Digital Rights Managnment
Some audiobooks, both free and purchased, and other digital content can be protected by Digital Rights Management software. DRM is instructions embedded within digital audio or video in order to limit how it can be used. There are as many kinds of DRM as there are companies using it, all with different restrictions. Common restrictions are on how content can be replicated and shared: limited or no CD burning, limited number of computers and MP3 players on which content can be played.
DRM protected content will not work with hardware it is not compatible with. For example Microsoft's PlaysForSure (used by many independent merchants) will not work on Mac or Linux, and will not let files play on incompatible portable devices. Apples FairPlay protection scheme will work on both PC and Mac, but will play on very few devices other than company's own iPod.
There are three larger groups of DRM protection out there:
PlaysForSure DRM is used by many services, each with its own set of
restrictions, and has two subcategories:
which aplies to subscription services
that aplies to audio files purchased for download.
Aples iTunes music store uses FairPlay DRM. FairPlay encoded
can only be played with an iPod.
You can use the subscription tracks from iTunes as long as you have a subscription,
purchases from iTunes are yours forever.
All iTunes tracks can be copied to up to five authorised computers, an unlimited
portable music players. The tracks can be burnt onto a regular audio CD an unlimited number of times.
All audio from Audible comes as .aa files protected with Audibles own DRM. It lets you authorize up to 3 computers, and up to 3 portable devices. You can burn audible tracks to an audio CD only once.
The computers and audio players are authorised using your audible account, so to keep enjoying your purchased audio if you no longer wish to subscribe to the service, you have to change your account for an 'a la carte' account that doesn't have a monthly or a yearly fee.
Microsoft PlaysForSure or Janus
PlaysForSure is Microsofts Windows standard for Digital Rights Managnment. It usualy uses WMA files. It is used by many services, and each service can and does have its own set of restrictions on the use of their media.
PlaysForSure content also comes in several more broad types, and a portable device might or might not be able to play any or all of these types. Look for these logos and/or specific labeling on packaging, or in manufacturers description.
PlaysForSure protected audio can be either PFS Download or 9 or PFS Subscription or 10. PlaysForSure protected video can be Download, Rental, orSubscription.
Compatible devices have a logo on the package that specifies what kinds of files the device can play. Manufacturers description often includes DRM compatibility information for a device, and services that use DRM also have information available as to what devices are compatible with their content.
Napster Light or purchased content is PlaysForSure 9 download and can be played with PlaysForSure compatible player.
Purchased files can be used on up to 3 computers, and up to 2 compatible portable players (unlimited transfers to portable device), and can be burned to an audio CD. *Note* To keep using your purchased media, you must keep up at least 'Napster Light' (free) account.
Napster subscription downloads can be used on up to 3 computers for as long as the paid subscription is kept up. If a subsription lapses for less than 6 months, and is then renewed, all the old subscription downloads can be played again, and don't have to be downloaded again.
Napster-to-go subscription downloads (PlaysForSure Subscription or 10) can be used on up to 3 computers, and 2 compatible portable devices (unlimited transfers to device) for as long as the subscription is paid. These files can also be burned to an audio CD.
Simply Audiobooks DRM
Simply Audiobooks DRM is PlaysForSure Download, and should work with PlaysForSure Download compatible portable device.
The downloaded files can be played on 1 (one) computer unlimited number of times, can ne transfered to any compatible device up to 3 times, and can be burned to an audio CD up to 3 times. These downloads can be used forever, with or with out Simply Audiobooks acount.
Jiggerbug downloads are PlaysForSure Subscription, and need a PlaysForSure Subscription compatible portable device. These files are time restricted, and will only play during the lending period, usualy 14 days. Jiggerbug downloads will play on multiple computers or compatible portable devices. Only a few select titles can be burned to an audio CD, the rest can not.
NetLibrary downloads are PlaysForSure Subscription, and need a PlaysForSure Subscription compatible portable device. These files are time restricted, and will only play during the lending period, usualy 21 days. These files can be used on one computer, and two portable devices, no cd burning When the licence has expired, it can be renewed by logging into your account again. Ten titles at a time can be checked out.
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