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Sony BMG Australia claims that 100% of the CD’s they sell in Australia are manufactured locally and do not include the problem copy protection software that researchers in the USA have found to contain malicious code that causes problems with PC’s.

Emmanuel Candi, general manager of Sony BMG Australia said only CDs made at a local factory in Huntingwood, Eastern Creek, was being distributed by Sony BMG Australia.

He did not rule out the possibility of CDs containing the copy protection software being sold in Australia as retailers were allowed to import CDs directly, he also said that music CD’s purchased online from organisations like Amazon were very small in Australia. In recent days there has been a massive global backlash against Sony over the discovery of  “XCP” anti-piracy software which leaves some consumers of their music open to hackers, the company has stated that it will stop production of US CDs with XCP technology as a precautionary measure.

“We are aware that a computer virus is circulating that may affect computers with XCP content protection software,” says a statement released by Sony. “We stand by content protection technology as an important tool to protect our intellectual property rights and those of our artists. Nonetheless, as a precautionary measure, Sony BMG is temporarily suspending the manufacture of CDs containing XCP technology.”

Sony has released at least 20 CDs with XCP software, including Celine Dion’s On Ne Change Pas, Neil Diamond’s 12 Songs, Kasabian’s self-titled disc and Kings Of Leon’s Aha Shake Heartbreak. The anti-piracy measures work only on Windows-based PCs and prevent users (who have already purchased the CD) from uploading music more than a few times. It also prevents people from uploading the CD to Apple iPods.

Within the past couple weeks, computer hackers have discovered how the software works and have used it to distribute corrupting programs over the internet. Sony uses a “rootkit,” which hides itself in the operating system of a PC. Hackers found they can render their programs invisible by using names for computer files similar to the ones used in Sony’s XCP software.
Computer programmer and blogger Mark Russinovich first discovered the hidden software on October 31, which led to a flurry of controversy that escalated into a class-action lawsuit filed in southern California. Sony has since released a patch that makes the software visible and has provided instructions on how to remove the software from computers. However, those who detect the software and remove it are unable to listen to the CD on their computer.

Several Media organisations in the USA are now calling for a boycott of all Sony producr. (See yesaterdays story).

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