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Walmart Caves On DRM Removal

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the just-kidding dept.

Music 215

cmunic8r99 writes in with an email he received from walmart.com yesterday evening about the pending shutdown of their DRM services (which we discussed a while back). Walmart has reconsidered and won't be shutting off its DRM servers after all. They are still moving to an all-MP3 store, but won't break all the DRMed music its customers have already downloaded; this because of "feedback from the customers."

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Wal-Mart (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326429)

Only did this so that people wouldn't sue them.

Re:Wal-Mart (4, Insightful)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#25326463)

this because of "feedback from the customers."

Only did this so that people wouldn't sue them.

You say tomato, I say fruit. Whatever.

Re:Wal-Mart (2, Funny)

jedidiah (1196) | about 6 years ago | (#25327703)

Whatever else you might want to say about Walmart, you at
least have to give them credit for being good at pandering
to their customers. That says as much about the Walmart
shopper as it does Walmart, but that's another rant...

Re:Wal-Mart (5, Funny)

Shikaku (1129753) | about 6 years ago | (#25326509)

Tagged: suddenoutbreakoflawsuits

Re:Wal-Mart (0, Offtopic)

BenjiTheGreat98 (707903) | about 6 years ago | (#25327153)

Speaking of Tags, does somebody know how to make them not show? I have in my setting 'Show Tags' as unchecked.

Re:Wal-Mart (0, Flamebait)

JosKarith (757063) | about 6 years ago | (#25327349)

Re-tagged as : Business as usual in the U$A

Re:Wal-Mart (4, Funny)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 6 years ago | (#25327763)

Modded: $tupid overu$e of dollar $ign$

Re:Wal-Mart (5, Insightful)

jlarocco (851450) | about 6 years ago | (#25326769)

Only did this so that people wouldn't sue them.

What's your point? Walmart was looking out for their bottom line? You don't really think Walmart is in business because they get warm fuzzy feelings selling cheap shit to cheap people, do you? A lawsuit would have been an expensive waste of time for everybody involved, and they almost certainly would have lost. It was clearly in Walmart's best interest to avoid it.

That's the way it's supposed to work.

Re:Wal-Mart (2, Funny)

Schadrach (1042952) | about 6 years ago | (#25327055)

IOW, the way it is supposed to work is that they should, whenever the expected lawsuits are less expensive, shut down the DRM servers, and effectively render useless that which their customers have purchased?

You know, I need to start manufacturing things with built-in self destruct switches and simply blow up my customers purchases when I need more sales. =)

Re:Wal-Mart (4, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#25327175)

"You know, I need to start manufacturing things with built-in self destruct switches and simply blow up my customers purchases when I need more sales. =)"

If these are in the form of a 'vest'....I think you'll find a ready made market over there in the middle east. Heck....make it voice activated:

LaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLaLa....BOOM!

Re:Wal-Mart (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#25327185)

IOW, the way it is supposed to work is that they should, whenever the expected lawsuits are less expensive, shut down the DRM servers, and effectively render useless that which their customers have purchased?

That's exactly how it works. Then Walmart gets sued, ordered to pay compensation to the plaintiffs, and everyone's happy. The victims are compensated and Walmart no longer has to maintain the DRM servers.

You know, I need to start manufacturing things with built-in self destruct switches and simply blow up my customers purchases when I need more sales. =)

Your customers will be able to sue you for the cost of replacing the devices. Not really going to be a great business model.

Re:Wal-Mart (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | about 6 years ago | (#25328157)

I need to start manufacturing things with built-in self destruct switches and simply blow up my customers purchases when I need more sales. =)

Microsoft got the patent on that ages ago.

-

Re:Wal-Mart (5, Interesting)

gsgriffin (1195771) | about 6 years ago | (#25327525)

Agreed. Those of us in America should live outside America for a while. I got back from living in South Africa for over a year. I wish they had more lawsuits! You heard me right. It because of lawsuit and the threat oif lawsuits that companies take us into consideration and have to build things safer. Ever bought a toaster outside of the US. You'll burn you hand the first time you use it. Not in America. The only toasters you find will be more carefully designed and labeled. Why because of the threat of lawsuits. We still get cheap products. The unsafe products are shipped from China to other parts of the world. Hate the laywer. Like the eventual product.

