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The Perils of DRM — When Content Providers Die

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the involuntary-renting dept.

Media 275

An anonymous reader writes "If you purchase music or movies online, what happens if the vendor goes out of business? Will you have trouble accessing your content? The question came up recently after HDGiants — provider of high-quality audio and video downloads — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A consumer says his content became locked inside his PC. Walmart customers suffered a similar fate last year when the retailer shut down its DRM servers (a decision they reversed after many complaints). And if Vudu dies? Your content may be locked in a proprietary box forever. Time to start buying discs again?"

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275 comments

Finally an original thinker (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233293)

First Post!

And I'm sure this is the first article to raise this objection! :-)

Re:Finally an original thinker (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233789)

First fucked your dead great grandmother!

Re:Finally an original thinker (5, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234013)

The first thing - this is one of the reasons why DRM-protected media is doing bad in online sales.

People are aware of the limitations and problems.

And this is yet another reason why getting the media in formats that are secured for long-time use. Even DVD:s are better for the consumer since they don't depend on the availability of a server somewhere on the net, and can be used standalone. But the thing that really sucks with DVD:s are the copyright notice that you are forced to watch, which means that some people rips the DVD:s to get rid of that crap.

If the media industry had caught on the track earlier and offered music at a reasonable price without any crippling DRM they would have been better off in sales. There are people willing to pay for it, if they can get it. Going torrent works for some, but some of us wants a reliable and legal source for our media.

Re:Finally an original thinker (4, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234317)

Overall, it looks like some MPAA members are aware that there's a negative impact on sales from fear of losing access if the provider goes out of business. The RIAA, as usual, has no clue and blames it all on piracy. If the US economy totally tanked, with 78% unemployment and nine states declaring themselves People's Republics, and we faced 30,000% hyperinflation, the RIAA would declare all their projected lost sales were due to piracy. When the RIAA finds themselves in the dark, their first step is to insist all the Grues have peg-legs and parrots.

Re:Finally an original thinker (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234503)

Speaking of RIAA, anyone know the links to some good CC websites? Always a good thing to post in a DRM discussion!

Re:Finally an original thinker (0)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234381)

If the media industry had caught on the track earlier and offered music at a reasonable price without any crippling DRM they would have been better off in sales. There are people willing to pay for it, if they can get it. Going torrent works for some, but some of us wants a reliable and legal source for our media.

Millions and millions of people think the music industry sells music at a reasonable price. Where do you think the music industry got all of its money?

If you don't think the price is reasonable, then don't buy it and wait till it plays on the radio or something. The world doesn't revolve around you. You don't get to set the price at which other people sell their stuff.

Re:Finally an original thinker (1)

medlefsen (995255) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234759)

We don't get to set the price? I'm pretty sure file sharing is doing just that. At some point the whining on both sides about the morality of this needs to end because frankly, file sharing is part of life now. It's not that people think the world revolves around them. They just care more about getting free stuff than your version of what's right.

This change is permanent, and isn't going to be changed by laws, DRM, shaming or any other tactic used by people who have a stake in the current model. We need to start thinking about how to produce and distribute content in this reality, not in the one we wish we were in.

Re:Finally an original thinker (0, Troll)

Cernst77 (816740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234785)

Is there anyone on slashdot left that thinks the DMCA has screwed the consumer? What about any users left that actually support piracy? I posted a sentence blasting the DMCA in another related thread and got ANOTHER troll mod. Stop it please, my karma is cratered already.

Start buying disk again? (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233319)

I never stopped! With a DVD I have "Digital Copy" on EVERY DVD without having to use the stupid number system and ask for permission, and it's legal. I don't have to rely on a content provider to stay in business, and I don't have some company somewhere with self interest telling me what devices I can and can't play back the content on. Well, I do, but I don't have to listen to them.

Re:Start buying disk again? (5, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233423)

DVD has copy and region protection. The only reason I have a large DVD collection today, is because the copy protection was utterly destroyed early on, ensuring my fair use indefinitely, of the discs I own.
More modern protection schemes haven't been shredded to my satisfaction, so I won't be buying into them any time soon.

Legally grey means nothing to me. If there is decoder library that works in linux, and region hacks for the physical drives, I'm in.

Re:Start buying disk again? (4, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233537)

As consumers we should NOT have to put up with copy protection crap.

Copy protection is old and would only have worked 15-20 years ago, these day only ONE person needs to bypass the copy protection and everybody can download it. I have never needed to break or circumvent copy protection because someone else does it for me, copy protection is an old model that only worked in the days before the internet back when every pirate had to circumvent the system before they could copy something, those days are gone.

