by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 23rd 2008 3:18am
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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