Re:Wal-Mart (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25327921)

Ever bought a toaster outside of the US. You'll burn you hand the first time you use it. Not in America. The only toasters you find will be more carefully designed and labeled. Why because of the threat of lawsuits.

I'm going to file a lawsuit against you for dangerous abuse of grammar. Hopefully that will make this post safer to read so my grammar-nazi-trained eyes and brain don't get burned the first time I read it.

Re:Wal-Mart (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | about 6 years ago | (#25327815)

On the plus side, it really highlights to others the long term consequences of selling DRM'd merchandise. DRM should only be used for subscription services. Also, now that WalMart has gone to selling unencumbered MP3s, I've finally started buying music on line.

Re:Wal-Mart (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | about 6 years ago | (#25327411)

Horse shit. Walmart spends more on toilet paper for their in-store restrooms in a month than a lawsuit over this would have cost them. Plus I'd be willing to bet that there is fine print in the user agreement for all those DRMed tracks somewhere that says words to the effect of "we can turn it off any time with a few days notice and its your problem not ours".

It probably really was customer feedback and the fact that this was making Walmart look bad. Bad press is far more damaging than some piddly ol' nickel and dime lawsuit.

Re:Wal-Mart (4, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#25327583)

Walmart spends more on toilet paper for their in-store restrooms in a month than a lawsuit over this would have cost them.

No, because they would have likely lost the lawsuit and the judge would have done one of two things:
1. Forced them to pay compensation to the people who bought the music.
2. Forced them to escrow money to keep the servers running.

Add in lawyer fees (plaintiff and defendant), and it is clear that they should just take #2 without the fight.

Plus I'd be willing to bet that there is fine print in the user agreement for all those DRMed tracks somewhere that says words to the effect of "we can turn it off any time with a few days notice and its your problem not ours".

I guarantee that is in there somewhere. But that doesn't make it enforceable.

It probably really was customer feedback and the fact that this was making Walmart look bad.

It was probably that, too. Not everything is black and white :) The added publicity from a lawsuit would have been detrimental as well.

Re:Wal-Mart (2, Funny)

nabsltd (1313397) | about 6 years ago | (#25327891)

Walmart spends more on toilet paper for their in-store restrooms in a month than a lawsuit over this would have cost them.

If you sue for the same sorts of "losses" that the RIAA sues for, then that $100,000+ per track would add up pretty fast.

Even with miserable total sales of 10,000 tracks, that'd be a billion dollar lawsuit.

Feedback ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326433)

probably a nice word was said in WallMarts shell-like by a rather expensive lawyer
rather than any of their "customers"

Re:Feedback ... (4, Insightful)

wish bot (265150) | about 6 years ago | (#25326731)

They'll just quietly try it again in a year. Mark my words.

Re:Feedback ... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#25327601)

"They'll just quietly try it again in a year. Mark my words."

Oh...they will most certainly shut it off at some point. I mean..since that program is no longer earning money for them, this is just a cost for server, power and man hours to maintain it. This will not run in perpetuity...it will get shut off at some point in the future. Hey, if you bought DRM music, this is a possibility you should have considered.

Re:Feedback ... (1)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | about 6 years ago | (#25327927)

Undoubtedly. If they really cared they'd go ahead and replace everyone's craptastic DRM'd tracks with the new DRM free MP3s they're selling. But they won't. So, you know, maybe the people that bought them in the first place will have learned their lesson.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326441)

first post

Presumably... (5, Insightful)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 6 years ago | (#25326445)

... they have a list of who bought which track. Wouldn't it be simpler to just send them non-DRMed copies of things they've already bought? At the very least, they could offer a discount for people re-buying tracks in a non-DRMed format.

Re:Presumably... (4, Interesting)

Gewalt (1200451) | about 6 years ago | (#25326515)

They do not have the rights to take such actions as you propose. Only Apple/iTunes was smart enough to get that written into their contract.

Re:Presumably... (3, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | about 6 years ago | (#25326923)

Do it anyway. It would be fun watching tiny RIAA try to sue billion-dollar Walmart.

In my view all Walmart would be doing is simply trading "broken items" with new working items. Just like trading a broken radio for a working radio. That's called good customer service, and Walmart would gain far more money from their happy customers, then they'd lose against a mosquito like RIAA.

Walmart isn't judgement-proof... (3, Informative)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25327337)

There's been plenty of people who've sued Walmart, and won, even over smaller issues than beelyuns of imaginary dollars.

