SonyBMG shells out over root kit fiasco

A payout of up to $175 is now due to around 450,000 Californians who bought a SonyBMG music CD last year and tried to play the disc on their PCs, following a lengthy court case in the state.

SonyBMG has settled a lawsuit from the State of California with a $750,000 fine and agreeing to pay compo for any Californians affected by the rootkit installation problem.

The settlement also bans Sony from distributing CDs in the future with bundled digital rights management technology without proper disclosure to potential buyers.

The fiasco started last year when SonyBMG decided to install anti-piracy software on its music CDs that automatically installed on a user's PC as soon as the CD was inserted in the drive.

The problem was that the software was almost impossible to un-install, owing to the way in which it hid itself from view. SonyBMG initially went into denial over the software, but realised its mistake when the Stinx-E Trojan started exploiting the rootkit's features.

You can't have any sympathy for SonyBMG over the fiasco, as it only settled a class action lawsuit at the start of this year, reluctantly agreeing to change CDs on demand and pay up to $7.50 per user compo...