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Judge Grants Final Approval for Sony BMG CD Settlement

May 22, 2006

Judge Grants Final Approval for Sony BMG CD Settlement

Customers Will Get Compensation for Flawed Copy-Protection

New York - A U.S. District Court judge in New York gave final approval Monday to a settlement for music fans who purchased Sony BMG music CDs containing flawed copy protection programs.

"This settlement gets music fans what they thought they were buying in the first place: music that will play on all their electronic devices without installing sneaky software," said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Legal Director Cindy Cohn.

The claim process actually began back in February and provides anyone who purchased Sony BMG CDs that included First4Internet XCP and SunnComm MediaMax software with the same music without digital rights management (DRM). Some people are also eligible for additional downloads or a small cash settlement. Anyone who bought one of the affected CDs should start the claims process at http://www.eff.org/sony.

"Participating in the settlement is a way to show Sony BMG -- and the entire entertainment industry -- how important this issue is to you," said Cohn. "If you take the time to claim the product you deserve, maybe other music labels will think twice before wrapping songs in DRM."

The problems with the Sony BMG CDs surfaced last year when security researchers discovered that XCP and MediaMax installed undisclosed -- and in some cases, hidden -- files on users' Windows computers, potentially exposing music fans to malicious attacks by third parties. The infected CDs also communicated back to Sony BMG about customers' computer use without proper notification.

In addition to compensating consumers, Sony BMG was forced to stop manufacturing CDs with both First4Internet XCP and SunnComm MediaMax software. The settlement also waives several restrictive end user license agreement (EULA) terms and commits Sony BMG to a detailed security review process prior to including any DRM on future CDs.

EFF and its co-counsel -- Green Welling LLP Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Ruchman and Robbins and the Law Offices of Lawrence E. Feldman and Associates -- along with a coalition of other plaintiffs' class action counsel, reached the settlement after negotiations with Sony BMG in December of 2005.

For more on the Sony BMG settlement:
http://www.eff.org/sony

Contacts:

Kurt Opsahl
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
kurt@eff.org

Cindy Cohn
Legal Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation
cindy@eff.org

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