More On The Sony DRM Thing

This entry makes the third time I’ve written about Sony’s Digital Rights Management debacle. I need to hold this in check. I don’t want it to appear I’ve got some vendetta against them… especially as I type this on a Sony laptop.

Earlier, it looked like this would become a public relations nightmare for Sony. It still does.

If you’re just joining me on this: First came word that Sony was protecting its music CDs with software that installs on users computers. Then word the software hides itself so even experienced users can’t see it’s there and taps into the deepest depths of Windows where it can affect other programs.

After an early hard line attitude, Sony began to offer limited relief.

Today comes strange and somewhat ironic news. And, again, I’m going to have to explain a little before I go on.

Within the computing environment there are some very good, free programs. The Linux operating system comes to mind as does the Firefox browser. There are loads of others.

Though free, these programs are not without restrictions. In many, you can’t integrate the program into derivative work unless you jump through a few hoops. Source code and object files must be released. A copyright notice must be attached which lays all this out.

It looks like&#185 Sony’s DRM incorporates a free program called LAME. But, Sony complies with none of LAME’s licensing restrictions.

Here’s the irony. Sony is trying to protect its intellectual property from exactly what it is doing to LAME!

Of course Sony is entitled to have full protection of its intellectual property. I just question their heavy handed method of enforcement. And maybe, that adds to my amusement over this latest revelation.

&#185 – Though it looks like Sony is using LAME, I am not personally able to independently confirm this. It has been published by otherwise trustworthy sources, in places where it will be scrutinized. If what I’ve written in later questioned, I’ll try and post that too.

2 thoughts on “More On The Sony DRM Thing”

  1. Geoff;

    here’s another twist. MP3 is covered by a number of patents and for commercial use you need to licence its use. Checking the list of licensees, neither First4Internet (who supply XCP to Sony BMG) nor Settec (who supplied Alpha Audio to Sony BMG – including lame_enc.dll without an LGPL notice) appears on this list.

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