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No need to panic now, MSN Music customers ... at least for a few more years

Microsoft, caving into pressure from customers and bloggers, agreed to extend the life of the DRM authentication servers belonging to its now-defunct MSN Music store.

While no longer functioning today, in its heyday MSN Music sold DRM-protected music playable on devices with the PlaysForSure logo, a compatibility campaign designed to unify the disparate authentication schemes between different MP3 players. The company seemingly abandoned that campaign with the introduction of the Microsoft Zune, which carried a newer, independent DRM system that only works with the device’s separate music store, dubbed the Zune Marketplace.

MSN Music customers will now be able to authenticate their music through the end of 2011, after which Microsoft will continue to provide availability depending on customer demand.

The decision, announced Thursday in an e-mail to MSN Music customers, represents a complete turnaround, as previously customers could only authenticate their music purchases until August 31, 2008. While customers would have been able to listen to their music after the cutoff date, they would only be able to do so as long as their existing authentications are intact; since unauthenticated files are essentially unusable, the decision essentially forbid users from upgrading, formatting, or otherwise revamping their operating system, or migrating their music collection to a new computer.

The cutoff drew the criticism of a wide variety of bloggers and commentators, and earned Microsoft a strongly-worded letter from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “The decision means that every customer that bought an mp3 from you … faces losing music if she upgrades her PCs or her hard drive crashed after August 31, 2008,” said the group, who went on to demand a public apology, refunds, and the assurance that customers would have easy access to receipts.



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Saw that coming from a mile away
By chmilz on 6/19/2008 10:37:41 PM , Rating: 5
If there was any doubt that DRM was a flawed concept from the beginning, this proves it.




RE: Saw that coming from a mile away
By FreeTard on 6/19/2008 11:30:11 PM , Rating: 2
I'm glad they gave the people who paid for the music a reprieve. It is much nicer than just going belly up and leaving them with a collection of 1's and 0's. Now they get playable 1's and 0's.

I recently started purchasing songs from Amazon. While not the ideal situation for me, as the selection can be somewhat limited, I don't have to deal with drm. On a related note, that 1-click payment button hurts the bank account.

--Wait, did I just say that MS did something nice?


By pauldovi on 6/20/2008 1:48:33 AM , Rating: 2
I use Amazon as well. Fast (downloads are really fast, so is buying with 1-click) and I have yet to look for a song that I cannot find. I love AmazonMP3.


RE: Saw that coming from a mile away
By kelmon on 6/20/2008 3:32:27 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Wait, did I just say that MS did something nice?


Sort of, but this announcement is not a solution to the problem and just puts off the inevitable. The only "real" solutions are as follows (feel free to add any that I missed):

1. Remove the DRM
2. Refund the money
3. Maintain the authentication servers indefinitely
4. Arrange a deal with another store that would allow the customers to re-download their songs from a store that is still a going concern

That's pretty much in order of preference. As far as Option 3 is concerned, how long "indefinitely" should be defined as remains to be seen but it should be longer than the 3-years proposed, but probably less than 50-years.

Incidentally, love the picture of the Arch Vile in the article. That takes me back...


Great caption
By Fenixgoon on 6/19/2008 11:32:06 PM , Rating: 2
Archviles... I hated them in doom!




RE: Great caption
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 6/20/2008 7:02:53 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, that whole resurection of all nearby dead monsters was annoying as hell.


RE: Great caption
By Spivonious on 6/20/2008 9:58:34 AM , Rating: 2
Nothing a little BFG action couldn't take care of :P


By Belard on 6/20/2008 7:48:30 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, MS promotes that people use their Xboxes to download HD-Def movies.

So what do we do when the hardware craps out?




By walk2k on 6/20/2008 2:09:49 PM , Rating: 2
Since you only have 24 hours to watch those movies, it shouldn't be that much of a concern..

Then again, expecting a 360 to be functional for a whole 24 hours with RRODing... okay yeah I see what you mean!


Why were ppl so outraged about this?
By longshot94 on 6/20/2008 9:47:18 AM , Rating: 2
Just get one of the DRM removal tools and remove the playforsure DRM for the songs and then who cares if they leave the servers up.




By Bender 123 on 6/20/2008 10:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, shut up...thats all we have left. Dont go letting the RIAA "Asstards" know we have tools like this. They will start whipping out the DMCA rule forbidding the use of copyright cicumventing software.


One website explains it all
By phatboye on 6/19/2008 11:17:10 PM , Rating: 3
http://defectivebydesign.org/

Read it, live by it. SAY NO TO DRM.




Fantastic news!!!!
By Bender 123 on 6/20/2008 9:12:13 AM , Rating: 2
For all five of you that bought music from MSN music...




typo - mispelled infected
By fic2 on 6/20/2008 1:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
"DRM-protected music" should be "DRM- infected music"




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