Typically, media you download from an online service is protected with Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology. Protected media comes with a license containing media usage rights that specify how you can use the content. For example, media usage rights for a song might allow you to play the song on one computer and sync it to a certain number of devices but might prevent you from burning the song to a CD or playing it on a different computer.
Some media you purchase from the Zune Marketplace is protected. Purchased media often comes with a permanent license. However, MP3 files are "DRM-free," which means they are not DRM-protected, and there are no restrictions on how those files are used or distributed.
To find out whether songs are DRM-protected
To find out whether videos are DRM- protected
All music that you download as part of an Xbox Music Pass (which includes Zune Music Pass) is DRM-protected. While your pass is valid:
Licenses need to be updated periodically, so be sure to connect the computer that has your Xbox Music Pass items to Zune Marketplace at least once every two weeks so that Zune Music + Video can refresh your licenses. If you sync protected songs to a device, you'll need to sync periodically to refresh those licenses as well.
If your licenses expire, you won't be able to listen to the protected songs until you restore the media usage rights. For example, if your Xbox Music Pass lapses, the licenses for Xbox Music Pass items will expire, and you'll need to renew before you can play your music using an Xbox Music Pass again.
In most cases, the Zune Music + Video software downloads media usage rights for you. In case it can't, Zune Music + Video will let you know what your options are. Just follow the instructions displayed.
Usage rules for content that you purchase
A license will automatically be used in the following scenarios:
Note The MP3 format does not include DRM and does not include these restrictions.
Usage rules for content that you obtain by using an Xbox Music Pass or a Zune Music Pass
Note Purchased content does not expire when your subscription ends.
For more information about the topics that are discussed in this article, press F1 on the keyboard when the Zune software is running to view the Zune Help file.
Error message for content no longer available in Zune Marketplace
You might receive the error message, “Usage rights are unavailable, please try again later.” after you:
You might be trying to access music content that is no longer available from Zune Marketplace. Therefore, you can't acquire additional rights to download, play, or sync the content to a computer or to a device.
Other scenarios in which previously downloaded content may no longer be available to you:
What To Try
If the content is no longer available for download by using a Music Pass subscription, but it is available for purchase, you must purchase the content to continue accessing the content. If you decide not to purchase the content, we recommend that you remove that content from your collection to prevent this error from appearing every time that you try to sync the content.
This section describes various ways to troubleshoot problems with digital rights or media files that are not playing correctly.
If you have a Zune HD
Update the licenses for your content via a wireless connection:
If this step didn’t fix the problem, see Erase your player’s content and sync again, below.
If you have an Xbox Music Pass or a player other than a Zune HD
If you have an Xbox Music Pass or a player other than a Zune HD, refresh your media usage rights:
If this step didn’t fix the problem, go to Erase your player’s content and sync again, below. If possible, sync your Zune player with the Zune Music + Video software on your computer to back up any Marketplace or other content stored on your player before you try the following steps.
For information to help you sync and back up your player’s content, see:
After you’ve backed up your content, follow the next set of steps to get your player working.
If you don’t have an Xbox Music Pass
If you don’t have an Xbox Music Pass, you’ll need to delete the media file that is causing the digital rights error and then sync it again manually.
The item is deleted from your player but remains in your collection. The Zune Music + Video software won't automatically sync that item to your player again, so you’ll need to manually sync to get it back on your player.
If you still see a media rights error message when you try playing the file, follow the next set of steps to delete everything from your player and then sync it with your collection again.
This step should be performed only as a last resort. Erase all the content on your player and sync it again:
If you get a digital rights error message on your phone, try these steps to fix the problem.
The item is deleted from your phone but remains in your collection. The Zune Music + Video software won't automatically sync that item to your player again, so you’ll need to manually sync to get it back on your phone.
You can use the Restore feature in the Zune software to restore purchased Digital Rights Management (DRM) content, such as Windows Media Audio (WMA) and subscription content. If the content does not download when you make a purchase from Zune Marketplace or if you get an error message that indicates a problem with usage rights, you can use this feature to refresh your licenses. The Restore feature helps you download the content again from Zune Marketplace without being charged again for the transaction.
To use the Restore feature, follow these steps:
Restore purchased content
Restore rental or Xbox Music Pass content
Note If you Restore All purchased content, you’ll receive an error message when you try to re-download non-Digital Rights Management content, such as an MP3 file. For more information about this error, see Usage errors when trying to play DRM-protected music or videos in the Zune software.
