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Yahoo Offers Compensation For Unplayable Music

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the no-music-for-you dept.

Yahoo! 143

DrEnter writes "According to this article, Yahoo will offer some compensation after they turn off their DRM servers and Yahoo Music customers will no longer be able to access their music. The company said Wednesday it is offering coupons on request for people to buy songs again through Yahoo's new partner, RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody. Those songs will be in the MP3 format, free of copy protection. Refunds are available for users who 'have serious problems with this arrangement,' Yahoo said. Nice to see them step up and do something, especially without trading one DRM scheme for another."

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Real player (5, Funny)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410223)

How much would they have to pay you to interact with the company that makes Real Player?

Re:Real player (4, Insightful)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410621)

How is this offtopic? Experiences with Real Player were so unsatisfactory that many people I know won't use ever use a RealNetworks product. *buffering*

Re:Real player (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411165)

How is this offtopic? Experiences with Real Player were so unsatisfactory that many people I know won't use ever use a RealNetworks product.

Perhaps it's off-topic because, as even the summary points out, the alternative being offered is in unprotected MP3 format: hardly a proprietary RealNetworks product, nor likely to suffer from the same problems that plagued early versions of RealPlayer. One man's joke is another man's unconstructive and irrelevant cheap shot; YMMV.

Re:Real player (5, Interesting)

Aadomm (609333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411257)

Its not offtopic and you are wrong. The issue is not with 'early versions of RealPlayer' the issue is with the horrific and unnecessary baggage which traditionally comes with any RealPlayer install to date. If you don't understand then go and educate yourself.

Re:Real player (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412981)

Its not offtopic and you are wrong. The issue is not with 'early versions of RealPlayer' the issue is with the horrific and unnecessary baggage which traditionally comes with any RealPlayer install to date. If you don't understand then go and educate yourself.

Your comment about baggage with all RealPlayer installs only applies to Windows, they do a damn decent client for Linux that just installs a basic media player.

Re:Real player (1)

Aadomm (609333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24413593)

Thanks, must admit i've never used their Linux client. Always seems I already have an app which can display the files on Linux so never found the need to do so.

Re:Real player (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412985)

Its not offtopic and you are wrong. The issue is not with 'early versions of RealPlayer' the issue is with the horrific and unnecessary baggage which traditionally comes with any RealPlayer install to date. If you don't understand then go and educate yourself.

Speaking of educating people: Rhapsody doesn't use RealPlayer.

Re:Real player (1, Flamebait)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411495)

except all the songs will be in .rm or .ra format and not work on any standard mp3 player. +they will charge you to buy real player pro or infect your computer with 1000 different kinds of spyware/adware to go with the ad supported version.

And if you try and convert these files to MP3 you will have violated the EULA and lawyers/FBI will automatically be sent to your house and your computer will explode and spew killer bees into your room.

Re:Real player (4, Informative)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412135)

That's funny and all, but in case anybody takes you seriously... Rhapsody sells MP3 files now. Real, honest-to-goodness MP3 files; no killer bees required.

Re:Real player (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24413043)

Except you have to install Rhapsody.

Re:Real player (1, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411705)

I'm sorry, I couldn't make out what you said because my RealPlayer was buffering.

Re:Real player (4, Funny)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411247)

Ahhh, those lovely '90s memories... [krellan.com]

Re:Real player (5, Interesting)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411597)

How is this offtopic? Experiences with Real Player were so unsatisfactory that many people I know won't use ever use a RealNetworks product.

*buffering*

Perhaps because it's 5 year old FUD that doesn't apply anymore, ever since Real actually started doing good things -- like ignoring codecs [wikipedia.org] that are probably violating their IP and supporting Open Source Media Initiatives [wikipedia.org] .

Seriously. We get it. Real circa 1990 sucked. Real circa 2008 is actually a pretty good company. Hell, they even added a "download this stream" button to RealPlayer, in open defiance to the MPAA/RIAA. We should be CELEBRATING stuff like this, not attacking them for mistakes of their pas... *BUFFERING*

Re:Real player (2, Insightful)

socsoc (1116769) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411881)

You're right. In another ten years when MS releases their flavor of linux, I'll still be flogging Vista and you'll tell me that they started doing good things and that they made Enterprise/Gov see the light about FOSS.

Still doesn't change the fact that the company left a bad taste in many people's mouths... Can I interest you in some Enron stock, they're all about renewable resources now, I promise.

Re:Real player (0)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412179)

You need to learn to get over it. The past is dead, it's in the past. The ONLY thing that matters is what the company is doing now, and plans to do in the future.

