29 August 2006

Legal downloading begins

The BBC is reporting that Microsoft's WMA copy-protection has been cracked, and that a program for removing the protection has been published.

I haven't seen any details from authoritative technically literate sources yet, but assuming it's true...

"An analyst" (Mark Mulligan of Jupiter Research) said Microsoft was probably working to "close the hole" - but I suspect that might not be possible without breaking many or all WMA players out there - including portable music players that play Microsoft's files.

If so, then from now on, people who buy WMA-protected music from online stores will be able to actually play it on any music-playing equipment they own. Paid-for downloads will be almost as high quality as illegal downloads.

What I would therefore expect would be an enormous spike in the volume of legal paid-for downloads. I would certainly start buying them myself.

This could be the best thing to happen to the music studios since the invention of the CD.

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