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. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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