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Wal-Mart reverses policy on DRM?

Reports out say the retail heavyweight will maintain digital rights management servers for the near future.

Margaret Kane Former Staff writer, CNET News
Margaret is a former news editor for CNET News, based in the Boston bureau.
Margaret Kane

New reports say Wal-Mart may have reversed its policy on digital rights management, and will keep servers online for the near future.

Wal-Mart had sent an e-mail to consumers last month that, starting October 9, it would no longer assist with digital rights management issues for protected files purchased from Walmart.com.

Wal-Mart supercenter

That means that anyone who had those music files would still be able to access them on the devices or computers they reside on, but wouldn't be able to transfer them to new devices.

Yahoo and Microsoft had announced similar plans when shuttering their DRM programs, but both companies backtracked after sharp criticism.

Now, reports say Wal-Mart has told consumers that it, too, will continue to support the DRM-protected music.

Engadget has posted an e-mail that Wal-Mart reportedly sent to music customers informing them that "we have decided to maintain our digital rights management (DRM) servers for the present time," and that their customer service team "will continue to assist with DRM issues for protected windows media audio (WMA) files purchased from Walmart.com."

A spokesman for Wal-Mart could not immediately be reached for comment.