Three Strikes for Sony BMG Canada

14 Sep ’06

Michael has posted on the missing Exhibit to the proposed settlement agreement for the Canadian Sony rootkit class action. His post contains a link to the Exhibit – a public document the parties have apparently resisted giving to the EFF. Why the attempt at secrecy? Michael’s post seems to solve the mystery:

The Canadian Sony rootkit class action settlement heads to court next week amid mounting questions about the deal. The EFF calls attention to a number of missing provisions, including no security reviews and no ongoing obligations to provide uninstallers for the rootkit. There is also a financial hit in Canada, with Canadian consumers receiving roughly ten percent less than U.S. consumers due to currency differences.

By far the biggest difference, however, is that the U.S. agreement is subject to injunctive relief linked to actions brought by several U.S. agencies and attorneys general. The Canadian agreement, by contrast does not include such relief. The justification for this difference is contained in Exhibit C, the only key settlement document that Sony has not provided to the public.

Michael dissects the arguments in that Exhibit, an affidavit of a Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs of Sony BMG Canada. (Michael notes that “the affidavit seeks to explain why Sony BMG Canada believes it is appropriate to grant Canadian consumers fewer rights than their U.S. counterparts.”) His observations on the 3 core arguments? 1) “This makes no sense”, 2) “This argument is simply embarrassing” and 3) “This statement is complete rubbish”. Complete details in his post.

Update: Howard has remarks as well, including an interesting observation about the timing of the settlement announcement.

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