The use of digital rights management is controversial. Advocates argue it is necessary for copyright holders to prevent unauthorized duplication of their work to ensure continued revenue streams. Opponents, such as the Free Software Foundation, maintain that the use of the word "rights" is misleading and suggest that people instead use the term Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). Their position is essentially that copyright holders are attempting to restrict use of copyrighted material in ways not covered by existing laws. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, and other opponents, also consider DRM systems to be anti-competitive practices.The term Digital Rights Management has been used by opponents as well.
In practice, all widely-used DRM systems have been defeated or circumvented when deployed to enough customers. Restricting copying of audio and visual material is especially difficult due to the existence of the analog hole, and there are even suggestions that effective DRM is logically impossible for this reason.
The advent of digital media and analog/digital conversion technologies, especially those that are usable on mass-market general-purpose personal computers, have vastly increased the concerns of copyright-dependent organizations, especially within the music and movie industries. While analog media inevitably loses quality with each copy generation, and in some cases even during normal use, digital media files may be duplicated an unlimited number of times with no degradation in the quality of subsequent copies. The advent of personal computers as household appliances has made it convenient for consumers to convert media (which may or may not be copyrighted) originally in a physical/analog form or a broadcast form into a universal, digital form (this process is called ripping) for location- or timeshifting, combined with the Internet and popular file sharing tools, has made unauthorized distribution of copies of copyrighted digital media (so-called digital piracy) much easier. In effect, copyright-dependent organizations regard every consumer with an Internet connection as a potential node of a distribution network that could be used to distribute unauthorized copies of copyrighted works.
Although technical controls on the reproduction and use of software have been intermittently used since the 1970s, the term 'DRM' has come to primarily mean the use of these measures to control artistic or literary content. DRM technologies have enabled publishers to enforce access policies that not only disallow copyright infringements, but also prevent lawful fair use of copyrighted works, or even implement use constraints on non-copyrighted works that they distribute; examples include the placement of DRM on certain public-domain or open-licensed e-books, or DRM included in consumer electronic devices that time-shift (and apply DRM to) both copyrighted and non-copyrighted works.
While DRM is most commonly used by the entertainment industry (e.g. film and recording), it has found use in other situations as well. Many online music stores, such as Apple's iTunes Store, as well as certain e-book publishers, have imposed DRM on their customers. In recent years, a number of television producers have imposed DRM mandates on consumer electronic devices, to control access to the freely-broadcast content of their shows, in connection with the popularity of time-shifting digital video recorder systems such as TiVo.
Microsoft's Windows Vista contains a DRM system called the Protected Media Path, which contains the Protected Video Path (PVP). PVP tries to stop DRM-restricted content from playing while unsigned software is running in order to prevent the unsigned software from accessing the content. Additionally, PVP can encrypt information during transmission to the monitor or the graphics card, which makes it more difficult to make unauthorized recordings.
Advanced Access Content System (AACS) is a DRM system for HD DVD and Blu-Ray Discs developed by the AACS Licensing Administrator, LLC (AACS LA), a consortium that includes Disney, Intel, Microsoft, Matsushita (Panasonic), Warner Brothers, IBM, Toshiba and Sony. In December 2006 a process key was published on the internet by crackers, enabling unrestricted access to AACS-restricted HD DVD content. After the cracked keys were revoked, further cracked keys were released.
The broadcast flag concept was developed by Fox Broadcasting in 2001 and was supported by the MPAA and the FCC. A ruling in May 2005 by a US Court of Appeals held that the FCC lacked authority to impose it on the TV industry in the US. It required that all HDTVs obey a stream specification determining whether or not a stream can be recorded. This could block instances of fair use, such as time-shifting. It achieved more success elsewhere when it was adopted by the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), a consortium of about 250 broadcasters, manufactures, network operators, software developers, and regulatory bodies from about 35 countries involved in attempting to develop new digital TV standards.
An updated variant of the broadcast flag has been developed in the Content Protection and Copy Management (DVB-CPCM). It was developed in private, and the technical specification was submitted to European in March 2007. As with much DRM, the CPCM system is intended to control use of copyrighted material by the end-user, at the direction of the copyright holder. According to Ren Bucholz of the EFF, which paid to be a member of the consortium, "You won't even know ahead of time whether and how you will be able to record and make use of particular programs or devices". The DVB supports the system as it will harmonize copyright holders' control across different technologies and so make things easier for end users. The CPCM system is expected to be submitted to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in 2008.
