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
What's your point?
What's your point? Sony still has no business planting damaging software on anyone's system.

Down with Sony! Boycott Sony
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
Link Flag
Rootkit band
I am starting a band called Rootkit.
Do you think Sony will give me a record deal?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The consumer.
The consumer has the full right of what goes on their PC. This fiasco by Sony has made me realize one thing though. I'm never ever again going to buy a product from Sony again. After this incident I do not trust Sony anymore. Say for instance if I want a good gaming system. I'm not going to choose the PSII, I'm going to choose XBox. For a car stereo no longer Sony, I'm going to choose Pioneer. They made their grave and now they should lie in it. I hope other consumers make the same choice I have and become anti-Sony consumers.
There's allot of things they can do. The entertainment industry is just not looking in the right path. Lower the prices and make a pay per month online download site. If this doesn't work it will give rise to new freelancer music. Things happen whole industries fall. What they need to do is adapt before they are one of them.
If anybody from Sony reads this. Here's a little suggestions, - Adapt you idiots, its the way of the world. You cant expect to make money selling music and movies like they did in the 90s. Like in the 90s, I mean by cassette and CDs. Its 2005 and I think the rest of the world has passed you by. Like the software industry, you can still buy products from the store but they sell allot more online.
Also another thing I really hate about the music industry. When they make a CD they always put one good song on it with a bunch of what I call filler or junk. You expect me to pay $20 USD for a CD with only one song I like. The entertainment industry has been robbing the consumer for years and now the tide has changed their winy babies. No wonder you guys are getting robbed.
Posted by NEND (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You're missing it.
Russ, if you think the solution is to blow off Sony and buy Microsoft products, you're missing it. ALL the major companies are doing this, as well as the smaller ones and many independents (who have even fewer watchdog organizations keeping an eye on them). Don't concentrate on who's carrying on this practice... you'll never keep up. Concentrate instead on making it illegal for all of them.
Posted by Steve Jordan (126 comments )
Link Flag
You have no choices
XBOX is form Microsoft and MS has plans even more scary than SONY's. Just take a look at the Trusted Computing initiative from the TCG.

Sorry :-)
Posted by amana (7 comments )
Link Flag
My machine. My rules.
I bought it. I control it. End of story.

Don't like it? TFB. Control by 3rd parties isn't even theoretically possible without a world dictatorship (Somehow I don't think we're doing that for the music companies).

Techno-peasant lawyers and MBAs don't get this. No matter. Reality is the best teacher.
Posted by ian807 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree.
It should be law that all functions of programs should be dsclosed to the user in an obvious manner. (Not having to read through legal jargon) No hidden functions or files, no lingering registry entries. If you remove it should leave no trace it was ever even there. Why doesn't this sort of law exist?
Posted by Bob_Barker (167 comments )
Link Flag
Not quite
"I bought it. I control it. End of story."

Not quite. There are things you own but can't tinker with. Often, the motivation is safety - but not always. For instance, are you allowed to disconnect the odometer in your car ?

There is a very real risk that someday politicians (their lobbyists, actually) in any country might try to make DRM mandatory on all computers. They already tried similar tricks: remember the Clipper Chip ?

The only way to keep laws balanced is to voice your opinion, and make it count.
Posted by (19 comments )
Link Flag
The Piracy Myth
Many of these actions are predicated on the myth that publishers are losing billions to intellectual property pirates around the world. There are several references to this in the referenced story. The problem is that as defined, piracy doesn't exist.

"WHAT!!?!! How could it not exist?" you say in surprise. Simple, the definition used by publishers is that "Piracy is revenue lost when a consumer acquires their product without compensating the publisher." Its a simple definition, and easily falsified. Lets take a common statistic, Microsoft Office sales in China. Alleged that 80+% of the running office software in China is pirated. Now lets look at what the publisher charges for Microsoft Office in China. According to this article:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Office has a list price of 3840 Yuan (about $475), compared to the median income of someone in metropolitan China (not farmers mind you) of its top 30 cities (according to this article:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
) is roughly $1,500 per year.

What rational person would pay one THIRD of their annual salary for a buggy set of document manipulating programs? Answer NONE. So now we get to the falsifying the piracy myth.

Lets assume perfect copy protection where it is impossible to get a copy of Microsoft office without buying it from the publisher. How many sales are there in China to the average folks? NONE.

