Yahoo gets it right: will refund customers for DRM shutdown

yahoo.jpg

If you bought DRM music from Yahoo, it will give you coupons or refunds if and when it becomes unplayable as a result of it shutting down its activation servers.

Yahoo Music Store closes on Sept. 30. After that date, customers can no longer re-authorize tracks. In the absence of a crack for its encryption system, this ties songs permanently to a single computer. Specifically, it warned uses that following the closure, they “will not be able to transfer songs to another computer or relicense these songs after changing operating systems.”

The coupons will be redeemable at Rhapsody, Yahoo’s new partner. A spokeswoman claims that only a “small number” of its customers are affected anyway – a quite believable assertion given the roaring success of Yahoo Music.

Microsoft recently agreed to delay killing its own DRM system after its own plans roused a similar teacupful of trouble.

Illo from AFP/YAHOO-HO/Brian Mcguiness photo
Yahoo offers coupons for music that stops working [AP]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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5 Responses to Yahoo gets it right: will refund customers for DRM shutdown

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    It has cat.

  2. brianary says:

    “Yahoo doesn’t make things worse”

    There needs to be a law REQUIRING companies that end DRM support to refund their customers! This would include no longer actively supporting hardware or software to read their DRaMaged data format. I would expect this to be pretty basic consumer law. Can a company repossess a product in my home without compensation?

    It’s really time to stop playing defense against DRM. We need to pass laws like this, and local laws that deny police the ability to enforce copyright infringement until all violent and drug offenses (if we have to have them) are under control. We need to make sure the DHS (if we have to have them) isn’t busting into apartments to stop X-Box modding, when they could be doing something more important.

  3. Anonymous says:

    There needs to be a law REQUIRING companies that end DRM support to refund their customers!

    I don’t know, that seems a bit harsh. If I buy an electric razor and Braun stops making replacement blades for it, do they owe me a refund? I think most people would say, “no.”

    What we really need to do is improve consumer awareness of DRM; help people understand that if you buy DRM’d products, you don’t own them. If you want to own a song forever, shop elsewhere. I’m tempted to say, “you get what you pay for,” to those people who lose money to DRM, but the fact is most people have no idea what they’re paying for.

    The best lesson would probably be the catastrophic failure of a major DRM server. If everyone lost their iTunes DRM tracks, and Apple didn’t offer a refund, people would probably be more wary of DRM in the future. “Market forces” might finally kill DRM once the average consumer understands what DRM really means.

  4. strider_mt2k says:

    I have to give ‘em props if they aren’t leaving anyone in a lurch. Cool beans, Yahoo.

    Bummer the DRM nonsense made this a necessity though.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yahoo has a music service?

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