In 2002, Bertelsmann (comprising BMG, Arista, and RCA) was the first corporation to use DRM on audio CDs. In 2005, Sony BMG introduced new DRM technology which installed DRM software on users' computers without clearly notifying the user or requiring confirmation. Among other things, the installed software included a rootkit, which created a severe security vulnerability others could exploit. When the nature of the DRM involved was made public much later, Sony initially minimized the significance of the vulnerabilities its software had created, but was eventually compelled to recall millions of CDs, and released several attempts to patch the surreptitiously included software to at least remove the rootkit. Several class action lawsuits were filed, which were ultimately settled by agreements to provide affected consumers with a cash payout or album downloads free of DRM.
Sony's DRM software actually had only a limited ability to prevent copying, as it affected only playback on Windows computers, not on other equipment. Even on the Windows platform, users regularly bypassed the restrictions. And, while the Sony DRM technology created fundamental vulnerabilities in customers' computers, parts of it could be trivially bypassed by holding down the "shift" key while inserting the CD, or by disabling the autorun feature. In addition, audio tracks could simply be played and re-recorded, thus completely bypassing all of the DRM (this is known as the analog hole). Sony's first two attempts at releasing a patch which would remove the DRM software from users' computers failed.
In January 2007, EMI stopped publishing audio CDs with DRM, stating that "the costs of DRM do not measure up to the results." EMI was the last publisher to do so, and audio CDs containing DRM are no longer released by any major publishers.
The various services are currently not interoperable, though those that use the same DRM system (for instance the several Windows Media DRM format stores, including Napster and Yahoo Music) all provide songs that can be played side-by-side through the same player program. Almost all stores require client software of some sort to be downloaded, and some also need plug-ins. Several colleges and universities, such as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, have made arrangements with assorted Internet music suppliers to provide access (typically DRM-restricted) to music files for their students, to less than universal popularity, sometimes making payments from student activity fee funds. One of the problems is that the music becomes unplayable after leaving school unless the student continues to pay individually. Another is that few of these vendors are compatible with the most common portable music player, the Apple iPod. The Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (to HMG in the UK; 141 pages, 40+ specific recommendations) has taken note of the incompatibilities, and suggests (Recommendations 8 -- 12) that there be explicit fair dealing exceptions to copyright allowing libraries to copy and format-shift between DRM schemes, and further allowing end users to do the same privately. If adopted, some of the acrimony may decrease.
Although DRM is prevalent for Internet music, some Online music stores such as eMusic, Dogmazic, Amazon, and Beatport, do not use DRM despite encouraging users to avoid sharing music. Major labels have begun releasing more online music without DRM. Eric Bangeman suggests in Ars Technica that this is because the record labels are "slowly beginning to realize that they can't have DRMed music and complete control over the online music market at the same time... One way to break the cycle is to sell music that is playable on any digital audio player. eMusic does exactly that, and their surprisingly extensive catalog of non-DRMed music has vaulted it into the number two online music store position behind the iTunes Store. Apple's Steve Jobs has called on the music industry to eliminate DRM in an open letter titled Thoughts on Music. Apple's iTunes store will start to sell DRM-free 256 kbit/s (up from 128 kbit/s) music from EMI for a premium price (this has since reverted to the standard price). In March 2007, Musicload.de, one of Europe's largest online music retailers, announced their position strongly against DRM. In an open letter, Musicload stated that three out of every four calls to their customer support phone service are as a result of consumer frustration with DRM.
E-books are finding their place, but it is taking a long time, and taking a toll on the suppliers who were banking on a "boom" to survive. Many initial e-book publishers and providers have not survived and in 2003, Barnes & Noble ceased to offer e-book content and support. It has also taken several years to produce successful e-book hardware: Sony released the Sony Reader in 2006 and Amazon released the Kindle in 2007.
Two of the most commonly used software programs to view e-books are Adobe Acrobat and Microsoft Reader. Each program uses a slightly different approach for Digital Rights Management (DRM). The first version of Adobe Acrobat e-book Reader to have encryption technologies was version 5.05. In the later version 6.0, the technologies of the PDF reader and the e-book reader were combined, allowing it to read both DRM-restricted and unrestricted files. After opening the file, the user is able to view the rights statement, which outlines actions available for the specific document. For example, for a freely transferred PDF, printing, copying to the clipboard, and other basic functions are available to the user. However, when viewing a more highly restricted e-book, the user is unable to print the book, copy or paste selections. The level of restriction is specified by the publisher or distribution agency.
