Friday, November 18, 2005

Sony's DRM code improperly used LAME open source MP3 code?

Matti Nikki stated: "Multiple software components on the [Sony] CD have references to the LAME open source MP3 code." Code in the LAME application is licensed under the lessser GNU General Public Licence (LGPL) that, while not as ascetic as the GPL, still places obligations on the use of that code. This includes terms such as 'You must cause the whole of the work to be licensed at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License'.

Sony's DRM software puts a hidden 'rootkit' code on the user's PC when the CD is inserted into the PC. This code can be used by to conceal any kind of file without restriction making it an ideal hiding place for viruses and other malicious code. Needless to say several Trojan horses quickly appeared.

An announcement by Microsoft (not Sony) that it would provide software to remove the offending code appears to have been the last straw for Sony, which said that it was suspending production of the CDs. Sony offered to replace the 2.1 million discs that had been sold and withdraw a further 2.6 million from store shelves.

(Post 1001)


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