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Microsoft Windows Media Player 12 privacy statement

Last updated: July 2009

Microsoft is committed to protecting your privacy while delivering software that brings you the performance, power, and convenience you desire in your personal computing. This privacy statement explains many of the data collection and use practices of Microsoft‌ Windows Media Player 12 ("Windows Media Player" or "Player"). It focuses on features that communicate with the Internet. It does not apply to other online or offline Microsoft sites, products, or services.

Windows Media Player enables you to access and enjoy music and video from the Internet, both on your personal computer and on a wide variety of portable media players. Windows Media Player offers you easy access to features provided by Internet-based online stores. Many of the online stores are provided by non-Microsoft companies. This privacy statement describes how Windows Media Player interacts with these online stores.

Collection and use of your information

The information we collect from you will be used by Microsoft and its controlled subsidiaries and affiliates to enable the features you are using and provide the service(s) or carry out the transaction(s) you have requested or authorized. It may also be used to analyze and improve Microsoft products and services.

We may send certain mandatory service communications such as welcome letters, billing reminders, information on technical service issues, and security announcements. Some Microsoft services may send periodic member letters that are considered part of the service. We may occasionally request your feedback, invite you to participate in surveys, or send you promotional mailings to inform you of other products or services available from Microsoft and its affiliates.

In order to offer you a more consistent and personalized experience in your interactions with Microsoft, information collected through one Microsoft service may be combined with information obtained through other Microsoft services. We may also supplement the information we collect with information obtained from other companies. For example, we may use services from other companies that enable us to derive a general geographic area based on your IP address in order to customize certain services to that area.

Except as described in this statement, personal information you provide will not be transferred to third parties without your consent. We occasionally hire other companies to provide limited services on our behalf, such as packaging, sending and delivering purchases and other mailings, answering customer questions about products or services, processing event registration, or performing statistical analysis of our services. We will only provide those companies the personal information they need to deliver the service, and they are prohibited from using that information for any other purpose.

Microsoft may access or disclose information about you in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the services; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.

Information that is collected by or sent to Microsoft by Windows Media Player may be stored and processed in the United States or any other country in which Microsoft or its affiliates, subsidiaries, or service providers maintain facilities. Microsoft abides by the safe harbor framework as set forth by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding the collection, use, and retention of data from the European Union.

Collection and use of information about your computer

When you use software with Internet-enabled features, information about your computer ("standard computer information") is sent to the websites you visit and online services you use. Microsoft uses standard computer information to provide you Internet-enabled services, to help improve our products and services, and for statistical analysis. Standard computer information typically includes information such as your IP address, operating system and version, browser and version, and region and language settings. In some cases, standard computer information may also include hardware ID, which indicates the device manufacturer, device name, and version. If a particular feature or service sends information to Microsoft, standard computer information will be sent as well. The privacy details for each Windows Media Player feature, software, or service listed in this privacy statement describe what additional information is collected and how it is used.

Security of your information

Microsoft is committed to helping protect the security of your information. We use a variety of security technologies and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure. For example, we store the information you provide on computer systems with limited access, which are located in controlled facilities.

Changes to this privacy statement

We will occasionally update this privacy statement to reflect changes in our products, services, and customer feedback. When we post changes, we will revise the "last updated" date at the top of this statement. If there are material changes to this statement or in how Microsoft will use your personal information, we will notify you either by posting a notice of such changes prior to implementing the change or by directly sending you a notification. We encourage you to review this statement periodically to be informed of how Microsoft is protecting your information.

For more information

Microsoft welcomes your comments regarding this privacy statement. If you have questions about this statement or believe that we have not adhered to it, please contact us by mail at: Microsoft Privacy, Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft Way Redmond, Washington, 98052 USA

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Recommended settings

What this feature does

The first time you open Windows Media Player, you may individually set options for privacy, playback, and online store settings by selecting Custom settings, or choose Recommended settings for these options. If you choose Recommended settings, the following selections are set:

  • Windows Media Player becomes the default program for opening and playing media.

