Microsoft's Final 'Up Yours' To Those Who Bought Into Its DRM Story

from the playsforwhatnow? dept

Remember a few years back when Microsoft launched a new type of DRM under the name “PlaysForSure”? The idea was to create a standard DRM that a bunch of different online music download stores could use, and which makers of digital music devices could build for. Except… like any DRM, it had its problems. And, like any DRM, its real purpose was to take away features, not add them, making all of the content hindered by it less valuable. Yet, because Microsoft was behind it, many people assumed that at least Microsoft would keep supporting it. Well, you’ve now learned your lesson. Playsforsure was so bad that Microsoft didn’t even use it for its own Zune digital media device. Along with that, Microsoft shut down its failed online music store, and now for the kicker, it’s telling anyone who was suckered into buying that DRM’d content that it’s about to nuke the DRM approval servers that let you transfer the music to new machines. That means you need to authorize any songs you have on whatever machine you want — and that’s the only place they’ll be able to reside forever. And, of course, any upgrade to your operating system (say from XP to Vista) and you lose access to your music as well. By now, hopefully, everyone is aware of why DRM is problematic, but it’s nice of Microsoft to give one final demonstration by basically taking away more rights for the music it sold people with the promise that Microsoft would keep the music available.

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Companies: microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft's Final 'Up Yours' To Those Who Bought Into Its DRM Story”

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Twinrova says:

Way to go, Microsoft

I knew something was up when I bought my Samsung MP3 player which supported PFS but couldn’t find anyone who sold PFS songs.

Luckily, Samsung figured this was going to die so they allowed direct transfers of music without the need for WMP.

Thank goodness, or I would have nothing more than a $100 paperweight.

Now, if only Microsoft would fix Vista….

Anonymous Coward says:

This is BS – They should sue – Micrapsoft should have offered them NON-DRM songs then disable their DRM servers – Just another example of Corps KILLING AMERICA!!!!!!!!

Wake Up people – Its only going to get worse – Don’t forget, this is your country and if for the people and by the people NOT – For the corp by the corp like it is being run – Time for a change!

Anonymous Coward says:

Sounds like Burn and RIP

I feel for those who realy realy bought in to the Windows DRM… After moving from computer to computer and not being able to get new lic. for the songs because I used them all up. I was ticked.

I Burned all the DRM albums and Ripped them to MP3.

Not the best but I was free from the DRM ball and chain.


moe says:

Who didn't see this coming?

Honestly, after MS decided not to use this DRM scheme on its own Zune’s, how could you not see this coming.

I abhor DRM, but the only DRM that is evenly remotely realistic is a scheme that is self-contained. Of course, self-contained DRM is easy to crack. So, you end up with things like this, and like MLB’s move a few months ago (or more?) that basically did the same thing.

alternatives says:

Re: Whats that I smell?

Not just any kind of lawsuit – a class action one.

And there will be an accurate number of people listed because Microsoft has all the records for the DRM.

Should be a simple one to go after.

And the fun part will be the court records – Are they shutting it down because the cost of maintaing old systems and old data are too much?

Steve R. (profile) says:

Ticking Time Bomb

This concern applies to virtually all software and hardware. We have evolved to the point where virtually all software and hardware is “updated” through downloads from servers on the internet. A company decides that its software or hardware is now “obsolete” they can now disable it at will. The consumer is powerless.

While a company has a right to discontinue any product, the consumer has an economic investment in that product and companies should not arbitrarily destroy that investment. Consequently all companies should provide the consumer with a “final” CD upon request. I wouldn’t mind paying a nominal charge for a final CD.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ticking Time Bomb

“I wouldn’t mind paying a nominal charge for a final CD.”
I mind. Why should I have to pay for the music twice just because M$ decided to abandon its own DRM schema? Could you imagine M$ saying, ‘Hey, we decided the older Word formats are no longer supported. You have to upgrade (on your nickel) or loose your data.’ Oh wait, they call that that Vista/Office.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ticking Time Bomb

It’s not about paying twice for the music.

It’s about paying something like $5 for the final version of Windows98SE or the final version of Age of Empires III. While I don’t like the idea of paying “twice” I am attempting to propose a comprise that would make it less onerous for a company to supply a final disk.

