DRM Hurts In More Ways Than One

from the what-now? dept

While some music-industry execs are slowly realizing the downside of DRM, a new report says there’s a downside for consumers: tests found that Microsoft’s PlaysForSure DRM hurts MP3 players’ battery life by up to 25%, while iPod users get 8% more play time listening to unprotected files than ones protected with Apple’s FairPlay DRM. So in addition to being a general nuisance, copy-protection also helps users get less out of their MP3 players — and don’t forget how it doesn’t help artists either — yet record labels continue to somehow believe it’s a necessity.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “DRM Hurts In More Ways Than One”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
DittoBox (user link) says:

How is this news?

Seriously, how is this news?

Most DRM is more encrypted than your info with a hospital or bank. No joke.

A local hospital’s patient record backups were stolen out of an employee’s car, they were in plain site and had no encryption on them.

That’s absolutely ridiculous. What’s scares me more than that is that most institutions are like that.

While recording and movie industries are clamoring all over each other to screw you over with Digital Restrictions Management, a lot of your personal info is sitting in a backup tape, unencrypted in the front seat of some idiot manager’s BMW.

Cyberthugmobile says:

What's the big deal!!!

I purchase DRM protected music. I take all my fav tracks and burn them to CD then re-encode them into any format I want. Free music is nice but $$$ has to be made somewhere. So like the article mentioned above yes DRM encoded files do utilize more juice on portable music players but you do not have to upload them on the device that way. It’s a pain to have to recode but if it means getting an extra 2 hours out of your player do it. Not to mention you files then can be shared with others if that’s what you like to do.

TechNoFear (profile) says:

My cars ‘DRM’ (alarm and immobiliser) makes the battery go flat if not driven often as well.

The alarm is not 100% effective and would not even slow a professional down if they wanted my car. It will stop the inexperienced opportunist though.

Do you think we should remove that protection as it inconveniences legitimate users of my car and is ultimately ineffective?

Or do you agree that the alarm is an essential requirement to stop as much unauthorised use as is possible?

How about the bank that has a token generator, required as a third validation when logging in? This won’t stop a ‘man in the middle’ attack and is annoying when the token changes between entry and validation (resulting in a login fail).

As a Software Engineer I understand no DRM can be effective (for long) but understand the increase in both the use and severity of DRM today.

The bottom line is that if people did not take and/or distribute what they are not entitled to, these type of protections would not be required.

A Funny Guy on a Serious Note Tonight says:

Re: Re:

DRM does nothing to stop the professional, nor does it do anything to stop basically anyone with the sense to use a proxy in another country and your favorite serach engine to find the crack for basically anything within a few days of its release. All DRM is, is a scam thought up by folks who found a very parinoid and rich mark….. and market…… media moguls.

The people are so paranoid that someone might see or hearor read their product that they will buy into anything that anyone promises them will prevent people from copying or distributing their product without them making a penny or 2.

And these products do work for a short time…… then all that money is wasted on a system that has been cracked and the work around published on the internet.

DRM is a waste of time….. while every industry does loss control measures, one of those measures is to build in a loss of profit amount into the final price of the product. This is the most effective way of getting a guaranteed amonut of cash from every single item that is stolen. The trick is finding the percentage.

Another thing these media companies are ovrr looking is that many of the people who crack and consume thier product would have never bought it in the first place for whatever reason….. Not many teenagers have the money to buy all the crap they crack and consume…… however as they get older and thier moral structures tend to solidify they end up buying more than they steal…. and the brands they stole will become familar to them and they will eventualy become paying customers if they continue liking the product.

This may sound like justification for a crime, however it is not. It more an analysis of reality….. verses whatever that strange thing is that DRM creation comapnies are telling media producers.

As far as the batter life of mp3 players… what a lame excuse that is for the whiners…. you idiots…. just buy an extray battery.

What your mp3 player does not let you change the battery….. I feel sorry for you….. you obviously didn’t think before you bought…. don’t worry millions of people do it everyday……

Eventually you learn to be a consumer and not a mark.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

As a software engineer You should understand that if someone would steal your car and yet You still would have one for your self to use, You wouldn’t really care if the car was stolen or not. It’s just not the same thing.

If someone steals intellectual property I own (not the way I own a car) – it’s bad for me because I don’t get any compensation for that, on the other hand – I still have the property it’s not gone, I can still sell it… I’m not sure what’s the right thing to do(tm). I don’t like DRM (in the current state) as a user, it’s too intrusive.