Re:Start buying disk again? (4, Informative)

Mprx (82435) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233715)

It didn't work even back then. Cracked software spread almost as fast by sneakernet and BBSes as it does now by Internet.

Re:Start buying disk again? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233735)

Are you too young to remember... or maybe too old to remember? ;-)

Back "before the internet" we had these things called floppy disks which were quite capable of delivering a copied group of bytes to a buddy in another state by a process now known as "snailmail". The latency was pretty bad and you had to pay "per packet" but the connection was extremely reliable. And, if you were of a mind, you could pack up hundreds of floppies into a single "packet" and send them all in one go.

I never had to break anyone's copy protection either.

Re:Start buying disk again? (1)

Pugwash69 (1134259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234329)

Are you too young to remember... or maybe too old to remember? *8-7 Back before floppy discs we used to buy blank cassettes and use a twin tape deck to copy mate's games for the BBC B and Spectrum. It was the same for music! Half the reason for buying originals was getting the documentation and printed packaging.

Re:Start buying disk again? (4, Insightful)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234043)

As consumers we should NOT have to put up with copy protection crap.

But dumb consumers will put up with it, and they are the majority and so will drive the market.

Short of a rich company with a huge marketing/education campaign, I don't know what else can change (make aware) public perception of DRM.

Best option: gog.com (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234005)

gog.com is an example of how things should be done: you download the game installer and it's yours to keep. There's not DRM, no copy protection, you can have all the game installers on your hard drive or you can back them up on DVD, Blu-ray, another drive, a flash drive, whatever. if gog.com goes under, you can still install your games.

This is even better than having a (copy-protected) media, even if such copy-protection has been cracked. I always found it a hassle to even think about how to back up those CDs and DVDs. With gog.com, I have the installer files and can do with them whatever the hell I please.

Re:Start buying disk again? (1)

rapidmax (707233) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233651)

So did I.

I just purchased four compact disks I've immediatly ripped into OGG Vorbis and put into the disk shelf, where the stay untouched. At least untouched until I look into the booklets for the song texts or need full quality to cut and edit.

This costs more than e.g. online store, but I've got a good backup. I do this only with a few artits/albums I really like very much. Single song or not so good one I just buy online (but without DRM).

~Andy

Re:Start buying disk again? (1)

Pugwash69 (1134259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234339)

I copied all of my CDs onto network storage. Not only is it a safer location, but easier to find and takes up less shelf space!

Re:Start buying disk again? (2, Interesting)

protologix (1395243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234071)

Exactly! Most of the music/DVDs/software/games I buy physical copies of never leave their packaging, as soon as I own them I fire up BitTorrent/Gnutella/Warez forums and download myself a copy. I'm not exactly sure about the legality in the states under the DMCA but here in Canada it's 100% legal under the Private Copying [cb-cda.gc.ca] section of the Copyright Act and the Computer Programs [cb-cda.gc.ca] section if you want a rock-solid defense for backing up Software/Games to get "copies" by any methods you like as long as you actually own it. Also, even if the House of Commons or the Supreme Court makes it illegal up here, I really don't care. For me morality is more important than legality when it comes to stupid laws, if I've purchased a copy I'll be damned if anyone is going to tell me that I can't grab myself a DRM-free version (besides, the RCMP hasn't and isn't going to be putting any effort into cracking down on piracy, and the ISPs up here don't seem to be doing anything beyond throttling). The day I give in to DRM is the day Microsoft goes open-source.

Re:Start buying disk again? (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234779)

Anyone who downloads *binaries* off the net and runs them on their computers deserves everything they will eventually get.

Media is one thing... but active content? Yeah, good luck with that.

my Edison wax reels don't play (2, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234687)

Back when Edison was offering music on wax cyllinders you could buy, I avoided going with George Westinghouse scheme to stream music. I wanted to own it! but now I can't find a player for them.

But I learned my lesson. Now I buy the bands them selves, house them onsite, and have them play for me. But would you not know it? those ingrates have started dieing on me. Again I'm stuck with music containers I can play.

Damn you RIAA!

Re:my Edison wax reels don't play (4, Interesting)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234775)

'Back when Edison was offering music on wax cylinders you could buy, I avoided going with George Westinghouse scheme to stream music. I wanted to own it! but now I can't find a player for them.'

Should have gone with Victor Talking Machine media - you can still find drives for those. The EULA is a bit restrictive, though:

http://www.natch.net/stuff/78_license/ [natch.net]

Aha (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233355)

...Yeah! Disks again, whatever [torrentz.com] ...

