Windows Media Player 11: DRM Out the Arse

We like knee-jerk reactions to DRM – it kind of makes us think we’re running a political blog – but unfortunately the Inquirer is pretty much spot on. In short, WMP11 is probably some of the most draconian DRM we’ve come across to date.

Let’s start with the inability to back-up music licenses. The licenses are tied to a single machine, so if you drag your purchased files to Granny’s laptop and your PC dies, you’re stuck with useless bits. Perhaps you can make fractals out of them? Or power a random number generator? Obviously, there are tools they offer to allow you to move your crap, but if your PC gets slammed, downloading “Microsoft Key Manager 2007 Beta” is the last thing you need. Do you need Microsoft checking up on you when you try to use the music you purchased? Do clerks from Best Buy come by to see what’s up with that Fiddy CD you bought a few years ago? To make sure you’re not misusing it?

Then, WMP11 infects ripped CDs and phones home when you try to make copies. How nice! This, you must understand, protects the interests of the record industry. Clearly, it is of utmost importance to keep track of a dying media in digital form because someone, God forbid, could be sharing a copy of Justin Timberlake’s latest, I Am as Hairless as a Newborn Babe.

Finally, the program does you a solid by deleting TiVoToGo content after three days. This ensures that you actually watch those 50 episodes of Myth Busters you dragged over and don’t just carry them around. Again, DRM articles are a dime-a-dozen and the outrage with which their written is usually a bit over the top. But the Inquirer knows what’s up and this is bad news, folks. I’ll let them close it out.

What WiMP11 represents is one of the biggest thefts of your rights that I can think of. MS planned this, pushed the various pieces slowly, and this is the first big hammer to drop. Your rights, the promises they made, and anything else that gets in the way of the content mafia making yet more money gets thrown out. Why? Greed. Your rights? History. You were dumb enough to let it happen, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Microsoft Media Player shreds your rights [TheInquirer]