  • The Player can gather media information online. (For more information, see Enhanced Playback of CDs and DVDs and Enhanced Playback of Digital Music Files.)

  • The Player can automatically obtain media usage rights when needed. (For more information, see Microsoft Digital Rights Management.)

  • Player usage data is sent to Microsoft automatically. (For more information, see Customer Experience Improvement Program.)

  • A default service becomes your active online store. The specific service varies by region. (For more information, see Online Stores.)

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

Specific information on what is collected, processed, or transmitted is provided in the detailed information for each setting below.

Use of information

Specific information on how the information is used is provided in the detailed information for each setting below.

Choice/control

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, and then select or clear settings.

To learn more about recommended settings and default privacy settings, see "Which settings affect privacy in Windows Media Player" in Windows Media Player Help.

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Online stores

What this feature does

An online store offers custom features that extend Windows Media Player. These features can be provided by software installed on your computer by your online store. The Info Center, More Info, and shop features all send information requests to your online music store. In addition, the online store's software may run when you play, transfer, or burn content from that store, when you connect to or sync to a portable device, and anytime Windows Media Player is idle. If you are in a locale without any online stores, or your selected store is not a music store, these features will send webpage requests to WindowsMedia.com.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

When Windows Media Player starts, a message is sent to WindowsMedia.com to obtain the current list of online stores available in your locale. Windows Media Player uses the information that is returned to customize the Online Stores selector that is displayed in Windows Media Player. When you select an online store from the selector, a request that contains standard computer information is sent to that online store's server to determine what information to display in the Player.

The Info Center, More Info, and shop features all send information requests to your selected online music store to get media information.

Use of information

If your online store requests any data from you or collects any additional information automatically during this process, this data will be subject to the online store's privacy practices.

Retrieving and displaying related media information will occur when:

  • You use Info Center view in Now Playing.

  • You click the Shop link in the Play tab.

Choice/control

To prevent Windows Media Player from retrieving related media information from WindowsMedia.com:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, clear the Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet check box, and then click OK.

Important information

For more information about its privacy practices, see the WindowsMedia.com privacy statement.

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Cookies

What this feature does

Some Windows Media Player features use cookies written by an associated website. A cookie is a small text file that is placed on your hard disk by a webpage server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. A cookie is uniquely assigned to you and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you. One of the primary purposes of cookies is to provide a convenience feature to save you time. For example, if you personalize a webpage, or navigate in a site, a cookie helps the site to recall your specific information on later visits. This simplifies the process of delivering relevant content, eases site navigation, and so on. When you return to the website, the information you previously provided can be retrieved, so you can easily use the site's features that you customized.

You can accept or decline cookies. If you choose to decline cookies, you may be unable to fully experience the interactive features of the associated website or other websites you visit.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

WindowsMedia.com is a website operated by Microsoft. A cookie will be sent to WindowsMedia.com when Windows Media Player communicates with a server at WindowsMedia.com (for example, when Windows Media Player requests supplemental CD or DVD information). This identifier is not the same as the Player ID described in the Communication with Streaming Media Servers section and does not contain any personally identifiable information. Online stores or streaming media servers you connect with may also place cookies on your computer. What data is stored in these cookies and how that data is used is determined by the content provider.

Use of information

The WindowsMedia.com cookie allows WindowsMedia.com to personalize your WindowsMedia.com experience. The cookie also contains a unique identifier that allows WindowsMedia.com to generate anonymous visitor statistics.

If the streaming server or online store you are using is a non-Microsoft company, the use of this cookie will be subject to that company's privacy practices.

Choice/control

To control settings for cookies directly from Windows Media Player:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, click Cookies, and then click OK.