I have one old game where the website has been taken down and the company no longer provides the patches. Fortunately, I have the patches, but it still points to the need for any software/hardware company to make available a final version so that the consumer has the ability to use the product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Ticking Time Bomb

“the need for any software/hardware company to make available a final version so that the consumer has the ability to use the product”

But even that doesn’t save you – eventually you won’t have a computer or OS that can run your old game. Non-programmers don’t seem to understand it, but binary-only software is basically dead software that cannot be adapted to new systems or hardware. OSS protects you from that. Even if you don’t accept the “all software must be free” mantra, it is still pretty obvious that closed-source programs die when the owner goes out of business. BeOS was what convinced me.

Think of the difference between having a digital file of a text document vs. having a paper printout of the same file. The digital version can be easily worked on and adapted. It is clearly more useful. The printed version is basically dead. The same difference exists with regard to having a program’s source code vs. having just a binary.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ticking Time Bomb

Ultimately, what you say is true. But there is a period of time were old software/hardware will still work. Companies shouldn’t simply have the ability to “destroy” your use of the product at their whim.

This cartoon was sparked by the recent attempt by Creative to stop a user from providing better drivers. This is one of several panels to look at.

Anonymous Coward (user link) says:

Re: Re: Ticking Time Bomb

“I wouldn’t mind paying a nominal charge for a final CD.”
I mind. Why should I have to pay for the music twice just because M$ decided to abandon its own DRM schema? Could you imagine M$ saying, ‘Hey, we decided the older Word formats are no longer supported. You have to upgrade (on your nickel) or loose your data.’ Oh wait, they call that that Vista/Office.

They already did before they pushed through their BS standard OOXML.

read: MS Smacks Office 2003

emilio says:

re: Steve R.'s Ticking Time Bomb

…which will last as long as optical disk players still support the CD standard… Hell, in 10 years Blue Ray may be gone. And DRM’s real problem is that it hinders our ability to keep transferring our data from old, dying formats, to newer, vital formats. We HAVE to do this, no choice, to hang onto our data for more than 15-20 years. Anyone out there still have a 5 1/4″ floppy drive on their machine? What if every bit of data you owned back then was DRM’d, and incapable of being transferred to 3 1/2″ floppies, or the new Hard Drives, or the BRAND NEW burnable 1x CD-ROM’s, etc. etc.

Cunk says:

Music subscription?

There is one aspect of the PFS scheme I thought was pretty good. The all-you-can-eat service of paying a monthly fee to download and play as much music you wanted (as long as you played it on your PC or a player that supported PFS).

In essence this is similar to paying $13 a month for satellite radio except you’re not paying for music you don’t like. Essentially you are programming your own radio stations. I thought that was pretty cool (despite initially being turned off by it).

Sure, you lose access to all that music you downloaded if you stop paying the fee (or the store shuts down or, as demonstrated in this story, MS stops relicensing the music) but it’s the same story with satellite radio. Once you stop paying you can no longer listen to XM’s music library and that radio becomes a useless lump of plastic.

Blobarino says:

Re: Music subscription?

I have two of those “lumps of plastic”
I love the online service at work, but don’t NEED to pay $13/mo for music

Infact, I have tried [I emphasize tried] to cancel the service twice and they trick me with a month or two of free service; I forget to cancel the contract when the two months is up.

It’s a vicious circle.

Oh, and MacroHard has been “pissing on our shoes and telling us it’s raining” for two decades, how is anyone suprised by this glorious debaucle?

Scott Salbo says:

playforsure DRM

I’m kinda sick of this topic. Yes, DRM is as stupid a concept as it gets, by microsoft, apple, et al, are merely responding to RIAA and the music labels demands in this.

Buy the music. Burn it to a cd-rw. Re-import the music as unprotected mp3, or any other format you like. Delete the original files. Erase the cd-rw and repeat. DRM solved

jonnyq says:

Re: playforsure DRM

Assuming the DRM files are compressed audio, burning and then re-encoding to MP3 (or just plain re-encoding to MP3) will lose quality. Depending on the original bitrate, it might be enough of a loss to be noticeable. Encoding to a lossless format would be a waste of space. It’s got to be frustrating.

neil says:

Re: Re:

um you know thay are working on a replacment for hdmi that requires a certified player and tv then the capble also wil be secured so that they can tell if it has been spliced if it has then the system will not play.

so thay have secure end to end transmition of the data
it shows up on your screen and there is no way to intercept it

Chronno S. Trigger says:

Re: Re: Re:

That’s already built into HDMI. Suposidly it isn’t going to be used untill 2012, but what are the odds that the movie indistry isn’t going to use something that may (probably not) stop pirecy of HD content.

