Monday, October 30, 2006
Zune and DRM
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Talk" @ 02:00 PM
Charlie over at Zune Corps has written up a piece on DRM and how it will impact the Zune. When it comes to buying songs from the Zune Marketplace, the Zune is really no better or worse than the iPod. One could argue that's a problem, because if it's no better, then that's not going to be a factor to lure iPod users. On the other hand, with the Zune Marketplace subscription, as long as you keep paying the $14.99 USD a month, you don't have to think about DRM, because everything you can see in the Marketplace you can download.
My main concern with DRM on the Zune is the 3 day/3 play is applied to every single song you share from the Zune - I don't think it's Microsoft's place to police content on my Zune. If I want to share a ripped CD with a friend who has a Zune, the ethical and legal ramifications of that should be on my shoulders - Microsoft shouldn't be stepping in the middle. By the same token, if I load up some podcasts or original songs I put together and I want to give that content away for others to keep, why shouldn't I be able to? It doesn't matter that the DRM is part of the hardware and not applied to the song itself, the end result is still the same. Forcing people to have to go back to their computers to re-download the audio file so they can keep it is inane, and nullifies some of the utility that the Zune's WiFi sharing has. I don't know how much of the 3 day/3 day DRM came from music studio pressure, and how much of it was from the Zune team themselves, but no matter how you slice it, it's a bad idea that's going to hurt the adoption of the player.