Sunday, September 24, 2006

Windows Media Player DRM worse than ever

The Inquirer has an article about the new restrictions added to Windows Media Player.

Your DRMed music is tied to a single PC, so you can't move it. You can no longer backup your licences to another machine, and if your PC dies, or if you simply replace it, say goodbye to your music.

One thing which is interesting is a quote from Microsoft:

"If the file is a song you ripped from a CD with the Copy protect music option turned on, you might be able to restore your usage rights by playing the file. You will be prompted to connect to a Microsoft Web page that explains how to restore your rights a limited number of times."

Microsoft's Media Player will, by their own admission, take away your rights to use your own property. Can't get any clearer than that.

I'm surprised that Microsoft would admit this in such explicit, clear language. What's going on? A tiny little act of rebellion from a Microserf who hates what he's doing?

It also implies that Microsoft tracks who is playing what files. You have to ask Microsoft permission to play songs from your own CDs.

This is why people prefer to download mp3s of random quality from the Internet, even when they have access to legal content, even free legal content: because so many legal sources of music come with copy protection, digital restrictions, access control, and other methods of taking away people's control over their own computers.

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