Is Digital Rights Management nothing more than a rip-off?

By Mark O’Neill

Digital Rights Management (DRM) has always been a thorny issue for people who download legal music, but companies such as Apple have always justified it by saying that it is nothing more than protection against illegal downloaders. But that excuse is about to be put to its biggest test yet after August 31st of this year.

That’s when songs bought from MSN Music will no longer work if you want to transfer them to another computer.

Imagine paying a fortune for a music collection and then being told that your music collection wasn’t really yours for life? That it was really just an expensive long-term lease?┬áThat’s basically what Microsoft is now saying to its MSN Music customers.

So if you want to transfer those songs onto another computer, you MUST do it before the end of August. Otherwise come September, those songs are going to be stuck on the original computer and when that computer eventually dies, the songs die with it.

But what if you don’t have another computer to put them on? What then?

Why is this happening? Microsoft wants to switch off the old system to start a new one with a new kind of DRM. But do you want to hear the ironic part? The old system is called “PlaysForSure”

When will music companies finally realize that DRM is nothing more than a pair of expensive handcuffs restraining the music buyer and that the system is making the illegal downloading problem worse, not better? No-one in their right mind is going to buy a song, knowing that it has a time limit on it when they can illegally download it instead with no time limit on it.

The music companies really are their own worst enemy.

Via Times Online

5 Responses to Is Digital Rights Management nothing more than a rip-off?

  1. Microsoft is no longer a business. It's completed the metamorphosis of turning into a tyrant, by limiting what people can do. The entire point of progress is to break those limits. Yet another step back, instead of forward.

  2. I agree; DRM protection is stupid. If I buy a CD from a store, for example, I want to be able to import the music to my computer and then copy it somewhere else. It shouldn't be any different with music bought from an online music store.

    This will just help increase the illegal music downloads.

  3. DRM was never beneficial to legitimate users. Vendors long ago learned to avoid the schemes to protect software — do you remember the dongles and other mess? These schemes are just like gun control laws: the only ones hampered by the schemes are the legitimate users. Those willing to download illegally, share illegally, or buy on the black market will do so, and will do whatever is required to circumvent each new protection. Meanwhile, legitimate users grow increasingly frustrated and find alternative providers and products. Despite the assertion in the story, those in their right minds and concerned with the rule of law will not turn to illegal downloads. They instead will turn to indie music, ripping CDs, etc.

  4. Everything MS does is based on licensing, which is to say, leasing. They don't "sell" software, as far as I know. And it's been that way for a long, long time. "Buyers" should be aware of MS by now. They've gotten so much negative press over the past 15 years or so, that it's amazing to me that anyone would trust them enough to "buy" their music files from them.

    Maybe all those misguided individuals could come together with a class action lawsuit?

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