And Walmart's reactions AFTER the lawsuit are often completely disproportionate. Apparently, Walmart employees can get disciplined for working during their breaks now, because someone who had to work through their lunch break a bunch of times sued over it, and won. If you ask a Walmart employee for help and they say they're on break, and they can't, they really mean it.

Re:Walmart isn't judgement-proof... (2, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | about 6 years ago | (#25327899)

>>>Walmart employees can get disciplined for working during their breaks now...

Most stores have had that restriction for years. I got disciplined for working my break at JCPenney, and that was back in 1992! Don't blame the store; it's the government's fault that things are that way. The stores are merely trying to protect themselves form government punishment.

Back to topic:

- If Walmart sold DRM songs, and Walmart turns-off the DRM servers, those songs would be non-functional.
- Walmart has an *obligation* to replace those broken songs with working songs (or get sued by angry consumers).
- I'm sure any competent judge would recognize that basic fact, and throw-away any RIAA lawsuit as anti-consumer.

In fact if the judge was particularly intelligent, he'd probably remind RIAA that they have already been slapped once for restricting retailers' freedom of trade, forming an illegal cartel, and anti-consumer "CD price fixing", and that he and other judges are still watching RIAA very carefully to see if they become a repeat offender.

Re:Presumably... (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | about 6 years ago | (#25328021)

In my view all Walmart would be doing is simply trading "broken items" with new working items. Just like trading a broken radio for a working radio.

Except that the RIAA would argue that this isn't normal property, it's intellectual property, and thus more magical somehow and immune from common customer service. Just shop for the right district to find a judge they can bamboozle into believing that, and they're golden.

Re:Presumably... (1)

Eccles (932) | about 6 years ago | (#25327101)

Offering to make a CD backup of the collection of any user who complains might be doable, though.

Re:Presumably... (5, Informative)

yincrash (854885) | about 6 years ago | (#25326531)

The problem with that is that Walmart probably has a contract with record labels that they made when they started the DRM service, and reoffering nonDRMed files would either require breaking the contract which risks a lawsuit, making a new contract with the record labels to allow them to reoffer DRM tracks for free (which would cost walmart tons because there is no way record labels would be interested in letting that happen w/o being paid a second time).

the cheapest short term solution to keep their customers happy is just to leave the DRM servers up.

Re:Presumably... (3, Insightful)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 6 years ago | (#25326587)

Even if walmart has to pay the record companies out of its own pocket, what's the break even point? You pay for a bunch of MP3s once or you pay to maintain servers forever. At some people, the MP3 option becomes cheaper.

LK

Re:Presumably... (4, Insightful)

yincrash (854885) | about 6 years ago | (#25326621)

I think walmart is gambling that before that point comes, people will have forgotten or given up on their DRMed music and they will be able to shut off their servers.

Re:Presumably... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25327305)

I guess you have to think about what portion of their market stops listening to music after a few months when it's no longer popular, and what portion continues to enjoy songs even after they've been off the radio for years.

Re:Presumably... (2, Informative)

qubex (206736) | about 6 years ago | (#25326691)

I strongly suspect that within the temporal horizon Walmart considers, the cost of maintaining minimal authentication severs is absolutely minimal.

They have the hardware already (obviously), idem for the maintenance contracts, their only variable cost is bandwidth. At the very least, this will stop rising as nobody will be authorising new music.

I expect their authentication server's performance will gradually degrade as they cease spending money on maintenance and upgrades, but it will remain basically usable - avoiding them the lawsuits.

This, basically, accounts for the total of their NPV.

Re:Presumably... (1)

internerdj (1319281) | about 6 years ago | (#25326793)

Having bought some songs from walmart or more correctly having exercised many free offers for songs from Walmart's music store, I recieved one of those emails. They also suggested in the email to burn the songs onto a music cd. Unspoken but probably hoped for is that the customers will be able to go through the simple process of ripping them back off the CD which is a pretty simple operation for most music consumers now: yielding DRM unladen electronic copies. This would further decrease the load on their servers. And of course slightly CTA, because they can say you were warned about how to get an alternative copy.

