Sony – In Desperate Need of Crisis Communications Help for Botching Brand with DRM Root Kit

Knuckle headed brand destructionSony recently purchased from a third party a "copy protection" scheme for its music that is really more of a "take over the computer and make sure they don’t do anything" scheme.  Needless to say purchasing a CD ($15 USD) isn’t quite the level where you say "OK, take over my 2k worth of hardware to protect your 10".

Now they are in crisis communications mode and in this writer’s opinion they are NOT ready.  First it has been brewing for a week now.

Here is an overview
http://www.cnet.com/4520-6033_1-6376177.html

here is a recent post
http://www.boingboing.net/2005/11/15/sony_infects_more_th.html

and here is some research on the topic reflecting the spread
http://www.doxpara.com/?q=/node/1129

Today the NYT is running the story, albeit with a gentle headline. 

CD’s Recalled for Posing Risk to PC’s

The global music giant Sony BMG yesterday announced plans to recall millions of CD’s by at least 20 artists – from the crooners Celine Dion and Neil Diamond to the country-rock act Van Zant – because they contain copy restriction software that poses risks to the computers of consumers.

The headline should have been written "Sony Tosses Privacy to the Wind and Builds a Bot Net with new DRM Scheme: Government Networks in Danger" Which would be somewhat of an exaggeration, but not much, and would be more in keeping with MSM coverage.

The reason this is such a HUGE crisis is that Sony is in our lives.  They could monitor what DVDs we watch on our DVD player. They are attacking themselves where it hurts most; trust.  The response on the Sony site is in a frame, so the search engines won’t find it, I had to launch it in a new window just to be able to give it a direct link.  What are they thinking?

What Sony SHOULD do is immediately recall all CDs regardless of the cost and hire a third party to audit how it happened and recommend clean up methods.  They need some separation to get any form of legitimacy given it was internal decision making that led them to believe taking over government and home PCs was a good idea.  That is basic crisis strategy.   Microsoft just launched live.com – get them to write a fix for it to get publicity for their new site.  There are just so many proactive GOOD things Sony could be doing about this crisis and they are not that I can tell.

Publicity Stunts Live On in TiVo VCR Funeral – from Engadget

TivofuneralGreat publicity stunt by TiVo – via Engadget

ENGADGET: "TiVo’s VCR funeral – Yup, it was totally a publicity stunt, and yes, we totally fell for it, but dozens of people with VHS tapes in hand hit up TiVo’s VCR funeral at DigitalLife yesterday. Everyone who dropped an old tape in the casket was given a wristband guaranteeing them a free 40-hour TiVo — as long as they signed up for a year of service, that is."

No exactly Lights Jubilee, but still an interesting concept.  And perhaps take some consumer heat off of the recent TIVO DRM deals with big media.