DRM-fear slowly becoming mainstream?

At least that’s what you should expect after reading this story on gizmodo about one of the biggest retail chains in the USA shutting down their DRM-based online music store (August 2006 - February 2008) since they’re since February 2008 trying to be all-DRM-free. I have no idea how their system works, but in the e-mail published on gizmodo it is suggested by the support team that you burn your music to an audio CD. So I guess the music is somehow bound to a local software component and a server key, so you’d have to re-activate your music if you for example re-install your operating system.

It naturally should be the job of the user first to make sure everything of importance is properly backed up, but in the end most people rely on the service provider to at least act as 2nd tier in the backup-chain. This 2nd level is now dropped. At least they seem to offer a way to get the music out of the DRM-lock, but just think of other services that don’t do that. In the end this case should finally shake quite a few people up who previously bought music online without really checking what rights they have on it. Many people always think “Hey, I can get this song online for cheap”. Nope, you can get the rights to play it on a single (or 2 or 3) device with a bit of device-lock-in and only very limited ways to use this song for cheap. Congrats.

I at least hope that more people will finally start to get it and also recognize it in other systems; not only those of the music industry but in all parts of the content industry. In this regard (and only in this since I in general don’t enjoy people having problems) I hope that many people have bought DRM’d music from Walmart.

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