George Smith's article in the Village Voice describes virus writing in the '90s and the relationship of viruses to Sony's use of rootkit technologies for DRM. Snippets:
But the fundamentals for using malicious code had been worked out by the first virus-writers. Not only could it be used to harass file-sharing network users but also to enforce digital rights. The original kids often entertained themselves by victimizing software pirates and their trading networks. The networks were anchored to antique bulletin board systems and the prevailing philosophy was that pirates deserved trouble because they were greedy. Does that sound familiar?
Plus, thieves were viewed as lamers unaware of the many ways their virtual trading market could be contaminated. To that end, in 1992, a Chicago-area high school student named Nowhere Man came up with the idea of making programs to speed the poisoning of portions of pirate file-sharing networks with an assortment of vexing dummies. Although Nowhere Man never received a piece of the intellectual credit for this, The New York Times wrote in May 2003, the recording industry was "exploring options" that included "overwhelming [music] distribution networks with potentially malicious programs that masquerade as music files." It took 11 years to get there. Today, what had been the pesky work of teenagers is corporate entertainment-industry retaliation: "Overpeer Inc. . . . is paid by the entertainment industry to combat illegal downloading with an army of computerized drones," stated the Los Angeles Times in October. "From an office overlooking the New York Public Library, [it] unleashes millions of fake files into popular networks such as eDonkey, Kazaa and Gnutella every hour."