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March 31, 2004
BetaNews reports on a new form of DRM from Microsoft that will be part of MSN Music and tightly integrated with MS Windows (Microsoft Remakes DRM for MSN Music Service). This new form of DRM is a secure clock technology code-named "Janus," which
enables songs distributed under a subscription model to be transferred to portable devices, with a built in "time bomb" that enables songs to expire in the event that a customer's subscription lapses.
Although Janus has been publically discussed since at least June 2002, observers hadn't expected it to come out so soon. Undoubtedly, MS is feeling a little pressure from Apple
Just what I always wanted, access to music that completely goes away when I end my subscription for whatever reason. Do the music companies really think that consumers are that stupid? Apparently so, as Jupiter Research analyst David Card wonders "why 'ownership' is so critical to music users" (Waiting on Janus...and Rethinking Royalties).
Teleread has an excellent bit of commentary on this DRM concept (Bill G's tool for greedsters: Expiring music files--and maybe clocked e-book files later?):
It's almost surrealistic when Bill's father talks about the evils of inherited wealth and the need for estate taxes. What's to inherit when Microsoft and the rest have sucked the rest of the world dry with software rental schemes?
Hyperbole? I'm not so sure. Especially if Bill G. is right and the future is one where software is rented and hardware is free (Gates: 'Free hardware all round'
Conservatives often speak of the liberting power of owning property. Ownership is freedom. There is something do that. That is why a world where many valuable things (including, apparently, culture) are rented and not owned is a very dangerous world indeed.
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