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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

SunnComm: Perfect placement = adware+spyware

In a press release dated July 13, 2005, SunnComm announces "Pefect Placement":
"Perfect Placement - MediaMax presents the record labels and music producers with unparalleled targeted marketing opportunities through a feature called Perfect Placement. This unique feature centrally serves up dynamic promotional content controlled by the record label to reserved spaces located throughout the MediaMax interface while a user is enjoying their CD on the computer. Imagine an artist's album is coming out and the record company has the ability to announce this event to all those playing the artist's previously released album in their computer."
In short, the software they automatically install from music CDs containing their DRM software monitors what someone is playing, communicates this to a central site, receives advertisements in response to this information, and displays the ads to the user.

The monitoring and communicating is clearly spyware, whereas the display of the unwanted advertisements is adware. All, apparently done without explicit permission from the user (since MediaMax is apparently installed regardless of acceptance of, for example, an attached EULA).

Obviously though, even if the installation were not automatic, regardless of EULA acceptance, it would probably still be adware and spyware since it is not explicitly disclosed in the EULA. Rather, at least the Sony EULA, merely talks about a small software program that is presumably being installed for DRM purposes. This is clearly not DRM. It goes much beyond that.

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