After a boat load of bad press, law suits and warnings from the government, Sony decided to recall music CDs using its secret rootkit technology to enforce intellectual property rights. I have very strong feelings about copy protection which you can read here. This is the PDF version of a report I wrote for a class back in college. I think we may get to a point where media is plagued with so many protection systems that people will stop buying them. How much money did Sony save itself with this copy protection scheme? It has to recall all of these CDs, re-compile them, re-press them and re-release them.
Sadly, this is nothing new. Back in the good old days manufacturers intentionally put bad sectors on floppy disks so people couldn’t make backup copies of them. The problem with this approach is that floppy disks are inherently susceptible to corruption and not being able to make a backup copy seriously inhibits the user from using the software. Eventually, the manufacturers removed the copy protection due to decreasing sales.
With all of these copy protection schemes you think piracy would have slowed down or stopped. It hasn’t. In fact, the more protection schemes you have the more people you have looking for cracks. For example: Command and Conquer Renegade. This is one of my favoriate games. Despite verifying its serial online, the game requires me to keep the CD in the CD drive. Why? Well, I might have copied the CD from someone else. I have to keep removing the game CD every time I want to play another CD. Why should I have to bother myself with this? Why not go find a crack that removes the game’s ability to look for the CD? These copy protection schemes only prevent the truly clueless from bypassing them.
The music industry has made a special point of going after consumers that share music with law suits. We can only hope that consumers return the favor with this malware invasion of their personal computers.
-Soli Deo Gloria