Re:Real player (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24413579)

You forget that this is a website where 45 year old losers congregate to moan about the injustices done to DR.DOS in 1992.

Ease Back (3, Insightful)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412415)

Yeah they left a bad taste, but if they've cleaned up their act, why continue to kick them? Where's the incentive to do the right thing here? Real listened to what we wanted, acted on it, and took extra steps to antagonize **AA members with their download features. Cut them some damn slack.

Re:Real player (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24412595)

It wasn't that long ago that they were spying on us, though. That's why I'm boycotting. Oh, and their UI looks like the entrance to a Tijuana strip club circa 2069.

Re:Real player (3, Interesting)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411653)

You know, I think the main reason for that "buffering" problem was broadband wasn't as common then. It got a lot better for me after I got access to high speed connections. Maybe the RealPlayer was just before its time.

Re:Real player (0, Redundant)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411925)

How is this offtopic? Experiences with Real Player were so unsatisfactory that many people I know won't use ever use a RealNetworks product. *buffering*

I really

*buffering*

dont

*buffering*

know what y

*buffering*

ou are ta

*buffering*

lking about...

Re:Real player (2, Interesting)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410715)

Do they pay you for the effort of having to repurchase the same songs? I wasn't silly enough to buy this DRM ladened shite, but if I was, I would insist that they not only offer me vouchers to buy the same songs, but that they also compensate me for my time in repurchasing the same songs. Or did they warn people that they would have to do maintenance on their music collections?

Do they offer a complete library to choose from? (5, Interesting)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410845)

Now wait.

Who said that they were being offered vouchers for the same songs? They implied it, but I don't see anyone saying that every song previously available with DRM be available from Real. The only thing they said is that the songs that are available from Real will be without DRM. There is a huge potential difference there.

Any affected customers want to tell us if they think they can have their entire library transfered over? Does anybody have a clue more than my cynical speculation?

Re:Do they offer a complete library to choose from (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412521)

``Any affected customers want to tell us if they think they can have their entire library transfered over?''

Have it transfered over? No. Rather, they'll have to download every single song all over again, manually, if they want to rebuild their collection. And that is only even possible if (1) the library the coupons give access to has all those songs and (2) the coupons are enough to pay for all that.

Alternatively, of course, they could pay out of their own pocket to download the songs from a different service. Or download them for free from various services. Or hope that someone will release some software that allows them to play the songs they already downloaded and paid for.

Re:Real player (2, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411505)

Err... If your car is recalled due to a fault of the manufacturer do you expect them to pay for the time you took off of work to go get the part fixed?

I understand your idea but it is really quite unrealistic and I think if you insisted that they do so that they would likely just giggle at you.

Meh... I'd want to be compensated too. They're just not going to do it. You insisting that they would (had this happened to you) wouldn't actually get you much other than some entertaining emails.

Re:Real player (2, Insightful)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411751)

If my car was recalled due to a fault by the manufacturer, I would expect them to collect the car, provide an equivalent vehicle while the fault is remedied and then deliver the car. My time is valuable and anyone wanting my custom should respect that.

One might offer to use vouchers to download songs and send an invoice for time and materials with penalty clauses for late payment. Most companies don't like it when people don't accept their offers to resolve claims because it means they are exposed to risk. If you have a legitimate claim, you really can apply some leverage. Accepting their first and cheapest offer isn't all that smart.

They're C*nts, F*ck 'em!

Re:Real player (2, Interesting)

onecheapgeek (964280) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411943)

Well, you had better hope your car is never subject to a recall, because you are going to be SORELY disappointed when they tell you to bring it in between 9 and 5. If they have a courtesy car, you might get one that is vastly different than yours. Otherwise, it's a rental they've arranged on the cheap. Might even have a CD player.

Sure, you can try to make waves, but what is your alternative? You think there's gonna be a lawsuit over this? "You see, Your Honor, they HAVE to stay in business because my music is important. If they go out of business, I'll have to get the music from somewhere else. And that 2 hours is very important to me. So no, them offering to pay to replace my songs WITH FILES SANS DRM isn't enough. I want $80 an hour while I buy the replacements."

Re:Real player (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#24413739)

They do it this way because the vast majority of people will just accept it...
Most people have quite a high threshold before they are willing to kick up a fuss and complain, so companies will target their first offer just below that threshold for the majority of users.

A few people will go to the trouble and complain, and usually end up with a better deal.

