Wal-Mart Shuts Down DRM Server, Screws Customers

Wal-Mart Shuts Down DRM Server, Screws Customers
There’s been a disturbing trend lately of online music retailers deciding to shut down their Digital Rights Management servers — which control the ability to play purchased music — and sticking customers with a pile of unplayable files. Wal-Mart is the latest to follow the trend.

The big box giant sent out an email to customers this past Friday (September 26) advising that "we will be shutting down our digital rights management system that supports protected songs and albums purchased from our site... If you do not back up your files before this date, you will no longer be able to transfer your songs to other computers or access your songs after changing or reinstalling your operating system or in the event of a system crash.”

Once again (Microsoft plans to shut down it’s DRM servers as well) the consumer who’s trying to do the right thing — pay honestly for their music instead of downloading from a p2p site — gets shafted: anything purchased with DRM protection is dependent forever on the existence of the DRM server in order to be played on different devices.

Until this gets sorted — until all music for sale online is DRM-free — it’s hard to see how the industry stands a chance against the p2p networks.