Wal-Mart Still Suffering from DRM-itis

Wired reports that Wal-Mart has decided to keep the music that it sold embedded with a layer of copyright protection playable even after the company shuts down its DRM servers, after enough customers complained that the shutdown would render their files unplayable.

“The company probably wishes it had never tangled with digital rights management, because it’s going to keep paying for it long after its switch to selling DRM-free MP3s.”

Previously, the company had said that everyone should burn copies of their purchased music files to CD and then re-import them into a computer. The problem with that approach is that for it to work, you have to burn audio CDs, not data CDs–so you have to carve up, say, 200 music files into 13 or 14 audio CDs, burn them all individually, and then re-import them all.

The song files will also sound worse once you do that, since you’re making a copy of a copy (like what used to happen with dubbed cassette tapes). In other words, it was a huge, time-consuming mess. We’re glad the company came to its senses.