Battlepanda: Sony Spyware update


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sony Spyware update

(Via The Seagull)
"Computer security researchers Professor Edward Felten and Alex Halderman have asked the U.S. Copyright Office for an exemption (pdf) to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) so that they can circumvent copy protection technology used to protect spyware. The DMCA currently makes it illegal to bypass digital locks almost regardless of what they protect or the user's intent. As noted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Copyright Office theoretically grants exemptions, but in reality discourages anyone from asking. What's significant about the application submitted by Felten and Halderman is that they knew about the dangers posed by Sony's XCP DRM software a month before the news became public. But they delayed publication for fear of prosecution. During that time, many more consumers fell victim to the spyware propagated by Sony."
This is messed-up on so many levels. That you have to ask the U.S. Copyrights Office pretty please before legally disabling spyware on your own computer. That the Profs Felten and Halderman had to wade into a legal minefield to ask for this theoretically available but in practice seldom granted exemption. That they were prevented from warning the general public of Sony's trojan horse due to fear of persecution...