Re:Aha (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233435)

It's assholes [goatse.fr] like you who will ruin the internet for everyone.

Re:Aha (4, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233437)

Exactly, why should we do the "right" thing when we are just going to get screwed for it?

On the other hand... (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233403)

...if what you "bought" was shallow crap that you will have lost interest in in six months, who cares if the DRM servers shut down after a year? And that describes 99% of the market.

Re:On the other hand... (2, Interesting)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233643)

Six months? May be it's just me but that is a lot of interest in an album. I mostly loose interest in the middle of a title song.

I am not a hoarder though. ATM, my music "library" has 13 artists for a grand total of 7 GB (half of it is King Crimson). After discovering torrents I quickly got out of the habit of saving stuff. My music is not backed up and will probably get trashed during the next HD upgrade. I find it kind of liberating, actually, to rebuild my collection every now and then by picking a few old favorites and some random stuff to check out for the first time.

Re:On the other hand... (5, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233793)

Six months? May be it's just me but that is a lot of interest in an album... ATM, my music "library" has 13 artists for a grand total of 7 GB (half of it is King Crimson).

Make up your mind! King Crimson has been active for something like 40 years, and Robert Fripp has been prolific outside the context of that band for years. If you are discerning enough to download their work, why throw it away? And if you like it, why not let them have some royalties for their work?

I can just about understand not wanting to buy a CD if you only like one track, and I can even understand not wanting to pay for a single track if you're only half-enthusiastic about it.

But if you like a band enough to download 7GB of their work, why begrudge them a modest return for their work?

Re:On the other hand... (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233989)

Correction to self: KC were not active (AFAIK) between 1984 and 1994, so I guess that makes 30 years. My bad. My favourites were the first two albums, In the Court of the Crimson King and In the Wake of Poseidon but that might be my nostalgia speaking...

Oh, and yes, of course 1/2 of 7GB is 3.5GB...

Re:On the other hand... (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234169)

Most of my KC I have from my friend's CD's. Regardless, I would have downloaded ProjeKcts, as they are awesome.

And if you like it, why not let them have some royalties for their work?

Because I did not commission the work. I have no agreement with KC to pay for their labor. I pay my own cash for making the copy. Copyright law used to be a contract between artists with the public, but that was before industry breached it by extending the term and extending its reach to non-commercial copying. I consider Fripp one of the greatest living composers, but for the life of me, I do not see why I need to bend over and take it from behind when I shop for records.

Re:On the other hand... (3, Insightful)

ivucica (1001089) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234657)

but for the life of me, I do not see why I need to bend over and take it from behind when I shop for records.

I'm not a saint, but I don't fool myself: smaller[1] artists need every penny. There are those who are bathing in money, and there are those who could really use some of the money.

Yes, DRM is wrong, and yes, CDs are way too expensive. It still doesn't mean torrenting is universally justifiable, especially if you like some artist and the artist isn't a bastard from hell. Copyright laws in most countries are silly, but they are laws. We simply need to better organize our lobbying to make copyright law reasonable, instead of saying it should be abolished and instead of saying "Fripp won't get a single cent from me because Sony[2] is taking $24.94." Cent by cent, y'know, and Fripp can make a living.

Just an idea that crossed my mind right now: perhaps we should do torrenting and send money directly to artists, even though they don't request it. They'd be far happier that way, don't you think?

[1] By smaller I mean any non-MTV, or national equivalent in particular country.

[2] Or whoever.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234795)

And Brian Eno composed The Windows Sound -- the boot 'music' for Windows 95 and 98.

No, really: go find the WAV and check the properties. There was press coverage.

Whose? (5, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233807)

...if what you "bought" was shallow crap that you will have lost interest in in six months, who cares if the DRM servers shut down after a year? And that describes 99% of the market.

Because that shallow crap is yours. It's the right that's at stake here, not the economical value or arts value.
Is it OK if I go through your home and throw away the things I think are crap?

One man's crap, another man's treasure. I don't know whether my daughter in the future would like to have a copy of Lipps Inc. "Funkytown" or Video Kids' "Woodpeckers from Space". But if she does, they're there. And playable -- not subject to whether a company has gone belly up or not.

Re:Whose? (1)

NSN A392-99-964-5927 (1559367) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234259)

Awesome! mind you there is a market out there for doing what you said. "OK if I go through your home and throw away the things I think are crap?" We need more people like you! I have some Beta Max videos you might like... The Exterminator! Corr blimeny I am getting flashbacks from my childhood. In all honesty though, we still have issues with Kindles and Amazon.com. If you buy something you ought to own it outright... not lease the frecking thing which is in effect what is happening! Effectively you are buying content and being sold hardware that can be rendered useless because you never read the small print (terms and conditions). I urge you all when making a purchase in future... goods of any value to read the terms and conditions for fun and anything you disagree with, make them change it if you feel it is unfair or write out your own "Terms and Conditions of sale", get them to sign it or you will not buy it. Works for me!

