New York (July 12, 2007)–Amergence Technologies, formerly SunnComm International, and MediaMax Technology are being sued by Sony BMG for damages caused by Sony’s ill-fated use of the companies’ DRM schemes on various CDs in 2005. The multi-label media company is looking for $12 million for damages.
According to Billboard, the lawsuit asserts that the copy protection technology provided by MediaMax–Amergence’s sales agent–was defective, noting that the licensing contract between the companies included a warranty and an indemnification clause that the agent must make good upon. Amergence is accused of “negligence, unfair and deceptive acts and practices, and false advertising.”
Amergence responded with a statement that claimed the issue was “Sony’s under-tested release of a competitor’s technology and BMG’s ‘final authority’ input in determining the functional specifications of the MediaMax copy protection.” DRM protection schemes from both Amergence and First4Internet were both used by Sony, and each installed ‘spyware’ on consumers’ computers, regardless of whether they used a PC in an attempt to copy a CD or merely listen to it. SunnComm released a patch to remove the spyware, but that, in turn, was riddled with problems and left computers open to viruses and internet attacks.
While the software issues were ultimately resolved, the imbroglio brought Sony under fire for implementing the DRM scheme, particularly since the CDs automatically installed the software on computers without first seeking the user’s permission. Various class action suits followed, which Sony settled in May, 2006 with cash or free downloads. In addition to a recall of the CDs and the settlements, Billboard notes that Sony spent $5.75 million to settle investigations conducted by a number of states.