How to Remove DRM from WMA - Is It Legal and Worth the Effort?

Technically, it's illegal to remove DRM from WMA protected music. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is part of the music industry's effort to curb piracy. There are legitimate reasons for removing it, but first understand DRM can not be removed from file sharing network downloads. Most tracks can be legally copied 3 to 5 times, and this has been exceeded long before they appear on a peer-to-peer network. You must have either purchased the music or have unrestricted free music downloads.

There is no easy way to remove DRM, but it can be removed with some effort and know-how. The best advice is to only download music in the format you need, and that you have the right to copy to an mp3 player, CD or other device. It's also important to determine that the player will recognize and play the DRM protected WMA track.

What if I Really Like the songs and Want to convert them?

Let's say you've already downloaded music and need to convert to another audio codec. The common conversion method is to burn the tracks on a CD, then rip them in the desired codec's format. Even this requires special ripping software and numerous steps because the DRM is still embedded in the tracks. And because codecs like WMA, mp3, OGG, AAC, etc. are lossy formats, the sound quality will be degraded.

Lossy formats selectively discard sounds the human can't hear to make the file smaller. But each format removes slightly different sounds. For example, converting a track using a WMA to mp3 converter is now missing the sounds that both codecs have deleted.

There are other ways to remove DRM and convert WMA to mp3, but they require numerous steps and more software - and they're not for the technically challenged. Free WMA to mp3 conversion software and detailed instructions are available on the Internet.

MP3 players information from A to Z: player types & features, how they work, accessories,comparisons and more - plus free music download tips and info at A-Z MP3 Players.com, Your Complete A-Z Resource for MP3 Players, Accessories and Information.

This article may be re-printed in its entirety, with no changes and this resource box included. © 2005 http://www.a-z-mp3-players.com All rights reserved

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