Monday, April 2, 2007

The Closure of Shared Media and the end of Technological Equality

Posted by: "John Leighton Beezer" (email_removed)

Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:18 pm (PST)

Hi,It's official. Unfortunately, Weed will suspend operations on April 9th. We are announcing this in advance to ICPs, and we will announce it publicly early next week.

As everyone on this list knows, there are two serious problems with the system, one of which is caused by Windows Vista and the other by Windows Media Player 11. The problem with Media Player 11 is the worst of the two and we have been unable to find a solution.

Essentially, Media Player 11 looks at the tracking data that Weed adds to purchased files as evidence of file tampering and refuses to play the files. We add this data to a section of the file that is designed to be tamper-resistant and in the past we've done it in a way that does not appear to Media Player as tampering. With Media Player 11, the security features have been improved and it now detects any and all changes. We have not been able to find a way around this.

After April 9th:

- Weed licensing dialogs will be disabled. An explanatory message will appear in the dialogs, but purchases and free plays will be blocked.
- New accounts and new deposits to Weed accounts will be prevented, but withdrawals will still be processed.
- Most of the rest of will be disabled and a message explaining the situation will appear on the main page

I use the term "suspend operations" because if it becomes possible for Weed to resume operations, we will restore the system. Regardless, we will fulfill all withdrawal requests from users and artists.

Purchased Weed files will remain playable indefinitely. However, it will no longer be possible to re-license files on new PCs. Therefore, we recommend burning your purchased Weed files to CD. We plan to return using a more open media format - shared files should be playable on all computer platforms: PC's, Macs, portable devices, and cellphones. We were already working on plans to upgrade to a format more suitable for superdistribution when the current problems surfaced. We do not know how long it will take or exactly what form it will take, but we believe it's possible to come back with a better system.

We will keep the Yahoo groups running indefinitely in order to maintain the connections we've made with each other.

We apologize for the disappointing end to the Weed service. We're grateful to everyone who has participated and contributed to the Weedshare community over the last four years. If you have any questions or comments of general interest, please send them to this list. Otherwise, we can be reached via or



My response to this post was to inquire how much money they were being paid to close down the program and what it represents. They're going to offer the ability to trade music anyways, but only right now it looks to be only at a profit for the Artist, the licensing agent and the databasing company.

My take on this was an attempted monopoly of the patent and technology.

If all the PlaysForSure companies had access to this kind of tagging information from the beginning, they would have all started on a level playing field. Instead, Microsoft let only one company share in the patent and technology while it was still pending.

Now that the patent process is all but complete, they can reabsorb Shared Media and no one will be the wiser when this form of digital marketplace disappears from the face of the Earth forever.


1 comment:

Grant said...

As Daniel Eran at said, "History reveals that partnering with Microsoft is like accepting a dinner invitation from Hannibal Lecter. One might as well just roll in seasonings and jump in the oven."