Re:Presumably... (1)

JosKarith (757063) | about 6 years ago | (#25327417)

Uh... isn't that going to contravene the DMCA? Oh I see - it's gonna work like :
1) Sell DRM'd tracks to unsuspecting customers.
2) Switch off servers forcing customers to violate the DMCA to use what they've paid for.
3) Sue the infringing bastards.
4) PROFIT!!!

Re:Presumably... (1)

Benfea (1365845) | about 6 years ago | (#25328117)

No offense, but it serves those consumers right for buying MP3s from Wal*Mart. Capitalism requires informed consumers to function properly, and these people were clearly not very well informed.

Rather than a tool (0, Flamebait)

Daimanta (1140543) | about 6 years ago | (#25326447)

to strip the files of DRM they wish to retain control(or get sued heavily by angry people with useless files) of the ability of the user to play DRMed music files.

Walmart should have offered to strip any files and then stop using DRM. The users are no stuck the an uneasy status quo as well as Walmart.

yay for drm

Re:Rather than a tool (1)

bconway (63464) | about 6 years ago | (#25326629)

Walmart should have offered to strip any files and then stop using DRM.

Ummm, they are. It's even stated in this (and previous) articles. And the above summary.

Re:Rather than a tool (3, Informative)

HeavyD14 (898751) | about 6 years ago | (#25326681)

Where? I see they are going to stop using DRM, but not that they will remove it from your files you already have.

Re:Rather than a tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25327241)

isn't that illegal? or to say in the RIAA way, '_ _ * * I L L E G A L * * _ _ (and be damned in hell)'?

Feels like a Scooby-Doo ending. (2, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | about 6 years ago | (#25326461)

Wal-Mart almost succeeding in robbing blind everyone who had purchased from their online store by making their MP3s unplayable, forcing them to pay for their music AGAIN. Now it took the effort of thousands of customers putting pressure on the stores, and they very nearly pulled it off. How long before other online music services decide to try something like this again, or simply go out of business and leave their customers in the cold?

"I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"

Re:Feels like a Scooby-Doo ending. (4, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | about 6 years ago | (#25326525)

All this means is that they will wait another year or maybe two before shutting down the DRM servers. They will in the end, there is no doubt.

Do you seriously think the DRM servers will be running in 20 years? No way.

Re:Feels like a Scooby-Doo ending. (4, Insightful)

Guido von Guido (548827) | about 6 years ago | (#25326703)

All this means is that they will wait another year or maybe two before shutting down the DRM servers. They will in the end, there is no doubt.

Do you seriously think the DRM servers will be running in 20 years? No way.

While I'm in agreement, Walmart could certainly use that year or two in order to attempt to convince the labels to allow Walmart to remove the DRM from users' purchases. I think it'd be in their interest: they'd be able to shut down the DRM servers, they wouldn't take a big PR hit, and this episode would be much less likely to affect future music sales. Walmart is certainly willing to use their leverage to squeeze suppliers, and they probably have enough leverage with the labels to at least give it a try.

Would they get anywhere? Hell if I know.

Re:Feels like a Scooby-Doo ending. (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 years ago | (#25326931)

Or in 200 years, 2000 years, 2 million years? DRM like that is simply ridiculous.

Re:Feels like a Scooby-Doo ending. (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | about 6 years ago | (#25327105)

The sooner they turn the servers off, the better. The public needs to learn that DRM means that they don't own copies of the media, despite what marketing would have them think.

"feedback from the customers." (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326467)

"feedback from the customers."?

What, the customers want DRM? That's an obvious lie.

Re:"feedback from the customers." (5, Informative)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25326639)

You're missing the point.

They might not want DRM, but they do want their previous purchased music to not suddenly become worthless.

Off-topic political game theory (1)

jonaskoelker (922170) | about 6 years ago | (#25326831)

Sig reply (sorry for being OT)

It's better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.

Suppose there are three candidates, A, B and C. Your payoff for the candidates are A=+10, B=-1, C=-1000. If you vote for B or C, your candidate wins [and you get their respective payoffs]. If you vote for A, then C wins. Your options are -1 or -1000. Clearly the best one is -1.

It's a somewhat simplified model of reality, but it applies well enough to give some insight. If you want to add depth, you might say that A wins with some very small base probability, and your vote for A doesn't change it that much; the end result would be that a two-party system is a highly stable equilibrium. And that, unless you like sock puppets that can fit on one pair of hands, is why the USA needs election reform :)

Re:Off-topic political game theory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326965)

Your logic uses hindsight to predict the future. Not to mention the "payoff" is likely your feeling the elected official did a good job, which is based on the almost always faulty assumption that what you feel is a direct result of the action he or she has taken. The USA needs education reform.

