Windows Media Player, Ripping and DRM

Friday, June 24, 2005
posted by Geetesh Bajaj at 5:36 AM IST



Many times, you want to rip some tracks off a music CD and play it within your PowerPoint presentation, maybe as a background score that plays throughout the presentation. However, you might find that PowerPoint refuses to play those tracks! What is happening here?

Especially if you use Windows Media Player to rip the CDs, the real culprit might be DRM, which stands for Digital Rights Management and is a concept promoted by the music industry to prevent illegal distribution of their content. So, what’s DRM doing inside PowerPoint? That’s a good question – and DRM fits right into the PowerPoint world since most PowerPoint presentations are intended to be shown and distributed anyway.

However, I’ve ripped MP3s from music CDs using the new Windows Media Player 10 and no DRM is added to that – so why do some tracks get controlled by DMA and other don’t?

PowerPoint MVP Austin Myers throws some insight into whatever is happening behind the scenes:

Windows Media Player doesn’t add anything to it unless you tell it to. There are several “levels” of DRM built on newer music CDs and Windows Media Player simply passes them along into the ripped file. What can or cannot be done with it after that point depends upon how the content creator set DRM in the original file. In most cases you can rip to your machine for private use, but you cannot use it in a distribution application like PowerPoint (or BitTorrent).

Thank you, Austin.

Austin Myers creates a PowerPoint add-in that helps you shoo away your multimedia woes in PowerPoint. It is called PFCMedia and you can download a trial copy from his site…

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