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The market has spoken: getting rid of DRM shackles on digital music is a good thing. But what if you purchased music before the DRM handcuffs were removed?
If you bought music from Walmart.com before February 2008 (when Walmart.com started selling MP3 music), your ability to move music files from PC to PC has a very short shelf life. How short? Try October 9, 2008. That's the date that Walmart.com will shut down the DRM servers that control your ability to play non-MP3 music purchased from Walmart.com.
After 10/9/2008, you won't be able to move your music to another computer or access the songs on your system if you upgrade to another operating system or reinstall your current OS after a crash or to refresh its bits and bytes.
Fortunately, there's a bit of good news. While there's no way to extend the shelf life of that half-gallon of milk you lost a month ago in the back of your refridgerator, Walmart "strongly recommend[s] that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you will be able to access them from any personal computer."
It's almost enough to make you agree with BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow, who posted Walmart.com's message (excerpted above) and added this rejoinder:
Boy, the entertainment industry sure makes a good case for ripping them off, huh? Buy your media and risk having it confiscated by a DRM-server shutdown. Take it for free and keep it forever.
My answer? I buy CDs and rip them myself. What's yours? Hit the Comments button and sound off.