If you're tired of having to play some of your favorite WMA music strictly on players that are WMA-compatible because of DRM, keep reading. You can legally convert your purchased WMA music encoded with DRM to MP3s. This two-part series shows you how.
The rapid spread of digital audio over the last ten years has caused an ever- increasing degree of concern within the music industry. The ease with which CDs and MP3 files can be copied with zero quality loss, along with the rapid growth of the Internet as a virtually unlimited distribution channel, has led to unparalleled opportunities for music piracy.
In response, the industry has attempted to place limitations on the use of audio files, using a range of technologies that are collectively known as Digital Rights Management or DRM. DRM technologies are essentially mechanisms which allow usage restrictions to be encoded directly into certain audio file formats, the most common variety of which is Windows Media Audio – WMA.
Typically, DRM seeks to limit the copying and conversion of audio files to other, unrestricted, formats. However, there is no standard approach. Different files will be licensed for different types of usage: for example, one may be licensed for burning to CD while another may not. Some files will be playable only on certain players, or while the owner holds a time-restricted license.
All of this has provoked a high degree of controversy, especially with regard to the restrictions DRM has placed on what has up until now been regarded as “fair use” of media. It has always been legally acceptable for an individual to make copies of music they have bought, as long as these are for personal use, such as backing up a CD in case the original fails, or transferring a CD to an MP3 player for listening when out and about.
DRM-restricted media often allow no such duplication: WMA files must be played on WMA-compatible hardware devices, seriously – and unfairly in many peoples’ view – restricting the use to which legally purchased media may be put.
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