Re:On the other hand... (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234129)

..if what you "bought" was shallow crap that you will have lost interest in in six months, who cares if the DRM servers shut down after a year?

Who cares about the shallowness of the stuff. People have nostalgic moments. People have theme parties. Nobody should have to worry about accessing the music and videos they purchased just become some company goes out of business.

Re:On the other hand... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234477)

So don't by anything with DRM.

This is one of the most important drawbacks of DRM (4, Interesting)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233415)

AFAIK no company that was not bankrupt got away with just cshutting down the servers. The options for viable companies seem to be

1. Refound all purchases (and have a net loss)
2. Remove the DRM (may be difficult/impossible, as content owners have to agree)
3. Keep the servers running (and have continuous cost for that)

It seems some companies have already realized that DRM is a losing game even for them, because of the additional cost and because it is a business they cannot simply back out of.

Now on a bankrupcy, it becomes interesting. In the EU, it may actually be legal to hack the DRM then. But basically I think your stuff is lost. If this happens a few times, customers will catch on. Many already have. In the end, DRM will die for good when this problem has become common knowledge.

Legally repair the Digital Restrictions (4, Interesting)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233557)

If the DRM servers shut down, it would be legal to repair the DRM everywhere in the world, not just the EU. You paid for the stuff, so it is yours to do with as you please. That is what Sale of Goods means. Copyright Acts are on very shaky ground (100 year old law) compared to Sale of Goods (thousands of years old Common, English, Roman and Greek law).

Re:Legally repair the Digital Restrictions (3, Insightful)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234617)

Ah, and therein lies the catch. According to copyright law, and the *AA, they do not sell you a copy of the video. They sell you a limited license to use the copyrighted work. With DRM, that license includes provisions for arbitrarily removing access to that work whenever they want.

Re:This is one of the most important drawbacks of (2, Interesting)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233589)

The companies should be required (by law) to keep their servers running indefinitely.

That is after all the product they sell, if I buy a movie I expect it to play 20years later. Can't work the business model, don't do it.

Re:This is one of the most important drawbacks of (2, Informative)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233909)

That's not the product they sell, if you'd ever bothered to read their Terms of Use.

Re:This is one of the most important drawbacks of (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233877)

This should get interesting when the bank auditors start to catch on to this. If judges force the continued operation of the servers in BK events to protect consumers maybe companies selling DRM'ed content will be unable to get loans!

This is the case today. Now there are a number of players whose interest it serves to keep things this way which is why it does not change but the lack of private loans available to federal contractors is a know issue. In a BK satisfaction of contracts with the federal government are senior to all debt contracts. That is to say the contract must be satisfied from the available funds if thats even possible before the most senior bond holder can get in line. Since federal contracts usually stipulate the money is returned plus penalties if the product or service is not delivered lenders usually have a problem with companies that work with the federal government.

Every wonder why government contractors are usually only big firms? This is a major reason, its only those firms that know they don't use and won't need private equity financing in the future. They either have cash operation or can raise the capital on the bond market. Hint for you bond investors, if you play in junk bonds companies that have federal contracts and are rated junk are probably junkier than ones that don't in terms of your odds of walking away with nothing at all.

MLB fiasco for fans who didn't continue paying? (1)

jbn-o (555068) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233925)

I don't recall Major League Baseball refunding accounts for their subscribers when MLB left their subscribers out in the cold. Maybe they restarted their on-demand recorded baseball viewing service with another DRM provider, but I'm referring to the people who did not continue doing business with MLB. Did they get a prorated refund for the service they were not able to use? I'm guessing that DRM-riddled services nowadays include language in the contract that says when the service dies the customer agrees to forfeit the remainder of their subscription fee, so it will be up to consumers to organize and make state/federal law that forces providers to give prorated refunds.

I saw this kind of thing coming when I thought about the implications of copy prevention ("copy protection" is pro-publisher propaganda) back in the 1980s, as I'm sure many posters here did. Without the freedoms of free software (one can only really implement digital restrictions management in user-subjugating/proprietary software) the implications of DRM are even more important (librarians take note!). Today I still think about the implications of DRM (1 [digitalcitizen.info] ,2 [digitalcitizen.info] ). As a result I only do business with media distributors that don't screw me or the people they work with (Magnatune [magnatune.com] , for example, has far better policies than any of the other more well-advertised media distributors). I mention this because /. posters all too often believe that one "votes" with their money and should spend accordingly. I don't agree that money should constitute votes, but I do think our spending reflects our values. Yet I don't see many posters on this discussion forum actually talking about spending their money wisely.

