The timing on this couldn't be much better - I'm in the process of drafting up my open letter to the music industry, but I thought I'd mention this story in the meantime - I think it pretty much sums up everything bad about DRM...

[Microsoft] has arbitrarily decided that all the music you bought from it is now worthless because it can't be bothered to live up to its end of the bargain. It goes something like this, MS came up with a DRM infection and attached it to its music downloads. When the Zune came out, it decided it wanted a bigger piece of the pie, so it cut out all its partners.

The new toy, the Zune has a completely different DRM infection making any of the things you bought from Microsoft saddled by the old way incompatible with the new way. All the partners that made devices compatible with the old way, and all of the people who bought infected music, well, MS has your money, so you're dumped.

This was about a year and a half ago. Today, MS is saying that come August 31, a week or four shy of the two-year anniversary of the night of long knives, you will not be able to re-authorise your music. That means that the music is yours to keep. On one PC. As long as it doesn't crash. Or you don't update your OS. Or something doesn't just decide to stop the music playing. If you do any of these things, you just lost your music permanently.

Basically, MS is stealing from you. It has your money, but you can't have access the services you bought any more. So they are stopping, and legally, you are screwed. Microsoft has got your money though.

If you were a subscriber to MSN Music, you will have recently found yourself out in the cold when Microsoft decided to arbitrarily turn off their DRM authentication servers, leaving all your music you'd legally paid for in (effectively) stasis. Walmart did this with their video rental service last year, Microsoft this year - I'm glad that it's a discernable move away from DRM, but still... Support your legacy customers, or are you condoning your customers to break the law and strip the DRM from their tracks so they can achieve the same level of functionality as they enjoyed prior to this?

The full article, in all its gory detail, can be found on The Inquirer.


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