Wal Mart Reverses Decision to Shut Down DRM Servers

October 13th, 2008 at 12:00 am

walmart, music, store, digital rights management, media, online, backup, shut down

Nearly 2 weeks ago, the United States’s largest retail chain Wal Mart  announced that they will be shutting down the servers that administrate their DRM’ed songs.  This announcement was met by outraged customers affected by the decision.

DRM or Digital Rights Management is a way for content owners of music and videos to keep trak of their products.  DRM’ed music and videos have very strict copying and transferring rules embedded in the files which allow the files to be limitedly played on a number of machines and copied only once.  These are monitored by DRM servers online.  Without the DRM servers and the support from the retailer, any complaints regarding the DRM’ed music and videos cannot be addressed and there’s a possibility that entire collections may be lost.

Wal Mart, two weeks ago, issued the announcement that they will no longer be selling nor supporting DRM’ed media and hence shut down their DRM servers and support service.  The announcement also included instructions for customers to back up their DRM’ed media onto optical drives to avoid loss once support has been cut off. 

However, due to insistent public demand, Wal Mart has been forced to keep their servers up for the foreseeable future.  In an email to its users, Wal Mart explains.

Based on feedback from our customers, we have decided to maintain our digital rights management (DRM) servers for the present time. What this means to you is that our existing service continues and there is no action required on your part. Our customer service team will continue to assist with DRM issues for protected windows media audio (WMA) files purchased from Walmart.com.

While our customer support team is available to assist you with any issues, we continue to recommend that you back up your songs by burning them to a recordable audio CD. By backing up your songs, you insure access to them from any personal computer at any time in the future.

We appreciate your support and patience as we work to provide the best service possible to you. As we move forward with our 100% MP3 store, we’ll continue to update you with key decisions regarding our service and your account via email.

Thank you for using Walmart MP3 Music Downloads.

The Walmart Digital Music Team

And so, support for the DRM media remains.  However, Wal Mart will no longer be selling  any digital media with DRM online and in their stores.