Getting ripped off? That’s the nature of DRM…

Posted: April 29, 2008 in Uncategorized
DRM, also known as Digital Rights Management, is a mechanism designed to protect copyright holders by restricting or preventing duplication of media, such as music and video. The entertainment industry claimed they were losing billions of dollars each year, and strong-armed the world (such as Apple and Microsoft) into using DRM to distribute content. For example, up until last year ALL music you could purchase from either iTunes or MSN Music was "protected" by DRM. This usually meant you could not archive content you purchased, you could not transfer content your purchased to a different computer, you could not enjoy content you purchased on any media device of your choosing…you paid top dollar for a pair of handcuffs that have no keys, and you can kiss your content (and money) goodbye if you ever wanted to switch platforms or services.

So, let’s say you know you will never switch platforms…you are happy with your service and the (soon to be obsolete) media device you are using. You’re going with a brand name, someone you TRUST…not some small company trying to break even, like Rhapsody or Napster. You want longevity. You want content you legally purchased to always be available for you to enjoy years into the future.

So the RIAA is extremely pleased today, because they know you will purchase much of your content again now that MSN Music is about to kill DRM on their old service. That’s right: the moment you buy a new computer, all of the content from MSN Music…which you paid for…stays with your old machine. You can’t transfer it! Even if the only thing you do is to upgrade your OS, or re-install your OS, you’ve lost everything you paid for. This is how the music industry will be able to make back a small portion of the billions of dollars they lose to illegal file sharing: make the law-abiding citizens pay two, three, four times for the same content! Yes, it’s an evil plan…but who has ever said the RIAA isn’t evil? Besides their executives, that is…

That’s how DRM rips you off! Why? Because it can be turned off at any
time, leaving the content that you paid for completely useless: you’ll
never enjoy that content…which you paid for…ever again. Unless, of
course, you decide to purchase the content AGAIN somewhere else.

Now you’re saying, "But wait…there’s still the Zune Marketplace. They’ll always support their DRM!" Oh, really? That’s what everyone said about MSN Music! Are you sure that it will never die…this time? Hey, it’s not the first time this has happened: MLB fans got ripped off by DRM late last year. And all you iTunes fans…consider that your service is vastly more successful than anyone else, and then consider that iTunes has a whopping 2% success rate…do you truly believe Steve Jobs really wants to support such a failure forever? Oh, pleeze, wake up…

If you went with DRM to be a good citizen, kudos to you. But believe this: within 10 years, every DRM purchase that you’ve made, or will make, will be money thrown out the window…and you’ll have to purchase the content all over again.

Don’t be too upset, all of the experts loudly protested DRM and warned that this day would come. If you didn’t believe the experts, that’s YOUR fault.

The solution is simple, really…if you can’t hold it in your hands, don’t give them your money.


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