Re:This is one of the most important drawbacks of (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234533)

AFAIK no company that was not bankrupt got away with just cshutting down the servers.

Did Adobe Systems go bankrupt, then?
Adobe started its own ebook shop to promote PDF as a format for ebooks. I was one of those who got suckered in, and bought one PDF ebook from them. It could be read only with Adobe Reader on Windows and had to be incorporated into the "bookshelf". It turned out to be so riddled with restrictions (print at most 10 pages per 30 days, etc.) that I did not buy any others. Remote authorization from an Adobe server was needed to transfer the reading rights to another PC, or even to an updated version of the reader. About a year later, Adobe announced that it had achieved itrs promotional aims and was shutting down its ebook shop and authorization servers, and that all ebooks would be frozen.
They did provide a sort of solution for continued access: you had to make an archive of your Adobe Reader 5 software and bookshelf using a special tool. The process was destructive - it would delete the original files with the authorization codes while making the archive. This archive could then be restored onto another PC (destroying the archive). You were to be stuck with Adobe Reader 5 forever, with no hope of access if you changed to Mac or Linux.
My only option was to find and acquire a cracked version of the ebook I had bought, in order to read it once I left the Windows world completely.

Maybe... (5, Insightful)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233433)

Maybe if the content providers would have used a sound business model that actually ATTRACTS customers instead of alienating them, they wouldn't have died in the first place?

Re:Maybe... (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234083)

Maybe if the content providers would have used a sound business model that actually ATTRACTS customers instead of alienating them, they wouldn't have died in the first place?

Nice! But history shows that most compapies need to die or come close to dying to reform themselves.

Re:Maybe... (3, Interesting)

basementman (1475159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234653)

I always thought just saying "your business model sucks" was kind of a cop out. Look if their business model makes them enough money to stay afloat more power to them. If it doesn't and they die, that's just tough luck. You can't blame the business model on everything.

XKCD (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233443)

http://xkcd.com/488/

Can you still play your VHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233445)

While I totally get the hatred of DRM, I always get a kick out of the people who go back to "Well, maybe we should go back to disks" - Do you still have a VCR that works? (You may, but many do not)

What about a floppy drive? Laserdisk? 5.25"? 8.5"? 10MB HDD?

The medium is almost inconsequential to this problem -- the problem is they're trying to give you the medium without the data -- a license to play your reflective disk on your FisherPrice MovieBox, not a license to play your reflective disk in general.

DRM is a fundamentally flawed idea -- if I give you the data, AND the keys to decrypt it, then it's just a matter of time.

Re:Can you still play your VHS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233805)

While I totally get the hatred of DRM, I always get a kick out of the people who go back to "Well, maybe we should go back to disks" - Do you still have a VCR that works? (You may, but many do not)

I do, but I have nothing on HVS that's really worth keeping. Nothing I can't from a torrent, at least.

What about a floppy drive? Laserdisk? 5.25"? 8.5"? 10MB HDD?

If they contained anything I wanted to keep, I copied it to a new harddisk. Floppies in particular aren't very good for long term storage anyway. CDs and DVDs are, though. And they contain stuff I paid good money for, so I want to keep them. Unfortunately, online activation kills the entire long term usefulness of CDs and DVDs.

Re:Can you still play your VHS? (1)

^_^x (178540) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234135)

Actually I keep players for most formats around, even including VCD and LaserDisk...

The big problem with DRM though is that if I have a LaserDisk and no player, I can jump on eBay, grab a used one, and it works.
If I have a modern gaming console that's no longer supported online, if it dies, I grab a new one, and I'll still never see my downloaded games again, just the initial release, unpatched versions of games on disc.

How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233455)

I have some cd's that have been replaced several times, stolen, scratched,kids etc. At least with a cd you physically get something and you don't need to be online to listen to your tunes. What happens when internet is not available?

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (3, Interesting)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233527)

I've lost my entire music collection due to theft twice, and my entire movie collection once. My current philosophy runs something along the lines of rip, compress (or not), put it on more than one HDD, take the originals, put them in a safe, put the safe in a bunker surrounded by monsters friendly only to you.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233841)

I handle that by ripping my CDs to something uncompressed like APE or FLAC with a cue sheet to go with it. I like having the discs for that very reason.

