The day the music spied

For the past eight months, Sony BMG Music Entertainment has been adding spyware to its CDs. A computer security expert named Mark Russinovich discovered that playing his Van Zant CD on his computer had installed a secret program deep into its system, the kind of "rootkit" used by virus writers. And spyware, like the Sony program, which the company claims was designed to prevent the CD's owner from making more than three copies of it. The online press is outraged, as much over Sony's attitude as the real threat of hacking that the program (in theory) provides. John Stith sums it up: "All this is in the name of Digital Rights Management." Funny, less than a month ago Sony was one of the record labels telling consumers how to bypass the copy-protection so they could upload to their iPods.

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