Strong opinions, weakly held

Unintended consequences of DRM

So one of the things Sony’s DRM rootkit/spyware/malware does is completely conceal any files with names beginning with $sys$. Another thing that it does is prevent you from burning CDs with copy protected material on them. Well, one blog reports that if you rename your CD burning software so that the copy protection software conceals it, the other part of the copy protection software won’t stop you from burning the CDs.

Usually Mac OS X users are not subjected to the same indignities that Windows users are when it comes to DRM. In Sony’s case, however, users are subjected to slightly different but equally bad treatment — certain CDs actually install kernel extensions on your computer when you insert them for the first time. At least on a Mac you have to enter your password to permit the software to be installed, something I would not recommend doing.

Update: The thing about using some features of Sony’s copy protection software to evade other features probably doesn’t work.


  1. I think the “rename your ripping-SW” meme was already revoked by the one who started it: http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?cid=13969137&sid=167537&tid=233

    It’s possible that sometimes in certain conditions it works, but it doesn’t seem to be easily reproducable.

  2. This is not true at all. The CD will not install kernel extensions when you insert the CD. Nothing will come up asking for authorization when you insert the CD.

    Instead, when you insert the CD two images mount — an audio CD and the enhanced content image. To install the kernel extensions you have to navigate to the enhanced content image, double-click start.app to run it, type in your admin password, agree to the EULA which states it will install software on your computer, and THEN you have kernel extensions installed.

    So it’s not so simple as “if you insert the CD, it will ask for your password, and if you type it you get rootkit”. (even if the kernel extensions are installed they don’t create a security hole)

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