Sony BMG sues CD software firm


Sony BMG Music Entertainment is suing a company that developed antipiracy software for CDs, claiming the technology was defective and cost the record company millions of dollars to settle consumer complaints and government investigations.

Sony BMG filed a summons in a New York state court against The Amergence Group Inc., formerly SunnComm International, which developed the MediaMax CD copy-protection technology.

Sony BMG is seeking to recover some $12 million in damages from the Phoenix-based technology company, according to court papers filed July 3.

The music company accuses Amergence of negligence, unfair business practices and breaching the terms of its license agreement by delivering software that "did not perform as warranted."

In a statement, The Amergence Group vowed to fight what it described as unwarranted allegations by Sony BMG.

The company also suggested that lawsuits against Sony BMG over CD copy-protection primarily stemmed from Sony's use of another technology.

New York-based Sony BMG, a joint venture of Sony Corp. and Bertelsmann AG, declined to elaborate on the suit. Sony BMG is home to names such as Bruce Springsteen, Carrie Underwood and Modest Mouse.

It began including MediaMax on some of its compact discs in August 2003 and shipped about 4 million CDs equipped with the technology in 2005.

The program restricted the number of copies of a CD that a user could make. Some users reported problems when the CDs were played on their computers.

The record company also drew complaints over another type of copy-protection software that restricted CD duplication.

The fallout over the copy-protected CDs sparked lawsuits and investigations.

Last fall, the company agreed to pay a total of $5.75 million to settle the litigation and resolve investigations by officials in several states.