Reviewers Roast Sony Over DRM Fiasco - InformationWeek
02:20 PM
50% Reviewers Roast Sony Over DRM Fiasco

Activists are fighting back against Sony on, following complaints that Sony incorporated spyware into the copy-protection on its music CDs.

Customers have used's review feature to slam a Sony CD implicated in a security and copy-protection brouhaha, reducing the online retailer's rating for the Van Zant album, "Get Right with the Man," from three-and-a-half stars to just one-and-a-half in the space of a few days.

Since Oct. 31, every review posted on the album's sales site has taken Sony BMG Entertainment to task for using a hacker-style rootkit to hide copy protection software which limits the number of times tracks can be "ripped" to a computer.

Van Zant's album attracted attention because it was cited in a researcher's investigation into the Sony copy protection scheme.

Mark Russinovich, the co-founder and chief software architect at Winternals Software, named "Get Right with the Man" as the source of the rootkit that he found on his PC.

As word spread, customers roasted the Van Zant album in their reviews.

"Once again the honest purchaser is treated like a criminal," wrote a reviewer identified as "Doctor Goats."

"No offense to the Van Zant brothers [but] the hidden program and directories that the copy protection method installs on your system can be used by viruses to hide from AV software," wrote "T. Rowe."

One review may have been written tongue in cheek.

"It is the first publicly available ROOTKIT that will be passed over by virus scanners and most game anti-hack protection schemes," wrote "Catriona Smithers." "Use it to protect World of Warcraft hacks and any other thing you might want to hide on your computer from just about anyone except your more proficient computer guru. Trust a corporate developed rootkit from a known dependable source."

Although's customer rating of the album plunged from three-and-a-half stars before the rootkit news broke to the current one-and-a-half stars, that didn't translate into fewer sales by the Seattle-based online retailer's account.

Thursday, the album's sales ranking was 1,299, while Friday's was slightly better, at 1,113.

The band, meanwhile, issued a statement on its Web site, saying that "management for Van Zant is continuing to gather more facts concerning this and will be posting other details once they get in all the facts surrounding this issue."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Digital Transformation Myths & Truths
Transformation is on every IT organization's to-do list, but effectively transforming IT means a major shift in technology as well as business models and culture. In this IT Trend Report, we examine some of the misconceptions of digital transformation and look at steps you can take to succeed technically and culturally.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll