Microsoft shows us another reason why DRM is evil

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 23, 2008
Updated • Nov 10, 2017
Music and Video

Users who made purchases in online stores that use DRM to "protect" the files from being copied and shared are slowly beginning to reap what they sowed.

I never bought music or other files that were protected by DRM. The protection is not that hard to crack anyway if someone really wanted to do that, and the last resort is as always to record the audio or video signal. So, it's not about the limitations, it was about something else that made me turn away from media with DRM.

What made me turn away back then is slowly becoming a problem for those users who did not turn away, who did purchase music and videos on those Internet stores. DRM is dependent on that store and license servers. If those stores and servers are gone, be it because the company ceases to exist or because it makes the decision to close the online store, then guess what?

The user is left with DRM files that cannot be transferred to a new computer or retrieved anymore. Without a licensing server there is no way to activate the music and videos legally, so that you cannot play them anymore.

Let that sink in: you cannot play the music or video files anymore that you purchased because some company shut down some servers somewhere in the world.

How does that sound? Some users defended DRM by stating that smaller companies would probably run into those problems but if a user would buy from big companies, like Microsoft, Apple or Yahoo they would not run into them. (Was not Google involved in something similar last year?) This can be easily refuted right now by pointing to the announcement that Microsoft made:

As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers.

So, if you did purchase music from MSN Music you better start burning the music to CDs and DVDs and rip them again to get rid of the DRM so that you can keep the music that you did purchase for a lifetime.

I do not feel sorry for the users who made the purchases. If no one would buy music with DRM, the companies would sooner than later start online shops without DRM. Not that it protects anything either.

Article Name
Microsoft shows us another reason why DRM is evil
Users who made purchases in online stores that use DRM to "protect" the files from being copied and shared are slowly beginning to reap what they sowed.
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  1. Schlomo said on April 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Stupid mentality followed by uninformed people. But as of today, they will be more informed customers and will spread the voice about these things to friends and relatives, which will turn out to be the best in the end for us all.
    DRM is indeed doomed.
    Nice article.

  2. Tobey said on April 24, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Shucks! DRM = LAME (lame as in “sux”, not GPL mp3 enconder)

    What to say Martin… serves ’em right? Just like you said, if ppl damned it at the very beginning, there’d be no DRM any more. Moreover, it’s nice to see you making a good point of DRM itself being totally pointless except controlling the market more and ignoring ppl’s rights to listen anytime on any device they want. Even a n00b can just record the music instead of having to crack the whole DRM crap.. How’s that gonna “protect” the music then? Good point. Fully agreed.

  3. Shon said on April 23, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    You could also use a program like Tunebite to remove the DRM. I know winamp is able to also, but I dont know the specifics.

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