Re:Off-topic political game theory (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25327227)

Which is one reason that proportional representation is a good thing, or a mixed system like the one Ontario tried to move to last year.

In addition, usually the pluses and minuses will not be so greatly varied; often A will be +1000, in which case statistically it may be slightly better to vote for B, but that's assuming that A will never win and that voting for B will guarantee a win for them, which are two huge assumptions to be making.

But yeah, we agree that the system needs some definite changes so peoples' votes actually match up with the power they're supposed to have.

Re:Off-topic political game theory (1)

Nursie (632944) | about 6 years ago | (#25327331)

Your weights skew things.

What if A is +10, B is -10,000 and C is -10,001?

B and C are close enough that the choice is pretty irrelevant. Also there needs to be some sort of formula to take into account that third parties (indeed the idea of third parties, as much as any one in particular) have an associated snowball effect. The more people vote for a third option, the more people think that it might just work...

But yeah, electoral reform is the real answer.

Re:Off-topic political game theory (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 6 years ago | (#25327559)

I'm so pissed here in ontario proportional representation failed. WTF is wrong with voters? 'we want our votes to mean less and have broken minority government forever.'

Right. (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25326471)

They are still moving to an all-MP3 store, but won't break all the DRMed music its customers have already downloaded; this because of "threatened lawsuits."

Fixed that for you.

"Feedback" as in ... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25326479)

Heh. That's "feedback" as in "loud screeching noise which can destroy the system if it gets out of control"?

Now if only Sony and Nokia would realise that DRM is deeply despised and that marketing your stuff as "DRM-free" when it patently isn't [today.com] is not a solution to this ... ah, the joys of major label control addiction. As Penn Jilette says: "I would make executives more concerned with making money. I'm serious." [ign.com]

Re:"Feedback" as in ... (2, Informative)

ozphx (1061292) | about 6 years ago | (#25326601)

As Penn Jilette says: "I would make executives more concerned with making money. I'm serious."

Walmarts executives are very interested in making money. They want to sell music, and they aren't especially interested in running DRM servers. They will use whatever method they can to get as much popular music into the hands of paying customers as possible.

$MusicLabel executives on the other hand are also interested in making money. They (until quite recently) seemed to think the best method of doing this was demanding keeping a vicelike DRM grip on the balls of the end-consumer. Until recently they were giving companies that wanted to deliver non-DRM content what is known in business as "the finger".

So possibly a better thing to say would be "$MusicLabel execs need to take a look at the pulse *here* and their finger, which is *here* firmly jammed up their own arsehole." - ozphx [slashdot.org].

Re:"Feedback" as in ... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | about 6 years ago | (#25326825)

See, I'd actually question that - in observable behaviour, they seem to consider absolute control a prerequisite to making money at all. So even though they may think they're thinking about money, control is what they actually work for.

Re:"Feedback" as in ... (4, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 6 years ago | (#25327111)

The discussion gets circular at some point, they are working for control because they think that will get them more money.

A buzzphrase that may or may not still be vocalized by executives is 'data driven decisions'. In practice a good many decision are still made according to gut feelings, or very thin data, or totally invented data. In part this is because getting good data is hard to do and even harder to find clear meaning in.

Here at Slashdot you have a demographic that should be more math oriented than most and yet you have people, this thread is a good example, writing about the financial and legal consequences of the Wal-Mart Corporation running or not running DRM servers. This is without a day's legal education in their lives and with no more financial experience than balancing their own checkbook. And with no clear actual numbers on which to base any of their conclusions.

So just like the above Slashdotters, music execs went with their gut feelings. They expected digital formats to work like every other format in the entire history of their business model. I don't blame them. All of the non-DRM music stores coming online seems to suggest their minds are changing. If these stores make for the music industry I'm sure DRM for music will be mostly abandoned.

HUH?? (0, Offtopic)

Lumpy (12016) | about 6 years ago | (#25326483)

So customers have contacted them and said. " We love DRM it makes the music sound better! Please dont get rid of it."

Yeah right.

Sounds like an excuse to hide that they were paid or given a "better deal" to keep the DRM on there.

