Friday, November 11, 2005

Worse and Worse 

SonyBMG apparently has tried to gut through its self-made crisis. This appears to be a suspect PR decision given what has happened. It has been placed on a security blacklist because of the dangers that its "root kit" and protection software cause. It now has a class action lawsuit against it in California. The first virus using the root kit has appeared.

The question is how much longer the firm will hang on before it is forced to retreat and use another Digital Rights Management software protection package. The next question internally should be how the firm got into this trouble and then, how the firm will stay out of it in the future. The first question will be easy to answer. The second might not be. SonyBMG wants a software that cannot be disabled by users who want to share its copyrighted music. But, as the music industry has learned, there are brilliant people in the world who seem able to crack any software controls music companies have built.

There doesn't appear to be a clear PR or copy protection strategy going forward, which might be why the company has not responded more quickly to criticism. Secondly, the level of complexity may be beyond the skills of Sony's PR practitioners and resting in the hands of engineers and lawyers who have decided to hang on. That is not a good combination.

I can stand back and hypothesize, but I feel for the PR practitioners in the middle of all this, especially if there are no obvious solutions.


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