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May 4, 2004
Tales of DRM Terror
Yesterday and today, The Shifted Librarian posted a number of stories relating DRM frustrations and nightmares. She pointed to DRM proponent and Jupiter Research analyst Michael Gartenberg's less than pleasant experience with "authorizing" devices to read a DRM'd ebook (When DRM goes wrong or why I'm not using Microsoft Reader any more). She relates her own poor experience with ebooks as well (I Locked Myself Out Again?):
I bought a book from Palm once. Once. They tied my credit card number to the title, and three years later, I have no idea what that credit card number was, so I can't access the book anymore.
Jenny also points to Larry Borsato
's lament that the movie studios aren't giving consumers what they want: Consumer frustration
. And let us not forget Jason Schultz's look at iTunes (Meet The New iTunes, Less than the Old iTunes
). Finally, one might also note this MSNBC Steven Levy
column that touches on similar issues iTunes and Lawsuits
Then there's the situation with digital rights management, or DRM, these are the protections built into legally sold digital tunes to prevent infringement. But one problem of DRM has nothing to do with piracy. Because different online stores use different DRM schemes, sometimes legally downloaded songs won't work on all playback devices. For instance, the songs you buy from the iTunes store work on only one music player, the iPod, because Jobs refuses to license Apple's protection schemes to others. Can you imagine if the CD you bought from Tower Records only worked on your living-room stereo but not in your car? You'd think that the music labels would want to fix this, but according to Jobs, during the renegotiation the issue of compatibility never came up. Who's looking out for the consumer?
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