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? That’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.