In the face of criticism, Sony BMG announced that it is recalling the CDs with the copy-protection software XCP, which installs hidden files deep in PC users' Windows operating system. Among the twenty affected titles were Trey Anastasio's Shine, Neil Diamond's 12 Songs and Celine Dion's recent greatest hits package. The move comes in the wake of at least two viruses unleashed by hackers that take advantage of a security flaw created by the software.
"We share the concerns of consumers regarding discs with XCP content-protected software," Sony BMG said in a statement, "and for this reason we are instituting a consumer exchange program and removing all unsold CDs with this software from retail outlets." Although the music publisher has not named an exact figure, millions of discs may be affected.
Earlier the company issued instructions on how to delete the software; users who tried to remove it manually found that their CD-ROM drivers had been disabled. "Sony is basically treating its customers like criminals," says Windows expert Mark Russinovich, who first discovered the hidden files.
Sony BMG reportedly plans to copy protect all of its CDs by next year.