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Enhanced playback of CDs and DVDs

What this feature does

To enrich your experience when you play CDs and DVDs or rip CDs, Windows Media Player can download and display related media information, such as the album title, album art, song title, DVD title, artist, composer, and other information.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

When you insert a CD or DVD, Windows Media Player displays related media information that is stored in your library. If the Player finds none, it sends an information request to WindowsMedia.com. This request contains standard computer information and an identifier for the CD or DVD. Windows Media Player will store the resulting information in your library for future use. This information can be displayed even when you are offline. Related media information may not be available in your preferred language. In some cases, WindowsMedia.com may request additional media identifiers for CDs to help ensure the quality of the media information that is returned to your library. If this occurs, Windows Media Player will send back to WindowsMedia.com an ID generated by your computer for the particular CD.

Use of information

The digital media information is displayed in Windows Media Player and is saved to a local cache based on the settings provided in the Options tabs.

Choice/control

To prevent Windows Media Player from requesting related media information for CDs and DVDs from WindowsMedia.com, and to prevent your Windows Media Audio files that were copied from CDs from being updated, do the following:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, and then clear the Display media information from the Internet check box.

  3. Click the Player tab, clear the Connect to the Internet check box, if it is set, and then click OK.

This setting does not affect your online music store.

To remove the related media information stored in your library for CDs, DVDs, and devices:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, click Clear Caches, and then click OK.

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Enhanced playback of digital music files

What this feature does

Like the enhanced playback of CDs and DVDs described previously, Windows Media Player can download and display related media information for digital music files (for example, WMA and MP3 files) that you are playing on your computer. Before accessing the Internet, Windows Media Player first checks if the related media information is already stored in your library or in the digital media file itself. If related information is in either of these places, the stored information is displayed.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

If the related media information is not already stored in your library or in the file, Windows Media Player sends an information request to WindowsMedia.com in an attempt to identify the file's content. This request contains standard computer information plus all media information about the digital music file from your Windows Media Player library so that WindowsMedia.com can recognize the track and then return any additional information that is available. This will include data that you may have edited or entered yourself, as well as other data found in the file. If related media information is found for the content, it will be downloaded to your computer and stored in your library. Storing the information in your library allows it to be displayed even when you are offline. Retrieving and updating related media information will also occur when:

  • You use the library for the first time after you update Windows Media Player.

  • You add files to your library by searching your computer.

  • You add locations to your library, such as to My Music.

Use of information

The digital media file itself may be updated with missing related media information. For example, if your digital music file has the artist name but not the album name, Windows Media Player can add the album name to the file if it is available from WindowsMedia.com. Windows Media Player will also add album art, if it is available, to the appropriate music folder. Related media information may not be available in your preferred language.

Choice/control

To prevent Windows Media Player from retrieving related media information from WindowsMedia.com:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, and then clear the Update music files by retrieving media info from the Internet check box.

  3. Click the Player tab, clear the Connect to the Internet check box, if it is set, and then click OK.

Windows Media Player supports other options that control the updating and overwriting of related media information. If you want to receive media information from the Internet but control how your files are updated:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Library tab, and then select the Retrieve additional information from the Internet check box.

  3. Select either Only add missing information or Overwrite all media information, and then click OK.

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Communication with streaming media servers

What this feature does

Windows Media Player allows you to play back content that is streamed to you over a network. To provide this service, it is necessary for Windows Media Player to communicate with a streaming media server. These servers are typically operated by non-Microsoft content providers, and they are not under the control of Microsoft. During playback of streaming media, Windows Media Player will send a log to the streaming media server or other web server(s), if the streaming media server requests it.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

The log includes such details as: connection time, IP address, operating system version, Windows Media Player version, Player identification number (Player ID), date, and protocol. The purpose of the Player ID is to allow content providers to identify your connection. If a unique Player ID is sent, content providers will be able to correlate the information in your logs over multiple sessions. To protect your privacy, Windows Media Player defaults to sending a Player ID that is different for each session and that is not used to identify or contact you.

Use of information

Content providers generate statistics from the logs to help them improve the quality of their service. Content providers may also use information from the logs for billing and advertisement tracking. A content provider may instruct Windows Media Player to simultaneously forward the log to additional sites. It is the responsibility of the content provider to disclose to you whether the logs are shared with non-Microsoft companies and how the logs are used.

