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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.
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Thursday, November 17, 2005
It's As If They Decided They Don't Want Money
I know everybody with the slightest technology bent has noticed and talked about Sony's lovely rootkit DRM software. You know, the stuff that appears to have been written by slightly computer literate monkeys. It's been called "ineptware," by Graham Cluley at Sophos, which seems a fair description. I really love the way that the uninstaller lets anyone use a web page with ActiveX to do anything they want with your computer. But I noticed the Yahoo News Story on it and just had to comment on this:
Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG's Global Digital Business President, attempted to do just that [ignore the issue or apply a PR spin] by dismissing the online protests. "Most people, I think, don't even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?" he said in a November 4 interview on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.
This is about the most moronic thing he could have said. He might as well have just declared, "Well, I'm a jackass! Fire me now!" I mean, goddamn, if you'll pardon the language, that's just plain stupid. The average person doesn't really know what a worm, or a virus, or spyware is. They've only got a vague idea. But they're pretty darned concerned about such things. All they have to do is hear that a rootkit is a hacking tool designed to let someone else have full control of your computer without you having the least inkling and Sony BMG will never sell CD's again. It's like they got tired of taking people's money. I understand they want to protect what they see as their investment in music, but jackassery like this is only bound to hurt them. People already see the music industry as evil, corrupt, money-grubbing maggots who go to court with elderly grandparents. Honestly, the RIAA has a worse image than the (so-called) Evil Empire itself, Microsoft. So they think putting ridiculously poorly written hacker-ware on their CD's is going to endear them to the public, especially after the president of the Digital Business department effectively goes on NPR to say that the public is a batch of boobs and ignoramouses?
And what do they consider "authorized" ripping? Excuse me, I don't rip music expressly to share with people. The reason I rip music is that I much prefer to listen to music on my computer, and if I don't have to switch out eleventy billion CDs, I'm much happier. This also allows me to burn copies and mixes to listen to in my car, so my real CDs won't get stolen and I can cram some 170 songs on a CD (my car's CD player does MP3s), instead of the music industry's 12, or 14 if you're lucky. Plus, I, like many, many people, have an MP3 player and I like to listen to the songs I just bought on it. Obviously the industry has to catch up with the times. They're complaining that their sales are decreasing, so rather than adding value to encourage purchases, they do ridiculously stupid things like this to punish those who anger them. This is only going to cost them more sales. Maybe the RIAA will learn this. Or maybe they'll go bankrupt with their foolishness and all those artists who depend on the industry will be turned out on the streets. At least then they could potentially reform into something that consumers won't be driven away from in droves. I guess time will tell. Now pardon me, I've got to rip some of my music CDs. Consider it protest.