That said, this case is a lot better than the recent MSN case, where they are simply turning off the activation servers and completely screwing the customers. If anything, customers here will be *BETTER OFF* than they were before, since they will have the same music but in a more sensible format that they can keep indefinitely.

Re:Real player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24413575)

Uh huh, because they're totally spruiking for your custom when they issue a recall. It's nothing to do with, oh I don't know, saving themselves from a lawsuit by saving your (life/time/money). If you tried to play hardball with a recall on something that was potentially dangerous (read: car) and you crashed, who do you think the courts are going to side with - the company that did all that was legally required of them for a recall, or the guy who flatly refused to comply with a recall despite being aware of the danger? This is what they're doing here. Don't confuse a recall with a singular defective product which they've done nothing to remedy.

If you absolutely MUST be some kind of a rebel, then you have to realise your only leverage in these situations is threatening to take your business ELSEWHERE - but this does not apply to countering recalls.

Re:Real player (1)

centuren (106470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412591)

Do they pay you for the effort of having to repurchase the same songs? I wasn't silly enough to buy this DRM ladened shite, but if I was, I would insist that they not only offer me vouchers to buy the same songs, but that they also compensate me for my time in repurchasing the same songs. Or did they warn people that they would have to do maintenance on their music collections?

I don't see that they have any obligation to compensate consumers for the effort. It's too far of a stretch to call false advertising. They were selling a digital download of a song. If I were silly enough to buy their DRM crippled product (your wording was better, I think), I would lament having made a bad purchase, and distrust any and all DRM.

I definitely sympathize with your sentiment, but barring public safety issues, it's not a company's responsibility to sell a quality product. The hope is that consumers learn what constitutes quality, and that company's learn that quality is the best business plan.

Unfortunately, consumers also buy experience, image, and convenience. This is why DRM is the model of success in the online music download world, thanks to the success of the iTunes Music store (another seller of a low-quality product, but wrapped in a slick user-experience).

Re:Real player (4, Informative)

hax0r_this (1073148) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410983)

As shitty as Real Player is, Real Networks isn't such a bad company. Their Helix media framework is mostly open source, and they gave $500,000 to the OSU Open Source Lab a few years back for their work in using it on the OLPC project.

Re:Real player (3, Insightful)

daemonburrito (1026186) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411437)

That's probably still not enough to overcome the bad blood with users who interacted with the malware known as RealPlayer, and their pushing of the privacy envelope.

I remember a tech support call around 2000, where their representative tried to hard-sell an acquaintance of mine into buying customer data from them. It was like a street corner hustle.

Re:Real player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411107)

Not enough, apparently.

Re:Real player (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411229)

100 billion dollars!!!

Useing real player/jukebox in this day and age is like useing netscape navigator...
They were crap when they first came out and they have only gotten worse...

Re:Real player (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411477)

Rhapsody, the music service by the guys that make Real Player, uses MP3s for their music format. Surprisingly, they even screw this up. The music available on all major competing music services (Amazon, iTunes, etc) sounds substantially better, even in the same format, than what is offered on Rhapsody. Now this is just my opinion. But I believe it as fact.

The quality difference is such that I wonder if they watermark the files with downloader's credit card information.

Re:Real player (2)

Jonny_eh (765306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412333)

"Now this is just my opinion. But I believe it as fact."

Well, which is it? Opinion or fact?

Warning!: Ice cream analogy (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24413217)

"Now this is just my opinion. But I believe it as fact."

Well, which is it? Opinion or fact?

I believe chocolate to have a better taste than vanilla. That is just my opinion. And I believe it is not a fact, but just an opinion. I also believe chocolate has better health benefits than vanilla. That is just my opinion. But I believe it as a fact.

What GP is saying is simple: I *know* this is an opinion (mine) but I *believe* it to be a fact too - much more likely true than false. To ask the same person "which is it?" is to have totally misconstrued the point.

Re:Real player (1)

IHateEverybody (75727) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412007)

How much would they have to pay you to interact with the company that makes Real Player?

A second coupon will be provided for a free clothespin that users can clip to their nose when dealing with Rhapsody.

Re:Real player (2, Interesting)

eWarz (610883) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412167)

RealPlayer may be bad, but as a yahoo user who has recently migrated to rhapsody, I can tell you that Rhapsody is superior in every way and I've NEVER had a problem from them. They are WAY better than yahoo music. You can also listen to the music on linux/os-x for their subscription service thanks to the flashed based web player. I HATED real player, but rhapsody is nothing like it.

