Monday, November 14, 2005

Sony XCP technology frozen

WASHINGTON -- Stung by continuing criticism, the world's second-largest music label, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, promised Friday to temporarily suspend making music CDs with antipiracy technology that can leave computers vulnerable to hackers.

Sony defended its right to prevent customers from illegally copying music but said it will halt manufacturing CDs with the "XCP" technology as a precautionary measure. "We also intend to re-examine all aspects of our content protection initiative to be sure that it continues to meet our goals of security and ease of consumer use," the company said in a statement.

Sony's announcement came one day after leading security companies disclosed that hackers were distributing malicious programs over the internet that exploited the antipiracy technology's ability to avoid detection. Hackers discovered they can effectively render their programs invisible by using names for computer files similar to ones cloaked by the Sony technology.

After being critisized, Sony made available a software patch that removed the technology's ability to avoid detection. It also made more broadly available its instructions on how to remove the software permanently. Customers who remove the software are unable to listen to the music CD on their computer.
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