Actually at least Symantec, Computer Associates and Secunia have reported on the issue and at least the first mentioned is providing free tools for removing the problem.

--Geo, 18-Nov-2005

Why are everybody praising F-secure? They KNOW about the issue three weeks before it was published in blog. And after it was published THEN they say 'we knew it'. Yet today F-secure's software will not delete _whole_ XCP system am I correct?

--Jasmo, 18-Nov-2005

Reuters reported on F4Is use of GPL! Admirable work from the hackers who exposed this originally. Now lets hope other people continue from here.


As for "culture belongs to the people who create it, and those people who enjoy it". Culture yes, but a Britney Spears songs NO. This is a complex issue, but essentially I personally find that, yes, the record labels have every right to limit how their products are used.

Note: This is not in defence of the rootkit drm, this is simply saying that the grand idea of music "being free" is a very utopian vision - it can't be free when a single album has credits as long as your average tv series episode.

--JES, 18-Nov-2005

JES - you misunderstand me. I am not saying that music should be free - I want artists to be properly compensated. But the problem is with corporations thinking they can own the experience of listening to music. And this is dangerous ground, because it amounts to someone saying "you must do this in this exact way" instead of saying just "you must do this".

Culture should be free (as in freedom). Content does not need to be free (as in beer).

There's a difference.

--JanneJalkanen, 18-Nov-2005

Geo and Jasmo: because F-Secure has harshly critiqued even the idea of putting a rootkit on a CD. The others are just like "oh well, they have the right, here's how you can remove it". Which, I think is spineless.

--JanneJalkanen, 18-Nov-2005

But I was using the word "free" as in GPL, not "as in beer".

The last paragraphs in your entry gave me the impression that you do not think record labels have a place in the production chain of music from artist to consumer. My opinion is that would not work. I also don't think the general public would be even remotely interested in the resulting music.

Besides, the currently most commonly applied business model is to make a "product" consisting of assets the record label has collected over time. They map out what is needed in the market. Then they check the materials available to make something like that. They combine from the list of resources (songmakers, singers, producers, stylists) to make the product. And that product appeals to people because it was made for them. The end result is music, yes, but calling it "culture" is up for debate. If anyone deserves getting money for these creations, it's the labels - it's their creation we're talking about. Bands (as in two guitars, bass, drums and a keyboardist) are a very different deal of course, but they need to get produced too. And the reference point for the general public is from producers with impressive track records, busy schedule and expensive hours - their sound is elegant and difficult to match by amateurs with inferior gear. It takes a lot more that a good tune and playing skill to make a good record. And no-one is a master of everything.

As for "in this exact way": You're right I don't get it.

I'm not defending media company practices - they are bullies, but I don't think we'll ever be able to do without something like record companies, so walking away from them is not an option, making them grow up will work better. And same goes for everyone that tries to sell a product you think should be improved.

--JES, 18-Nov-2005

In, exactly which way, does doing production work qualify for you to own the product? There is no reason why these should be in one and the same company. At the moment the media corporations subcontract the grunt work of making music to the musicians, whereas in my opinion it should be vice versa - the ones with the product (=artists) should be able to subcontract some of the work to the media corporations. Of course, this creates a chicken-and-egg problem with money, but this is no different than with any startup company.

The only thing that the current crop of media companies believe is when you don't buy their records, but give your money to someone who cares. There are quite a few indie labels that are "riding the new wave", so to say.

--JanneJalkanen, 18-Nov-2005

But the problem is that aside from some virtuoso maestros, the artists most definitely do not do the "grunt work". This is especially true of solo artists, who rarely come up with the songs at all. So, in "he who pays for it, owns it" way.

The debate for song copyright (as opposed to the recording copyrights)... Well, we've been there, I'm sure you too, but I seriously cannot see how anyone could think it would work in practice: If you were a record company, would you give a band with several members the copyright for the actual song - required to utilize the CD masters used in your production plants? If one of the band members says: I don't want you to publish it anymore, then even though you still own the production work (i.e. you still have the copyright to the recording), you would not be able to sell it! And this pops up the possibility for misuse: The artist makes the song for one label, it's a proven hit with lasting value, so he negotiates a deal with another label; the new label pays any legal costs from the contract breach lawsuits with the previous record company, and the artist agrees, for slightly more money, to redo the songs for the new company. That would not make the music easily available, quite the contrary, we'd have a shedload of titles which would be unavailable because one of the bandmembers (or the persons inheriting the copyright, should the bandmember die...) suddenly decided they didn't want to licence it anymore. So, it's only natural the record company also wants to own the song, not only the recording.

