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Sony BMG may have violated copyright!

Nov 16, 20051 min
Data Center

In a curious twist of the Sony BMG DRM rootkit fiasco it now appears that the Sony BMG DRM system violates the license of LAME, an open source mp3-encoder!

According to an article on the De Winter Information Solutions site : “[LAME] is licensed under the so called Lesser Gnu Public License (LGPL). According to this license Sony must comply with a couple of demands. Amongst others, they have to indicate in a copyright notice that they make use of the software. The company must also deliver the source code to the open-source libraries or otherwise make these available. And finally, they must deliver or otherwise make available the in between form between source code and executable code, the so called objectfiles, with which others can make comparable software.

[Updated 11/17/05] The code that uses LAME is presumably the player on the CD that you have to install to play the CD contents on a PC. So, where did that player come from … surely not from Sony’s programmers?

What we have here on the part of Sony is an outright failure to play the copyright game. The potential for litigation must have lawyers drooling.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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