Sony’s DRM

3 Nov ’05

A lot of heat has been generated recently over the rootkit installed by Sony’s DRM. Michael Geist covers the rootkit issue today from a Canadian legal perspective.

And there is great technical coverage of the rootkit issue on episodes #9 and #12 of Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte’s Security Now podcast – episode #12 deals with the Sony rootkit specifically. Steve notes that the rootkit is poorly written and has been implicated in multiple blue screens of death. He digs deep on the technical detail, and puts the Sony rootkit into historical – hacking and adware – context.

Another angle that caught my attention is that the DRM apparently prevents the buyer from using iTunes or an iPod to listen to the CD. So, not only am I prevented from copying the CD to my hard drive collection (I never listen to CD’s any more – everything’s been digitized), but I can’t listen to it using my software of choice or my device of choice.

Which is a shame, because I used to enjoy My Morning Jacket.

And why is this happening? Variety notes:

The new copy protection scheme — which makes it difficult to rip CDs and listen to them with an iPod — is designed to put pressure on Apple to open the iPod to other music services, rather than making it dependent on the iTunes Music Store for downloads.

That’s bad enough, but could it also be to pressure Apple to raise iTunes prices?

The workaround on the iTunes / iPod restriction is apparently to copy the files to secure WMA, then use Windows Media Player to burn to a CD, then rip to mp3 or whatever.

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