Critics of online music stores like the new Napster and Yahoo! Music Unlimited say by giving them you're money you're really just renting your music, since if you stop paying their fees, you lost the ability to listen to the tracks you've downloaded. But if the makers of FairUse4M have anything to say about it, that's no longer the case. Engadget has the scoop
on this new, probably-illegal program for Windows that strips the DRM from Windows Media 10 and 11 files, allowing you to play those Napster tracks indefinitely, even after you've canceled your subscription. Engadget's Ryan Block says, "we can verify with all certainty that yes, Windows Media DRM can now be easily and quickly stripped from PlaysForSure media services," but it didn't work on their Vongo videos or Windows Media 9 DRMed files. This is a pretty big deal for Microsoft, which has busily been ensuring record companies for years that PlaysForSure is the best way to protect their content. For awhile software has been available that strips the DRM from music purchased from Apple's iTunes Music Store--the difference is, one had to pay for each of those tracks in the first place, whereas with Windows Media-based subscription stores, one could buy a one-month subscription and potentially unlock tens of thousands of files for the price of a single CD (or for free, if one takes advantage of a free trial period). Yow.