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back to article Wal-Mart pressured into tune keys life support

For digital music vendors, protecting files with digital rights management (DRM) is like a lobster trap. It's easy enough to enter into, but getting back out is another matter entirely. Like Microsoft and Yahoo before it, US music selling heavyweight Wal-Mart has found itself in the same cagey predicament. Wal-Mart today bowed …

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Gates Horns

The Evil Walmart

Not content with funking with their employees with regards to union membership, etc, they decide to funk their customers as well.

I'd like to see the t&cs for buying wma from Walmart. And yes, you should read the t&cs especially when you are buying something as potentially ephermal as drm-protected music. And of course, Microsoft, originators of wma have funked with customers already - with the MarketPlace vs PlaysForSure debacle. And Zune is such a tightly controlled platform, it makes the iPod look very open.

One more nail in the coffin.

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Pirate

probably too few users to warrant a crack

isn't there a crack available for iTard files that strips off the DRM while still in compressed format, thereby shortcutting the burn to CD and re-rip solution/hassle?

WalMart might not mind it if something like that happened to slip out, since it could help their customers get free from the DRM lock-in. Not that they could legally throw any support behind it though.

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RW
Linux

Once again, the standard questions

Didn't anybody at Walmart put themselves in the shoes of customers?

Why do corporations behave like their directors and executives parked their ethical and moral values on the bedroom chest of drawers before they left for work? Didn't a single Walmart executive have a teenager in the house to say "Mom, that won't work"?

I begin to think that corporate bigwigs are mostly delusonal, if not downright psycho- and sociopathic. Perhaps it's time for aspirants to high corporate office to undergo an in-depth, no holds barred, unpleasant psychological and psychiatric review before being allowed near the reins of commerce.

[Possibly-apocryphal real life case where I used to work: two of the 2nd level echelon were competing for the #1 position. The directors by some miracle had them assessed by a psychologist. The report came back on one "would make an excellent commander of a Nazi concentration camp." He didn't get the job.]

Tux, because whenever a loose wire or screw is found in Linux, it's fixed pretty fast.

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Dead Vulture

well how about

simply letting your existing customers download the SAME songs that has been bought by them in an MP3 (or FLAC?) format? if you care so much about your customers, and you're shutting the door for DRM servers somewhere in the future, let them download an unprotected version!

Anyone at wallmart.com thought about it?

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Joke

huh?

So if you burn the files to CD you defeat the DRM?

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Dead Vulture

DRM avoided by copying???

So the copy protection can be avoided by......... COPYING the files to a CD.

It would make me wonder why they bothered, if that wasn't what I was thinking already.

Audio copy protection is impossible, as an analog cable link will always get round it, even if you don't have a duplex sound card that can record what you play, including streamed media.

RIP DRM

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Anonymous Coward

my question is...

How can they tell the difference between a paid MP3 and a free one.....

Somebody has to keep track of what you bought. How do you prove, when you need to, that your collection is paid for ...

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Stop

@Oldfogey

Oh, but you see audio copy protection is not impossible. The music pigopolists just need to pull off the same massive scam that the MPAA et al got away with for HD video. Yes, HD-Audio! You'll have to throw away your old, poorly performing low-resolution analog speakers and replace the entire signal chain with HD-Audio compatible equipment. The audio stream is encrypted on the disc, encrypted in the player, and not decoded until a nanosecond before the drivers fire in the speakers. To make the system work, you'll need an RIAA/IFPI approved HD-Audio signal cable (of which there will be four iterations before they settle on one). But not to worry, Sony will be happy to sell you each of those iterations for the low, low price of $50 for every three feet of speaker wire. Just wait until the next generation game consoles come out, they'll include two different incompatible competing standards of HD-Audio for you to bet on. And it will all be worth it for the lushest, most immersive simulations of real sound you'll ever hear.

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Flame

Re: Once again, the standard questions

They do park their values on the bedroom chest. There was a whole raft of psychological studies around 5-7 years ago which showed that at large portion of the current executive elite suffers from lack of compassion to the point where it can be considered an aberrant condition. Essentially, being a sociopath for them is a job requirement.

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Sanity reigns...

It's nice to see how these ppl have had to buckle to the will of the consumer. TBH I don't think it's as much walmarts fault as the record industry's - they were the ones who wouldn't let them sell their stuff 'unprotected' until recently when tey realised they could make more money selling files that might still play in 2 years time. People have copied music for years and are pretty used to being able to do it. Video on the other hand was not anything people widely copied in the first place and DRM is alive and kicking there still. Oh well :-/

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Black Helicopters

Re:DRM avoided by copying???

Not quite copy...

Burn them as audio and then you can re-rip them. The ripped copies wll be free of DRM. The main inconvieniece is that the signature of the album isnmot usually recognised by the databases and you have to rename the tracks by hand.

Not too much of a hardship as I burn most of my stuff anyway so I can listen to it on my old tech cd players.

They bothered because

a) they think we are all stupid

b) they are all stupid.

Not a freetard or a paytard...can I be the first to coin riptard?

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Paris Hilton

Clueless Walmart

Try even seeing the "MP3" section on walmart.com using linux. Get error message saying your OS is not supported.

Try it with Opera on linmux masking as IE.

You then get the telling message:

We notice you're not using Windows Media Player 9 or later.

If they had even a small clue, they would know it would not matter. DRM = Dolts, Rubes and Morons.

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Joke

action

"no action is required on your part"

Or, if they're honest, "no class action is desired from your part" :-D

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Pirate

This is excellent.

Paradoxically, I think that Wal-Marts decision is the correct one. This is making DRM into a burden for the retailer, as well as the extant burden on the poor deluded fools that bought this music.

Defeating the DRM is trivial to do; I think we're all in agreement over that. It's also illegal to do so under the DMCA. This is an unpopular law that has criminalised something that should never have been a crime. If Wal-Mart were to advise their customers to circumvent the copy-protection, they would be encouraging their customers to commit a crime. That's clearly wrong.

Those servers should remain up and running, and remain an obvious burden for ever. Like a corpse in a gibbet at the crossroads at midnight; This is what happens if you play with DRM: you have to keep supporting it for ever.

mu-wa-ha-ha-ha-ha. <Crash of Thunder>

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Thumb Down

Cnuts

And some people wondered why we went so mental about the Spore DRM.

This just proves it, DRM=renting.

If huge companies such as Walmart and Yahoo can't be bothered to keep a key server going for very long at all, then your games will be coasters within years.

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Gold badge
Happy

@David Kelly re: action

Ah! I was wondering why they'd used "insure" instead of "ensure".

Now it makes sense. You can remove that joke alert icon now.......

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Happy

rename tracks = not

"The main inconvieniece is that the signature of the album isnmot usually recognised by the databases and you have to rename the tracks by hand."

In fact there are plenty of utilities that will match the tracks against web-based databases and rename and re-ID3 songs appropriately (including album, year, artist etc info). The words replay and music come to mind as suitable for websearching.

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Anonymous Coward

Salt in the wound

They end the mail "Thank you for using Walmart **MP3** Music Downloads."

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Anonymous Coward

Much fun as it is to bash WM...

This mess isn't actually their fault. The record labels wouldn't sell their stuff digitally unless it came with the DRM ball and chain until quite recently. Even more annoying, they won't let the retailers replace a customer's broken DRM'd content with MP3s without the retailer paying the label AGAIN for the tracks. I'd love to see Yahoo, WM, etc. put aside their differences and slap the labels down for this one, so all of them could turn off their old DRM servers.

Just imagine, "We're sorry Sony, none of us will sell your stuff until you let us do right by the consumer." Kinda makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy, don't it?

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