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Zune Won't Play Old DRM Infected Files 463

Spritzer writes "According to the EFF, the new Zune portable media player from Microsoft won't play files infected with the old Microsoft DRM. It seems that all of the 'PlaysforSure' media that has been sold and is currently being sold will not play on the Zune. In addition, Microsoft has now advocated violating the DMCA in order to transfer files to the player. Microsoft Zune architect J Allard was quoted as saying there's 'Lots of DVD ripping software out there that encodes to those formats, so the most popular formats out there, whether it's MPEG-4 or H.264, we'll support those.'" ZDNet offers up additional commentary on this revelation.
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Zune Won't Play Old DRM Infected Files

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  • PlaysForSure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) * <{akaimbatman} {at} {}> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:30AM (#16137604) Homepage Journal
    It seems to me that if you create a format called "PlaysForSure", it should actually "Play for Sure". OTherwise your customers might - oh, I don't know - lose confidence in your ability to compete in the market? Instead, they'll go to a certain competitor that does "Play for Sure" despite not advertising such?

    It's almost as if Microsoft is reading Slashdot. Their new business plan is:

    1. Create a format called "PlaysForSure"
    2. Make certain that it doesn't "Play for Sure"
    3. Cede 95% of the market to Apple
    4. ???
    5. PROFIT!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Instead, they'll go to a certain competitor that does "Play for Sure" despite not advertising such?
      The only competators I can think of for that is "plays for sure but only in restrictive circumstances".
      • Re:PlaysForSure? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:11AM (#16137864) Journal
        Oh, I don't know about that.

        AllOfMP3 plays for sure (as long as the site is up).
        supernova &&|| all it's vairents tend to play for sure as long as the torrent isn't comprimised.

        While the legality of the former is questionable and the latter is, well, known for sure, these are still legitimite competitors to the DRM media.


        To clarify legitimate competitor != legal competitor. The media companies need to understnad that if they break their own rules then they are opening the gates to others ignoring the rules a bit wider every time.
        • Re:PlaysForSure? (Score:5, Informative)

          by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:35AM (#16138053) Journal
          eMusic - which is completely legitimate - plays for sure too on an iPod or any other MP3 player. This is because they sell unencrypted MP3 files.
          Magnatune - which is completely legitimate - plays for sure on any MP3 player too. This is because they sell unencrypted files in most formats (you choose the format when you download).

          eMusic is the second largest legitimate download service, only second to iTMS. Some record labels are quite happy with DRM-less downloads.
          • Re:PlaysForSure? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by MrNemesis ( 587188 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:48PM (#16138686) Homepage Journal
            I don't know what the eMusic in the states is like, but I have a major issue with the one in the UK in that I have to hand over my credit card details before I even have half a clue what they're selling. All they offer without an account/login is the ability to... er... create an account and log in. Woudl you hand over your credit card on walking into a shop "just in case" you wanted to buy something? Keeping it secret suggests that either their catalogue is crap, they're secretive lock-in merchants (hello AOL) or (dare I say it) a scam site.

            Until then, I'll fulfill my music downloading tastes with unencrypted MP3, AAC and FLAC from Bleep, Tunetribe and 4AD.

            Please note: I'm not knocking eMusic or legal downloads in general (indeed, I spend about £20 a month buying tunes online compared to £0 on music two years ago). I just don't trust the way their UK store seems to be working. And yes, I did want a chance to try it out.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by joe_bruin ( 266648 )
              You are 100% correct, the fact that they don't let you see the catalog before signing in is absolute crap.