What Hoeppner speaks of is just the analog signal or “analog hole” as the record studios call it. If the signal is analog, which every device will output, than it can be captured somehow.

Anonymous Coward says:

Too hot in the kitchen to cook Apple pie

Hillarious! Apple shows the world it can be #1 distributer for a mature, 50+ year-old industry in a short 5 year span.

While Microsoft cant get enough people to buy its mechanical fish.

A song comes to mind:
“Give me a song, or rhythm
Make ’em sweat, thats what I’m giving ’em
Now, they know
You talking about the Hammer you talking about a show.
Thats Hype, and Tight.
Singers are sweating so pass them a wipe
Or a tape to learn
Whats it gonna take in the 90’s to burn
The Charts? Legit
either work hard or you might as well quit

Thats the word because you know…
You cant touch this
You cant touch this
You cant touch this”

-MC Hammer

Wally Bass says:

The same fate for XP is only a matter of time

The time to put a stop to this was before shelling out money for Windows XP with “activation.” When you/we did that, and let MS get away with what they were doing, we instantly enabled this crap.

But, have no fear. When your copy of XP dies as the WGA server is shut down, you may have the option of “upgrading” to Windows Vista (for $$$$$).

See, there. American business really is wonderful. And open source really is just a crazy whim, with no purpose whatsoever.

chris (profile) says:

Re: The same fate for XP is only a matter of time

use remove wga to get rid of WGA popups:

and windizupdate to get your updates:

works great for old windows 2000 pro machines that have no updates available on

the more of these hoops you have to jump thru, the more attractive ubuntu will become 🙂

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Burn And Rip?

RE #13
Buy the music. Burn it to a cd-rw. Re-import the music as unprotected mp3, or any other format you like. Delete the original files. Erase the cd-rw and repeat. DRM solved.

Sure, but say my time is worth something more than a middle schooler. And every CD I need to Burn and Rip takes about 15 minutes of my time.

Say, for the sake of argument, that my time is worth $60/hr. I just spent $15 of MY VALUABLE TIME to work around this DRM nonsense. The music costs less!

DRM solved my a$$, between MS and your “solution”, I’ve just lost more money. (Not to mention any loss of quality.)

Killer_Tofu (profile) says:

Re #35 and 37

@35, Derek
All of your time is worth 60$/hr?
Will you charge your wife for those hours you spend with her? Are you saying that is all your time is worth there?
Can’t quite put my finger on it but that whole argument feels flawed. You don’t get paid to stay home and not work (unless you have some truly awesome job, but the point above still stands). Also feels like your argument could be turned into saying that the money you pay for a song is equivalent to how long you feel it would have taken you to make the song. How much your time is worth doing one thing, is not how much it is worth doing everything.

@37, Mischa
Ubuntu definitely seems to be winning in that arena. =)

Marc says:

Deal with Microsoft...

… and get royally screwed. Microsoft got their money. The RIAA member companies got their money. The DRM builders got their money. The only people getting screwed are, as usual, the consumers. The people who, if they want to listen to music they paid for again, will have to buy it all over.

Or download it for “free”, given that they’ve already paid for it. Of course, Microsoft and the RIAA are doing their best to criminalize that kind of consumer friendly behaviour. I guess it’s not profitable enough for them.

Rekrul says:

I’ve always said that relying on any kind of online activation was a bad idea because the company could at at any time decide to stop allowing activation/license renewal.

Thank goodness that Valve Software will never, ever do anything like this and all software bought through Steam will be usable until the end of time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anthony Kuhn (user link) says:

Giving it to the man...?

Or should it be titled giving it to the little guy? Man, this DRM stuff is turning out to be a real bad deal for the end user. Who wins in the end? Microsoft got their cut, as did the record companies. I still buy CDs and rip them just because of situations like this. My music remains portable and “mine” with the freedom to use it on many different devices without fear of being “broken” due to some server farm being shut down somewhere that would keep me from accessing remote license information. Meh.

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