About Time (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24410235)

But what they really should do is offer a unique ID, so that you can listen to it anywhere in the world, anytime you want.

MOD PARENT UP! (3, Insightful)

Oxen (879661) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410269)

Good point. And furthermore, you should get that ID with a hard copy of your music, so you can download music if you break your hard copy.

Re:About Time (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410339)

But what they really should do is offer a unique ID, so that you can listen to it anywhere in the world, anytime you want.

You really should take up one of the unlimited-for-a-monthly-fee plans if you want that. Bandwidth is a constant expense, so they're not going to make money selling you unlimited downloads for one-time payments, but most of the download services allow you to multiple devices signed in on their unlimited plans.

Re:About Time (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410595)

Bandwidth is a constant expense

If you're a Yahoo! or Google, it's nominal.

Re:About Time (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411475)

I had Yahoo! Music Unlimited and it was a great service. This service was also transferred over to Rhapsody. (Yahoo users continue to pay $5.99 / mo using Rhapsody, where as Rhapsody typically charges $12.99 / month.) I actually like the subscription services. The Rhapsody music player is surprisingly nice and runs well. Plenty of music to choose from with over 4 million songs.

Re:About Time (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411355)

I don't want to listen to a unique ID anywhere in the world, thanks.

Unexpected (3, Interesting)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410245)

With so much 'stick it to the customer' activity from corporations in the past several years regarding digital music, it is indeed nice to see one of the big players actually offer this without being forced to by a lawsuit. It almost makes up for forcing me to get a Yahoo account to continue using Flickr. Almost.

Re:Unexpected (3, Insightful)

nbert (785663) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410357)

On the other hand they didn't have much choice. Imagine the loss of confidence they would have faced if they had proceeded as planned. I don't know anyone who has ever purchased music there, but I'm hoping that most of them will claim their DRM-less copy. There isn't a valid reason why we should give up rights we had in the days of physical copies - even the lower price is just a compensation for the lack of case and media we used to buy in stores...

Re:Unexpected (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411209)

I, for one, cannot wait for the first big scale internet apps to shut down. Imagine flick shutting down with all you pictures, or gmail taking away all you mail.

This is bound to occur, and will be a joy to watch.

Re:Unexpected (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412627)

I have no problem with either of those possibilities. Anything offered free shouldn't be considered stable. Now, if Flickr went south, and they didn't refund my annual 'pro' fee, that could be an issue.

Re:Unexpected (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24413607)

I, for one, cannot wait for the first big scale internet apps to shut down. Imagine flick shutting down with all you pictures, or gmail taking away all you mail.

This is bound to occur, and will be a joy to watch.

Your examples are so large that someone would buy them just for the userbase. Maintaining a bunch of servers is actually quite cheap.

The whole reason that Yahoo was able offer this is because hardly anyone used their music service in the first place.

Re:Unexpected (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412465)

Microsoft seems to be getting away with shutting down the DRM servers for their MSN music store just fine. I think some people are even buying DRM'd music from their new Zune music store.
Perhaps we have Microsoft to thank for the current trend of music without DRM? I can't imagine retailers selling these DRM'd WMAs were too happy when Microsoft stabbed them in the back by creating a new DRM system that only worked with Zune. Well, I think they sell music that works on other players, but allow no one else to sell DRM'd music that works on the Zune.

Well... (4, Interesting)

harryHenderson (729254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410255)

at least they are doing the stand up thing. However it would be better if it weren't opt-in.

Re:Well... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410709)

However it would be better if it weren't opt-in.

But how many years have we clamoring for exactly that? :/

Surprising (5, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410291)

I really am surprised that Yahoo stepped up like this. Really Surprised.

The offer to receive a DRM-free MP3 seems pretty darn reasonable to me. I wonder why Microsoft did not stand up and offer anything remotely as reasonable as this considering their size when they were going to shut down their DRM servers.

DRM has always been a less valuable product inherently, but Yahoo has backed up the customer and made sure they will be able to play the music they paid for.

I almost feel.... hopeful.

Good for Yahoo. They did the right thing.

Re:Surprising (4, Insightful)

Optic7 (688717) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410779)

I wonder why Microsoft did not stand up and offer anything remotely as reasonable as this considering their size when they were going to shut down their DRM servers.

Probably because that would have been akin to an admission by Microsoft that their product (WMA with DRM) sucks and should be avoided.

Yahoo has nothing riding on WMA or on music file DRM so they could care less about the impression that this makes for WMA or for DRM in general. After all, they were (one of?) the first major music store trying to convince the major labels to offer non-DRM music files, and the first to offer a song from a major label artist on unprotected MP3 for sale, as an experiment a couple of years ago.

