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Wal-Mart Ending DRM Support, Many To Lose Music They Paid For

September 29th, 2008 00:12 am | by Ed |

I read on Slashdot that Wal-Mart is ending support for DRM encumbered music. This is both good and bad news at the same time.

The good news is that with the world's largest retailer moved to DRM Free music last year they gave a LOT of additional momentum to the entire movement to get content providers to stop hogtying users with DRM. They (the RIAA and "Big Content") need to understand that the days when people will accept DRM are numbered. The practice is like wooden swing sets in a futuristic world of automated flying cars.

The bad news is that when they end DRM support, anybody that's bought the .wma music files with DRM on them will suddenly find that their music doesn't work anymore. According to a post on Boing Boing, people who have DRM encumbered music from WalMart have until October 9th, 2008 to burn that music to CD-ROM in order to keep from losing it when they shut down the DRM server.

Then there's another factor that was mentioned in a recent post on Ars Technica thats more bad news. It seems that WalMart is into censorship. I wasn't aware of this because frankly, I'm not into buying music downloads, especially from WalMart. The nuts and bolts of this is that some titles have been edited to remove content that WalMart apparently objects to.

I tried to check this out for myself. Unfortunately when I tried to load the "MP3 Downloads" section of the WalMart site, I was greeted with this warning:

We notice you're not using Internet Explorer. We will be making enhancements to our updated version in the future to support the Firefox browser. If you want to take advantage of all the features in our updated design now, please get the latest version of Internet Explorer

I tried again with Opera, and then back to Firefox to use Prefbar's ability to spoof the ID string and appear as IE and got the hateful message again. Therefore I'm unable to confirm this since I will *NOT* use any version of IE for anything except testing local html pages that I create. (the only exception being the occasional utility that's useful in spite of being made so that it uses parts of IE, in those cases the IE history, cookies and cache are purged when I'm done.)

In the meantime, if you have .wma music files that you've bought from Wally World, you have only a week or so to get them burned to CD if you don't want to lose them when the DRM server shuts down.

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1 Comment

  1. Buster Bleuth on 30.09.2008 at 16:00 (Reply)

    This would be slightly more traffic if it weren’t for the fact that most people were already steering way clear of Walmart’s music service well before this news came out. But for the two customers who were actually duped into buying music.. man, I feel sorry for them. Let’s just hope they don’t need to buy any new computers in the near future, or they’re up a creek.

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