It’s just not the same thing as Your car and it shouldn’t be treated like it! It seems to me that most of the people most of the time are forgetting this…

Xanthir says:

Re: Re:

My cars ‘DRM’ (alarm and immobiliser) makes the battery go flat if not driven often as well.

The alarm is not 100% effective and would not even slow a professional down if they wanted my car. It will stop the inexperienced opportunist though.

Do you think we should remove that protection as it inconveniences legitimate users of my car and is ultimately ineffective?

Or do you agree that the alarm is an essential requirement to stop as much unauthorised use as is possible?

Your analogy is quite flawed. When someone steals a car, it can only be stolen once. One person breaks into it, and they keep it. Thus, deterring the casual car thief is sufficient to stop most cars from beign stolen – the average person goes and buys their car.

With music or any other digital file, the situation is quite different. One person can crack the file, and then share it around to *everyone*. With the expertise of one person, everyone has access to it, even if they have only minimal tech experience (and no idea how to crack files).

The only people that can’t partake in file sharing are those that have too little tech knowledge even to use a p2p network. This is the majority of the US, at least. These are also the people who generally wouldn’t crack a file anyway. So, DRM only stops those that are too clueless to pirate their music. Everyone that *wants* to do it can, and very easily. It’s a non-issue.

Thus, if DRM actually harms the value of a product, only those who won’t pirate their music are harmed. Those who will pirate music can very easily bypass any safeguards that are put in, because the internet distributes its knowledge freely. This is precisely the opposite intent

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:


You’re comparing apples to oranges. Feel free to disable your car alarm. You have the CHOICE to have that removed or not. Now, if the car manufacturer sues you for messing around the alarm or sues you for driving a car without that alarm, then we are on the same analogy.

It’s not about how effective the protection is. It’s about the customers have the fair use right on the stuff they paid for. What about the auto manufacturer limits you car to be driven in your county and mandate a seperate car in the county nearby. I’m sure this will reduce auto theft to certain degree. But is it fair for customers?

giafly says:


“According to tests conducted by CNet, heavy DRM based systems slow down an MP3 player and “suck the very life out of them”. The blokes in the lab took a Creative Zen Vision:M, with a rated battery life of up to 14 hours for audio and 4 hours for video and tested it for 16 hours, with MP3s. However, when they tried the same test with DRM based music files the machine could only manage 12 hours. The same applied for other players.” – the Inquirer

Original Story with lots of information about battery life, not just DRM:
MP3 Insider:The truth about your battery life

Who needs enemies when the US has friends like the *AA?

Anonymous Coward says:

When are people going to quit whinning that if someone dl’s their intellectual property that they have incurred a loss?

They incurred no such loss at all. Why? Because people like me who occassionally will pirate something, do so because I’m interested to either hear the music, see the movie, or play the game, but NOT interested in it enough to purchase it in the first place. I will say though, that many times after pirating either music, movies, or games, if I liked the product, I then went to the store and purchased it. In fact, EVERY time I’ve ever liked something I pirated, I turned around and purchased the actual product. But.., if I didn’t like it, I’m not going to purchase it, and even if I didn’t pirate it first, I, most often than not, wouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.

Mr Rat says:

Re: trade CDs for $1

there’s a new site opening up shortly called LaLa to enable people to trade CDs for $1 +postage – in the USA – (rest of us will just have to be criminals) – its legal cos of the First Sale Doctrine says individuals can pass Title to CD to another person … I think its only in limited beta release for the moment but should be operational later in the year – they have $9million in start up funds

(yep been spending too much time reading on the net)

nachtengel says:

While in about a year or two this might not be a big deal with fuel cells (though i can’t wait to see them get thru airport security)… It still remains a huge thing now.

Especially on laptops and other devices like the origami/tablet pcs, and cell phones which have a substantially lower power vs play ratio. This alone could easily spell disaster for the mobile industry, and their attempt to get into the 3G music/video arena.

This is really wild, I can’t wait to see the test come in for the Video devices… which will be hit even harder probably.

I think once this gets out, people will be less likely to buy Microsoft DRM content and devices. Not that they aren’t adverse to this already.

What everyone at Microsoft seems to forget is you are either with apple or against them, and if you are against them, you are probably against closed systems and DRM in general, so the last thing you are going to do is buy PlaysForSure DRM’ed files. You are probably more into ogg or flac like myself. It just doesn’t add up no matter how many accountant you pay off.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...