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.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.