Texas AG Abbott Expands Lawsuit Against Sony BMG
December 23, 2005 at 6:06 AM (PT)
TEXAS Attorney General GREG ABBOTT has bolstered his pending NOVEMBER lawsuit against SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT by adding a number of new allegations that reflect harm to consumers who purchased 52 CD titles that were bundled with XCP anti-piracy software, which was extremely difficult to remove and compromised the security of affected computer systems.
The expanded complaint alleges that the MEDIAMAX anti-piracy technology violates local deceptive business laws. When a consumer first inserts a MEDIAMAX CD in his computer, they are presented with a license agreement. But even if they decline the agreement, files are secretly installed, alleges ABBOTT.
"We keep discovering additional methods SONY used to deceive TEXAS consumers who thought they were simply buying music," said ABBOTT. "Thousands of Texans are now potential victims of this deceptive game SONY played with consumers for its own purposes."
The lawsuit could be costly for SONY. THE TEXAS CONSUMER PROTECTION AGAINST COMPUTER SPYWARE ACT OF 2005 allows for civil penalties of $100,000 for each violation. The expanded complaint could mean an additional $20,000 penalty per violation under THE TEXAS DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE ACT.
SONY has promised to stop using the XCP software that was developed by FIRST 4 INTERNET, and the CDs have been recalled from retail stores. However, ABBOTT issued a stern warning against any TEXAS retailers who haven't yet removed the infected CDs from their store shelves: "Retailers that continue to sell these CDs may be just as liable under the law as SONY." Similar federal class action lawsuits in NEW YORK and CALIFORNIA have also been filed.