So if this is true:
"Piracy is revenue lost when a consumer acquires their product without compensating the publisher."

Nearly none of the copies that were obtained would have resulted in any additional revenue for the publisher. Thus no money was "lost", thus there is no piracy, QED.

The fact of the matter is that this entire "piracy problem" would vanish overnight if software was sold with gross margins that were comparabe to the gross margins obtained on real property (12 - 35%) and came with equivalent warranties for function.

As long as companies like Microsoft and Electronic Arts, and Sony, can get 90% gross margins without providing any warranty for fitness of purpose whatsoever, the so called piracy problem will persist.
Posted by cmcmanis (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I totally agree
The same economics apply to the movie industry. This is not an intellectual property right we are talking about it is the right of corporate giants to rip off the consuming public not only with impunity but with the active protection and enforcement by national governments using tax payers dollars to make the corporations more billions of dollars in profits than they do now.
Posted by HughT (28 comments )
Link Flag
Just because i copy something, doesnt mean i would have bought it, i just would have gone to a mates to play it, or turn on the radio to listen to it, or wait for it to hit the TV to watch it.

All this drastically alters the maths they use to calculate how much money they are losing, and they only do this to make themselves feel better, and take the focus off the fact they are rorting consumers for everything they can get, by charging the ridiculous prices they do.

It is this cash grabbing that leads consumers to copy in the first place, if they dont care about us, why should we care about them.

4 years ago, a new CD cost about $35AUD, now it costs $20AUD. As a result, i am buying twice as many CD's as i was before. But if i dont like i still dont buy.
Posted by Scrowshaw (25 comments )
Link Flag
Piracy - Pricing
I think it is even more simple.
We all have a set entertainment budget.

Go back a while and you could go to the cinema or buy LPs

Then you could go to the cinema, buy LPs or buy/rent videos

Then you could go to cinema, buy CDs, buy or rent videos or buy games

Now we got go to the cinema, buy CDs, buy or rent DVD, buy Games and a whole load of other gadgets to keep us entertained.

The reason the music industry is seeing less revenue is because there are more places to spend your money.

I expect if somebody looked at the total entertainment spend it will have increased over time, but as each new option is available the old reliables take a hit. Cinema had to re-invest itself with improved files and a bigger better experience to get people back. Music hasn't done the same thing. The experience is the same now as in the 70s.

It's like if you sold the only ice-cream you would have a certain revenue. If a competitor enters the market and takes soe of your clients your revenue is going ot decrease.

This is just normal market forces.
Posted by ahickey (177 comments )
Link Flag
The Piracy Myth 2
You are absolutely correct! There is a huge myth out there that makes people think that piracy is such a bad thing for companies. When what it really does is allow companies to overvalue their products and their businesses.
The reason these issues seem so complex to the consumer is that businesses and their corrypt political collaborators obfuscate the reality and make laws based on lies.

The simple reality is that the only way to keep the US economy afloat nowadays is to rob the consumer. We dont manufacture any worthwhile hardware anymore so we have started to treat software like it is hardware. It is amazing how you can steal something or be consider a thief nowadays by just watching with your eyes or listening with your ears. When that starts to happen you know that your economy is going downhill fast.
Posted by tetsuyo (50 comments )
Link Flag
Piracy Myth #3
If you had a perfect copy protection for any Microsoft Product (especially in the begining of the company's history), Microsoft would not be a big as it is. Everyone who has ever used Microsoft Office has contributed to the number of sales of Microsoft Windows. Most of us who have bought new computers have also purchased the OEM version of Microsoft Windows.

Piracy helps ensure that Microsoft does not become irrelevent. For each pirated copy of Office there is a valid version of Windows.

The fight over intellectual property rights is really more of a war. Open Source Software and Operating Systems such as Linux maturing and the obvious demand for cheap music/software (evidenced by the numbers of illegal downloads and software pirates); Microsoft, Macromedia, MPAA, RIAA and the like are literally fighting for survival.

Technology has gotten to the point where there truly is competition. To ensure that any competing technologies do not replace them, Microsoft, Macromedia, MPAA, RIAA, etc are today punishing the pirate, but tomorrow when the legal precedent would have been set, they will start punishing intellects that compete with them.
Posted by tmofield (1 comment )
Link Flag
Blame their imagination
Your reasoning is completely right. They do not loose money. They know that their pricing policy (even counting with piracy) is the one that produces more revenues. They of course, have studied the other possibilities and for some reason that I don't know they earn more in this way. So they are making an informed choice and they should be consequent with that. The price of their products is not realistic and of course not fair.