              Luckily, if you go to their 404 page [], you can start searching their catalog from there. Of course, once you do, you will discover (as you suspected) that their catalog has more holes than a fishing net.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:40AM (#16137670)
      Maybe they should rename it to PlaysfoShizzle...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grub ( 11606 )

      Consumers should lose a lot of faith in MS' DRM and proprietary formats when Allard says '[...] the most popular formats out there, whether it's MPEG-4 or H.264, we'll support those.'
    • Re:PlaysForSure? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:02AM (#16137814) Homepage
      lose confidence in your ability to compete in the market? Instead, they'll go to a certain competitor that does "Play for Sure" Apple


      A blatant demonstration of exactly why DRM is an extaordinarily bad deal for the user, and the answer you reach is, "People will switch to the other mass market DRM"?

      Wow. The worst part is, assuming any of the unwashed masses even notice, you're probably right.
    • From the Article: Buried in footnote 4 of its press release, Microsoft clearly states that "Zune software can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264" -- protected WMA and WMV (not to mention iTunes DRMed AAC) are conspicuously absent.

      In other words they are drawing conclusions from two missing entries that may turn out to be typos or may be missing for a reason other than compatibility. Just another FUD-laden EFF article.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ecki ( 115356 )
        I suggest you read the interview [] with Allard closely. He specifically stresses the point that Zune and P4S are separate worlds, and while he would have had the opportunity to point out any interoperability options at various points in the interview, he doesn't do so. I find it hard to come to any other conclusion that the approaches are indeed incompatible.
    • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:36AM (#16138074) Journal
      All this time I reading it as PaidForSure.

      My bad.

  • PlaysForSure? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by byolinux ( 535260 ) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:31AM (#16137607) Journal
    This is kinda dumb.. but I don't think this is something that Microsoft is alone in. This is just an example of the problems with Digital Restrictions Management. We'll see a lot more of this to come.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
      This certainly looks like an excellent candidate for exhibit A in any argument against DRM.
  • Hold up a sec (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spacedx ( 458227 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:32AM (#16137620)
    How about everyone not flip out about the specs on an unreleased product?
  • by jeffs72 ( 711141 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:34AM (#16137630) Journal
    I guess this is Microsoft wanting to get their player popular, but to have a public company say "Sure, violate DRM" is sort of flabberghasting, especially coming from Microsoft.

    Think of the liability this opens them up to, didn't edonkey get shut down for enabling those evil hackers from trading music and movies?

    Hopefully this will point to a market trend, an admission that copyrights are out of control to a large degree. I hate buying music from Itunes because of all the stupid license rules associated with it. It'd be nice to just be allowed to buy some .mp3 files and do with them as I feel. I don't even need a lossless format, my damaged ears can't tell the difference anyway.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:46AM (#16137719)
      I hate buying music from Itunes because of all the stupid license rules associated with it.

      Then don't do it. Even if you dislike doing it, each time you purchase tainted music files you're giving a show of support for DRM. Not only that, but it's financial support you're offering, which is perhaps the worst kind, as it directly allows for their deviant behavior to continue.

      We know that DRM-encumbered media has many disadvantages. This Zune nonsense is a perfect example of that. So the best thing to do is to stop buying music from iTunes. Don't start buying music from whatever service Microsoft might offer. Don't buy CDs. Don't download MP3s.

      What you should do is get involved with your local music scene. Get to know the bands and artists in your area, or the nearest city. Many times they're far more deserving of your financial support than the multimillionaire fucks in California, and their music is often so much better! Not only that, but you can interact with them personally, and possibly even collaborate with them to some extent (if you're a musician yourself). The best part of it all is that you're getting to listen to some decent music, and you're not supporting corrupt companies and DRM, but rather you're supporting your neighbors.

      • What you should do is get involved with your local music scene.

        And what do you suggest for people who cannot see local bands because all the venues where local bands routinely play forbid people under the age of 21 from entering the premises?

    • ... to have a public company say "Sure, violate DRM" is sort of flabberghasting, especially coming from Microsoft.