If there is one thing that Walmart does is anything that makes walmart more money. They dont give a rats ass about the customer.

Re:HUH?? (5, Funny)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#25326539)

Well, it does. Play a DRMed file. Listen to the quality.

Turn off the DRM servers, transfer the file to another machine and listen to it again.

Listen to the windows error message sound.

Which sounds better?

Re:HUH?? (3, Informative)

ozphx (1061292) | about 6 years ago | (#25326625)

Hey I'll have you know the windows error message sound was mastered by King Crimsons Robert Fripp! [msdn.com] ;)

Re:HUH?? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 6 years ago | (#25327279)

Which sounds better?

Considering what's being sold as music these days, that's a tough question.

Re:HUH?? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 6 years ago | (#25327299)

I can imagine this being advertised on late night TV. "And who can forget 'Windows shutdown noise'. With a running time of almost 3 minutes. Samples from Windows is not available in the shops, but you can order it now."

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326495)

It looks like that Wal-mart's customer cannot and/or will not burn a backup on CD - Its too much hassle, better to keep DRM. With customers like this, DRM will prevail.

Did this really honestly surprise anyone? (1)

ACK!! (10229) | about 6 years ago | (#25326583)

Sure, you could have held out hope that Wal-Mart would do the right thing.

But did you really expect them to?

Come on folks chime in. Did the fact that they caved really come across your desk as news that caught you off guard?

If it did, I got this bridges and some wonderful swamp land in FLA I am selling cheap.

DMCA exemption (5, Interesting)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 6 years ago | (#25326589)

Wouldn't "Disabling a DRM format that is obsolete" be a good candidate to add to the DMCA exemptions? [slashdot.org]

Re:DMCA exemption (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about 6 years ago | (#25326787)

Good thinking Batman

Re:DMCA exemption (2, Insightful)

jank1887 (815982) | about 6 years ago | (#25326943)

how about "providing a tool to enable disabling of DRM when it has become obsolete"? IIRC, under the DMCA it's still technically never legal to distribute any tools that will accomplish this task.

Re:DMCA exemption (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#25327323)

"Where necessary for a customer to continue exercising his or her rights on the media." If they take away the rights that you paid for - which is the whole damn product when you buy something with DRM - then it is entirely reasonable that you can circumvent the DMCA to regain those rights.

The real price of DRM (4, Interesting)

initialE (758110) | about 6 years ago | (#25326633)

For consumers, living in constant doubt of their content. For providers, servers that they will have to run, like, forever. And the admins who maintain them.

Re:The real price of DRM (1)

hey! (33014) | about 6 years ago | (#25327343)

From the provider's standpoint, it's not so hard. Future expenses are always factored into every sale in one way or another, but as a net present value.

The NPV of maintaining the servers forever is, in fact, finite, although the total expenditure over time has no upper bound.

What should give anybody pause when buying a piece of DRM'd music is whether the true cost of maintaining the infrastructure behind the DRM indefinitely is factored into the cost.

Re:The real price of DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25327563)

Thanks to the pirates, I rarely have this doubt. :) Even if every piece of commercial media I had suddenly became DRM-laden and disabled, I could replace it in full from torrents in about a week.

Heh.. (1)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#25326709)

'this because of "feedback from the customers."'

There was a Moes restaurant we used to go to that had a 25% military discount that they took away due to "popular demand." In Alabama, no less.

Re:Heh.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25327245)

Sounds fair to me. I don't see why I should have to pay taxes to the military and pay a third more than them for food when I can afford to eat out. Most people in Alabama make far less money than the soldiers as well as not having free health care. If I live there I'd be pissed to see a 25% discount. Supporting the troops is one thing, being ripped off isn't supporting the troops.

Re:Heh.. (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 6 years ago | (#25327717)

There was a Moes restaurant we used to go to that had a 25% military discount that they took away due to "popular demand." In Alabama, no less.

It's pretty easy to imagine that a restaurant that openly has a policy of "33% surcharge if you're not in the military," would receive a lot of complaints. Most people aren't in the military, so the people in favor of the discrimination would be outnumbered by the people against it.

retarded walmart hate (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | about 6 years ago | (#25326791)

look at all the comments condemning walmart, even though this is the right thing to do. fuck, they listen to their customers and you still think they are evil?

someone are just plains stupid i guess.