Choice/control

Some content providers may require you to send them a unique Player ID in order to access their content or services. To send a unique Player ID:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, then select the Send unique Player ID to content providers check box, and then click OK.

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Media Streaming

What this feature does

Windows Media Player lets you share media by allowing you to stream multimedia content within your home network. When you stream media, you are playing a file from a source location to a destination location without making a copy of the media at the destination. You can stream from one computer to another computer or device on your home network, or request that other computers send media streams to your computer. You can allow other computers and devices on your home network to push media streams to your computer. You can use remote access to connect to your home network and stream media.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

Streaming transmits media files and standard computer information from a source to a destination you or someone on your home network chooses. None of this information is sent to Microsoft.

Use of information

Streamed information is displayed at the destination but, by default, no information about a streamed file is saved at the destination.

Choice/control

Media streaming is turned on automatically only if you have set up a Home Group. To control media streaming options, use the Stream menu in the Windows Media Player Library.

To turn sharing on for all devices and computers on your network:

  1. Click Stream, and then click Turn on home media streaming.

  2. Click the Turn on media streaming button, and then click OK.

To turn sharing off for all devices and computers on your network:

  1. Click Stream, and then click More streaming options.

  2. Click the Block All button, and then click OK.

Important information

For more privacy information about Home Group, see the Windows 7 privacy statement. For information about home networks and security, go to Windows Help and Support.

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Digital Rights Management

What this feature does

Windows Media Player uses Microsoft Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology to preserve the rights of content owners who want to protect their music or video products. You must have the media usage rights to play, burn, or sync protected content.

If you subscribe to an online music or video subscription service available through Windows Media Player, software installed on your computer by the online store may request to obtain the usage rights before you can play the content. Windows Media Player will automatically scan the protected content for expired rights and request renewals from the rights server.

If you acquire protected content from a music or video store, you may receive the associated usage rights at the same time. If not, when Windows Media Player tries to use a protected file that has rights missing, it will try to acquire the rights for you.

Some protected content may required a DRM software component upgrade before it can play. Windows Media Player will request your consent to download and install updated software. If you decline the upgrade, you will be unable to use content that requires the DRM upgrade. However, you will still be able to use unprotected content and secure content that does not require the upgrade.

Many portable media players contain an internal clock that is used to validate current media usage rights to allow files to play on the device. Windows Media Player can automatically set the clock on your portable media player when it syncs content to the device.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

Windows Media Player requests rights directly from a rights server on the Internet. The server's web address is specified in the protected content. Most rights servers are operated by companies other than Microsoft. If a DRM component needs to be upgraded to play protected content, the request for the component upgrade is routed to a Microsoft server.

When requesting rights or component upgrades, Windows Media Player will provide the server with standard computer information, an ID for the music or video file, the action you have requested (such as play or burn), information about the DRM components on your computer, such as their revision and security levels, and a unique identifier for your computer. The unique identifier is used only to generate the rights for your computer and, because it is enclosed in an encrypted license request, is not available to the rights server in a way that uniquely identifies you or your computer.

When setting the clock on a portable player, Windows Media Player sends a time inquiry to a WindowsMedia.com server that contains standard computer information, standard troubleshooting data, and a request for the current time.

Use of information

Rights servers provide renewed rights, which Windows Media Player will write into the protected files to allow them to be used. A list of revoked software can be sent to your computer when you acquire media usage rights. DRM software upgrades are provided by the Microsoft servers in the form of a link, which Windows Media Player uses to install the updated software.

Windows Media Player is considered a DRM software component, and thus could be a required upgrade to use some protected content. Revocation does not alter the ability of Windows Media Player to play unprotected content, but you will not be able to play revoked secure content until you update the Player to a more recent and secure version.

Portable players that support Microsoft DRM can be revoked if a security issue is found. If this occurs, your device will be unable to obtain new media usage rights. However, protected content that already plays on your device will still play.

