Music lovers have taken legal action against Sony BMG claiming that their computers have been harmed by the Company.

Consumers in the USA have filed a class-action lawsuit against Sony BMG, on charges that their computers have been harmed by the anti-piracy software used in Sony’s music CDs. The lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court; demands that the court stop Sony BMG from selling additional CDs protected by the anti-piracy software, and also seeks monetary compensation for California-based consumers who have purchased Sony’s CDs.

The suit alleges that thousands of users have unknowingly infected their computers, thanks to Sony BMG’s failure to disclose the true nature of the DRM (digital rights management) system used on its music CDs. The complaint claims that around June 2005 Sony BMG started issuing CDs installing DRM software; this software actually depletes a computer’s available resources, with no possibility of the technology being removed without damage to the system. Sony BMG has declined to comment.

In a related development, antivirus companies are releasing tools this week, to identify and in some cases remove, the copy protection software contained in Sony BMG’s music CDs. The software is triggered, by playing Sony’s music CDs on a PC. From the CD drive, the software installs itself deeply inside the hard drive, and hides itself from view. Security experts say that this cloaking technique could well be used by virus writers, to hide their malicious software.

Security major – Symantec, has said that it will release antivirus software to simply identify Sony’s software; while the security division of Computer Associates has said it will release a tool to un-install Sony’s software. The initial debate over Sony BMG’s DRM system was sparked off last week by computer developer and author – Mark Russinovich, who said in his blog that the software uses a tool called “rootkit” to hide its presence, a technique typically used by virus writers to hide traces of their work. Thereafter Sony quickly released a patch on its Web site, meant to un-cloak the copy protection software. However as it turns out, consumers are required to go through quite a tedious procedure to be actually able to do this.


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