It's a good system as only theft or fire leaves me needing to replace discs. In practice, only on rare occasion do I need to actually pull out any of my discs. None of that's really possible with DRMed downloads. Services like GoG are more like physical discs than some physical disc formats.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233555)

That's why I just buy sheet music. That way I don't have to be at the stereo to listen to music. What happens when electricity is not available?

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233587)

Then my electric guitar, synth and drums don't work. Metal just doesn't sound right on an acoustical with a set of bongos and some spoons.

No electricity? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233609)

Early phonographs and player pianos used non-electric power sources.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233689)

With a bit of practice, you can hear the score in your head. It takes a lot of practice, as it's about as hard as improvising a piano reduction of an orchestral work on first read.

I used to take orchestral scores with me to read on the train and found it a pleasant way to pass the time.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234009)

Time to bust out the pipe organ... one old enough not to have any electrical parts anyway.

I'm a metal head, but I have to agree that the organ is nicknamed the "King of Instruments" for a good reason.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234361)

What happens when electricity is not available?

...It is nighttime, and you are out of candles? Braille music [wikipedia.org] !

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (3, Funny)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234475)

> PERFORM BRAILLE MUSIC

The grues are lulled to sleep by your masterful humming.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233613)

I replace CDs all the time, thank god blank's are so cheap.

Re:How many times have you bought the same cd? (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234815)

I've been lucky to never lose one because I've always taken excellent care of them and since getting into digital music, any CD I buy is converted and then packed away never to be touched again so they're nothing more than a backup of my MP3s.

Its because of piracy (1, Funny)

click2005 (921437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233465)

Its obvious that the only reason media companies fail is because of piracy. I pulled numbers out of thin air that show this
company would have made over $44billion a year if it wasnt for pirates. They should use more DRM, so much that every customer
needs a signed statement that promises no other person, animal, vegetable or mineral will see, hear, smell or even know the media
is playing. Activating the media should require a DNA sample.

Unlock content (2, Interesting)

pmontra (738736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233479)

There should be some legislation that either forces companies to unlock your DRM'd content or give you back the money.
Walmart was not going out of business so both options were open to them. A company filing for Chapter 11 should just unlock content, that is swap the DRM'd files with unprotected ones. Labels/majors will probably say that unlocking content breaks the agreement in place with the distributor but the law should protect customers in the first place.

Never buy DRM'd content until some legislation like that is in effect: chances are that you survive most of the companies in this business and/or the DRM technologies they use.

Re:Unlock content (3, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233667)

From the desk of Captain Obvious: they cannot give you back money if they are defunct.

Re:Unlock content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234731)

Well, the legislation that would work would be: every company using DRM servers must insure itself against bankruptcy in a way that guarantees the DRM servers will continue to run until the copyright on the titles expires and then (or at their discretion if their contracts allow it at any earlier time) provide unprotected files.
I'm pretty sure that would mean nobody can afford DRM. I would consider it fair though, because that cost otherwise can easily become a cost to society (as in lost cultural heritage) and I am not a fan of people doing business at the expense of society.

Re:Unlock content (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233795)

I agree. As consumer protection, anyone selling DRM-encumbered content should have to put the means to crack that DRM into some kind of escrow which becomes publicly available on the event that they can no longer provide support for that DRM to their customers.

Anyone failing to abide by these terms should not be allowed to use the word "buy" in their storefront or marketing. If you don't get to keep it, you aren't "buying" it. It's false advertising.

I know someone here will take an even more hard-line attitude and say DRM itself should be illegal, which is fine. I'm not going to argue with you.

Re:Unlock content (3, Insightful)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234423)

>There should be some legislation that either forces companies to unlock your DRM'd content or give you back the money.

better idea - 'buyer beware': you buy DRMed stuff, be aware you can get hosed.

Result: nobody buys DRM stuff and it dies out. better to stamp it out than encourage it with 'rescue' legislation.

Translation: Buy DRM and suffer the consequences.

Plain old WYSIWIG... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233481)

As in "What You Shop Is What You Get".

This is why it's important to crack DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233497)

This is one of the reasons why we need DRM crackers. To ensure our continued fair use of the media we purchase, irregardless of the antics of RIAA/MPAA.

Things you buy don't last forever (2, Interesting)

frozentier (1542099) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233515)

Not that I agree with this, but these companies that go under could argue that almost nothing you buy lasts forever, so your right to listen to (or watch) what you download should not last forever. If you buy tires, they wear out and you have to stop using them. Monitors eventually die, televisions eventually die, etc. So they could argue that you shouldn't expect your music or movies to be usable forever, either. Reminds me of the self-destructing DVDs they were going to market: You rent a movie, the disc itself becomes unreadable after a week or so of being opened, and you got to watch your movie but not keep it forever, yet you don't have to send it back.