Choice/control

If you chose the Recommended settings the first time you opened Windows Media Player, the Player will automatically try to acquire usage rights silently unless the server requires some input from you, such as registration information or a fee. You can prevent Windows Media Player from scanning the Library for files that need new usage rights by doing the following:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, clear the Automatically check if protected files need to be refreshed check box, and then click OK.

To prevent Windows Media Player from acquiring rights automatically when you use the file:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, clear the Download usage rights automatically when I play or sync a file check box, and then click OK.

To configure Windows Media Player to set the clock on a portable media player:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, select the Set clock on devices automatically check box, and then click OK.

Important information

Microsoft also provides a service that lets you move media usage rights for files that were copy-protected when they were ripped (or copied) to a computer. If you try to play these files on a different computer, Windows Media Player will open your default browser and send a webpage request to a migration server at Microsoft. The request will contain standard computer information, a unique ID for the computer that originally protected this content, plus information that identifies the new computer. Unless the migration limit was reached, new rights will be returned that enable use of the content on the new computer. Microsoft keeps track of the number of migrations granted and allows a limited number of migrations.

For information about revoked playback on devices, contact your device manufacturer.

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Windows Media Player updates

What this feature does

To give you the latest features and improvements, Windows Media Player will periodically check a Windows Update file on your computer to see if updates are available. If an update is found, you are prompted that an update is available and, if you consent to receive the update, the new software will be downloaded from Microsoft and installed on your computer. If Windows Update is turned off on your computer, you will not be prompted.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

If Windows Update is turned on, it will transmit the most recent version number of Windows Media Player to your computer.

Use of information

The version number of the Player is used to determine if you should be prompted to update your copy of the Windows Media Player.

Choice/control

To adjust the frequency with which Windows Media Player checks for updates:

  1. Click Organize, click Options, and then click the Player tab.

  2. In the Automatic Updates section at the top of the page, select the frequency you would like to use, and then click OK.

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Usage history

What this feature does

When you play digital media content in Windows Media Player, some file history and media information is stored on your computer. Windows Media Player also stores information about partnerships with devices that connect to it.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

Windows Media Player stores usage history information, such as what you play and how often you play it, in your user account information. The Player also stores settings for your devices, such as the names of the devices and sync relationships they have with your user account.

Use of information

Usage history is used to provide frequent and recent lists, generate usage-based playlists, and record your usage of rights-protected tracks. You can view usage history in the following places:

  • Lists of files or URLs that you have played are displayed in the Jump List off the taskbar on the desktop.

  • The Open File and Open URL dialogs keep a history of what has been opened.

  • The Playlist history control keeps track of lists of files that have played in the current session, and the last list from the last session in your user account.

The player uses device information to improve the interaction between devices and the Player.

Choice/control

You can prevent information from being stored if you don't want it to be available to others who use your computer with the same user account. To remove lists of files or URLs you have played:

  1. Click Organize, click Options, and then click the Privacy tab.

  2. To remove existing lists, click Clear History. This also deletes any changes that you have made to the media information for CDs and DVDs.

  3. To prevent lists from being stored in the future, clear the check boxes next to the media types you don't want saved in the History group, and then click OK.

To clear all cached device information and all sync partnership information:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, click Clear Caches, and then click OK.

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Customer Experience Improvement Program

What this feature does

The Customer Experience Improvement Program ("CEIP") collects basic information about your hardware configuration and how you use our software and services in an effort to identify trends and usage patterns. CEIP also collects the type and number of errors you encounter, software and hardware performance, and the speed of services. We will not collect your name, address, or other personal or contact information.

Information collected, processed, or transmitted

For more information about the information collected, processed, or transmitted by CEIP

Use of information

We use this information to improve the quality, reliability, and performance of Microsoft software and services.

Choice/control

You are offered the opportunity to send usage data to Microsoft by participating in CEIP the first time you open Windows Media Player. If you choose to participate and later change your mind, you can turn off CEIP at any time:

  1. Click Organize, and then click Options.

  2. Click the Privacy tab, clear the I want to help make Microsoft software and services even better by sending Player usage data to Microsoft check box, and then click OK.

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