The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has lambasted Microsoft for its move to effectively disable the music collections of its former MSN Music customers.

In an open letter sent to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, EFF demand the company apologise to its former customers, pays compensation and that it should in future work. “Betrayed MSN Music customers deserve more,” the EFF declares.

MSN Music sold song downloads encrusted in digital rights management (DRM), allowing the music to be played only on approved devices. Music fans who upgrade their computers must reauthorise their music files with MSN Music’s DRM server – which the company last week announced it plans to shut down later this year, “because of the complexity of maintaining the technology.”

“MSN Music customers trusted Microsoft when it said that this was a safe way to buy music, and that trust has been betrayed," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "If Microsoft is prepared to treat MSN Music customers like this, is there any reason to suppose that future customers won’t get the same treatment?

“With MSN Music, Microsoft has admitted just how expensive, clumsy, and unfair DRM is. It’s time for Microsoft to reject this sloppy technology, and for customers to demand something better," McSherry said.


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