There is a funny story about my father. When he was eight years old he got 5 pesetas coin (a lot of money then) for his birthday. Unfortunaltely, he lost the coin. So he started crying and crying and he could not start crying thinking about the money he had lost. As my grandfather was trying to have "siesta" at 3pm with 40 degrees celsius on the thermometer, and my father didnt let him sleep, he gave my father a new coin of 5 pesetas. My father, after a couple of minutes quiet, started crying again: "I could have 10 pesetas now!!!". I guess that's what happen now with those companies. They have forgotten that they are earning a lot of money because they have chosen a strategy, and now they want what their greedy imagination is telling them they could get. But of course, that money is not real.
Posted by amana (7 comments )
Link Flag
Our Own Complacency.
Consumers are only now starting to understand the mess they're in, thanks to the lack of controls they have over the computing, music and entertainment industries. However, they put themselves in this mess by allowing the lobbyists to take control of the political arena and dictate the terms now imposed upon us. Consumers allowed Washington to legislate us into this situation. It's time to apply their votes to getting us out of it.
Posted by Steve Jordan (126 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Corporate rip offs
This problem started back when Microsoft hijacked the computer industry. I don't recall prior to that time when I could buy a product but could not use it as I saw fit. I can't use an operating system on all of my computers because Microsoft owns it and will dictate how and where I can use it. Now Sony joins in and installs software on my computer without my knowledge that has the potential to spy on me, report my activities and perhaps take over my computer and destroy it if they so like. Sony is going to pay big time and not just in the CD sales. I will not buy anything now made by Sony. I just made my first purchase of a Canon rather than the Sony digital camera I was going to buy. Good bye Sony Now when do we get rid of Microsoft?
Posted by HughT (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
drop prices, lose piracy
The main problem affecting Sony BMG and all the other digital entertainment providers (re: movie, music, gaming) is cost, cost to the consumer.

The reason people feel the need to copy games and music from friends is cost.

It is ridiculous, that we get charged $30AUD for a CD, and the artist gets $3 dollars (about 10%). Where's the rest of the money go - the record labels.

So in effect by copying, we are rorting major corporations first and foremost. At the same time, these labels are brainwashing their artists, programmers etc, into thinking they are getting the raw end of the deal.

Over the last few months, CD's in Australia have come down to under $20 for new CD's. As a result i have started buying twice as many as i did previously, why - cause it isnt as much of a rip off as it was previously. I now get twice as much music (almost) the record label gets twice as many sales (if not profits) as a result of greater sales, productions costs recede, and they make more profit anyway.

Look at a playstation game - $90AUD to purchase it, $5 bucks a minute for telephone hints, and $30 bucks for a hint book. No wonder kids dont pay it, why would you.
However, what if you were to get all of the above for $50AUD - all of a sudden its more worthwhile.
Most people arent prepared to pay $90 for something they could potentially be sick of, or have completed within 1 or 2 weeks.

If dropping prices, leads to a great increase in purchases, surely there is nothing lost in the process, and everything gained. The world gets less piracy, consumers get better value for money, record and gaming companies get higher sales, and either better profits, or lower costs due to higher volumes or both.

Maybe then i could afford to own more than just my stock standard favourite PS2 games, and actually experience something different, and who knows, maybe enjoy the change, and maybe spend more money as a result.

Whats for certain is, its a manufacturer problem, and blaming the consumer for it however, just puts the consumer further offsie.
Posted by Scrowshaw (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The power is in the hands of the consumer!
Will someone PLEASE think of the lawyers!! ;-P

Record companies are not necessarily evil, but they are very greedy. They`ve built a system revolving around wringing every cent out of a song for as long as they own it. Boo hoo, poor Sir Paul has to pay royalties to Michael Jackson every time he plays a Beatles song on stage. By the time all the lawyers have been paid to write the cheques there`s nothing much left anyway. Didn`t bands used to have to tour to make money?

Game manufacturers have long complained that it`s piracy which drives up the retail prices, but I remember paying ridiculous prices for Intellivision cartridges in the `80`s, and not too many people had the equipment to bootleg those!

