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Saturday, August 26, 2006 

Is Windows Media DRM dead?



Some forums started providing links to download an application called FairUse4WM, which strips Windows Media DRM.

I always said all DRM schemes are broken by definition since the decoding key is present on one's computer and could in theory be used by some sofware application to strip the DRM. It was done in the past for Apple FairPlay DRM and it looks like someone is doing it now to Windows Media DRM.

What does this mean in terms of the value of DRM schemes and the reaction of media publishers? Probably nothing. These people know already that DRM has nothing to do with piracy prevention, it has everything to do with enforcing consumers to accept new and unfair business models. If content publishers will be able to make DRM totally transparent for users then nobody will waste time stripping it. However if DRM will remain a pain, and I argue that it is a pain by definition, then DRM will die one way or the other, with or without tools to strip it, due to free market forces and increased competition.