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Zune Market MP3s to go without watermarks?

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Wed October 3, 2007

No Zune MP3 Watermarks

Microsoft is hoping to distinguish the Zune MP3 Marketplace from other DRM-free stores by eliminating the digital watermarks that trace songs back to their individual buyers, according to the company. The Redmond-based firm will sell its unguarded MP3 files that should be the same for every user. This contrast sharply with Apple's iTunes Plus songs, which drop copy protection but add account data that could theoretically be used to track a pirated copy to its original source. Other stores selling MP3s, including the eMusic audiobook service, either use similar watermarks or less direct forms of fingerprinting to follow their paid downloads.

Microsoft was unavailable for comment at press time but may use its approach to MP3 purchases to counter notions that the company and the Zune are more restrictive than Apple, which appeared to take an initative by making an open call for removing rights management on tracks and later becoming the first DRM-reliant store to offer a separate, unrestricted format.

Microsoft has frequently been criticized for agreeing to pay a royalty to Universal Music for every Zune sold to allay piracy fears. The Zune has also seen its own criticism from users complaining that Zune-to-Zune wireless sharing applied DRM to unprotected songs, even when artists officially endorsed looser copyrights.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. turkeybaster

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    More Ignorant Press

    In the first place, the "watermarking" on Apple's non-DRM files is nothing more than some user information stored in metadata in the files. It is trivial to remove, if desired.

    Second, who really cares if a user's email address is stored in the file? Unless you're uploading the file --- which *is* illegal, and you deserve what you get --- it's harmless. If someone steals your device, the possibility that they could get your email address is really the least of your worries. Likewise, the metadata is so easy to modify, fears that someone's email address could be inserted into the file as a false trail are unfounded: the email address in the file proves nothing at all.

    If this is Microsoft's best pitch, it's a sorry one. At least to those of us who are a little more well read than the author of this article.

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005



    I don't know what worse; Microshit actually believing that this is an important thing, or Macnn having no idea wht watermarking is. LOLLLLLL!!!

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