Re:Surprising (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411197)

I wonder why Microsoft did not stand up and offer anything remotely as reasonable as this considering their size when they were going to shut down their DRM servers.

Probably because that would have been akin to an admission by Microsoft that their product (WMA with DRM) sucks and should be avoided.

"akin to admission"??

Microsoft taking down the DRM servers and TOTALLY screwing their customers does not require an admission of guilt. It's a smoking gun. Bloody hands. Their spooge all over the crime scene, etc., etc., etc.

If Microsoft had stepped up and supported their customers rights to enjoy music they paid for, then it would of have been more like pleading guilty in an airtight homicide case where they had EVERYTHING on you.

I was mostly being facetious when writing that. I personally feel that Microsoft did not do the right thing simply because they could afford to not do the right thing. It was already abundantly clear at that time that DRM was going to fail. I think everybody knew it. DRM has now been a total failure with Music, and it will only be a matter of time before it fails with other media as well.

Microsoft probably came to pragmatic conclusion that everybody that is going to hate them, already hates them. Everybody that could go somewhere else, already is somewhere else. They would just wait for the lawsuit and settle it and that would still be pennies on the dollar for everybody they hurt.

That is WHY I am so surprised by Yahoo's actions here. Other than ethics, there really is nothing forcing them to do the right thing here. I gave up on good ethical companies existing a long time ago. At this point I am so cynical that I will just settle for a quality product without malware being installed on it in while being manufactured in China.

AND while I am having so much fun with this.. The act of Microsoft taking down it's DRM servers makes them so guilty beyond a reasonable doubt it would be like Michael Jackson getting caught for molesting little boys again. Except this time there is video footage.... with proper lighting... good angles.... and a MONEY SHOT :)

Re:Surprising (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#24413471)

Microsoft taking down the DRM servers and TOTALLY screwing their customers does not require an admission of guilt. It's a smoking gun. Bloody hands. Their spooge all over the crime scene, etc., etc., etc.

This is Microsoft we're talking about. If you showed video footage of a board meeting in which every single executive explicitly agreed that WMA with DRM was never going to work and the only sane thing to do was cut their losses and shut down the DRM servers, they'd accept that the footage was genuine and still deny that there was anything wrong with their DRM.

Re:Surprising (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411005)

DRM has always been a less valuable product inherently, but Yahoo has backed up the customer and made sure they will be able to play the music they paid for.

Indeed. Hopefully other companies will learn from this as well.

Re:Surprising (1)

mdmarkus (522132) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411707)

Maybe Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo because they're tired of even them making them look bad? -- We are all little storms.

Re:Surprising (1)

maglor_83 (856254) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411791)

I wonder why Microsoft did not stand up and offer anything remotely as reasonable as this considering their size when they were going to shut down their DRM servers.

You do?!

Surprising anyone would think this is okay. (0, Redundant)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411823)

No they didn't do the right thing. The right thing is to offer DRM-free music in a variety of formats (lossless included) in the first place under a license that allows non-commercial and verbatim sharing. Their decision to sell DRM-riddled music wasn't an accident, it wasn't a mistake that they're now rectifying to make amends. They're offering this to not look so bad in the eyes of the non-critical listeners who are too timid to ask for not being screwed in the first place.

When Yahoo! says "But Davis said Yahoo opted to shut down its system to avoid "delaying the inevitable." keep in mind that it's these same proprietors who said DRM was inevitable and we had all just better get used to it. It's not working out for them and they're running from DRM like rats from a sinking ship. Don't let them forget that they were ready to sell your interests (in actually doing reasonable things with media you purchased) down the river.

Re:Surprising anyone would think this is okay. (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412161)

Yes they DID do the right thing.

With all due respect, you are complaining about the past. I agree with you about DRM and pretty much everything in your post, but you are still missing a very important FACT.

When Yahoo did have to shut down it's DRM servers, which is as you say the "inevitable", they have made arrangements that ALL of their customers get OPTIONS.

Those options are 1) Get a refund. 2) Get a DRM-FREE MP3 from another provider.

Now you are obviously upset that DRM existed in the first place. You question it's motivations and affect on the consumer's best interests. That's all fine and dandy. Let's just give credit where credit is due okay? Yahoo stepped up and made it right for their customers.

Now if you want to argue something, then please try explaining to me how giving coupons for DRM-FREE MP3's is NOT doing the right thing. That would be a productive argument.

