OK, this really turns my stomach…so naturally I feel compelled to share it. 🙂 Sony’s latest genius marketing scheme is to hire graffiti artists to spray up large cities with Sony PSP advertising. The ads are intended to look like “urban art” but basically it boils down to corporate-sponsored vandalism. Real street artists (i.e., the ones not taking checks) are not liking this at all…they’re fighting back by spraypainting over this crap and telling Sony to get the hell out. Of course Sony is defending its tactics, with one spokestwit actually saying “With PSP being a portable product, our target is what we consider to be urban nomads, people who are on the go constantly.” Urban nomads? Did I read that right? God! What is it with corporations trying to capture the whole “urban” thing? They don’t really give a shit about anything “urban” except as a potential market to plunder, and it’s especially disgusting how they try to adapt something like graffiti to their own sleazy ends.
OK, one last story about Sony’s failed copy-protection scheme. For now, at least. Information Week is reporting that you can prevent Sony’s spyware from installing by putting pieces of ordinary opaque sticky tape around the edges of the protected CDs.
According to Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Mike McGuire, Sony’s XCP technology is stymied by sticking a fingernail-size piece of opaque tape on the outer edge of the CD.
That, the pair said in a brief posted online, renders “session 2 — which contains the self-loading DRM software — unreadable. The PC then treats the CD as an ordinary single-session music CD, and the commonly used CD ‘rip’ programs continue to work as usual.”
Such simple work-arounds, said Reynolds and McGuire, make Sony’s decision to copy protect is music CDs an even bigger mistake. “Sony BMG’s DRM technology will prevent neither informed casual copiers nor high-volume ‘pirates’ from doing whatever they like with the content the disc,” the analysts continued. “It does, however, load ‘stealth’ software — software that has been demonstrated to have suspect effects — on uninformed users’ machines.
But you may not even need tape; if the spyware really loads from the outer edge of the disc, then you can probably just use a whiteboard (dry erase) marker, then wipe it off when you’re done ripping the music to your computer. People began doing this a couple of years ago to avoid other copy protection and it worked just fine. Sounds much easier than dealing with sticky tape!
Critter sent me the latest chapter in the increasingly stupid saga of Sony’s anti-piracy scheme. Now they’re telling us that we can swap our spyware-laden CDs for clean, fresh ones, and they also pulling these things off the shelves. Um, too little too late. This is one of the most horrendous and embarrassing technical goofs I’ve ever seen a company inflict on its customers…2 million of them, in fact. So in an effort to boost sales and crack down on piracy, Sony has instead made people afraid to buy Sony CDs. Whoops. Why should anyone ever buy a Sony CD again? How can they regain their trust? Beats me, but it’s sure entertaining to watch.
Wow. For those of you who have been following the sordid story of Sony’s new priacy-protected CDs and the security threat they have turned out to be, you’re surely as fascinated as I am (or maybe not) to see that Microsoft is going to classify Sony’s CD protection scheme as spyware. Now, that’s a slap if I ever saw one. You know you’ve really fucked up when Microsoft, a regular target of privacy advocates, accuses you of spreading malicious code. Ouch! (“Wired” is advocating an outright boycott.) But I absolutely agree. The more I’ve read about this thing, the more I’m amazed at the balls Sony has for trying something like this. Even Mac users, who are typically unconcerned with this sort of thing, were not spared! Imagine the arrogance of a company which chooses to secretly infect users’ computers with this so-called “protection”, which happens to allow viruses and trojans to take control of the machine and destroy data. Jesus, these executives must carry their balls around in a wheelbarrow.
One interesting example is Cyndi Lauper’s latest (The Body Acoustic). It’s getting very little promotion by Sony, and yet it’s got this virus-magnet installed on it. People on her mailing list are writing nastygrams to Sony BMG, saying “Hey! If you had spent more time promoting this album instead of creating security problems for your customers, maybe this album would sell better!” Typical record company arrogance, treating their customers like criminals.
On a side note: what was Cyndi thinking, doing that shitty track with Shaggy? And on one of her best love songs, no less! It must be a joke, it simply sounds too stupid to be real. “Binga-banga dibby-dabby laba-daba-blah-blah let me rub-ya love-ya rub-ya love-ya wingy-wangy woo-woo.” Wow, that’s pure genius, Shaggy. Thank you for contributing your musical Tourettes to an otherwise excellent track.