      This is exactly what you should expect from M$. Yes, they are going to encourage people to "steal" other people's copyrighted material and break the laws they promoted. From their point of view, this is natural. M$ has been the primary benefactor of software "piracy" all along. They thought that DRM was the same thing, just another "speedbump" to keep "honest users" paying. Wink wink, "st

  • End to End Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Winterblink ( 575267 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:34AM (#16137637) Homepage
    It's obvious Microsoft is shooting for an iTunes-ish end-to-end solution for music, a tightly integrated store+software+player solution. It's just interesting to me that URGE and Windows Media Player aren't it to them, which shows a pretty shocking lack of confidence in their own services and products, as far as the Zune is concerned.

    RealNetworks and Sandisk have already stated their intent to do something similar, which reeks like all the PlaysForSure partners aren't too impressed with this move by Microsoft.
  • How cute! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by corroncho ( 1003609 )
    Ah look at Microsoft trying to appeal to the masses. How cute. Sounds to me more like an excuse because they have no mechanism in place for delivering media for this device.
    Free iPods? Its legit []. 5 of my friends got theirs. Get yours here! []
  • It's a trap! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:38AM (#16137656)
    It's a trap. I expect a later announcement that the Zune will, in fact, Play For Sure (tm). This move has been taken to discredit opponents of DRM, like the EFF and most of the people who comment on this site. Every opponent of DRM will use the Zune as an example of how DRM fucks the consumer in the ass, and then Microsoft will reveal that they are wrong about this speciifc case, suggesting that perhaps they are wrong about DRM in general, too.

    Just think about it.. just how dumb do you think MS are?

    • If you needed this article to realize that DRM is crap in a can, something went wrong far before Zume was even considered.
    • Re:It's a trap! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by protohiro1 ( 590732 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @01:10PM (#16138870) Homepage Journal
      I think they are totally dumb. Seriously, I don't think this is a conspiracy. This is a total fuck up caused by a slow response and now a desperate attempt to catch up with apple. MS changed their strategy from trying to license a music format to other hardware makers (the windows technique) to wanting to have an end to end solution like ipod/itunes. Now they look like assholes and this product is just no going to sell. Or, it will sell as well as MediaCenter or whatever other lifestyle product that they are demoing this month. So far microsoft can't seem to move consumer electronics. (excepting the xbox, which may have sold well, but it could hardly be called a profit center) With Apple microsoft is in the unenviable position of chasing after someone else with a de facto monopoly in the space. Apple floundered in the 90s trying to convince people their product was just as good or better as Microsoft/dell's, but its hard to chase someone that has that kind of market dominence. Microsoft is now facing people who are vendor-locked into ipod, high market penetration and the kind of brand awarence marketing people kill for. No matter how great the Zune is they have to fight being known as the "microsoft ipod" which isn't where you want your product to be.

      My question about this is why, exactly, is microsoft even wasting their time on this? Who cares if apple sells a lot of ipods? It doesn't hurt Microsoft's bottom line. Most ipod users run windows on the desktop.
  • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:38AM (#16137657) Homepage Journal
    I know most of you don't like DRM, but it's not infecting files. It's not a virus/trojan/whatever.

    It's a lock. A digital lock. Call it Digital Restrictions Management if you must (since it stills describe what it does), but not infection.

    The general public already has their hands full trying to understand all this technological mumbo-jumbo. Let's not spread more FUD.

    • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:43AM (#16137692) Homepage
      Actually, this Zune POS makes it exactly that. It silently infects every file on the device with DRM.
    • by TheCarp ( 96830 ) * <sjc@carpanet.PERIODnet minus punct> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:51AM (#16137746) Homepage
      Honestly, I think DRM *IS* an infection from the very start.

      Ok, so we have systems that work. They do what the user wants. Its a pretty healthy system overall.

      DRM comes in pretending to be something that the user wants. It is a trojan horse, a virus. It is brought in, under the disguise of something that helps the system. Then, when it strikes, like this, it does nothing but hurt the system. It doesn't help the user, it hurts the user.

      Like a virus, it turns the users own system against the user. It makes the system do what DRM owners (the viruses source) want. It is an infection that only works because it is becoming ubiquitous.