--JES, 19-Nov-2005

"So, it's only natural the record company also wants to own the song, not only the recording."

Yes, of course it is. And of course it is natural for the record company to try and own the entire listening experience, and squeeze every last bit of money out of the artists' work.

But the point being - that does not work for the culture as a whole. I do understand why they want to do it, but I am saying that it might not be the best for everyone.

Besides, you're now saying that songs are more important than artists: if an artist would want to stop some particular piece of music, according to your argumentation, he/she should not have a right to do it. Which is sort of odd. It is, however, my understanding that most artists would like to see most of their music played, whereas most recording recording companies are only interested in the ones that sell and make profit. Because the sad fact is that only a very small percentage of music are everlasting hits, this means that a lot of the music (and video, and books) simply disappears in a couple of years.

One good side about record companies owning copyrights is the fact that since the copyright period is so long, finding copyright owners for old music that you wish to use in your own production, is a lot easier. Finland is actually doing well in this regard that you can do single-stop shopping from Teosto, and they'll sort the copyrights out for you. If the copyrights stayed with the author, it would be a lot more difficult to figure out who owns what after 70 years...

It's not simple.

--JanneJalkanen, 19-Nov-2005

At least two class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Sony BMG Music Entertainment customers who were infected with the First 4 Internet Rootkit. Users who were infected do not have to wait for a class action to make its way through the courts, they can sue on their own in Small Claims Court.

For more information about the Sony BMG lawsuits, and about filing a lawsuit in your local Small Claims Court, visit

--Mark Lyon, 20-Nov-2005

At least two class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Sony BMG Music Entertainment customers who were infected with the First 4 Internet Rootkit. Users who were infected do not have to wait for a class action to make its way through the courts, they can sue on their own in Small Claims Court.

For more information about the Sony BMG lawsuits, and about filing a lawsuit in your local Small Claims Court, visit

--Mark Lyon, 20-Nov-2005

There is a sense in which the big media corporations actually own culture. Namely they, for a big part, determine which cultural products the people will consume by publishing and advertising certain music and films. For some odd reason, consumers play along and value and appreciate those films and music that are the latest commercial hype.

I agree that copy protections are evil, but I still do not understand why the right to freely consume corporately produced junk culture seems to be so important for the anti-copy protection side of the copy protection dispute. Why do those people not think that "hey, they are producing crappy films and crappy music and in addition they are selling it on cd's that do sneaky things, so why donät we simply produce our own culture instead?"

There are a lot of indie alternatives in all cultural products. They maybe are not as polished out as your latest LoTR -movie, but they have a heck of a lot more content, and in addition, they are not produced by world-dominator wannabes. So next time you are about to whine about copy protection, why not going to see a gig of a local punk rock group instead?

--Tuomas, 21-Nov-2005

Dissing someone's worries and issues as "whining" is usually not a great way to elicit a friendly response. But I digress...

I guess my own talk is an engineer's knee-jerk response at seeing something that I feel is wrong, and needs to be corrected. That's how engineers are - just minding our own business is not in the genes, so to say.

The problem is quite a lot about exposure: big money allows for more exposure (radio play, etc - read what Clear Channel does in the US to understand why indie labels have problems getting radio time). More exposure = more sales. More sales = more money to the rights holder (which very rarely is the artist). More money = more exposure... The circle is vicious and hard to break. Blogs and podcasts hold promise: they are a way for indie groups to get exposure - though I believe that in a short while, someone will deem that podcasts need to be regulated, too.

The other big problem is the fact that the open marketplace, which would allow proper competition, is being suppressed by legislation. Copyright is a government-issued monopoly, which is always a bit suspect. Protecting IP rights is good, but the governments should also be interested in allowing competition to flourish (unless you think communism was a good idea), and also look after the public good. I believe that the new copyright legislation tilts the balance a bit too much towards the walled garden model, where freedom of choice means "you can take Vivendi or Sony music", and open competition means "we'll tell you the rules."

Personally, I believe I've carried more money to Magnatunes and other indie record companies this year than to any of the five big ones (DVD sales are a different thing, though I did buy the Star Wreck DVD). I write open source software, because that's where my talent is. And because I understand software, and a bit about business, I believe DRM is the wrong way to go. Which is why I will keep "whining" until something breaks.

--JanneJalkanen, 21-Nov-2005

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