Sony BMG, the world’s second largest music label, agreed Friday to suspend the use of their “XCP” antipiracy technology which has drawn outrage from customers. The company had been installing the software with only an understated warning attached. Reports are now coming out saying XCP actually makes users’ computers more susceptible to hackers.
Sony, the “Lars Ulrich” of record labels, made the announcement one day after leading security companies said hackers were taking advantage of the system by cloaking file names as those similar to the Sony program. One of the program’s earmarks is its difficulty to detect; the hackers seemed fond of this feature as well. Mark Russinovich, chief software architect at Oregon based Winternal Software, released a patch that hindered the program’s invisibility after discovering XCP on Oct. 31.
The software began as an effort to stave off profit loss caused by those rascally internet pirates that your parents have been warning you about. XCP, which only works on Windows, only allows copying three times. It also doesn’t allow the disc to be played on computers if removed, nor does it allow media transfer to Apple’s iconic iPod.
My Morning Jacket, a band recently picked up by Sony Music Group, apologized to their fans via their website when their new release, “Z,” was released in Oct. of this year. Fans were emailing them enraged because the pre-installed antipiracy software prevented file transfer. Now you can find information on their website on how to beat their own label and get the album on your iPod.
This aggressive antipiracy software has only made Sony more the bad guy. Not only did this alienate their own bands and further anger consumers, which will only push them back to downloading, it didn’t make any good business sense. You can’t deny the iPod demographic. Whoever their marketing department is overlooked a few million people. Unless Sony had released a personal digital media player of its own in conjunction, then that’d be capitalism at its best.
Apple is playing this entire scenario expertly by not even commenting on how one goes about getting their digital media. For it, Apple’s customers have exalted them to cultural icon level, even including their logo in the back window of their Honda Civics/VW Bugs. Sony is going the iron-fisted parents’ route, thus, consumers will rebel. As Sony will soon learn: If you can’t beat the downloadersjoin us…uh, them.