Microsoft KB Archive/928217

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Knowledge Base

About Digital Rights Management (DRM) and protected content in Zune

Article ID: 928217

Article Last Modified on 9/20/2007


  • Zune Digital Media Player
  • Zune Live
  • Zune software


This article describes Digital Rights Management (DRM), and how it applies to Zune.


Q1: What is DRM?

A1: DRM means Digital Rights Management. DRM technology is used by content providers, such as online stores, to control how digital music and video files are used and distributed. Online stores sell and rent DRM-protected songs and movies that have media usage rights to enable specific use of the content. The Zune software, Zune devices, and Zune Marketplace support and use Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10 (DRM 10).

Q2: What is a protected song or a protected video?

A2: A protected song or a protected video is a file that uses DRM protection. To play the protected song or video, you must have the media usage rights for it.

Q3: Does Zune play all protected files?

A3: No. The Zune software and devices only play protected music files from Zune Marketplace.

Q4: What are media usage rights?

A4: Media usage rights, also known as a license, are permissions to use a protected song or a protected video in a particular way. Zune Marketplace can specify in the media usage rights how you can use the protected songs that you obtain from them. For example, Zune Marketplace can grant the following media usage rights for a song:

  • Play right:

The right to play the song on a computer

  • Burn right:

The right to burn the song to an audio CD

  • Sync right:

The right to sync the song to your Zune device

Each right in the license can have certain qualities. For example, a license might include the following usage rights:

  • The right to play a particular song on a computer an unlimited number of times.
  • The right to sync that song to two portable devices five times per month.
  • The right to burn the song to an audio CD up to seven times.

Q5: What is a license?

A5: A license is another name for media usage rights.

Q6: Are media usage rights stored in the music or video file?

A6: No. Media usage rights are stored on the computer separately from your music or video files.

Q7: How does the Zune software use media usage rights?

A7: When you try to use a protected song or a protected video, the Zune software checks to see whether you have valid media usage rights for that file. If the media usage rights let you perform the action, Zune performs that action for you.

If Zune does not find valid media usage rights for the file, or if the rights do not let you to perform the action, Zune does not perform the action. Typically, you receive an error message that states why the action is not performed. Or, you can click a button next to the protected file in the Zune software for more information.

For more information about the topics that are discussed in this article, press F1 on the keyboard when the Zune software is running to view the Zune Help file.

Keywords: kbzunesoftware kbzunelive kbzunehardware kbzunedrm kbexpertisebeginner kbpubtypekc kbzuneamericasportal kbhowto KB928217