Fantastic DRM Graveyard timeline from Opensource.com - crazy how we've "evolved" in the past 13 years... October 1998 The Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes DRM circumvention and circumvention tools illegal.
December 2001 Rhapsody unlimited music streaming subscription service launches with songs restricted by the company's Helix DRM.
May 2002 Shuman Ghosemajumder proposes the Open Music Model, which states that subscription services free of DRM are the only successful model to beat piracy. It requires open file sharing, open file formats, open membership, open payment, and open competition.
April 21, 2003 RealNetworks (known for RealAudio, RealVideo and RealPlayer) acquires Listen.com, owner of Rhapsody and offers streaming downloads for a monthly fee.
April 28, 2003 One week later, the iTunes store launches with its songs encrypted with FairPlay DRM. It restricts users to accessing songs from only three (later five) computers and making no more than ten (later seven) copies of a CD playlist.Â Apple does not license its encryption, so only Apple devices can play iTunes music.
November 2003 FairPlay is cracked by Jon Lech Johansen ("DVD Jon"), previously known for his part in the DeCSS software, which was released four years earlier for decrypting DVDs.
January 2004 RealNetworks announces sale of DRM-restricted music in the RealPlayer Music Store.
August 2004 Microsoft begins certifying devices and providers with the PlaysForSure mark, noting that they had been tested and certified for compatibility with files encrypted with Windows Media DRM.
February 2005 Yahoo! Music offers unlimited music as a rebrand of LAUNCH Media at the Open Music Model's recommended $5 subscription price point, but using DRM.
October/November 2005 Consumers of Sony CDs discover the Sony rootkit in its SecuROM DRM. Removing it leaves some forced to reinstall Windows. Sony settles in December. (Read a timeline of the Sony rootkit story.)
July 2006 The eMusic subscription service, which sells songs DRM-free, becomes the second-largest digital music service, though with an 11% market share to iTunes' 67%.
September 2006 Steve Jobs announces that Apple has 88% of the legal US music download market--still locked under DRM.
November 2006 Microsoft abandons the PlaysForSure strategy in favor of a more Apple-esque approach with the Zune player tightly tied to the Zune Marketplace. PlaysForSure music will not play on the Zune.
February 2007 Steve Jobs writes in "Thoughts on Music" that it is the music companies who force Apple to use DRM in iTunes contracts, and he calls on them to relax the demand. "DRMs havenâ€™t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy," he writes.
April 2007 EMI's music library becomes available DRM-free on iTunes for a premium charge through "iTunes Plus."
May 2007 Amazon announces it will sell DRM-free music for 99 cents/song. Shortly thereafter, Apple drops the DRM-free premium price.
Customers soon discover that each of these tracks downloaded from iTunes--even the new, DRM-free ones--has the user's personal information embedded.
August 2007 Wal-Mart begins offering DRM-restricted mp3 downloads.
Nokia Music Stoore launches to provide Nokia phones with an on-phone music store using DRM that allowed music to be played only on the phone.
February 2008 Wal-Mart decides to offer only DRM-free mp3s.
April 2008 Apple becomes the largest music seller in the US, followed by Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
March 2008 Microsoft announces that the MSN Music Store will no longer be supported and users will not be able to play their songs on any computer they do not authorize by August 31--songs definitely no longer "play for sure."
June 2008 Microsoft responds to customer outrage and agrees that MSN Music Store songs will continue to be transferrable through the end of 2011.
September 2008 Yahoo! Music Unlimited shuts down and merges into Rhapsody. It encourages users to burn their music to CDs by the end of the month, as the move to Rhapsody does not include the continued ability to access license keys for purchased music.
Wal-Mart decides to shut down its DRM system, ending support for protected files from the five months when they chose to use it.
January 2009 Apple agrees with the four major music companies that all music sold via iTunes will be sold DRM-free.
April 2009 Apple announces availability of DRM-free versions of all music in the iTunes store (but keeps it on video, audiobooks, and apps).
April 2010 Rhapsody spins off from RealNetworks.
September 2010 Nokia Music Store (Ovi Music) decides to go DRM-free.
November 2011 Rhapsody tells its users that anyone with its older RAX format files has unil November 7 to back them up in another format or lose them the next time they upgrade their systems.