      DRM is the classic slippery slope. If we accept the infection, if we don't fight it tooth and nail, then down the road when it really is in everthing, we will have turned over all control to the big boys who control the DRM.

      It is a viral infection of the worst sort. It deserves to be described as such. This IS the battle for hearts and minds, and the enemy is not at all shy about casting precious freedom in their own jaundiced light. I say its time to call a spade a spade. This is infection.

      This is the first symptom of the infection. Definitly past time to start treating this disease.

      • by Yvan256 ( 722131 )

        Honestly, I think DRM *IS* an infection from the very start.

        Ok, so we have systems that work. They do what the user wants. Its a pretty healthy system overall. [...]

        First of all I really don't see any marketing about "DRM: you want it" (or anything along those lines).

        Second, we have systems that work too well. Any moron can buy something, rip it, then give it to everyone else. You might be against DRM (that's your right) but you also have to acknowledge the fact that not everyone respects the rights of othe

    • It's not an infection? It sounds like it to me. It is something added to files that stops them playing where/how I want them to. I can play DRM-free files on my 'phone, but not ones infected with DRM.

      Personally, I am very grateful to Microsoft for this. Until now, there were very few good, clear, instances of DRM harming the consumer. This is almost the exact case-study I would have asked for when talking to politicians. I almost wonder if it's intentional...

      • by Malc ( 1751 )
        If you don't like it, don't acquire DRMed files. I've got thousands of audio files that I often play in WMP. On no occasion has DRM been added to them against my wishes. So what exactly are you doing wrong? I thought so: you're just using inflammatory terms like "infection" because it's cool to be part of the childish anti-Microsoft clique on /. It's not cool, it's sad and pathetic.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:01AM (#16137810) Homepage
      I know most of you don't like DRM, but it's not infecting files. It's not a virus/trojan/whatever.

      Normally I'd agree, as long as the files are and always have been restricted. Applying DRM to files that is not restricted, is viral. In fact, it's more "viral" than the GPL ever was, it's infectious by mere aggregation. The closest similarity are to the viruses that lock down your files, holding them hostage against the owner. I am the owner of those files (as far as Zune knows anyway), and Zune has no business applying their locks against me.
    • I call it Draconian Restrictions on Media. And it's not a trojan, but it is a virus. The requirement to use approved software to read media which you have paid for is ridiculous.

      When said software executes (which you can't prevent if you're running Windows), it does actually infect your media files. It prevents you from reading files you created with any other software. And that is an infection.

      But the objection to DRM is much, much worse than merely wanting to play music in your car.

      The whole RIAA/DMCA cra
  • It should be ovbious to the consumer eventually that standard, transparent formats are good.
    And with opaque encrypted formats all are just as temporary as the intented player.
  • by LaughingCoder ( 914424 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:40AM (#16137669)
    I assume the Zune will not be stamped with the PlaysforSure logo, certifying that it is able to play those tracks. This does not compromise the validity of PlaysForSure at all -- that is merely a way for consumers to know where their media will be playable (ie which portable media players they can buy). There was no guarantee, explicit or otherwise, that these songs would play forever - only that they would play on devices that were certified PlaysForSure compatible (of which, apparently, Zune is not one).

    This suggests to me that there haven't been many PlaysForSure track purchases. I suspect most people who play DRM'd WMA files subscribe to unlimited services like Yahoo Unlimited. I am such a person, and I have yet to purchase a "burnable" track.
    • by scsirob ( 246572 )
      So, may I ask what you will do with all your legally purchased PlaysforSure tracks once the player you use dies, and no new players are available?

      Thank you for flushing your money down the drain... PlaysforSure?? Pay For Sure.
  • Ouch (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheWoozle ( 984500 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:41AM (#16137674)
    Microsoft really does a remarkable job of shooting themselves in the foot, don't they? It's like a frickin' comedy of errors with Microsoft's attempts to enter into the media device market.

