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Monday, July 16, 2007
Sony BMG Sues Its Own Partner


Sony BMG Music Entertainment is suing SunnComm International, which developed the MediaMax CD copy-protection technology used in Sony's own CD releases.

Sony BMG filed a summons in a New York state court against SunnComm last week, seeking to recover some $12 million in damages from the Phoenix-based technology company. Sony accuses SunnComm of negligence, unfair business practices and breaching the terms of its license agreement by delivering software that "did not perform as warranted," AP reported.

In a statement, SunnComm vowed to fight what it described as unwarranted allegations by Sony BMG.

Sony BMG has been using the MediaMax CD protection on some of its compact discs in August 2003 and shipped about 4 million CDs equipped with the technology in 2005.

The program restricted the number of copies of a CD that a user could make. Use of the software on CDs released by Sony BMG has received significant media attention, when users reported problems when the CDs were played on their computers. On December 2005, an independent security analyst discovered problems on Sony BMG CDs that included MediaMax, unveiling that the software stealthy installed extra information on a PC that could not be uninstalled by the user.

Early last year, SunnComm replied to the users complaints promising to ensure that future versions of MediaMax would not install when the user declines the end user license agreement (EULA) that appeared when a CD was first inserted in a computer CD or DVD drive. SunnComm had also agreed to include uninstallers in all versions of MediaMax software, to submit all future versions to an independent security-testing firm for review, and to release to the public the results of the independent security testing.

However, the fallout over the copy-protected CDs sparked lawsuits, and cost Sony BMG a total of $5.75 million to settle the litigation and resolve investigations in several U.S. states.


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