Microsoft Reader, which exclusively reads e-books in a .lit format, contains its own DRM software. In Microsoft Reader there are three different levels of access control depending on the e-book: sealed e-books, inscribed e-books and owner exclusive e-books. Sealed e-books have the least amount of restriction and only prevents the document from being modified. Therefore, the reader cannot alter the content of the book to change the ending, for instance. Inscribed e-books are the next level of restriction. After purchasing and downloading the e-book, Microsoft Reader puts a digital ID tag to identify the owner of the e-book. Therefore, this discourages distribution of the e-book because it is inscribed with the owner’s name making it possible to trace it back to the original copy that was distributed.
Other e-book software uses similar DRM schemes. For example, Palm Digital Media, now known as Ereader, links the credit card information of the purchaser to the e-book copy in order to discourage distribution of the books. The most stringent form of security that Microsoft Reader offers is called owner exclusive e-books, which uses traditional DRM technologies. To buy the e-book the consumer must first open Microsoft Reader, which ensures that when the book is downloaded it becomes linked to the computer’s Microsoft Passport account. Thus the e-book can only be opened with the computer with which it was downloaded, preventing copying and distribution of the text.
DRM has been used by organizations such as the British Library in its secure electronic delivery service to permit worldwide access to substantial numbers of rare (and in many cases unique) documents which, for legal reasons, were previously only available to authorized individuals actually visiting the Library's document centre at Boston Spa in England.
Watermarks can be used for different purposes that may include:
Watermarks are not complete DRM mechanisms in their own right, but are used as part of a system for Digital Rights Management, such as helping provide prosecution evidence for purely legal avenues of rights management, rather than direct technological restriction. Some programs used to edit video and/or audio may distort, delete, or otherwise interfere with watermarks. Signal/modulator-carrier chromatography may also separate watermarks from original audio or detect them as glitches. Use of third party media players and other advanced programs render watermarking useless. Additionally, comparison of two separately obtained copies of audio using simple, home-grown algorithms can often reveal watermarks. New methods of detection are currently under investigation by both industry and non-industry researchers.
As an example, metadata is used in media purchased from Apple's iTunes Store for DRM-free as well as DRM-restricted versions of their music or videos. This information is included as MPEG standard metadata.
|Name||Used In||Date of Use||Description|
|DRM Schemes Currently in Use|
|FairPlay||The iTunes Library, iPod||2003+||The purchased music files are encoded as AAC, then encrypted with an additional format that renders the file exclusively compatible with iTunes and the iPod.|
|3-play||Microsoft Zune||2006+||Music files that are received wirelessly from other Zune devices can be played only a maximum of three times on the device. Recipients cannot re-send music that they have received via the sharing feature. Initially, these files would also expire after three days whether they are played or not; that restriction was lifted in a firmware update released on November 13 2007.|
|Janus WMA DRM||All PlaysForSure Devices||2004+||Janus is the codename for portable version of Windows Media DRM for portable devices.|
|Content-scrambling system (CSS)||Some DVD Discs||1996+||CSS utilizes a weak, 40-bit stream cipher to actively encrypt DVD-Video.|
|ARccOS Protection||Some DVD Discs||Adds corrupt data sectors, preventing computer software from traditional access. DVD players execute the on-disk program that skips ARccOS sectors.|
|VHS Macrovision||Almost all VHS Video through the 20th Century||1984+||When dubbing a Macrovision-encoded tape, the picture that has gone through the recording VCR will get dark and then normal again periodically. The picture may also become unstable when it is at its darkest.|
|DVD Region Code||Some DVD Discs||1996+||Many DVD-Video discs contain one or more region codes, denoting the area[s] of the world in which distribution and playback are intended.|
|OMA DRM||Implemented in over 550 phone models.||2004+||A DRM system invented by the Open Mobile Alliance to control copying of cell phone ring tones.|
|SoftwarePassport / Armadillo||Used to protect Windows 32-bit and 64-bit software for digital distribution.||1997+||A proprietary DRM system promoted by Digital River for publishers wishing to 'wrap' their finished products with DRM capabilities. Mac software as well as eBooks are supported.|
|MagicGate||ATRAC audio devices (e.g. MiniDisc players), Memory Stick based audio players, AnyMusic distribution service||1999+||A proprietary DRM system invented and promoted by Sony.|
|Helix & Harmony||Real Networks services||1999+||A DRM system from Real Networks that was intended to be interoperable with other DRM schemes, particularly FairPlay. Ultimately used only by Real Networks.|
