The UK Sunday times released a freebie today that’s meant to get you to update you digital management software:



It consists of preview tracks from Elvis Costello's When I was Cruel - Collector's Edition, due out on Monday. There are some audio tracks, which are unprotected, a couple of unprotected WMAs and a couple of protected ones, which you're only supposed to be allowed to play four times.

OK, so what happens if you let the CD autoplay? You get the Sunday Times opening screen, then clicking continue takes you to a screen listing the tracks, what you can do with them, together with entries for "how it works" and "test your PC." The salient points of the first are that you need:

"-Windows Media Player 7.1 or later, configured to automatically acquire licenses.
-A internet connection is necessary to acquire a license for the protected tracks."

The test routine merely checks if you qualify and points you in the right direction if you don't. Opening the files with WMP, by the way, takes you in pretty much the same direction. You get the following message:

"The content you are accessing requires an additional level of security. In order to play it, you will need to update your Digital Rights Management Installation.

"When you click OK, Windows Media Player sends a unique identifier for your computer to a Microsoft service on the Internet. Click learn more to find out how the Microsoft service protects your licenses, files, and your


The articule also speaks of creative labs sound cards , and others, that shut down there digital output when encrypted files are played back through a Microsoft DRM supported audio player.