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MSN Music Store bites the dust, whilst DRM steals customers music

Oh the promise of Digital Rights Management. Ever since the dawn of technology, DRM of some form has existed with the promise being that if large companies supported it, the removal of basic (and somewhat fundamental) consumer fair use and rights would be made irrelevant. The likes of Apple and Microsoft aren't exactly going to kill their own music services and DRM servers, in turn locking you out of music you've actually paid money for. Are they?

Sadly, that's not entirely the case. Whilst Apple understands the PR nosedive that would follow any attempt to 'disable' DRMed purchases, Microsoft perhaps does not. Today they've announced that, effective August 31st 2008 "[Microsoft] will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs ... purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers" which basically means this: once you've activated your allocated number of computers for the music you've paid your hard-earned cash for, you can kiss you music goodbye if you ever change your computer or operating system. Yes, you can still burn your tunes to a CD and re-import them in another (DRM-free) format. But the questions remains, why should this even be necessary?

Time and time again, DRM has proven not only totally ineffective in preventing piracy but also a method by which legitimate paying customers get treated as criminals for doing the right thing. If there's one thing consumers are repeatedly learning the hard way is that ultimately DRM only shafts paying customers. There is but one question now: how long will it take the labels to realize that DRM is about as welcome at the digital party as Lynne Spears at the Parent of the Year awards....

[Via Ars Technica]

Tags: DRM, Microsft, MSN-Music