Re:Surprising anyone would think this is okay. (0, Troll)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24413619)

No they didn't do the right thing. The right thing is to offer DRM-free music in a variety of formats (lossless included) in the first place under a license that allows non-commercial and verbatim sharing.

No, the right thing to do would be to kick you in the balls until you bleed to death. And my suggestion is more realistic than yours.

Duh... they had to. (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410293)

"Company complies with rules to avoid chargebacks" should be the headline.

When you sell a perpetual license that needs to be reauthorized every so often, you have to either keep your license server up forever, or ofter to give customers all their money back.

We saw this happen when Google Video shut down. At first Google thought they could get away with giving out Google Checkout credits, but the credit card industry upheld chargebacks so they had to refund all credit card charges too.

Re:Duh... they had to. (2, Insightful)

goaliemn (19761) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410631)

They didn't sell a perpetual license, or at least it wasn't worded as such in the fine print. Much like Itunes, there, more than likely, is something in there covering them if they shut down the servers or if the DRM stops working for some reason. Itunes can shut your music off for almost any reason. I'm sure yahoo had similar wording in their agreement.

Re:Duh... they had to. (5, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410711)

Just because a contract says something doesn't mean it is legally valid.

Re:Duh... they had to. (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410905)

Agreed.

Every time a lawyer draws up a contract that is not legally binding, there should be some penalty to them. Perhaps a three-strikes style law is in order. If you have serious legal problems in three contracts that you've drawn up in the last decade, you should have your license to practice law revoked. The "legal" maneuvering done by many companies should be illegal, and not tolerated.

Re:Duh... they had to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411301)

Every time someone agrees to a contract they don't intend to honor (the customer in this case refusing to do without the music if Yahoo takes the server offline) there should be a penalty.

Re:Duh... they had to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411719)

actually it does. That's how contracts work

Re:Duh... they had to. (1)

devman (1163205) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412049)

...and just because you say something in a contract isn't valid doesn't make it so.

Re:Duh... they had to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24413513)

Just because a contract says something doesn't mean it is legally valid.

Actually by and large unless it breaks the law conditions on a contract are valid. There are exceptions and they tend to vary state to state and often involve reasonable expectation. Buying music tracks at a fair market price and being able to play them is a reasonable expectation. Ten or twenty years from now the argument could be made that normal media would have worn out but being tired of loosing money and taking your marbles and going home isn't actually legal. Most corporations set up smaller companies to take the fall when they get into a loosing proposition Yahoo had failed to do this. They wanted it under the Yahoo name so if it cost them a few million a year to maintain servers there's legal term for this, Tough. They arranged this deal to avoid having to maintain the servers because if the customers sued they'd win. In this case they have attempted to fulfill the terms with a legitimate alternative protecting themselves from a class action. Corporations actually can't say we don't want to play no more and still continue to do business. They can throw lawyers at it but they can loose big time.

Re:Duh... they had to. (1)

afaik_ianal (918433) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411471)

Much like Itunes, there, more than likely, is something in there covering them if they shut down the servers.

Not only are you not a lawyer, but you are also guessing at the contents of the license. How do you actually survive in the real world?

Re:Duh... they had to. (5, Interesting)

rtechie (244489) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410653)

Mod the parent up please.

As he said, Yahoo HAD to do this. Killing the license server violates their contract with the credit card company for "non-delivered goods". As far as Visa is concerned, breaking the tracks is the same as shipping an empty box. Most people don't grasp that chargebacks are a major money-maker for the credit card companies, and they'll typically bend over backwards to accommodate the customer because each one can net then between $50 and $500 for Visa/Mastercard/etc. Yes, some merchants really are billed $500 for each chargeback.

They would also face an inevitable class-action as pissed-off customers attempt to recover their losses.

One day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24410301)

itunes will have the same problem, they will return your money?... NO!!, they will sue you for try to circumvent the idiotic DRM.

Re:One day (-1, Flamebait)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410323)

Yahoo isn't returning your money.

In the meantime, don't forget, "Mix, Burn, Rip".

Re:One day (3, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410371)

Did you even read the summary? They're offering refunds to those who have problems with accepting the MP3 downloads.

Re:One day (-1, Flamebait)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410409)

Did you RTFA? They're offering coupons to download the songs as MP3s from Rhapsody, not refunds.

Apple would likely let you upgrade the tracks to iTunes Plus for free.

