I don't want my MTV

The new MTV/Microsoft music service, Urge, is getting rave reviews. It all sounds great, until you take a closer look at the license agreement. Here's why I won't be signing up.

CNET loves the new MTV/Microsoft music service, Urge:

Even with the media player and the music service still in beta, these products make a fabulous team, with the type of superb integration usually associated with Apple products. If you're looking for the Windows Media answer to iTunes and the iPod, this is it.

Sounds good, until you read the Urge license agreement. (Set aside some time - it's a 6800-word document that goes on for 13 printed pages.)  There is no way I’m going to allow a piece of software to update itself and install new “features” with no notification or consent to me:

Because the Software includes security components that permit digital information, including, without limitation, Content available to you in connection with our Website or Urge, to be protected and allow use to occur only as permitted by us and/or Content providers, there are some special rules and procedures that apply. For example, we shall (and you agree we are permitted) to transmit and arrange for automatic installation of any and all updates, modifications, and/or even full re-installations of the Software to address security, digital rights management, interoperability, and/or performance issues.


The Software also includes automated features that collect information that uniquely allows the Software to automatically identify your computer and your system, the version of the Software in use and to manage some or all of the digital rights associated with Content. These features may be remotely activated in order to update security components used by the Software, including, without limitation, portions of the Windows Media Player associated with your use of Urge. These updates, modifications, re-installations and other modifications to the Software can occur periodically or when necessary and without any notice to you.

Nor am I interested in having my activities monitored so that I can get more invitations to buy stuff:

We may use your Personal Information to tailor your experience on Urge, review your content libraries and files to better understand your preferences and make recommendations, to display Content, Promotions, information or offers we think may be of interest to you and/or to customize your Urge and/or Website experience according to your preferences. ... You may also have the opportunity to opt-in to special Promotions or offers from our generous Advertisers...

Isn't it odd to have that word generous in a legal agreement?

And I especially don’t like the idea that it’s booby-trapped:

The Software is also capable of monitoring itself to detect tampering or other security-related activities and has the ability to automatically transmit and communicate information about attempted tampering and other security incidents. The Software and certain applications that communicate with the Software may become restricted, de-activated or inoperable if you breach this EULA, any security or other rules or any of the digital rights applicable to the Content. You acknowledge and agree this can, and often shall, result in Content being unavailable to you.

Thanks, MTV and Microsoft, but I won’t be signing up.

Update: See this follow-up post for more details on why Microsoft should take another look at this license agreement.