CD case closed: Sony BMG paying up for disc mishap

 Music giant settlement reaches $5.75 mil

Sony BMG's payout in the wake of an agreement to settle a legal flap over software-embedded CDs has more than tripled to $5.75 million (HR 12/22).

The company agreed Thursday to an additional $4.25 million in payments to settle with 39 states and the District of Columbia, resolving legal complaints prompted by music CDs containing hidden anti-copying software.

The agreement, part of a stipulated judgment in a case spurred by a civil consumer-protection complaint, was announced Dec. 19 by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office and California's Office of the Attorney General.

The complaint was spurred by Sony BMG's distributing music CDs containing so-called digital rights management software to limit the number of copies consumers could make of the music.

Sony BMG agreed to re-imburse consumers whose computers were damaged while trying to uninstall the software, authorities said.

Customers will be able to file a claim with Sony BMG to receive refunds of as much as $175, and the company agreed not to distribute in the future any compact discs embedded with such software.

Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly helped broker the multistate agreement, which follows an announcement Dec. 19 in which Sony BMG agreed to $1.5 million in payouts in California and Texas (HR 12/20).

The settlements cover CDs embedded with either of two types of copy-protection software, MediaMax or XCP.

The settlements close out the states' probes into the matter. The company previously had settled a class-action case.