Sony Settles Rootkit Lawsuit with 40+ U.S. States for $5.75M (and Climbing)

This is an evolving story. Over the last couple weeks news reports have covered the growing number of U.S. states settling with Sony over the Rootkit debacle (see stories linked below). The number of states and the dollar value appears to be growing, but it seems clear that Sony is quickly putting this behind them.

Under the settlement, SONY BMG must provide refunds up to $175 to all consumers who experienced harm to their computers when they sought to remove the DRM software.  Refund claims may be submitted to SONY BMG through this claims page.

Some reports indicated that Sony is in final settlement discussions with the FTC on this matter as well. 

Sources: PCWorld | CSO (IDG) | DRM Watch | techworld | Computer World| ZDNet | CNet | InfoWorld | Massachusetts Attorney General Press Release | Sony's Settlement Page

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Sony Rootkit Settlement Faces Opposition in Canada

The Canadian Sony rootkit settlement reached a few weeks ago is facing Canadian opposition. It still must be approved by a Federal Judge. The case was finally settled in the U.S. on May 23, 2006. The Canadian settlement lacks some key provisions contained in the U.S. settlement including: an obligation to do security testing before using similar technologies in the future; explicit consumer disclosure of such future use; and injunctive relief rights against Sony if it fails to do so.

Sources: ars technica | Michael Geist | Slyck | Sony Canada's Settlement Site

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eDonkey Settles for $30M and Shuts Down after Adverse Ruling

After a judge in New York's southern district ruled that eDonkey facilitated illegal activity by allowing users to swap copyrighted material over the eDonkey2000 network, MetaMachine Inc., the firm behind eDonkey, Overnet and their P2P variants, has agreed to cease distribution of their P2P software and to pay the RIAA $30 million to avoid a copyright infringement suit. The company also agreed to take measures to curtail file sharing by existing eDonkey and Overnet users. Despite the shutdown and settlement, existing users of eDonkey, and an open source version called eMule, will likely go on sharing files unabated. While BearShare, Kazza, Grokster and others have settled with the RIAA, Warez P2P, Limewire and Soulseek are examples of major P2P services that have not settled. The judge must approve the final terms of the eDonkey settlement.

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Sources: ars technica | CNet | San Jose Mercury news (AP) | | Slyck | | PC World | Mac World | Playfuls | PC Pro | BetaNews | The Register | Syndey Morning Herald | DRM Watch

iMesh Raises BearShare from the Dead and Takes it ‘Legit’

Back on May 9 I reported that the Free Peers had settled with the RIAA for $30M, shut down its BearShare P2P service and sold the BearShare assets to iMesh owner Musiclab. As it turns out, like Kazza before it, iMesh is re-introducing a new version of Bearshare (version 6 – currently in beta). BearShare 6 includes a “ToGo” portable music subscription, compatible with Windows Plays for Sure portable music players, as well as social networking features. The service will not be compatible with iTunes, iPods or the forthcoming Zune service from Microsoft. Subscribers will have access to 15 million songs, including 2.5 million from major labels. It will start with a free 30-day beta trial and eventually start charging a monthly fee.

Sources: | TechWeb | Business Wire | ZD Net | Reuters | iTnews Australia | P2P Weblog | BetaNews

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Kazaa Settles for $100M+ and Goes ‘Legit’

After many years of legal battles both in North America and Australia, Sharman Networks, the owners of the popular Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network, (owned by the founders of Skype) have settled with the international record labels (Universal, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music) for in excess of $100 million U.S. Sharman will distribute music through licensing arrangements and has agreed to filter out non-licensed content. Sharman had lost an important decision in the Federal Court of Australia in September 2005, but on February 20, 2006 had said they were going to appeal that decision. Under the settlement agreement, major record companies will be entitled to 20% of proceeds of eventual music sales through the system.

Sources: New York Times | L.A. Times | ARIA Press Release | Red Herring | ars technica | BBC | Daily Telegraph (Aus) | Herald Sun (Aus) | Slyck | | Xinhaunet (China) | San Jose Mercury News | Toronto Star | Seattle Times (AP) | VNUNet | Washington Times | CNet | ZDNet | PC World (Aus) | USA Today | Bloomberg

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Sony Rootkit DRM Settlement Passes Final Legal Hurdle

Text of Settlement Agreement
A U.S. federal judge approved the proposed December 28 settlement between Sony and consumers who filed a class action lawsuit over copy-protection root-kit software installed on music CDs. Consumers who bought the CDs will receive replacement discs without the anti-piracy technologies and will let them choose one of two incentive packages that provide cash or free music downloads. Sony will also provide consumers with a patch to remove the rootkit software from their computers.

Sources: | Reuters | PC Magazine (Reuters) | TechNewsWorld | CBS (AP) | Engadget | PC World (IDG) | BBC ZDNet | CNet | LA Times

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Bearshare Settles with RIAA for $30M and Shuts Down

Under the proposed judgment, which still must be approved by the court, the operators of once-popular Bearshare, Free Peers, has entered into a $30 million settlement with the RIAA to settle copyright violation charges against and down. BearShare’s assets, including the domain name and list of BearShare users, were sold to iMesh.

Sources: ZDNet | BBC | Red Herring | L.A. Times (AP) | | BetaNews | | Billboard Radio Monitor | Wall St. Journal | | | P2PNet

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P2P Shut Downs and Settlements in South Korea and Europe

Legal actions have taken place recently that put dents in P2P file sharing around the world. The South Korean file-sharing network Soribada announced on Monday that it has agreed to a settlement with KAPP (the Korean equivalent of RIAA in the US) related to charges of copyright infringement before that country’s Central District Court. Soribada will pay KAPP the sum of KRW 8.5 Billion (US $8.7 Million) to end the dispute.

Source: DMR Watch

Sony Settles Class Action Law Suits over Rootkit DRM

Text of Proposed Settlement Agreement
A proposed settlement of lawsuits against Sony BMG Music Entertainment would let some consumers receive free music downloads to compensate them for Sony surreptitiously including spyware on millions of CDs, lawyers said Thursday.

Sources: Red Herring | Business Week | Washington Post | ars Technica | MSNBC | Information Week | Forbes | The Register | Seattle Post Intelligencer

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BitTorrent and MPAA Reach Agreement

BitTorrent and the MPAA reach an agreement under which unlicensed copyright movies will be expeditiously removed from's recently launched search engine

Sources: Wired | ZDNet | Reuters | BBC | The Register | Los Angeles Times | Forbes

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Grokster Shuttered in Court Settlement

Text of Supreme Court Grokster Decision
File-sharing software vendor, Grokster, agrees to permanent injunction against copyright infringement after its recent U.S. Supreme Court loss.

Sources: PC World | MSNBC | Washington Post | San Jose Mercury News | L.A. Times | CNet | DRM Watch

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