With DRM and the DMCA, Nothing “Plays For Sure”

PaidContent points to reports that the new Microsoft Music Store will debut September 2.  It seems like we’ve been hearing rumors of this forever (or, at least as far back as February).  Apparently, the Store will integrate with Microsoft search and IM and will debut with over 600k songs at 99 cents each.  Given the coming of Janus, a subscription service is no doubt on the way as well.

Microsoft is also about to start a massive Windows Media marketing campaign, centered around its new “Plays for Sure” compliance mark.  Paidcontent puts it, “Microsoft is planning to tout its interoperability (some would say it is just about ubiquitous monopoly).”  Well, monopoly may be a little strong, but ubiquity really is the key.  Go back to Cory’s response to Scoble.  To rephrase SethS’s comment, interoperability is not the same as ubiquity.  You still have to ask MS’s permission to create interoperable software and hardware. 

With DRMed digital media, backed by the DMCA, nothing plays for sure.  Please, somebody start THAT campaign, rather than playing these silly games.  Your digital media is forever tethered to the DRM owners and relevant copyright holders.  Your digital media plays the way they say it can be played, that’s for sure.  But you will never truly be able to use your digital media however you want on whatever device you want – we will never see true interoperability.