|Windows Media DRM||Many Online Video Distribution Networks||1999+||WMV DRM is designed to provide secure delivery of audio and/or video content over an IP network to a PC or other playback device in such a way that the distributor can control how that content is used.|
|Filmkey||Independent Film Distributors||2008+||Filmkey Encoder encodes QuickTime files with a proprietary encryption, which are distributed over an IP network to a PC or a Macintosh where they can be viewed by a proprietary Filmkey Player, controlled by a license of the distributor. Filmkey is promoted by filmkey.ch|
|DRM Schemes no Longer in Use|
|Extended Copy Protection||Sony and BMG CDs||2005||Also known as the 'Sony Rootkit'. Although not technically a virus, it bore many virus-like and trojan-like characteristics rendering it wholly illegal. Thus, this form of DRM is no longer utilized.|
The WCT has been implemented in most member states of the World Intellectual Property Organization. The American implementation is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), while in Europe the treaty has been implemented by the 2001 European directive on copyright, which requires member states of the European Union to implement legal protections for technological prevention measures. In 2006, the lower house of the French parliament adopted such legislation as part of the controversial DADVSI law, but added that protected DRM techniques should be made interoperable, a move which caused widespread controversy in the United States.
Reverse engineering of existing systems is expressly permitted under the Act under specific conditions. Under the reverse engineering safe harbor, circumvention necessary to achieve interoperability with other software is specifically authorized. See 17 U.S.C. Sec. 1201(f). Open-source software to decrypt content scrambled with the Content Scrambling System and other encryption techniques presents an intractable problem with the application of the Act. Much depends on the intent of the actor. If the decryption is done for the purpose of achieving interoperability of open source operating systems with proprietary operating systems, the circumvention would be protected by Section 1201(f) the Act. Cf., Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Corley, 273 F.3d 429 (2d Cir. 2001) at notes 5 and 16. However, dissemination of such software for the purpose of violating or encouraging others to violate copyrights has been held illegal. See Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes, 111 F. Supp. 2d 346 (S.D.N.Y. 2000).
The DMCA has been largely ineffective in protecting DRM systems, as software allowing users to circumvent DRM remains widely available, as for instance over the Internet. However, those with an interest in preserving the DRM systems have attempted to use the Act to restrict the distribution and development of such software, as in the case of DeCSS.
Although the Act contains an exception for research, the exception is subject to vague qualifiers that do little to reassure the research community. Cf., 17 U.S.C. Sec. 1201(g). The DMCA has had an impact on the worldwide cryptography research community, because many fear that their cryptanalytic research violates, or might be construed to violate, the DMCA. The arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov in 2001, for alleged infringement of the DMCA, was a highly publicized example of the law's use to prevent or penalize development of anti-DRM measures. Sklyarov was arrested in the United States after a presentation at DEF CON, and subsequently spent several months in jail. The DMCA has also been cited as chilling to non-criminal inclined users, such as students of cryptanalysis (including, in a well-known instance, Professor Felten and students at Princeton), and security consultants such as the Netherlands based Niels Ferguson, who has declined to publish information about vulnerabilities he discovered in an Intel secure-computing scheme because of his concern about being arrested under the DMCA when he travels to the US.
On 25 April, 2007 the European Parliament supported the first directive of EU, which aims to harmonize criminal law in the member states. It adopted a first reading report on harmonizing the national measures for fighting copyright abuse. If the European Parliament and the Council approve the legislation, the submitted directive will oblige the member states to consider a crime a violation of international copyright committed with commercial purposes. The text suggests numerous measures: from fines to imprisonment, depending on the gravity of the offense.
The EP members supported the Commission motion, changing some of the texts. They excluded patent rights from the range of the directive and decided that the sanctions should apply only to offenses with commercial purposes. Copying for personal, non-commercial purposes was also excluded from the range of the directive.
In Europe, there are several ongoing dialog activities that are characterized by their consensus-building intention:
The European Community was expected to produce a recommendation on DRM in 2006, phasing out the use of levies (compensation to rights holders charged on media sales for lost revenue due to unauthorized copying) given the advances in DRM/TPM technology. However, opposition from the member states, particularly France, have now made it unlikely that the recommendation will be adopted.