Re:One day (4, Informative)

drcagn (715012) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410441)

I didn't even RTFA and I still understood this:

Refunds are available for users who "have serious problems with this arrangement," Yahoo said.

yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24410319)

> Nice to see them step-up and do something, especially without trading one DRM scheme for another

They only did this after the internet cried bloody murder. Counts for nothing.

Now if only... (5, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410391)

...we could get some compensation for all of the unlistenable music that has come out in recent years, then perhaps we could move on.

Re:Now if only... (3, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412205)

...we could get some compensation for all of the unlistenable music that has come out in recent years, then perhaps we could move on.

Yeah, because clearly everyone who buys music these days only buys it because a gun is pointed at their head. It couldn't be that people actually *enjoy* it.

In other news, those damn kids are on your lawn and playing their crappy music too loud again.

Want DRM? Support it! (5, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410533)

A good change to the DMCA would be that if someone wants to sell something with DRM that they have to support it until the copyright expires, and then have an unencrypted version placed in escrow for when {the copyright expires, the company goes bankrupt, the company turns off the drm servers}.

Now the infinity+ copyright times seem excessive when it comes back on the music sellers.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410647)

Absolutely. This is the only way I will buy anything with DRM ever again. Yahoo seems to be taking the gentlemen's approach. Which really just saves the the effort and money of the class action lawsuit I was preparing to file. This would have been a likely settlement outcome. Still, I'm not touching DRM with a ten foot pole anymore.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (1)

ender81b (520454) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411035)

That is such a good idea it'll never get implemented. Yowser though, that's a fantastic idea.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (3, Insightful)

hellwig (1325869) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411093)

I like the idea, but there is a problem with the reasoning. Copyright is an implied right. I don't have to put copyright notices on my works nor register them with some central governing agency. If i write a book or record a song, the copyright is implied. It is understood that I own the work. At the same time, it is my responsibility to police my work, and to seek legal compensation from people who violate my copyright. As such, DRM is not an extension of the copyright, it is the mechanism these companies use to protect the copyright. A song in MP3 format isn't copyright-free, the producer just realized they're causing more problems than they're solving by using DRM.

The only question becomes one of consumer protection (and unless you live in California you're screwed). Was their agreement with you worded such that you were right to assume that the song would be available to use at your discretion (i.e. without dependance on their DRM servers), or did they leave enough loopholes in to make it known that the song will only work in the presence of their DRM servers, and that those servers were not guaranteed to work past a certain point?

If they didn't properly cover their ass, and implied that the copy they sold you would work forever, then yes, I completely agree with your statement.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (4, Interesting)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411413)

I don't have to put copyright notices on my works nor register them with some central governing agency.

But if you want to sell DRM'd copies, you should supply a non-DRM'd copy to ensure that once the copyright expires, there is another version available. This has the benefit of ensuring a richer public domain (because many works simply disappear before the end of copyright).

However, the parent's suggestion is not without problems. First and foremost, where does the DRM-free copy go? The government isn't (and shouldn't) pay for a database of the files. You can't mandate that a business stay in operation. What would be the incentive for private industry to store files without sharing them for decades? Is most of the stuff we buy even worth anything when copyright expires?

On the last point, most of what is produced vanishes because it doesn't matter. It has no real significance, no staying power, and a century from now, nobody will even care about it. Thus, the inability to access DRM'd files is a non-issue for most of the consumer product. Products with the enduring popularity or cultural significance to survive copyright will almost certainly be maintained from the original in a useful manner (whereas a WMA from 2008 might be useless, low quality trash in 2100). Very little is available solely in DRM-wrapped formats; it's a consumer option for low price disposables. Contrary to the Slashdot conspiracy, no media industry is hoping for a pay-for-play setup being the only option. It might be the wet dream of a few greedy people, but as someone who works daily with content creators seeking to protect their interests and sell their work, that's the exception, not the rule.

Once the copyright expires, it doesn't matter whether you acquired it as a DRM'd file, a DRM-free file, or on CD. You can just delete the DRM'd file and acquire a then-modern-format, high quality copy wherever you like.

Was their agreement with you worded such that you were right to assume that the song would be available to use at your discretion (i.e. without dependance on their DRM servers), or did they leave enough loopholes in to make it known that the song will only work in the presence of their DRM servers, and that those servers were not guaranteed to work past a certain point?