I am willing to pay for a quality product (or at least rent it), but since these things cost a small fortune I buy much less. I don`t think people realy understand that the consumer has ALL the power. If people stop buying a product because it is too expensive, the prices will drop. If they stop buying a product because it installs unwanted software on their computers, the manufacturer will stop implementing that technology.

Sony hasn`t recorded a loss in cd sales as a result of this whole rootkit issue. Everybody`s quick to post a negative comment, but nobody really changes their buying habits. People subscribe to iTunes and Napster even though they don`t really "own" the music and can`t make personal copies for their own use (other than on approved and compatible proprietary devices). Why? People are sheep. Baaaaaaaaaaaaa!!
Posted by fotoguy99 (9 comments )
Link Flag
Next: TCPA
TCPA (aka Trusted Computing, or whatever it will be relabeled) is being silently deployed in all computers sold these days.

It can be used to protect your online identity against spyware and your files against thieves, which is good. It can also be used by a network administrator to remotely control a company computer, which is legitimate.

But it can also be used by Microsoft or the RIAA as a trojan horse into your computer. Although the TCPA specifications take care not to mention it explicitly, they are clearly designed with DRM applications in mind.

Let's use Sony's mistake to influence policy and make sure software and media monopolies won't be allowed to misuse this technology.

Posted by (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get Political
While I participate in boycotts, these companies have been able to convince governments that any loss of sales is because of "unauthorized sharing". This ignores the fact that there are many legal competitive factors. I keep reading that the Walmart factor (Lower number of titles, price pressure) is far greater than the effect of unauthorized sharing, and yet no country is suggesting making Walmart illegal.

Canadians who are concerned about this attack on our property rights should get political. I host a citizen forum called which has been involved in the Canadian copyright revision process since mid 2001, and can help people get informed about these issues and help them write to their elected representatives.

We have a petition for users rights that, among other things, to "recognise the right of citizens to personally control their own communication devices". If you have not already, please join the 2378+ citizens who have already signed.

Our politicians are entirely in the dark about this process, and it is our responsibility as citizens to inform them!

Canada may also be heading to the polls very soon, with elections being a good time to talk to all candidates about these issues to see who is better informed. Our site provides per-riding BLOG areas to allow for easy reporting on individual candidates.

Posted by Russell McOrmond (63 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Consumer Brainwash
Unfortunatly it has always been the hucksters bringing in the suckers to be fleeced and these same hucksters running the music and video industry have moved to thinking in terms of the lowest common denominator. Don't wait for true talent to rise out of society, create it and sell it hard and fast, by the time they (the consumer)catch on, the next star is born and the cycle repeats...
Suckers Unite, Don't Buy The Hype.
The money you have managed to save after paying all your bills is a powerful voice. Spend it that way.
And thank you to all of the people who have the necessary talents to make the entertainment industry come alive for us, but please use some of it to influence your handlers to do the right thing.
Posted by aqvanavt (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
re:consumer brainwash
Exactly! That is the whole American Idol thing. Talented musicians do NOT join contest to see who is the best. They write and perform music from the heart, not to win a contest. That is why we hear all these complaints about only a few worthwhile songs on a $20 buck CD. It is because the great musicians with the fantastic ideas cannot get heard. While the mediocre rifraf gets pushed in your face 24/7 cause it is easy money for the media companies.

If SONY can get away with this rootkit stuff, imagine what they are getting away with everyday on the music side of things? The problem is that the real good stuff has a hard time reaching the consumer that wants it. Thats is because it is not about just making great art anymore. It is about greed.
Posted by tetsuyo (50 comments )
Link Flag
Radio killing the industry
I think we can all see the big greed-choice that makes the music industry tilt at the windmill of piracy rather than alter their pricing, but I wonder if these guys are sophisticated enough to see how the new radio-station monopolies created by Bill Clinton's unwise relaxation of ownership rules in the 90's is genuinely killing their business? Significant numbers of consumers sample their product from the radio and then decide what to buy, but in the new world of radio in America only old ("classic") low-royalty music can produce the windfall profits the new radio moguls are looking for. I live in a major market in the northeast that has not a single "top-40" (i.e., new music) station still broadcasting.