    The worst part is that their formats (WMA/WMV) have become the formats of choice for a large number of devices and services. And now those services are feeling what it's like to be a Microsoft customer. Ouch. Sorry guys, we should've told you to lube up first.
  • no contradiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oohshiny ( 998054 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:42AM (#16137681)
    It's a common theme that companies and governments want you to do things that are illegal. In fact, arguably, a lot of legislation is aimed at making things illegal that many people will be doing anyway (and, in some cases, don't have a choice): traffic laws, drug laws, decency laws, copyright laws, etc. Those sorts of laws are useful tools for selective enforcement, stronger contract negotiation positions, barriers to entry, and differential pricing.

    Microsoft like DRM and the DMCA because it gives them the ability to implement differential pricing, erect bariers to entry, and have stronger negotiating positions; and they like DRM-breaking software because it makes their devices more useful. There is no contradiction in their behavior.

    Of course, there is a contradiction tp their stated justifications for DRM, and it is important to bring this up prominently whenever Congress reconsiders DRM-related legislation.
  • by crazyjeremy ( 857410 ) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:42AM (#16137686) Homepage Journal
    Why again do people still buy hardware with DRM at all? There are still plenty of products from the States and other countries which do not have these limitations.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )
      Correction: There STILL are.

      They're being phased out, and the next generation of content containing media will ALL have DRM deeply embedded into them. So the only choice, if you don't want DRM, is to abstain from buying ANYTHING at all.

      How many do you think will do that?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The last shop I looked at [] (and the first)
      didn't have instore notices telling you what format the various players would play, let alone something telling their customers what DRM was.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ajs318 ( 655362 )
        I wonder how much success you would have, taking a media player back to the shop on the grounds that it was "broken" (i.e. it didn't play the tracks which you had paid good money to download) when in actual fact the brokenness was in the DRM schemes?

        I think you might be in with a chance if it made it as far as a Court of Law. I doubt you'd be able to find a jury of twelve people who understood what "digital restrictions management" is. At least Beta and VHS cassettes were visually distinguible. The e
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Ubergrendle ( 531719 )
      Because if you want to have an intergrated solution, allowing users to download music straight into the player, you'll need a DRM solution. Apple would rather NOT have DRM in their iPods, but the labels won't distribute via iTunes without it.

      Of course, a recent study suggested only 10-15% of iPods are populated with iTunes downloads. So the integrated solution is not an absolute necessity to being successful in this space. I think ipods are more successful due to a) well engineered, b) highly usable, and
  • by Anon-Admin ( 443764 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:43AM (#16137695) Journal
    So the next person to be taken to court for violation of copyright should claim that it was Microsoft's idea, they told me it would be OK to do it.

    I knew it was only a matter of time before this type stuff started happening to DRM. With the DCMA backing up DRM and the vendor lockin to players, it will not be long before congress steps in and makes some changes. Just wait until one of there kids has an issue with it.
  • by swschrad ( 312009 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:47AM (#16137725) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft, meet the devil. RIAA, meet The Borg. lock 'em both in a room and wait for the noise to die down before looking to see if anything survived ;)
  • by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:47AM (#16137728) Journal
    If you buy aggressively DRM'd media, they'll find yourself having to buy it again, break the law, or go without when it stops working years later.
  • by imkonen ( 580619 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:48AM (#16137729)
    Why can't there be legal format conversions? Why can't MS (and other DRM happy companies) release a tool that converts "old" DRMed media to "new" DRMed media...still locked to the same computer. (I realize there are other complicated permuations of DRM like getting data off of a DVD in any manner, but in terms of online purchased, DRMed media...) Wouldn't it only be "circumventing" if it stripped the DRM? I realize media companies have no incentive to do that willingly, but if MS and other compatibility challenged hardware manufacturers are serious about marketing the Zune et al., actually solving this problem for their customers would seem like an obvious step.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sloppy ( 14984 )

      Wouldn't it only be "circumventing" if it stripped the DRM?