This is a little backwards. Unless they made an explicit guarantee about future availability and compatibility, future prospects are just that: prospective. Supposition. A gamble. If technology, society, or any other element changes, rendering an investment worthless, you just lost. It's not any different anywhere else.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (1)

assassinator42 (844848) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412619)

Why shouldn't the government pay for a database of files? Say, at the Library of Congress? Or maybe it could be delegated to one of the other libraries/library systems in the United States.
Although, as you mention, this isn't really a problem for audio as most of it is available without DRM anyway. It seems software (including games) is much more likely to be released only with DRM, and thus should be a bigger concern.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412889)

Municipal libraries are horribly underfunded as-is, and the Library of Congress archives works of significance, but does not retain all works submitted.

The cost of maintaining such a system, and its existence itself, falls outside of LoC's mandate and budget. It would be simultaneously dismissed by different groups as frivolous spending, an unnecessary archive of insignificant works, an extension of government control (by those conspiracy theorists who believe the government would withhold certain works), and a system perpetuating something they hate (by those who refuse to recognize eminently valid IP). A small, but powerful, segment of Big Business would also hate the idea, since there is no legal requirement that they prepare a DRM-free version. They lose the ability to enforce their exclusive rights after time, but that's not the same as forcing them to hand over the keys.

Taxpayers also have a tendency to kill things that are reasonable as a form of protest against the things they don't like paying for. Unfortunately, any given expenditure is going to have detractors, and so this is a major source of political gridlock and it tends to kill the relatively small potatoes. It's also the first target for budget cuts (just like the city library is one of the first services cut).

It is, for all intents and purposes, an idea too reasonable to be palatable. Such a requirement would require an Act of Congress and the president, without being eviscerated or overextended in the handling of that particular football. It also has questionable return on investment potential, since most of the content, software included, is of little to no value in the future, hence its commoditization in the present, so justifying its existence would mainly be for placation of a fraction of the anti-DRM crowd.

Re:Want DRM? Support it! (1)

Myrcutio (1006333) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411959)

If they simply sold you a periodic license to listen to a song, rather than selling you a song itself, they could legally take it away after a month and have no repercussions.

Plenty of people pay for video games every month without actually getting anything more than the right to access a server for a while.

Hooray. (5, Funny)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410541)

And there was much rejoicing from all 12 people who signed up for the service.

Re:Hooray. (4, Funny)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410679)

When asked about how soon after the servers are turned off users could expect their coupons, a Yahoo spokesperson said "the information is streaming in from Real, and we expec...Buffering...."

Re:Hooray. (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411747)

t the coupons to be available sh... Buffering...

Negative Karma (1)

c0d3r (156687) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410639)

Dang, there goes all that negative karma I was racking up every time I listened to Ice-T/Body Count's Cop Killer and Anything from 2Live Crew.

RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody. (1)

ShadowGamers (999766) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410649)

I thought we were supposed to be forgetting about that company?

Compensation for unplayable music? (4, Funny)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 6 years ago | (#24410735)

Does that mean Ashley Simpson fans on Yahoo get a full refund?

Man.... (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411841)

...That joke was so ripe for the picking. But I couldn't agree more. I think all Celine Dion purchasers should also get a hefty refund check.

th1s is gOatsex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24410817)

many of us are escape them by turd-suckingly Influence, the corporate common knowledge America. You, coomunity. The

Am I in the right place? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411083)

It seems I'm reading a story that is relatively positive combining (lack of) DRM, MP3, and corporate responsibility, so surely I must be lurking on moc.todhsals.www\\:ptth at the moment.

Good for Yahoo (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24411249)

One thing we can know for sure is that if MS had purchased Yahoo already Yahoo would NOT now be offering money back or replacement music.

Why do I say that? Because of what ms ALREADY did when they shut down their drm music business.

This crap about Yahoo doing it because they "have to" is a bunch of bull. Yahoo could have waited until lawsuits were filed and then played games in court, BUT THEY DIDN'T. They lived up to their responsibilities like a decent corporate citizen. Saying they did this under duress is saying like saying man who doesn't beat his wife only refrains from doing so because there is a law prohibiting it.

Too bad MS can't act like Yahoo, but as we all know it's against their character to act in the public good.

Remove DRM (1)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 6 years ago | (#24411595)

Is it not possible for Yahoo to release some sort of official DRM-removing software, along the lines of FairPlay? (disclaimer - never bought DRM music so is only vaguely aware of how it works)

Re:Remove DRM (2, Informative)

FLEB (312391) | more than 6 years ago | (#24412035)

Without the license server up, you'd likely have to crack or backdoor the DRM somehow, which would end up being a blanket solution applicable to a wide range of other WMAs. I doubt any respectable player the size and stature of Yahoo! would do such a thing, and they might even be DMCA-liable if they did.

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