Let’s see — Secret installation? Check. Hidden changes? Check. Security breach? Check. Dangerous uninstall? Check. Now what was … oh, yeah. Stolen code? Check. Looks like Sony’s little sojourn to the ninth circle of PR hell isn’t quite over yet. A pair of programmers who disassembled Sony’s now infamous rootkit Digital Rights Management scheme, have found code that appears to have been plagiarized from VideoLAN, an open source media player distributed under the GNU General Public License. Worse, the code in question was written by “DVD” Jon Lech Johansen, author of a number of DRM-busting programs.

My God, what a fiasco. Of course Sony is sure to disavow prior knowledge, claiming it merely licensed the rootkit DRM scheme from the company that developed it, First 4 Internet. But though it may try to stay at arm’s length, it won’t escape unscathed from this continuing nightmare of bad publicity (see “Sony reconsiders policy on hiring ‘reformed’ hackers,” “Sony DRM: You can look but you can’t touch,” “Sorry about those secret files; what we meant to install were these secret files,” “Quoted,” “Find out who programmed the rootkit DRM and send Qrio to kill him,” “Rootkits — serves those Windows losers ri … hey, what the …?,” “And we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids” and “Sony inducted into FUBAR Hall of Fame”).

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