Western Digital bans sharing of media on MyBooks

The hard drive maker has now taken on the added role of content policeman by ensuring nearly all media formats cannot be transferred using its sharing application.

Using its Anywhere Access application will prevent users from sharing nearly any file with a multimedia extension over its network, the company said. Western Digital says the move is due to "unverifiable media license authentication."

Essentially, since the device can't tell whether a user has the rights to a specific file, it does a blanket block of all media files. Included in the list are AAC, MP3, OOG, and WMA audio files, as well as AVI, DVI, MPG, QT, and WMV music files.

But it gets even more bizarre: as Wired points out, file types like those for Amiga's Impulse Tracker sequencer software are also banned. There's one interesting problem though -- the software hasn't been updated in ten years.

Western Digital has not provided any reasoning for the new restrictions on what owners of its MyBooks may share over a network. However critics are almost sure the policy is due to an overzealous entertainment industry.

"Liability or not, hobbling a product in this way simply devalues it, to the point where it's almost false advertising to call it a network-attached storage device," Mark Hachman wrote for GearLog.

To its defense, Western Digital is claiming it may add media sharing into future versions of the MyBook, but would not confirm of deny any future product.

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