Friday, July 25, 2008

Music DRM: still fucking you up the arse

Digital Rights Management on music has been—I think that it is fair to say—a miserable fucking failure. It hasn't halted piracy—to the extent that the music industry is attempting to force ISPs and national (and supranational) governments to police the system, a measure that is not only horribly intrusive but will also cost us deep in the pocket—and it has screwed over a lot of people.

So, via Daring Fireball, here's another lot of people who are about to get right royally butt-fucked without any lube.
Yahoo is shutting off support for Yahoo Music after September 30, which means starting October 1, if users want to move music to new hard drives or computers, they will be out of luck.

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that Yahoo Music alerted customers in an e-mail that it will no longer release keys to unlock digital rights management on its music. Sound familiar?

I've just spoken with a Yahoo spokeswoman who said that the move was announced earlier this year as part of Yahoo Music's partnership with RealNetwork's Rhapsody music service. Yahoo Music users will be allowed to transfer their music libraries to the new service.

That's fine for people who just used Yahoo's subscription service. If they choose not to make the jump to Rhapsody, well, they knew going in that when they stopped paying they would lose their libraries. But what about the people who purchased songs from Yahoo Music? That music was also wrapped in DRM.

Yep, these people will be prevented from transferring songs after the deadline.

Ain't that excellent? And yes, I do back up all of my iTunes songs to CD, although I sincerely hope that all record labels with have joined EMI in selling unrestricted MP3s long before Apple goes bust.

Still, does this sound familiar? Yep...
Microsoft stirred some controversy last week by announcing that it would no longer issue DRM keys for defunct MSN Music after August 31. This effectively will prevent former customers from transferring their songs to new devices after the deadline. Customers could potentially lose their music if they get a new computer or if the hard drive crashes on their current one.

EFF, an advocacy group for Internet users, said in a statement that it sent a letter to Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer on Tuesday outlining steps the company should take, such as issuing refunds and launching a publicity campaign to educate former MSN Music customers about their options.

"MSN Music customers trusted Microsoft when it said that this was a safe way to buy music, and that trust has been betrayed," Corynne McSherry, an EFF attorney, said in a statement. "If Microsoft is prepared to treat MSN Music customers like this, is there any reason to suppose that future customers won't get the same treatment?"

No, there is no reason not to think that, and I am sure that those same people will get utterly bum-raped when the next Microsoft service goes tits-up too. There's really no warning some people...

DRM: what a piece of shit.

5 comments:

FlipC said...

Welcome to the beginning of the new business model - you can't buy anything, you merely hire it.

Unity said...

And my response to this is...?

Fuck em!

Download a DRM cracker using Bittorrent (making sure it doesn't come with a free trojan) and convert everything you've already paid for to plain old un-DRM'd mp3.

I doubt very much that any licence terms that seek to prevent such a course of action in the event of the supplier ceasing to provide DRM keys will be enforceable under our Unfair Contract Terms Act or that they'd risk filing a lawsuit over here knowing that if they lost the case it would blow a major hole in their licensing regime.

Sim-O said...

could potentially lose their music if they get a new computer or if the hard drive crashes on their current one

Which is why I still buy music on CD and then Rip from there for iPods etc.
It might not be as cheap as mp3s but you can do what you want with it.

Patrick said...

DRM sucks indeed... and rightly makes the more learned less likely to pay for the media in the first place... The music industry is relying on the coercive nature of govt to force big profits... they are nothing but a bunch of mercantile pricks, for whom are neither inovative or entrepreneurial...

Roger Thornhill said...

The tighter they grasp the more it slips through their fingers.*





* paraphrased from Princess Leia, no less.