The world according to the Sony-BMG

Hopefully, this will be our last discussion of the Sony-BMG’s debacle. I suspect you are as tired of reading about it as I am discussing it.

via EFF, we look at SONY’S End User Licensing Agreement (EULA); that’s the annoying pop ups which occur when you install new software. Of course, no one on the planet ever reads it and everyone clicks through to get to whatever they were trying to do in the first place.

Except someone did read it: the Attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Here’s what they discovered Sony-BMG claims your rights are when you legitimately buy one of their CDs:

• If your house gets burgled, you have to delete all your music from your laptop when you get home. That’s because the EULA says that your rights to any copies terminate as soon as you no longer possess the original CD.

• You can’t keep your music on any computers at work. The EULA only gives you the right to put copies on a "personal home computer system owned by you."

• If you move out of the country, you have to delete all your music. The EULA specifically forbids "export" outside the country where you reside.

• You must install any and all updates, or else lose the music on your computer. The EULA immediately terminates if you fail to install any update. No more holding out on those hobble-ware downgrades masquerading as updates.

• Sony-BMG can install and use backdoors in the copy protection software or media player to "enforce their rights" against you, at any time, without notice. And Sony-BMG disclaims any liability if this "self help" crashes your computer, exposes you to security risks, or any other harm.

• The EULA says Sony-BMG will never be liable to you for more than $5.00. That’s right, no matter what happens, you can’t even get back what you paid for the CD.

• If you file for bankruptcy, you have to delete all the music on your computer. Seriously.

• You have no right to transfer the music on your computer, even along with the original CD.

• Forget about using the music as a soundtrack for your latest family photo slideshow, or mash-ups, or sampling. The EULA forbids changing, altering, or make derivative works from the music on your computer.

How ridiculous is that?  If anything, this puts the dubious proposition of shrink wrap contracts into even more disrepute . . .


Now the Legalese Rootkit: Sony-BMG’s EULA
Fred von Lohmann
EFF, November 09, 2005

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  1. chuck commented on Apr 3

    I was unable to make the pop-up windows functional on all browsers, so I have fallen back on a simpler design.

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