Microsoft to Terminate MSN Music DRM keys

Customers who have purchased music from Microsoft's now-defunct MSN Music store are now facing a decision they never anticipated making: commit to which computers (and OS) they want to authorize forever, or give up access to the music they paid for. Why? Because Microsoft has decided that it's done supporting the service and will be turning off the MSN Music license servers by the end of this summer.

MSN Entertainment and Video Services general manager Rob Bennett sent out an e-mail this afternoon to customers, advising them to make any and all authorizations or deauthorizations before August 31. "As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers," reads the e-mail seen by Ars. "You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play."

View: Full Story at Ars Technica

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From TechRepublic, regarding the DMCA: "There are some exemptions, such as circumventing copy protection of programs that are in an obsolete format for the purpose of archiving or preservation."

I have an iTunes Store account and actually bought a few songs. I have long since replaced them, but I understand how people would be frustrated over something like this. Granted it's Microsoft this time, but Apple and the rest of the DRM Nazis are soon to follow. Amazon's DRM-free MP3 service looks promising enough, though.

Somebody call Ralph Nader!

Seriously, I would looooove to see Ralph (or the DoJ, or any consumer champion with a lawyer or two) go after Microsoft for this. Somebody ought to be out there fighting for the rights of MSN Music's put-upon users. Y'know, both of them...

At the very least, I hope it gets enough media coverage to reach the ears of anyone considering buying anything from the Zune store.

Surely part of the purchase contract includes the ability to authorise your DRM crippled music to play it as per the terms you downloaded it.

This is why I won't buy music online. The system just doesn't work long term.

Also the reason I don't like the idea of buying music online (as well as the fact that I like it at full CD quality i.e. lossless and not using lossy compression!).

Can you not license your tracks to a computer, burn it onto disk and re-rip without drm?

Yes, that is what the article goes on to say. But I don't know if it's legal. Plus, you take a rubbishy lossy file and do that, you've got an even more rubbishy lossy file on your hands. :suspicious:

it's legal everywhere but usa. I myself use Daniusoft which gives a very high quality output, i cant hear the differen ;)ce between the orignal, but then again i am already married for some years :P

Would you be bothered if that was legal or not? If I had bought anything of there I would be making sure it had no DRM on it by August 31st. You paid for it, now your been denied access to it if you ever change or re format your computer.

(InsaneNutter said @ #15.3)
Would you be bothered if that was legal or not? If I had bought anything of there I would be making sure it had no DRM on it by August 31st. You paid for it, now your been denied access to it if you ever change or re format your computer.

And that's been the whole DRM con from the start: you're actually buying a licence to play the music rather than a copy of the music itself.

Its easy to remove these sort of "protections". After all, they never actually worked out in the first place.

Well, most people, as has been said, don't know how to do these things. Plus, it's not actually legal to do them. Since Microsoft originally said they would continue providing keys, and now they've gone back on their word, the least they can do here would be to 'unDRM' the files for people. I'd be angry if I'd paid that money.

(James7 said @ #14.1)
Well, most people, as has been said, don't know how to do these things. Plus, it's not actually legal to do them. Since Microsoft originally said they would continue providing keys, and now they've gone back on their word, the least they can do here would be to 'unDRM' the files for people. I'd be angry if I'd paid that money.

I bet a lot of people are mad as well about losing money to Microsoft for something they bought.

It's legal everywhere but the usa to de-drm. Its legal in the greater part of europe to download ip if it's for personal use only.

I think most people who know enuf to dl songs and have the equipment to play them also know how to crack/de-drm/torrent and all. Hell, my father (77) knows about how to, my son knew when he was about 15.

Humn... I'm sure they're within their contractual rights, but they should get sued on some comsumer protection basis.

(chooser said @ #9)
Or just strip the drm with FairUse4WM or some other ripper

Yeah, but how many home users know how to do that?

Thankfully, people like Valve have got this in mind. They said should they ever stop supporting steam, all games that have use steam will no longer require activation or communication with their servers...

