Canadian Court Agrees With CIPPIC Demands

New movement has emerged in the Sony BMG Canada case.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

As reported earlier, CIPPIC (Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic) launched a mountain of complaints against Sony BMG over the rootkit DRM/SunnComm MediaMax DRM settlement. Now the judge has responded.

In an unofficial transcript (PDF), Justice Winkler, R.S.J. explains, “This is a motion for Certification and Settlement Approval relating to a product found in approximately 1.5 million CD’s sold in Canada by Sony, known as XCP and MediaMax software. This is known both by the name “phone home” feature and “rootkit” technology, the purpose of which is to limit the ability of purchasers to duplicate or re-produce the product.”

He then states, “The objectors raise one issue which is equally a concern of this Court. This has to do with the presence of injunctive relief found in the U.S. settlement and absent from the Canadian settlement. I am satisfied, as are the objectors following the response to the Courts concerns by the Parties to the settlement resulting in changes to the judgement, that the undertakings to this Court are a reflection in general terms, of the provisions of the U.S. injunction with the necessary changes to accommodate differences in circumstances. […] I note the objectors point relating to certain of the technical content of the affidavit of Christine Prudham, although I make no findings in this regard. […] this is one of those rare cases where the principal result of litigation is more broadly based, the discontinuance of this practice by the defendant and beneficial impact of this on the general public and consumers.

[…]The Certification will go as asked and the settlement is approved.

Costs and fees will be dealt with later, if necessary.

I note in conclusion that the allegations of the plaintiffs are hotly contested by Sony and I make no findings as or to the merits of this matter.”

CIPPIC summarizes, “Justice Winkler of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice today approved a settlement in the Ontario class action against Sony BMG. As a result of CIPPIC’s objection, the approved settlement includes a new clause requiring Sony to notify class counsel (who will then notify CIPPIC) if Sony decides to introduce any similarly-bugged CDs in the Canadian market prior to Dec.31, 2007.”

It appears as though CIPPIC won a key change to the settlement as noted by many critics of the settlement. Judging by the Superior Court judge’s words in the unofficial transcript, Sony isn’t happy with this change.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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