Many organizations, prominent individuals, and computer scientists are opposed to DRM. Two notable DRM critics are John Walker, as expressed for instance, in his article The Digital Imprimatur: How big brother and big media can put the Internet genie back in the bottle, and Richard Stallman in his article The Right to Read and in other public statements "DRM is an example of a malicious feature - a feature designed to hurt the user of the software, and therefore, it's something for which there can never be toleration". Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University heads a British organization which opposes DRM and similar efforts in the UK and elsewhere. Cory Doctorow, a prominent writer and technology blogger, spoke on the Microsoft campus criticizing the technology, the morality, and the marketing of DRM.
There have been numerous others who see DRM at a more fundamental level. TechMediums.com argues that DRM-free music allows for viral marketing, arguing that independent artists benefit from "free marketing" and can then focus on revenues from higher margin products like merchandise and concert ticket sales. This is similar to some of the ideas in Michael H. Goldhaber's presentation about "The Attention Economy and the Net" at a 1997 conference on the "Economics of Digital Information." (sample quote from the "Advice for the Transition" section of that presentation: "If you can't figure out how to afford it without charging, you may be doing something wrong.")
The final version of the GNU General Public License version 3, as released by the Free Software Foundation, prohibits using DRM to restrict free redistribution and modification of works covered by the license, and includes a clause stating that the license's provisions shall be interpreted as disfavoring use of DRM. Also, in May 2006, the FSF launched a "Defective by Design" campaign against DRM.
Creative Commons provides licensing options encouraging the expansion of and building upon creative work without the use of DRM. In addition, the use of a Creative Commons-licensed work on a device which incorporates DRM is a breach of the Baseline Rights asserted by each license.
Bill Gates spoke about DRM at CES in 2006. According to him, DRM is not where it should be, and causes problems for legitimate consumers while trying to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate users.
According to Steve Jobs, Apple opposes DRM music after a public letter calling its music labels to stop requiring DRM on its iTunes Store. To date, EMI has complied. Apple considers DRM on video content as a separate issue.
As already noted, many DRM opponents consider "digital rights management" to be a misnomer. They argue that DRM manages rights (or access) the same way prison manages freedom and often refer to it as "digital restrictions management". Alternatively, ZDNet Executive Editor David Berlind suggests the term "Content Restriction, Annulment and Protection" or "CRAP" for short.
The Norwegian Consumer rights organization "Forbrukerrådet" complained to Apple Inc. in 2007 about the company's use of DRM in, and in conjunction with, its iPod and iTunes products. Apple was accused of restricting users' access to their music and videos in an unlawful way, and to use EULAs conflicting with Norwegian consumer legislation. The complaint was supported by consumers' ombudsmen in Sweden and Denmark, and is currently being reviewed in the EU.
The use of DRM may also be a barrier to future historians, since technologies designed to permit data to be read only on particular machines, or with particular keys, or for certain periods, may well make future data recovery impossible — see Digital Revolution. This argument connects the issue of DRM with that of asset management and archive technology.
DRM opponents argue that the presence of DRM violates existing private property rights and restricts a range of heretofore normal and legal user activities. A DRM component would control a device a user owns (such as a Digital audio player) by restricting how it may act with regards to certain content, overriding some of the user's wishes (for example, preventing the user from burning a copyrighted song to CD as part of a compilation or a review). An example of this effect may be seen in Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system in which content is disabled or degraded depending on the DRM scheme's evaluation of whether the hardware and its use are 'secure'. All forms of DRM depend on the DRM enabled device (e.g., computer, DVD player, TV) imposing restrictions that (at least by intent) cannot be disabled or modified by the user.
Tools like FairUse4WM have been created to strip Windows Media of DRM restrictions.
Most notably, Apple began selling "DRM-Free" music through their iTunes store in April of 2007. It was later revealed that the DRM-Free iTunes files were still embedded with each user's account information, a form of copy protection generally not regarded as DRM.
One simple method to bypass DRM on audio files is to burn the content to an audio CD and then rip it into DRM-free files. This is only possible when the software that plays these DRM-restricted audio files allows CD-burning. Some software products simplify and automate this burn-rip process by allowing the user to burn music to a CD-RW disc or to a Virtual CD-R drive, then automatically ripping and encoding the music, and automatically repeating this process until all selected music has been converted, rather than forcing the user to do this one CD (72-80 minutes worth of music) at a time.
