While deconstructing Sony’s stealth rootkit, Princeton researchers have found an unusual link to iTunes and the iPod. The copy protection software reportedly includes code that could apply Apple’s FariPlay digital rights management to songs.
“According to their new findings, the Sony software had a hidden component that could convert songs from the CD, or other ordinary MP3s, into a file compatible with Apple’s copy protected FairPlay format,” reports CNET News.com. “That would mean that the songs could be played on iPods, which hasn’t been the case with copy protected CDs in the past. It apparently accomplishes this by using open-source, yet copyrighted code, a practice deemed a no-no in programming circles. It’s not yet clear how this came about.”
Sony’s rookit has turned out to be a PR nightmare for the company. As widely reported, the copy protection software deceptively installed itself automatically when consumers put select SonyBMG music CDs in their Windows-based PC.