WMA Files & Lost License

My HD crashed a few days ago. I installed a new one and restored all my music files. Now when I try and play them I am seeing a message that says the license cannot be found. I have tried different music players including Windows Media Player.

I went over to Buy.com where I bought a few of the songs. I downloaded them and extracted them again. Still, it wants a license.

Just what is this license? Is it a separate file or is it part of the wma file itself. If I ever get them back is there a way to save them where a license will never be needed again?

Am I doomed to never play my purchased music again? This really stinks. :frowning:

Jim Mac Millan

sorry you are stuffed. Don’t buy WMA files.

The licence is a heavily encrypted file on your computer. To transfer your WMA files (e.g. as a back up) you must transfer them using the WMA manager while you still have the licence. If your computer crashes and you have to reinstall eveything then it is too late to do anything. Always backup you WMA files asap.

Another route (possibly not legal but let the lawyers fight that one) is to use several programs available that can strip the WMA licence away. This is only possible if you are the real owner, have the licencse already and want to make unlimited backups.

Without the original license I suspect not even Microsoft can get your WMA files playing as it is like one half of a public key encryption system

here is a discussion on other ways to back up your own legal copies of WMAs into formats such as MP3s that dont have copy protection. As it might be skating close to the edge I will let the mods know and they can remove the link if they deem fit

One possible answer is to contact buy.com technical support, let them know what happened, and ask if they can redeliver the license. When I was transferring my puretracks music to my new computer, there was one batch where the licenses apparently hadn’t gotten into my licenses backup, or didn’t come out of it without getting munched. When I tried redownloading the music files from puretracks, there was a seperate stage first where I could redownload the licenses (a maximum of three times.)

Hope that this helps. (I also keep a backup of my songs, ripped from burned CDs in 256bit MP3 format, in case of a total license meltdown.)

Thanks Everyone,

I did contact Buy.com. And they told me that they reset the license’ and to sign onto my account and D/L the songs again. Unfortunatly that didn’t work. I’ll tell Buy.com and see what happens next.

At the risk of renduncy can anyone tell me what the license is, is it a file or is it part of the WMA? Maybe I am overlooking something when I restored my data!?

P.S. scm1001 thanks

Sorry that it’s not sorted out yet.

I’m not entirely sure what the license is myself or where it’s stored for general use, possibly it’s part of the windows media player master database. It’s something vaguely like an encryption password I believe, and also might involve handshaking with a master licenses database at microsoft to make sure the same WMA file is not ‘opened’ at two computers at the same time in violation of the licensing terms.

The license is not part of the WMA, as I understand it, because that would defeat its functions as an antipiracy measure. If it were, then you could share the WMA file on a peer-to-peer network and whoever downloaded it would have the license, included.

As far as backups and restores go, there is a function in WMP for getting a backup copy of all your media licenses, which you can then but wherever you backup the WMAs themselves. (on optical media, or copied to another machine over a network, say.) Then, you can restore those licenses, which involves some palaver with checking at the microsoft database to say that the licenses are now being used on computer X, and another computer might not be able to use the licenses from then on.
My mileage may differ from yours (that’s the other way around from how it’s usually said isn’t it?) because we’re buying from different sources that might have slightly different license terms. I think the backup license info will be useful though.

Best of luck getting your licenses back.

the license is part of a complicated system with about 8 files. You cannot just copy the files as they are wedded to the computer and wont work on another computer or disk.
Here is a sample of the files involved from http://home.wanadoo.nl/lc.staak/freeme.htm which is a very technical discussion on how it works - for geeks only
Several key DLLs are kept in \windows\system that relate to the MS-DRM scheme.

drmv2clt.dll: Provides basic DRM version 2 functionality

blackbox.dll: Provides basic, machine-specific crypto for MS-DRM. Functionality replaced by IndivBox.key when the local system has been “individualized.”

The other interesting place for files is in \windows\All Users\DRM (this location is not necessarily fixed but comes from the registry entry HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\DRM\DataPath). Here’s a sampling of some of the files in this directory (these are hidden system files, so be sure to turn on “view all files” in order to see them!):

IndivBox.key: Despite the extension, this is really a DLL that is an “individualized” version of blackbox.dll

drmv2.lic: The file of licenses (a structured IStorage file)

drmv2.sst: “Secure state” for each of the licenses. Also an IStorage file, but each stream is RC4 encrypted.

v2ks.bla: The version 2 “key store” - this is where all the public/private keys are kept (encrypted, of course!).

v2ksndv.bla: The individualized version 2 “key store.”

Let us know what happens. This is one of the big problems with DRM. In order to make it work the key has to be tied to something unique on the device that the user cannot change. I haven’t purchased any online music because I don’t really want to take the time to figure out what I can actually do with it. Can I play it on my mp3 player? Can I move it to my next computer etc.

I hope they give you your keys back because then they could have a service above and beyond CDs. A back up service. Computer breaks don’t worry we’ve got you covered.

Buy.com gave up and gave a me credit for all the music I bought from them. At least now I can buy CDs and do what I want with them.

Thanks All