Did the Record Industry Just Release Malware to Delete Your P2P Software?

About a decade ago, Sony BMG was determined to do something about people ripping their CDs and then sharing the music as MP3 files on P2P networks like Limewire and Kazaa. They secreted what’s called a “rootkit” on select CDs–okay, 22 million of them–that installed a piece of software on computers that interfered with the ripping capabilities of your computer. (A similar thing was a recent plot point in the excellent new show, Mr. Robot.)

It didn’t take long for people to discover that Sony BMG was f**king with their operating systems. That’s when the sh*t hit the fan with what became known as the “Sony BMG copy protection rootkit scandal.” Much back-pedalling and apologizing followed. After such a fiasco–a multi-national tapping our computers!–we thought we’d seen the last of this gross intrusion of privacy.

Uh, no.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the supra-national lobby organization of record labels, is alleged to have released a piece of software that once on your machine will delete any P2P software that may be residing there. Boing Boing quotes from an IFPI page (now deleted) that reads

Digital File Check helps to remove or block any of the unwanted “file-sharing” programmes commonly used to distribute copyrighted files illegally. It also allows the user to delete copyrighted music and video files from the “shared folders” of the computer from where they are commonly swapped illegally on the internet.

Digital File Check has been developed by IFPI, representing the recording industry worldwide, in conjunction with the Motion Picture Association, representing the film industry. DFC will be available online and on CD over the coming months in countries including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of IFPI said: “Digital File Check is an educational tool aimed at making life easier for people who want to enjoy music responsibly and legally on the internet, or who want their families, friends and colleagues to do so.

Really? Is this a thing? If so, cue the outrage.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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