SUING SONY….One of the joys of traveling is that the newspaper of choice at hotels around the country is USA Today, which frequently highlights stories that others bury. Today, they provided me with a ray of sunshine in the otherwise gloomy weather here in Washington DC:

The crisis at Sony BMG Entertainment worsened Monday when the Texas attorney general sued the record label, saying it violated the state’s new anti-spyware law.

….The lawsuits follow Sony’s recall of nearly 5 million copy-protected CDs that contain a hidden file susceptible to viruses when played on a Windows-equipped computer. The company has asked retailers to remove more than 50 CD titles from store shelves and to replace them with non-copy-protected versions expected in stores by the end of the week.

Attorney General Greg Abbott says that despite the recall, his staff found CDs with XCP copy-protection created by British firm First4Internet on store shelves Monday. He estimates that as many as tens of thousands of Texas consumers have bought the CDs, and notes that Texas’ spyware law calls for fines of $100,000 per violation. “Our message to Sony,” he says: “Don’t mess with Texas computers.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is suing Sony too, and good for them. I hope all the other states with anti-spyware laws join in the fun and make Sony’s life as miserable as they possibly can. Corporations should never be allowed to install software on your computer without your express permission, and they sure as hell shouldn’t be allowed to do it to people who think they’re doing nothing more than playing a few tunes while surfing their favorite blogs. My Christmas wish is that the discovery phase of this lawsuit is long and painful and uncovers a lengthy catalog of embarrassing and incriminating emails among Sony’s suits explaining just why they thought it was OK to secretly install a virus magnet on their customers’ computers.

Well, that’s one of my Christmas wishes, anyway.

If you’re hearing about this for the first time, background details are here.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!