You might have caught the Zune swoon in the blogosphere last week. For those who didn’t catch it, Zune is Microsoft’s planned iPod-killer: a device that is as often nifty (built in WiFi that allows you to share music with friends on the go) as it is underwhelming (30 gig hard drive, max.)
But even the nifty WiFi feature in Zune is pretty insidious, not to mention hypocritical. To pacify the RIAA, Zune wraps up any wifi shared music in a layer of DRM that only allows the recipient to play the song three times, or for three days, whichever comes first.
Okay, that seems like a fair compromise. But the problem is that Microsoft says that Zune can’t distinguish between MP3s you’ve made yourself that you might want to share freely and MP3s with more limited licenses (read: with the RIAA’s gaggle of sue-happy attorneys chomping at the bit behind them).
Which is flat-out balderdash: the Creative Commons license is machine-readable. What this all comes down to is Microsoft only cares about honoring the licensing terms of major corporations, not the independent musician without legal clout. Is this surprising? Not really. But that makes Microsoft’s failure to acknowledge its own customer’s legal rights and copyrights none the less troubling.
Zune’s Big Innovation: Viral DRM [Medialoper]