Yahoo to shut down DRM servers on September 30

Owners of Yahoo Music accounts, take note. In line with the company’s plan to terminate its Yahoo Music Unlimited service, Yahoo intends to shut down its digital rights management authentication servers on September 30. As PC World reports, that means users won’t be able to listen to music files they purchased if they change PCs or upgrade their operating systems.

Yahoo did arrange a transition, whereby customers will be able to buy music from the Rhapsody service at the same prices once Yahoo Music Unlimited goes dark. However, that switchover apparently doesn’t cover DRM. PC World says Yahoo has advised users in an e-mail to burn their DRM-protected music to CDs, so they can access it later without authentication issues getting in the way.

Aside from the obvious logistical inconvenience of burning one’s music collection to 80-minute CDs, Yahoo’s suggestion could also get customers in trouble, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Corynne McSherry. She explains in a blog post, "This suggestion could put customers at legal risk, as they may not have documentation of purchase. . . . Furthermore, there is no certainty that all relevant copyright owners would agree that making such backup copies without permission is lawful." McSherry says Yahoo should offer to refund customers, offer DRM-free replacement tracks, and give them proofs of purchase.

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