      Nope. Changing DRM means you have to remove the old DRM and then add the new DRM. By the time you add the new DRM, you have already violated the law. It's not like adding the DRM somehow retroactively makes the earlier violation become not a violation.

      Sure, it's ridiculous. But it's also ridiculous that playing a DVD without permission from the copyright holder is a violation. Yet it is. What can I say? It's a ridiculous law that no honest

  • Makes Sense (Score:4, Interesting)

    by WiseWeasel ( 92224 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @10:48AM (#16137730)
    Although it's not the smartest tactical move, it does make some sense that Zune won't play PlaysForSure content, as it guarantees some additional revenue (beyond the PlaysForSure licensing fees MS charges those other vendors) as customers are forced to use the MS music store. It will also make customer support much more straightforward; having every aspect of this music device from a single vendor will ensure a better user experience. Personally, I think the addition of PlaysForSure would have been an effective selling point, and could have helped MS get a foot in the market's door. On the other hand, those other music services haven't been too successful, so it isn't that big of a penalty.

    While the decision will surely harm MS in the short term, and completely alienate all the other PlaysForSure software and hardware licensees (probably killing the format), it would definitely improve MS's long-term prospects, assuming it isn't pulled off the market after a year of dismal sales. If history is any indication, MS will stick with it, keep improving their offerings, and eventually have something that appeals to the lowest common denominator on the market.
    • If history is any indication, MS will stick with it, keep improving their offerings, and eventually have something that appeals to the lowest common denominator on the market.

      If history is any indication, MS will abandon it for something else when they think it convenient, just like they're doing with Plays For Sure.
  • This is exactly why I still buy CD's. I have control over my music (when there isn't a rootkit on the CD of course). I can do what I want with it. I can rip it into unlimited types of formats...and its all DRM free. Plus, I have a backup in case something happens to the files. A new, cool, small footprint, lossless format is devised? Just re-rip the CD and press onward.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:00AM (#16137804) Journal
    I wonder why slashdotters make comments disparaging the monicker "PlayForSure". It is named correctly and it works as designed. The problem seems to be that slashdotters think "PlayForSure" means the songs the chumps bought will play for sure. Nah. Common misunderstanding. Play for sure, simply means, MSFT will play these chumps who buy DRMed music for sure, play them like a fiddle, shake them down for music they have already bought.
  • I hate to do it, but it sounds like a mis-reading of the press release, or at least bad PR writing. I imagine that the Zune software will add M$ DRM to any un-protected files you IMPORT into the software, and this is why Play4Sure is missing from the list - you don't need to import it, just copy it to you Zune.

    I hope that I'm wrong about this, as it would be too funny if the Zune couldn't play DRMed music.

    • by WebGangsta ( 717475 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:25AM (#16137966)
      I read over the weekend that MSFT will wrap their own DRM onto *any* file that is uploaded to a Zune player... regardless of what the individual file's copyright says about how it can be distributed.

      This is related to the Zune's ability to share files with other Zune players.

      More info here, all throughout the comments: .html []

      "There currently isn't a way to sniff out what you are sending, so we wrap it all up in DRM. We can't tell if you are sending a song from a known band or your own home recording so we default to the safety of encoding."

  • I don't understand why Microsoft didn't, or doesn't provide something similar to they were rumored to provide for iPod owners.

    Why can't the Zune store recognize that that you own a PlaysForSure-protected version of a music title, and allow you to download the same title in Zune-protected format at no charge?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Halo1 ( 136547 )

      Why can't the Zune store recognize that that you own a PlaysForSure-protected version of a music title, and allow you to download the same title in Zune-protected format at no charge?

      Probably because of the "copy" in "copyright". Every new copy they allow you to download is presumably another copy they have to pay for to the RIAA, regardless of whether you owned it or not (unless the RIAA made an exception for the above situation and refused money in that case... yeah right).

