EFF Takes Microsoft To Task for MSN Store DRM Mess

EFF Takes Microsoft To Task for MSN Store DRM Mess
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a longstanding and respected civil liberties group dedicated to protecting citizen’s online rights, has published an open letter to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in the wake of the recent MSN Music Store DRM debacle. Microsoft announced earlier this month that it would be shutting down authentication servers related to the MSN music store on August 31, preventing customers who legally purchased music from the store from transferring their music to different PCs after this date.

In a statement, EFF lawyer Corynne McSherry said: "MSN Music customers trusted Microsoft when it said that this was a safe way to buy music, and that trust has been betrayed. If Microsoft is prepared to treat MSN Music customers like this, is there any reason to suppose that future customers won't get the same treatment?"

The letter outlines five steps the EFF would like to see Microsoft take. The list includes offering a full public apology to MSN Music Store users, as well as offering to replace affected tracks, and moving towards DRM-free music in its current music store, the Zune Marketplace. While it seems unlikely Microsoft is going to issue a public apology, the letter, and subsequent bad press, will perhaps push the software giant to fairer practices in the future – though I wouldn’t count on it.