updated 06:55 pm EDT, Sat July 26, 2008
Yahoo Music Compensation
Yahoo will compensate customers of its Yahoo Music online store once the company shuts down its servers and prevents customers from renewing their copy protection licenses, the company says. The firm now says that anyone who purchased tracks in addition to their monthly subscriptions to Yahoo Music will be refunded "for whatever [was] paid" for the songs so that they aren't forced to repurchase the tracks later. All active subscribers can also voluntarily transfer over to RealNetworks' Rhapsody subscription service and will have their lower $10 monthly rate carry over for a limited amount of time.
Customers should also have the option of converting their songs to unprotected MP3 songs from Rhapsody instead of receiving the refund. This will let them keep their tracks and freely copy them as well as get new compatibility, according to Yahoo Music representative Carrie Davis.
The gesture has echoes of a conciliatory move by Microsoft for customers of its long-closed MSN Music store, which will also shut down its copy protection servers this server. Instead of direct refunds, however, Microsoft has chosen to continue running the servers for three more years and deciding on its next course of action afterwards, depending on customer demand.
Yahoo's initiative re-emphasizes the potential issues with active digital rights management (DRM) systems such as the PlaysForSure system for protected Windows Media files. As the license keys for these purchased songs require an active Internet connection with a functioning DRM server, the method requires the company selling songs to maintain a server at all times. Other copy protection systems, including those for iTunes, often require only an initial authorization to play tracks.