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (4, Insightful)

log0n (18224) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233639)

All of those things stop lasting because of your influence upon them or because of your actions. Things do have a limited lifespan, but not an artificial one. A DRM company going under isn't because of your influence - it's because of their action.

Imagine LG going out of business and taking all of our LCDs, TVs, cell phones, etc with them.

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233883)

Imagine LG going out of business and taking all of our LCDs, TVs, cell phones, etc with them.

Now, now. Don't give them any ideas.

Anyhow, the phones already exist, as IP phones that have to authorize against a provider's server before it works. And provider-locked cell phones can't be news to you either.

And I'm sure that before long, there WILL be TVs that require an authorization too. Sony, where are you?

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233749)

This isn't right. If I buy a house, the bank keeps records of wether I am paying my mortgage, and if I stop they can have my right to remain in the house revoked. If the house "wears out" I have to repair it sure, just as if the data is corrupted somehow, I have to redownload it. But my right to stay on the land, or to play the music, should remain in tact.

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233819)

I've got books and records that were passed down to me from my father, and given to him by his father.

It would be a shame not to be able to pass on my favourite art works to my children because they self destructed after a few weeks. (The art works that is, not the children.)

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234097)

That's fine, I can live with that as long as the media companies can live with their copyright not lasting almost forever either. Wanna bet on whether they will agree?

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234223)

"Not that I agree with this, but these companies that go under could argue that almost nothing you buy lasts forever, so your right to listen to (or watch) what you download should not last forever."

Cool, let the copyright expire when the ability to listen runs out... problem solved... (who wants this?)

drew
--
http://zotz.kompoz.com/ [kompoz.com]

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (1)

chthonicdaemon (670385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234247)

Of course, your analogy holds only for certain kinds of goods. I have a reasonable expectation that the art I have bought will last beyond my lifetime. Also, remember that the things that wear out don't do so because they were designed that way -- in fact, engineers have worked hard to make your tires last as long as they can.

Re:Things you buy don't last forever (2, Insightful)

moranar (632206) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234395)

All those examples cite causes not artificially produced to end the use of your product. If the monitor dies after 5 years, it's (hopefully) not because a conscious decision from the maker. If your tires wear out, it's due to the use, not because Michelin decided to add a rot-fast compound to the rubber. The DRM is a completely different beast. Ask yourself if any of the examples you mentioned are the equivalent of a dead man's switch like DRM is.

Analog hole (5, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233579)

The analog hole [wikipedia.org] will always be there for audio and video. Yes, it's a pain to buy a DRM'd song then hook up ye olde tape recorder to your speaker output before the vendor files for chapter 11, but it does work.

I'm more worried about games and other content that are different each time you use them.

Re:Analog hole (2, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233943)

It might not be: They haven't (yet) been successful; but Team Content are well aware of the analog hole, and they sure would like to do something about it.

The proposal would be to make watermark detection a mandatory feature of all ADCs. See here. [eff.org]

Re:Analog hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234559)

The idea that *all* of the hardware available for use would be compromised in this way is deeply horrifying to me.

If that happens, it'll be like living in a dystopian sci-fi novel.

The good news is, there will always be somewhere making devices that don't do this, and it only takes one person frantically stripping watermarks and redistributing the files freely to punch a hole in the system.

Of course, that person will probably face the death penalty for felony obstruction of business...

DMCA violation? (1)

horatio (127595) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233745)

Would it be a DMCA violation to crack the DRM after the provider is unable to provide unlocking for legally purchased material? What if the company emerges from Chapter 11, or the IP is purchased by a third party? Could you then be sued/charged under the DMCA? What if you provide software/service (ala DeCSS?) to help other people unlock their stuff (assuming there is no official channel to do so)?

Time to start buying discs again? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233753)

Well, those aren't exempt either if the industries get their way.

its not just about vendor going 'away' (4, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233757)

its also about your motherboard going away.

think 'tivo'.

twice I've had a tivo die on me. and twice, you are not legally allowed to get your (possibly unseen, definitely paid for!) movies seen or copied over.

when my final tivo died, I gave some thought to fixing it and trying to hack the drives. I also thought about continuing my directv sub but thought about NOT wanting to repeat this all over again, so I cancelled my pay tv sub. I no longer have a sat tv feed (or cable) anymore.