Many software programs have been developed that intercept the data stream as it is decrypted out of the DRM-restricted file, and then use this data to construct a DRM-free file. These programs require a decryption key. Programs that do this for DVDs, HD DVDs, and Blu-ray Discs include universal decryption keys in the software itself. Programs that do this for TiVo ToGo recordings, iTunes audio, and PlaysForSure songs, however, rely on the user's own key — that is, they can only process content that the user has legally acquired under his or her own account.
Another method is to use software to record the signals being sent through the audio or video cards, or to plug analog recording devices into the analog outputs of the media player. These techniques utilize the so-called "analog hole" (see below).
All DRM to date, and probably all future ones can therefore be bypassed by recording this signal and digitally storing and distributing it in a non DRM limited form, by anyone who has the technical means of recording the analog stream. However the conversion from digital to analog and back is likely to force a loss of quality, particularly when using lossy digital formats. HDCP is an attempt to restrict the analog hole although it is largely ineffective.
Asus released a soundcard which features a function called "Analog Loopback Transformation" to bypass the restrictions of DRM. This feature allows the user to record DRM-restricted audio via the soundcard's built-in analog I/O connection.
Many of the DRM systems in use are designed to work on general purpose computing hardware, such as desktop PCs apparently because this equipment is felt to be a major contributor to revenue loss from disallowed copying. Large commercial copyright infringers ("pirates") avoid consumer equipment, so losses from such infringers will not be covered by such provisions.
Some have suggested that any such scheme can never be secure since the software must include all the information, such as decryption keys, necessary to decrypt the content. It is suggested that one can always extract this information and decrypt and copy the content, bypassing the restrictions imposed by a DRM system.
Many DRM schemes use encrypted media which requires purpose built hardware to hear or see the content. This appears to ensure that only licensed users (those with the hardware) can access the content. It additionally tries to protect a secret decryption key from the users of the system.
While this in principle can work, it is extremely difficult to build the hardware to protect the secret key against a sufficiently determined adversary. Many such systems have failed in the field, and in fact, it is thought that none have yet survived several years of deployment. Once the secret key is known, building a version of the hardware that performs no checks is often relatively straightforward.
In addition user verification provisions are frequently subject to attack.
In particular, most compression is intended to only retain perceptible features of an image, and hence if the watermarks are invisible, then they are very typically removed by compression systems as a side-effect.
Microsoft Zune - When Microsoft introduced their Zune media player in 2006, it did not support content that uses Microsoft's own PlaysForSure DRM scheme they had previously been selling. The EFF calls this "a raw deal".
MSN Music - In April 2008, Microsoft sent an email to former customers of the now-defunct MSN Music store: "As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers. You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play.
However, to avoid a public relations disaster, Microsoft re-issued MSN Music shutdown statement on June 19th and allowed the users to use their licenses till the end of 2011: "After careful consideration, Microsoft has decided to continue to support the authorization of new computers and devices and delivery of new license keys for MSN Music customers through at least the end of 2011, after which we will evaluate how much this functionality is still being used and what steps should be taken next to support our customers. This means you will continue to be able to listen to your purchased music and transfer your music to new PCs and devices beyond the previously announced August 31, 2008 date.
Yahoo! Music Store - On July 23, 2008, the Yahoo! Music Store emailed its customers to tell them it will be shutting down effective September 30, 2008 and the DRM license key servers will be taken offline.
Walmart - In August 2007, Walmart's online music division started offering (DRM-free) MP3s as an option. Starting in February 2008, they made all sales DRM-free. On September 26, 2008, the Walmart Music Team notified its customers via email they would will be shutting down their DRM servers October 9, 2008 and any DRM-encumbered music acquired from them will no longer be accessible unless ripped to a non-DRM format before that date.
After bad press and negative reaction from customers, on October 9, 2008, Walmart decided not to take its DRM servers offline.
A very early implementation of DRM was the Software Service System (SSS) devised by the Japanese engineer Ryoichi Mori in 1983 and subsequently refined under the name superdistribution. The SSS was based on encryption, with specialized hardware that controlled decryption and also enabled payments to be sent to the copyright holder. The underlying principle of the SSS and subsequently of superdistribution was that the distribution of encrypted digital products should be completely unrestricted and that users of those products would not just be permitted to redistribute them but would actually be encouraged to do so.