Microsoft Zune DRM support not impressive

Posted on Monday, September 18 2006 @ 9:57 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
This is pretty weird but it looks like the Microsoft Zune digital audio player won't support DRM protected Windows Media Audio and Video files purchased or rented from online music services such as Napster, Rhapsody, Yahoo Unlimited and others.
This is a stark example of DRM under the DMCA giving customers a raw deal. Buying DRMed media means you're locked into the limited array of devices that vendors say you can use. You have to rebuy your preexisting DRMed media collection if you want to use it on the Zune. And you'll have to do that over and over again whenever a new, incompatible device with innovative features blows existing players out of the water. Access to MP3s and non-DRMed formats creates the only bridge between these isolated islands of limited devices.

The real culprit here is the DMCA -- but for that bad law, customers could legally convert DRMed files into whatever format they want, and tech creators would be free to reverse engineer the DRM to create compatible devices. Even though those acts have traditionally been and still are non-infringing, the DMCA makes them illegal and stifles fair use, innovation, and competition.
More details over here.

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