You may recall the great Rootkit Revolution of ’05, in which Sony BMG loaded their compact discs with hidden anti-piracy software that wound up crashing many users’ computers. Not only did it highlight the labels’ willingness to resort to anti-fan subterfuge, but it also made it really hard to listen to My Morning Jacket’s Z on your Dell. Several U.S. states investigated the matter, and today comes word of a settlement:
Sony BMG Music Entertainment will pay $4.25 million as part of a settlement with 39 states to resolve investigations into problems caused by music CDs loaded with hidden anti-piracy software, state officials said Thursday. Under the terms of the settlement, which also applies to the District of Columbia, the record company also agreed to reimburse consumers whose computers were damaged while trying to uninstall the anti-piracy software.
Customers will be able to file a claim with Sony BMG to receive refunds of up to $175. A Web site has been established with details of the settlement. Sony BMG also agreed not to distribute any compact discs loaded with copy-protection software that hinders computer users from easily locating it or removing it from their PCs.
So there you go: Sony BMG lies to you and messes up your computer, and you get a measly $175 in return. We’re pretty sure no one’s going to be spending this at the Sony Connect Store.
Sony BMG settles with 39 states [AP, via San Jose Mercury News]