(Liquidfox said @ #9.1)
Yeah, but how many home users know how to do that?

Thankfully, people like Valve have got this in mind. They said should they ever stop supporting steam, all games that have use steam will no longer require activation or communication with their servers... :D


No they don't.

like no one de-drms his songs the second you dl it. Always strikes me that everyone everywhere is holier then thou and wouldn't dream to crack/pirate/de-drm or whatever. First thing i do when i rent a dvd is to rip it to disk to get rid of all the annoying trailers/theft crap.
When i pay and dl an item with drm i remove drm immediately.

So it really amazes me if there's many out there that are really taken by this altowell foreseeable event.

(petrossa said @ #6)
like no one de-drms his songs the second you dl it. Always strikes me that everyone everywhere is holier then thou and wouldn't dream to crack/pirate/de-drm or whatever. First thing i do when i rent a dvd is to rip it to disk to get rid of all the annoying trailers/theft crap.
When i pay and dl an item with drm i remove drm immediately.

So it really amazes me if there's many out there that are really taken by this altowell foreseeable event.

I doubt the average user even knows what DRM is let alone a drm remover.

This is why Activation and DRM need to die... what happens with a company goes under and their activation servers dont exist? say adobe (just saying since they use Activation) now I have a $600 copy of photoshop and can't use it if i can't activate it... all that money wasted... they claim they'd give patches to remove activation... but we know how this goes... when you go under thats the last thing you think about... as for DRM...

(neufuse said @ #5)
This is why Activation and DRM need to die... what happens with a company goes under and their activation servers dont exist? say adobe (just saying since they use Activation) now I have a $600 copy of photoshop and can't use it if i can't activate it... all that money wasted... they claim they'd give patches to remove activation... but we know how this goes... when you go under thats the last thing you think about... as for DRM...

In the case of Adobe they've actually got an statement/promise to the public that if they were to stop supporting activation that they would provide an update so that you wouldn't need to activate it. Sure, it isn't legally binding but it would be a PR nightmare fro hell if they screw end users over.

Its funny with activation, it was tried with node locking on the UNIX machines such as SGI, SUN, HP and IBM - and it never work. I find it funny that they're trying it again after the UNIX old school gave up on it years ago.

Honestly how hard would it be for them to keep up a couple of clustered systems to just address the license verification on this stuff....

They should do that at the very least - or they could have paid for everybody who bought a track to re-download a drm-free version.

Not very great for those that just bought the music, knowing nothing about the DRM that controlled them, though. Way to **** on people, Microsoft.

Exactly. Microsoft is not a company strapped for cash. The least they could do is keep the authorisation servers running but really they should offer DRM-free music as a replacement.

Funny how this was the very issuie I brought up long, long ago when DRM was first implemented. I quote, "What happens when the company you bought the music from goes belly up?"

Guess now we know. You're screwed.

(EmuZombie said @ #2)
Funny how this was the very issuie I brought up long, long ago when DRM was first implemented. I quote, "What happens when the company you bought the music from goes belly up?"

Guess now we know. You're screwed.


Yup same here, I dared to ask the question about iTunes but was hammered...
How could Apple stop supporting iTunes? Well just about the same way as MS stops supporting MSN Music now.
Time to wake up fellas, this is the very reason why I don't purchase music on-line.

(EmuZombie said @ #2)
Funny how this was the very issuie I brought up long, long ago when DRM was first implemented. I quote, "What happens when the company you bought the music from goes belly up?"

Guess now we know. You're screwed.


Not completely: you take your songs and burn them to a CD (a rewritable one will save you some money). You then rip them back into .MP3s or .WMAs or whatever. Your songs are now DRM free and you can delete the original DRM-infested files.

I believe this works with pretty much any DRM files.

(Octol said @ #2.2)
Not completely: you take your songs and burn them to a CD (a rewritable one will save you some money). You then rip them back into .MP3s or .WMAs or whatever.

You don't care about quality, do you?