Music giant Sony BMG is the target of a lawsuit that says its copy-protection software implanted spyware on PCs that consumers use for playing songs. It's a stunning allegation, considering that the music industry has spent the last few years suing students who use file-sharing technology to distrubite music for free. If the allegations are true, they amount to a huge abuse of power. The state of Texas has filed the suit. According to an AP story:
Attorney General Greg Abbott accused Sony BMG of surreptitiously installing "spyware" in the form of files that mask other files Sony installed as part of XCP.
This "cloaking" component can leave computers vulnerable to viruses and other security problems, said Abbot, echoing the findings of computer security researchers.
"Sony has engaged in a technological version of cloak-and-dagger deceit against consumers by hiding secret files on their computers," Abbott said in a statement.
The suit says the distribution of spyware was no accident. It says Sony went out of its way to use technology to take advantage of the public. If the allegations are true, they could alter the terms of the file-sharing debate. We're in the midst of a historic contest of wills that puts the consumer against the entertainment industry.