If Stupidity Were Illegal, You Might Have a Valid Counterclaim …
Still smarting over the flogging it suffered back in 2005 for encoding some of its music CDs with a harebrained rootkit copy-protection software, Sony BMG lashed out against the company that developed it last week, slapping it with a lawsuit. Sony accuses Amergence Group, formerly SunnComm International, of “negligence, unfair business practices and breaching the terms of its license agreement by delivering software that ‘did not perform as warranted.’ ” It seeks $12 million in damages–about twice what Sony BMG paid out last fall to settle the various lawsuits brought against it.
Interesting that Sony would accuse Amergence of failure to meet its specifications now. After all, you’d think that’s an issue it would have taken up with the company two years ago, after its own engineers presumably reviewed the software and, if not then, perhaps on Oct. 4, 2005–the day Finnish security outfit F-Secure warned it that the software posed a serious security risk. “If [Sony] had woken up and smelled the coffee when we told them there was a problem, they could have avoided this trouble,” Mikko Hypponen, F-Secure’s director of antivirus research, told BusinessWeek at the time.
“We told them it was a major security risk,” added Santeri Kangas, F-Secure’s director of research. “They thought we were silly. They wanted to keep the problem quiet.”
That’s certainly what it looked like at the time. What with Thomas Hesse, president of Sony BMG’s global digital business division, telling NPR that “most people don’t even know what a rootkit is, so why should they care about it?” ‘Course you tend to forget about those things when you’re busy redistributing blame, right?