Re:retarded walmart hate (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25327483)

someone are just plains stupid i guess.

Indeed.

Re:retarded walmart hate (2, Insightful)

LanMan04 (790429) | about 6 years ago | (#25327679)

They should have done the right thing the first time, without getting yelled at. They got caught doing something stupid, and had to take their hand back out of the cookie jar. It would have been better if we didn't have to beat them into doing the right thing.

virtualization hole (3, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | about 6 years ago | (#25326817)

Apologies for marginally off topic, but couldn't I write an 'audio driver' for Xen, Bochs, .... which took the samples intended for the sound card and store them to a file; un-drming anything? Same for DVDs? Where does this stand with DMCA? I'm not reverse engineering anything....

Re:virtualization hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25326909)

My soundcard in windows already lets me record from the "What U Hear" line, getting a digital copy.

Mix, Burn, Rip (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25327277)

If they allow burning to audio CD, you don't even have to do that. Just follow Apple's advice and "Mix, Burn, Rip" the DRM out of it. You'll end up with the same "bits" on disc.

Re:Mix, Burn, Rip (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#25327765)

Not quite. Burning the CD converts those bits into an analogue waveform, containing all the original compression artefacts from the first ripping operation. Re-ripping that disk will convert that analogue waveform back into bits, but necessarily with some data loss (it's lossy compression after all) so the new file has some additional compression artefacts on those original compression artefacts and isn't quite the same file you burned in the first place. It'll be subjectively nigh-identical though.

Re:Mix, Burn, Rip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25328007)

Burning the CD converts those bits into an analogue waveform, containing all the original compression artefacts from the first ripping operation. Re-ripping that disk will convert that analogue waveform back into bits

I don't know about you, but my CDs are digital.

Now, if we can get off Windows (3, Insightful)

Trailer Trash (60756) | about 6 years ago | (#25326905)

Hopefully they can pull their web developers' collective head out of their collective ass and make a web store that works on something other than internet explorer and windows.

Seriously, is this 1995 or something?

Back to the future... (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25327253)

Seriously, is this 1995 or something?

It's Walmart. They think it's still 1895.

Whoops! (5, Insightful)

myxiplx (906307) | about 6 years ago | (#25326907)

Now *this* is good news.

Why? Because you can bet that Wallmart execs are not at all happy about having to pay for and run a bunch of servers that are no longer making them any money. You can bet that just opened their eyes to the downsides of DRM, and that some people at the top are now asking the music labels some tricky questions, namely "how long are we supposed to keep paying to run these damn things now?".

Wallmart will not want to be left in this position again, and I can see this causing them to put some real pressure on the music labels to drop DRM.

It also means that Wallmart, Apple and Amazon are all pushing for non DRM music. All together that's some pretty hefty leverage!

Re:Whoops! (1)

base3 (539820) | about 6 years ago | (#25327201)

Yup -- the cost of potentially being required by market or someday legal forces to run DRM servers in perpetuity MIGHT clue them in.

Re:Whoops! (0, Troll)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | about 6 years ago | (#25327501)

It also means that Wallmart, Apple and Amazon are all pushing for non DRM music.

Apple will never do a DRM free iTunes, they need DRM to lock people into being forced to keep buying Apple products in the future, or throw away all that money you spent on iTunes. Even if everyone else dropped DRM overnight, Apple would fight tooth and nail to keep it. Right now they can tune the reality distortion filter so that the people blame the nasty record companies for forcing DRM.

Re:Whoops! (2, Informative)

Dog-Cow (21281) | about 6 years ago | (#25327743)

I don't have a single DRM'd song from iTunes, though I've bought about half a dozen albums. (iTunes just doesn't carry much of what I like.)

Re:Whoops! (2, Informative)

HAKdragon (193605) | about 6 years ago | (#25327777)

I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but...

Taken from the iTunes Store Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] :

 

On February 6, 2007, Steve Jobs called on the Big Four record labels to allow their music to be sold DRM-free.[46] On April 2, 2007, Apple and the record label EMI announced that the iTunes Store would begin offering, as an additional purchasing option, tracks from EMI's catalog encoded as 256 kbit/s AAC without FairPlay or any other DRM.

On May 29, 2007, Apple released version 7.2 of its iTunes software, allowing users to purchase DRM-free music and music videos from participating labels. These new files, available through the iTunes Store, have been called iTunes Plus music by Apple.