Note Content that is downloading may not be immediately available in your collection. Some content may be still be downloading in the background.
If you get one of the following error messages when you try to re-download or restore content from Zune Marketplace, you might have a digital rights issue.
An error occurred while communicating to Zune Marketplace. Make sure the date and time settings on your computer are not set to a future date, then try again.
You can't re-download or restore MP3 tracks that were previously purchased from Zune Marketplace, even if you've deleted or lost them. This error also occurs if your computer's date and time settings are set to a future date.
Note It's a good idea to make a backup copy of all purchased MP3s onto a CD, DVD, flash drive, or external hard drive.
Check that your computer's date and time settings are correct. If they aren't, click the date and time in your taskbar and make the appropriate changes. Read more about this error.
C00D135C [Zune Music + Video software]
You’ve exhausted the maximum number of times you can restore this item.
You’ve reached the maximum number of downloads for this item.
Zune is temporarily unable to verify your media usage rights because of a communication error.
You might receive one of the following error messages:
Can't perform this operation because Zune can't verify usage rights.
This problem occurs after you download songs from the Zune Marketplace using your Xbox Music Pass (or Zune Music Pass) and then cancel your Music Pass. When your Music Pass becomes inactive, you can no longer access the songs you previously downloaded using the Music Pass.
If you want to continue to play these songs, renew your Music Pass:
Note Use the Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID) associated with your Music Pass.
To change your Music Pass, select a different subscription and click Next.
To cancel your Music Pass, click Cancel Auto Payment.
If you no longer want to play these songs using your Music Pass, you can remove the songs from your computer or device. Here are instructions on how to remove songs and sync your devices:
For information about purchasing songs instead of using a Music Pass, see Buy, download, and play music using the Zune Music + Video software
If you get one of the following errors when trying to play content while signed in to Zune Marketplace on your computer, you might have a digital rights issue:
If you get one of these error messages, the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system on your computer is corrupted and needs to be reset. Here’s how:
Note If the Upgrade button is inactive, see Manually upgrade your security component, below.
When finished with this upgrade, try signing in to Marketplace or playing your content again to see if the problem is fixed. If not, go on to Reset DRM below.
Note You do not have to perform this step if the manual upgrade instructions above fixed the problem.
You may be able to resolve this problem automatically. Click the Fix this problem link, below. Then, click Run in the File Download dialog box and follow the steps in this wizard.
After you run the Fix it, the licenses should automatically refresh, and you should be able to play protected content.
What is DRM?
DRM is Digital Rights Management. DRM technology is used by content providers, such as online stores, to control how digital music and video files are used and distributed. Online stores sell and rent DRM-protected music and videos that have media usage rights to enable specific use of the content. The Zune Music + Video software, Zune devices, and Zune Marketplace support and use Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10 (DRM 10).
What is a protected song or a protected video?
A protected song or a protected video is a file that uses DRM protection. To play the protected song or video, you must have the media usage rights for it.
Does Zune play all protected files?
No. The Zune software and devices only play protected music files from Zune Marketplace.
What are media usage rights?
Media usage rights, also known as licenses, are permissions to use a protected song or a protected video in a particular way. Content providers can specify in the media usage rights how you can use the protected content that you obtain from them. For example, Zune Marketplace can grant the following media usage rights for content:
Examples of DRM-protected content in the Zune Marketplace
Examples of DRM-free content in the Zune Marketplace
What is a license?
A license is another name for media usage rights. By default, DRM content that is purchased from the Zune Marketplace is allocated five computer licenses and unlimited device syncs. In some cases, additional licenses may be available if you use all the five default computer licenses. To obtain additional licenses issued for content, you must contact Zune Support. A license is automatically consumed in the following scenarios:
Are media usage rights stored in the music or video file?
No. Media usage rights are stored on the computer separately from your music or video files.
How does the Zune software use media usage rights?
When you try to use a protected song or a protected video, the Zune software checks whether you have valid media usage rights for that file. If the media usage rights let you perform the action, Zune performs that action for you.
If Zune does not find valid media usage rights for the file or if the rights do not let you to perform the action, Zune does not perform the action. Typically, you receive an error message that states why the action was not performed. You can also check the properties of the file in the Zune software to view the DRM rights that the content has.
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