Sony Ethics

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  • Topic: Sony, Extended Copy Protection, Digital rights management
  • Pages : 5 (1492 words )
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  • Published : May 7, 2012
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Sony
“Sony. Like no other.”, is Sony Corporations slogan and one could not describe it better. Sony is a multinational conglomerate that is a leading manufacturer of electronics, video, communications, and information technology. Sony is among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders. However Sony is just like its slogan states, “Like no other”. In 2005 Sony incorporated the Extended Copy Protection and MediaMax CD-3 on a total of 102 different titles of music CDs. This company that seemed so harmless in the eye of the public may have more to it then one may think.

Sony originally was founded by Masaru Ibuka who was later joined by Akio Morita. Masru started a radio repair shop in a bombed-out building in Tokyo, Japan. After being joined by Akio the company was named Tokyo Tsushin Koyo K.K., which translates to Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation. In 1957 TTE released a transistor radio that flooded the American market and opened up a new industry of consumer microelectronics. The release of the TR-63 took America by storm and helped bring a new industry to one the worlds most profitable. The TR-63 brought an estimated 100,000 units in 1955 to 5,000,000 in 1968.

Sony doesn’t only deal with transistor radios, they range from portable music players, DVD players, VHS players, TVs, memory sticks, and gaming systems. Their first release of a game system was in 1994 with Playstation 1, which was later succeeded by the most successful gaming system of all time, Playstation 2. PS2 has sold over 140 million units and is still on the rise. Playstation 2 was recently succeeded by Playstation3 in 2006. However due to a high price tag the PS3 has yet to be considered successful.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc, the television and film production and distribution unit of Sony Corporation, has faced some ethical decisions itself. In 2005 Mark Russinovich, a software engineer and author who works for Microsoft, was doing a routine test of a computer security software he had written when he found something that didn’t belong. Something that was hidden so well that someone without a high computer IQ would not have found. Mark, an experienced engineer, spent hours trying to find what was happening to his computer. He traced the source down to a CD he recently purchased and played on his computer.

The Sony produced CD he had purchased had downloaded and installed a sophisticated cloaking technique that included a rootkit. A rootkit is a software system that consists of a program that hides or attempts to hide the fact that the system has been compromised. Hackers often use a rootkit to steal their victim’s financial information from their computers. Rootkits are not only immoral, there illegal. Mark Russinovich who runs a very successful blog posted a comment saying “We're still trying to find a line between fair use and digital rights management, and it is going to take issues like this, with discussions between lawmakers and industry, to come up with what's fair and honest, but I think this has gone too far.”(Russinovich)

He posted a step-by-step instruction of how he found it and how to delete the rootkit from your computer. This has drawn a huge amount of criticism to Sony Corporation and to the company who created the copy-protection software, First 4 Internet. CEO of First 4 Internet, Mathew Gilliat-Smith said “the cloaking mechanism was not a risk. The company's team has worked regularly with big antivirus companies to ensure the safety of its software, and to make sure it is not picked up as a virus.”(Gilliat-Smith) Whether or not Sony intended to steal information from one’s computer, it was still illegal and immoral. The performance of this unethical action placed Sony in a tough spot as they were soon going to be hit with plenty of sues from consumers.

The first lawsuit filed was by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He stated in an interview “We keep discovering additional methods Sony used to...
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