In October 2007, iTunes Plus ceased to be a purchasing option. It instead became mandatory for all iTunes Plus licensed content. In addition, the price of iTunes Plus reverted to the DRM price.

Almost immediately after the launch of iTunes Plus, reports surfaced that the DRM-free tracks sold by the iTunes Store contained identifying information about the customer, embedding the purchasing account's full name and e-mail address as metadata in the file. While this information has always been in iTunes downloads both with and without Fairplay DRM, it is thought that it remains in the tracks as a measure to trace the source of tracks shared illegally online, which the absence of DRM now facilitates. Privacy groups expressed concerns that this data could be misused if possessions carrying the files were stolen, and potentially wrongly incriminate a user for copyright infringement.
 

Why do we really care??? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 6 years ago | (#25327179)

I mean seriously. Who with half a brain would buy DRM'd music. If you did then you got what you got. Could we please spend a little less time protecting the stupid?

Re:Why do we really care??? (1)

Warhawke (1312723) | about 6 years ago | (#25327731)

People that buy this are average consumers like my aunt or my neighbor, who believe that by buying music through official channels they are protecting the rights of artists. Believe it or not, most people haven't heard of DRM, and that's not due to stupidity on their part but to the lack of mobilization of pro-YRO groups to educate the public. Most people don't use Linux, but you wouldn't know that by browsing the boards here.

You're missing the point by saying buying DRM means you got exactly what you got. Most people don't realize that they have bought music that cannot transfer; in that sense, they believe they haven't received the full value of what they bought - they simply thought that they were doing a good thing to help artists when really they were whoring themselves out to Big Media. People may be smart but inexperienced. I cite a Cory Doctorow paper where he recalls a technically inept friend of his who had the reasonably intelligent idea to "VCR record" her DVDs so she could give a destructible copy to the kids. Obviously, she became confused and frustrated when it didn't work.

DRM isn't expected and it isn't natural. Mainstream has gotten used to it only by enough people trying it and having it not work. And unforunately, for those masses DRM works. If you want to bring down the end of DRM, get your mom, your grandmom, and your grandmom's dog to start ripping. Make it so easy a Geico ad could beat a dead horse with it. When it becomes second-nature to mainstream, people will not feel attached to their DRM, and then when the servers finally shudder and die, people won't care, because they'll be listening to whatever whereever and however they like.

Free Advertising (1)

VisiX (765225) | about 6 years ago | (#25327355)

Am I the only one who thinks this was all a ploy to get their new DRM free store in the news for a week?

Step 1: Announce the fact that you are breaking old DRM mp3s because you are reopening your store with a superior product. Step 2: Get free advertising for new store, bad press about old store. Step 3: Keep DRM servers online and get more free advertising for new store while also appearing to give a crap what your customers think.

If I worked in advertising for Walmart this would have been my first idea.

Re:Free Advertising (1)

log0n (18224) | about 6 years ago | (#25327581)

That's exactly what it was. Nefarious and walmart go hand in hand.

Too Bad (1)

whterbt (211035) | about 6 years ago | (#25327461)

I wanted these servers to shut down. I wanted all these people who bought DRM'd music to be left out in the cold. I wanted there to be outrage at how they got screwed by WalMart and DRM.

Only when the end users feel the pain of DRM will there be real resistance to this crap.

Feedback from Walmart Customers (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 6 years ago | (#25327585)

or Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers, and EMI freaked out and begged Walmart not to kill their dream of an all DRM digital world?

Re:Feedback from Walmart Customers (2, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about 6 years ago | (#25327799)

If the DRM servers stay on, the customers continue to use the files they paid for. If the DRM servers switch off, those files will become useless at some point in the future and must be repurchased, making money for aforementioned studios. If everyone's switching to DRM-free music, you can bet the studios want them to switch their DRM servers off too.

They should just (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 6 years ago | (#25327759)

Turn off the DRM server but also offer free non-DRM'd replacements for download from their website for all DRM'd files a user has purchased.

What's shocking (1, Troll)

Anita Coney (648748) | about 6 years ago | (#25327855)

What's shocking is that people actually used Wal-Mart's crappy, censored, DRM filled, and buggy service in the first place. Who are these people? Where do they live? And can we somehow take away their right vote?

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