Sony once went around acquiring American movie studios as a strategy for ensuring the health of its video divisions; the music studios may have to do us all the public service of buying radio stations from the radio moguls if they want to fend off a real financial downturn, not the self-admnistered downturn of overpricing. Consumers won't buy music if they can't find out what's new on radio...
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who Listens to Radio?
are there **really** folks who listen to music on the radio? it's just too darned easy to listen to custom music mixes whereever people are. much better that than to have to suffer through annoying dj's who talk over music that is interspersed with equally annoying ad's.

want to try an interesting experiment? stop listening to the radio and start finding your music through other avenues. you might find that:

1) you enjoy the music as much, if not more.

2) your taste in music is much different than what the riaa/broadcast industry would have you believe.

3) that there are lots of good artists out there who are indy.

4) that "top-40" is no longer that, which is why your un-named "major market in the northeast" doesn't have a top-40 station.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
fm /am is dead
If you truely want new music invest in XM or sirius radio. It's worth $10 a month. No ads means more music. 55 minutes in an hour vs. 25 maybe 30 if you're lucky.
Posted by pmm6 (11 comments )
Link Flag
SONY and the Spanish miners
Funny that Andrew Moss, Microsoft's senior director of technical policy says "Anything that runs on that computer, you should have control over." when they have been pushing hard (on the times of the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, and later after it was renamed to Trusted Computing Group) to do something simmilar but on a larger scale. Even as it is now (with lots of improvements), TCG technology raises too many concerns to just be accepted.
Just an example: Recently, the Best Practices Committee of the TCG published a document entitled "Design, Implementation, and Usage Principles for TPM-Based Platforms". On page 13, the document states:
TCG realizes that market forces, coercive behavior, and poor implementations can do much to weaken these principles and that there is little the TCG organization can do to prevent a manufacturer or system designer from subverting the goals of privacy and control, if they are determined to do so.

Do I need to say anything more?

I guess the case of SONY was more or less the same story. They are just determined to enforce their rights. No matter the price. And in this context, they have decided that their rights are more important than their customers' rights. A very bad policy for a company. In fact, there are other more user-respectful technologies and even other possible business models as demonstrated by i-Tunes.

We are experiencing strong protests by miners in Spain. Mining is not profitable any more and they know it. They just ask for a way out. In my opinion this is also the case for record companies and in general for any digital good intermediary.
I don't want to be obvious but the perception of the music consumers (to mention the best known case) is that artists earn lots of money, and that record companies earn even more money. Furthermore, the added value of record companies, given the current status of technology, is very little. One of the values is recording. But recording studios have started to be affordable. I have a recording studio at home. I'm not rich, and I don't make my living out of the music, it's just my passion. Of course a proffesional one is still expensive, but the existence of very good quality home studios make entering the music business easier for novel artists.
Then there is the promotion. However, most of us feel that the promotion strategy that almost all music companies have is not good for the art. It is good for their (mainly economic) interests. So the general opinion is that music companies manipulate consumers in order to sell their products, with no respect for the good music. They only produce commercial music. I know this is not applicable to all of them, but it is for the 99.99%.
Finally, there is the issue of collecting revenues, but current Internet technologies make this possible by automated means without their intervention.

In fact, SONY and the others are "record companies", designed to earn money and provide added value in a past world where records were a popular good, but the future information society is "recordless". So, in the end the sad conclusion is that record companies, and any other intermediary of digital goods are bound to dissapear if they insist in playing the same roles. They have to re-invent themselves or die. Just as Spanish miners.
Posted by amana (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
At home: me. Period.

At work: a combination of my employer and me with them &gt; me.

Simple. Next question?
Posted by mcunix (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony been sucking for a long time now!
If any company was going to hack their customers computers with this rootkit crap it was going to be SONY.
Just look at how they approached the whole MP3 player thing. They had to have their own proprietary format that sent their customers jumping thru hoops just to load a song onto the device.
Even when those devices flopped in the marketplace they still would not budge with their crappy system. When it comes to consumer digital audio everything they do has some type of proprietary crap involved.
So I turned off on SONY a long time ago.

Consumers are so ignorant these days that they will buy anything. Even if the product blows up in their face, they will go back to the same company and buy the next gadget that is hyped up.
Simply put, we need a new law to protect the privacy of peoples computer space.
Posted by tetsuyo (50 comments )
Link Flag

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