More than 4 million CDs containing XCP have been manufactured, with 2.1 million of those now in the hands of consumers.


Sony BMG Responds to Disastrous DRM Move by Pulling Millions of XCP-Encoded CDs Off Shelves
In response to a worldwide barrage of criticism regarding the deeply flawed DRM technology contained on several million recently released CDs, and to gird itself against further class-action suits, Sony BMG Wednesday morning formally announced the institution of a massive recall of XCP-encoded CDs as well as an exchange program for disgruntled customers. More than 4 million CDs containing XCP have been manufactured, with 2.1 million of those now in the hands of consumers.

The move comes amid continuing revelations, including Microsoft’s labeling of the XCP technology as “malware,” the assertion by a Princeton professor that the patch made available by SBMG is itself an invitation to hackers to wreak havoc on unsuspecting PC users and a report that the “rootkit,” as geeks have dubbed the difficult-to-remove cloaked software, is already installed on more than half a million computer networks in at least 165 countries.

Here’s the full text of the announcement posted this morning on the Sony BMG website (the boldfacing is ours):

“To Our Valued Customers:

“You may be aware of the recent attention given to the XCP content protection software included on some Sony BMG CDs. This software was provided to us by a third-party vendor, First4Internet. Discussion has centered on security concerns raised about the use of CDs containing this software.

“We share the concerns of consumers regarding these discs, and we are instituting a program that will allow consumers to exchange any CD with XCP software for the same CD without copy protection. We also have asked our retail partners to remove all unsold CDs with XCP software from their store shelves and inventory. We will make further details of this program available shortly.

“We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause our customers and we are committed to making this situation right. It is important to note that the issues regarding these discs exist only when they are played on computers, not on conventional, non-computer-based CD and/or DVD players.

“Our new initiatives follow the measures we have already taken, including last week's voluntary suspension of the manufacture of CDs with the XCP software. In addition, to address security concerns, we provided to major software and anti-virus companies a software update, which also may be downloaded at http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/updates.html. We will shortly provide a simplified and secure procedure to uninstall the XCP software if it resides on your computer.

“Ultimately, the experience of consumers is our primary concern, and our goal is to help bring our artists' music to as broad an audience as possible. Going forward, we will continue to identify new ways to meet demands for flexibility in how you and other consumers listen to music.”

The just-updated FAQ document that accompanies the announcement contains these tidbits:

·  “The XCP software is included on about 50 CD titles recently issued or reissued by Sony BMG.”


·  “The content protection software was designed solely to prevent the unlimited copying and ripping of discs featuring the XCP content protection solution.  It is not intended to cause any harm to your computer and is not a monitoring technology.”


·  “The player on the disc features a web banner that uses standard web techniques to communicate with a Sony BMG web server to display additional web content related to the specific CD title—not to monitor your online activity or collect personal information. This methodology is widely used in enhanced CDs without content protection distributed by SONY BMG and other labels.”


·  “We will shortly be providing a list on this website identifying the XCP content protected CDs and their selection numbers.”


·  “Sony BMG has provided major software and anti-virus companies with a software update.  If you obtain regular security updates from a major anti-virus service, you should receive the update through that process.  You may also download the update yourself at http://cp.sonybmg.com/xcp/english/updates.html.”


·  “As an alternative to downloading the update, we shortly will provide a revised and secure procedure in order to uninstall the XCP software completely from your computer.  This uninstall procedure will soon be made available for download on this website.”


·  “Consumers who wish to participate in the exchange program will be given the opportunity to return by mail previously purchased CDs employing the XCP software, and will have unprotected CDs without the XCP software mailed back to them.  Shipping in both directions will be free to consumers.”

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