updated 04:55 pm EDT, Tue September 19, 2006
Zune Sharing DRM Defended
When Microsoft announced the Zune last week, digital rights activists openly criticized Microsoft for statements that it would impose DRM on any music sent from one Zune to another as part of the player's unique wireless sharing feature. Particularly noteworthy is the Zune's potential legal violations: under the terms of the international Creative Commons license, copy protection cannot be added to files where it does not already exist - rendering Microsoft liable for any changes that might be made to relevant songs. Microsoft's Cesar Menendez today defended the sharing practice in his Zune Insider blog. The protection is not applied permanently to any songs in the user's library, writes Menendez, and is limited only to the temporary file. He similarly refutes notions that the Zune's sharing equates to "viral" DRM that protects files which artists intend to share freely. The protection only exists to encourage users to buy music when the usage rights expire, he says. The response does not completely address the issue of whether or not temporary DRM constitutes a Creative Commons violation by its very existence.