The Canadian Sony rootkit class action settlement heads to court next week amid mounting questions about the deal. The EFF calls attention to a number of missing provisions, including no security reviews and no ongoing obligations to provide uninstallers for the rootkit. There is also a financial hit in Canada, with Canadian consumers receiving roughly ten percent less than U.S. consumers due to currency differences.
By far the biggest difference, however, is that the U.S. agreement is subject to injunctive relief linked to actions brought by several U.S. agencies and attorneys general. The Canadian agreement, by contrast does not include such relief. The justification for this difference is contained in Exhibit C, the only key settlement document that Sony has not provided to the public.
I have now obtained a copy of Exhibit C, which is an affidavit from Christine J. Prudham, Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs of Sony BMG Canada (Prudham is the same person who appeared today at the Copyright Board discussing how Sony BMG Canada released just 16 new Canadian records last year). The affidavit seeks to explain why Sony BMG Canada believes it is appropriate to grant Canadian consumers fewer rights than their U.S. counterparts. While there is the suggestion that Canadians would benefit indirectly from a U.S. injunction, the heart of the argument revolves around a series of copyright-related arguments that are utterly without merit.