The day the music died

Actually, it is still technically in the future tense. The day the music dies will be August 31, 2008. [...]

So what happens on August 31, 2008? On that day, Microsoft will turn off the servers that they maintain for the sole purpose of validating that the songs that people have already "purchased" through MSN Music are still theirs to play. Those people (hereafter "the victims") will not notice the change right away. The victims will only notice it when they purchase a new computer, or when they upgrade the operating system on their current computer, or when the hard drive in their computer dies and needs to be rebuilt/reinstalled. At that point -- transferring the music files they have "purchased" to another drive or a new computer -- the Microsoft music player running on the victim's PC (like iTunes, but all Microsoft-y instead of Apple-y) will make a call to Microsoft's validation servers to verify that the music files were legitimately purchased. This call will fail, since the servers are not responding, since Microsoft has intentionally turned them off. The Microsoft music player will then conclude, incorrectly but steadfastly, that the music files were downloaded illegally and that the victim is a filthy pirate, and it will refuse to play them. In this case, the left hand knows exactly what the right hand is doing: they're both giving you the finger.

Mark Pilgrim, The day the music died.

I also love this quote :

Bruce Schneier, a famous cryptologist -- or at least as famous a cryptologist as cryptologists are likely to get in this century -- once described attempts to make digital bits uncopyable as "trying to make water not wet."

Don't buy anything that is protected by any DRM that a vendor, anywhere in the chain, can lock up at will or by simply getting out of business.

2 Comments

Is this for real?? My god is this even legal? I have purchased loads of music from MSN music. So as soon as I change my computer which I was hoping to do in the next few months, none of my purchased music will work?

Many of my friends download music for free and have been doing so for years. I have always maintained a moral stand point on this issue, being that I dont really care about the record companies but I do like to support the bands I'm into. Many being small bands on small labels. Microsoft must leagally have to do something about this, we have rights as consumers!

Of course it's legal, (re-)read the fine prints of the store. Time to do what MS advises; rip all your music on CDs so you can re-import it on your new computer. Except that it might be... illegal to do so (oh the irony!)

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