SONY POSTSCRIPT: DRM FOR MACS

With reports of viruses in the wild taking advantage of Sony’s malware, Sony has agreed to drop the DRM software it licensed and take a deep breath before jumping back into copy protection.

Sony’s overreaching has ensured that every move intended to lock down an audio or video disc will be scrutinized under a microscope for years to come. It’s the best thing that could have happened for educating consumers.

Mac users have been sitting back with that smug look saying that if we’d all buy Macs none of this would happen. Guess what? Sony has hidden a little surprise for Mac users on some of their CDs, too. Here’s a short description of DRM software intended for Macs found on a Sony CD. Macs don’t autorun CDs (and you shouldn’t either – disable autorun!), so it’s unclear how this software would have been installed, but its very presence alerts you that the copyright police have not forgotten about Mac users.

And lest you think they will play fairly, here’s a description of the installation process of that software on a Mac, from a post to a mailing list:

“I’m not immersed in Mac culture at all, but I understand that there is, by design, one last protection afforded Mac users, and that is that one has to log in with the admin/root password to accomplish the install Sony wants to do.

“For its part, Sony is immersed enough in Mac culture (and its own evil stew) to have designed a front end which makes it look like providing your machine’s root password is just a plain ol’ everyday part of the install.

“Since there’s no install to a Mac without the user providing root access, Sony cleverly designed it to make it look like it’s just asking you to register the software when you’re typing in that good ol’ root password.

“If this crap were being perpetrated by a 12-year-old from Hong Kong, he’d be in jail right now.”