DRM is bad and when it works, its somewhat acceptable; but when it stops working, you're screwed.

lesson learned. no more proprietary tivo boxes for me. not anymore.

no more pay tv? so be it. I can live without out!

to the lawmakers.. (2, Insightful)

kylant (527449) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233781)

This is a perfect opportunity for the lawmakers to step in:
Every provider of digital content should be required to offer one of two options:
1. DRM-free content only - it is up to the consumer to keep backups of his contents or
2. a life-long guarantee for DRM-protected content. This has to be protected through third-party agreements in case the original provider goes out of business.

Yes, option 2 is costly but nobody has to use DRM in the first place.

Valve and Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28233785)

I believe Valve said that they would link a chunk of code that would unlock all your Steam purchases if they ever went out of business.
At least, the ones that they own. Others would be a question of whether the developers would want it to be unlocked.

And even saying this, the chances of Steam failing or Valve falling is unlikely since that model has been pretty successful for them.

Re:Valve and Steam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234077)

Why do people keep bringing this bullshit up? Their "promise" is nothing more than hot air... if they go bankrupt, your shit is gone.

They don't give a fuck about you, and you're delusional if you think otherwise.

Re:Valve and Steam (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234505)

I believe Valve said that they would link a chunk of code that would unlock all your Steam purchases if they ever went out of business.

There will always be a way for companies to get around statements like this that they have made: In bankruptcy, sell the "IP" to someone else.

And at any rate, is there really any evidence we should believe such statements?

How about a deal? (5, Interesting)

nightfire-unique (253895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233803)

If you release your content in an encrypted/restricted format, you lose copyright protection. You're taking matters into your own hands. You're not benefiting society.

If you release your content in native format, you are afforded copyright protection. Your works will enter the public domain (some day), and you are benefiting society.

Sounds fair to me.

Re:How about a deal? (1)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234117)

Indeed a fair way to do it. Hiwever not good for commerce (read: screwing over the customers), so its chances are small. Maybe in the far future when it has become obvious to the last commercial nilwit that digital content dristribution is not a viable business model anymore.

I'd quote you... (1)

slack_justyb (862874) | more than 5 years ago | (#28233991)

...something from my favourite book, "Harry Potter and the Dead Horse." But I can't it's DRMed.

Seriously, haven't we covered this topic to death? I think new methods of DRM are more news worthy than say an article highlighting the pitfalls of DRM.

Re:I'd quote you... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234509)

> ...something from my favourite book, "Harry Potter and the Dead Horse." But I can't it's
> DRMed.

Of course you can. Just type it in.

Haha. (1)

Facegarden (967477) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234003)

My brother used to work for them!
He would always tell me how great they were, but he was just believing what the marketing team told him.
I always knew they wouldn't survive.
-Taylor

Re:Haha. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28234447)

Very few people have managed to survive Taylor. It was a devastating event, to be sure.

No anti-DRM incentive (2, Insightful)

proton (56759) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234165)

Today there is no incentive to get rid of DRM (if you listen to RIAA/MPAA).

If you go bankrupt there is no incentive to incur extra costs to disable the DRM on media that your former customers purchased.

And there is no legal ramification for not doing it either.

With time being infinite, the chance of a company going bankrupt is also infinite. Thus the chance of your DRM media paper-weight'ing over time is infinite.

Good luck.

You've got three options (2, Insightful)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 5 years ago | (#28234393)

a) Buy it digitally again, but if you can, make sure it is a copy that is
clean in DRM terms.

b) Buy a hard copy. For anything I buy, this is always my approach. A
physical copy of something has a much higher chance of lasting years, or more
or less indefinitely if I keep it and am able to back it up. I don't do the
micropayment for digital downloads thing, and most likely never will. I'm not
paying tangible funds for something that could get lost in a power surge.
Hard copies are a little more durable, especially if, as I said, they're
backed up.

c) If you want to go the digital route, and a) isn't possible, pirate it.
Although I don't have huge moral problems with piracy, (as I generally feel
that, on balance, most content producers will generally at least break even on
any given pirated work, and usually make a large profit, even with piracy) my
general policy is that if I like something enough to really seek it out, I
will generally like it enough to buy a physical copy from Amazon and give the
artist something for their trouble. If it is an artist who I like a lot, and
who I'd conceivably buy from often, (such as Shpongle, if I had more money)
I'd possibly even write to the artist and ask them if they could make their
wares available from their own site, so that I could be sure that the lion's
share of my money was going directly to them, where I intend it to go.

In some cases (old/obscure stuff) piracy is going to be your only option, as
you may not be able to find the work via retail channels; however again, if
the work in question is something you really value, use piracy as a last
resort. If a creative person produces something which enriches your life,
then in my opinion they deserve to be paid for it.

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