Thomas Mennecke's end of the year review of P2P winners and losers is worth a look.
Winners: BitTorrent, Apple Computer, LimeWire, Open Source P2P, and thePirateBay.
Losers: RIAA, SonyBMG, Sharman Networks, Grokster, and pay P2P.
Mennecke also opines that the SonyBMG rootkit fiasco may be the death knell of DRM. While I strongly agree that Sony behaved badly, it's unlikely that DRM will disappear any time soon. Rather, monies will be paid in compensation, Sony will agree not to do it again, and the industry will move on to the next generation of DRM. This time, however, the interests of consumers will be taken into account before the DRM technology is released to the public.
Well one can hope.
Not only did Sony-BMG break the trust with the consumer, it was discovered their copy protection scheme could be easily exploited by a malicious individual. Quite simply, the individual could name a virus identically to the XCP copy protection files. Since a rootkit file or folder is hidden by its very nature, most anti virus or spyware applications would be unable to discover the virus. It was soon discovered that Sony’s other copy protection software, Media Maxx, created by SunnComm, also suffered from easily exploitable vulnerabilities.
Sony-BMG has since been sued by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott under the states new spyware law. The state of Texas finds that Sony-BMG used deceptive trade practices when they distributed CDs with MediaMax and XCP software.
Because of Sony-BMG’s fiasco, the future of the DRM has been cast into doubt and destroyed any credible argument against online piracy. Most of all, they betrayed the consumer.