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:10AM (#16137860) Homepage
    Of all the days... []

    Microsoft, you scurvy dogs!
  • by giafly ( 926567 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:19AM (#16137912)
    Q. Where is Zune going to fit in with people's pre-existing media libraries? What is it going to support? What can we expect when we actually get a Zune and want to be able to use it with the media that we currently have?

    A Lots of DVD ripping software out there that encodes to those formats, so the most popular formats out there, whether it's MPEG-4 or H.264, we'll support those.

    Q When PlaysForSure was introduced, the premise was, we make it simple so that you don't have to worry about whether your player works with the music you're purchasing...

    A. We've also found that there's a category of customers that say, "Give me a brand experience, advertise it to me on television; I want to be part of the digital music revolution, and that solution [PlaysForSure] doesn't work for me." So they're two complementary solutions -- not everyones gonna want Zune and not everyone's gonna want PlaysForSure. They're different paths there, and we're okay with both of them.

    Extracts from The Engadget Interview: J Allard, Microsoft Corporate Vice President []
  • arrr (Score:4, Funny)

    by Blob Pet ( 86206 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:21AM (#16137938) Homepage
    Aye, why do Me suddenly feel the need t' pirate some mo'ies?
    Because tis' Talk Like a Pirate Day. Gar, Where can I find a bottle o'rum?
  • by onkelonkel ( 560274 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:22AM (#16137941)
  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['6.t' in gap]> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:32AM (#16138039) Homepage Journal
    "Plays for sure.... psyche!"

    "Plays for now."

    "Plays for as long as we feel like it."

    "Sure it plays. Trust us."
  • by c ( 8461 ) <> on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @11:33AM (#16138045)

    I'm hardly what you'd call a Microsoft fan-boy (I'm not even a Microsoft user), but I'm not seeing where it says that it can't play this stuff. I haven't seen any confirmation from the horse's mouth. I mean, this is all coming from a footnote in a PR document which says:

    Zune software can import audio files in unprotected WMA, MP3, AAC; photos in JPEG; and videos in WMV, MPEG-4, H.264.
    It doesn't say that other applications can't put protected music onto the device, nor does it say that it can't play that stuff. It just says that the built-in software can't do it. Which makes sense, really, because it would imply that Microsoft is ready, willing and able to break the protection applied by a partnering online music store. That's pretty nasty, even for a "stab your partner" company like them.

    Of course, that won't make it much of an iTunes killer. "Oh, you want to import music from some other store. Okay.... open their player app, and see if they'll let you export each individual piece of media to the Zune. Including the stuff you ripped from CD and it helpfully 'protected' for you. Then, if you're lucky and they haven't changed the terms and conditions or you've moved computers or devices or something..."

  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Tuesday September 19, 2006 @12:03PM (#16138300)
    I'm no knee jerk anti-drm demon here because I'm really trying to look at this in an agnostic way. This really bites for consumers and really instills a real lack of confidence in the whole scheme of content devices. Not only does the DRM itself kind of lock you into certain vendors, but now there is no guarantee that the content will work on a device from the same vendor. Honest to goodness I was considering a Zune, mostly because I didn't want to get an iPod because it was the trendy thing to do. But after looking at the options, I know without a doubt that the Zune is not for me. This, because of the latest news on how its tentacles get wrapped around your non-DRM files, AND there's really no way for me to be sure that MS will change its mind AGAIN about the future compatibility of its own file formats. What am I to do? I want to get an iPod, but I'm not not sure they are the answer either because now I can't be sure that if I buy music through iTunes that it won't break someday either. It seems to me that if I still want to buy legitimate music from iTunes, I need to get a pirated counterpart in a non-restricted format like MP3 or ogg, etc. so that as devices wax and wane, I'm still able to listen to my tunes...which really kinda defeats the purpose of going legit.

    Even for someone who's tech savvy, the uncertainty is disconcerting...

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern