DRM Screws Users Again: eBooks About To Disappear Due To DRM Provider Shut Down

from the don't-buy-anything-with-DRM dept

Around here, it's basically preaching to the choir, so most of you probably recognize this already, but buying anything with DRM on it is basically asking for trouble down the road. The latest example? An eBook seller named Fictionwise has realized that one of the companies that provides DRM for some of its books has announced that its shutting down at the end of the month. Because that DRM has to check in with an authentication server that's no longer going to be there, everyone who "bought" (really: incorrectly thought they bought) eBooks that used this DRM will discover that the books they paid for no longer work (Update: as noted in the comments, this DRM doesn't authenticate every time -- just any time you try to move the content to a new device. Also, Fictionwise is working to get replacements and has done so for many of the eBooks impacted already). It's as if a publisher could retroactively erase the text from within a physical book that you bought. Since Fictionwise is just passing on the eBooks from third party aggregators, it has no means of replacing the "disappeared" eBooks. Has anyone found any thing that DRM is actually good for yet?

Filed Under: drm, ebooks
Companies: fictionwise


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  1. icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), 9 Jan 2009 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Useful DRM

    My disclaimer, I bought Left 4 Dead through Steam, as a bunch of my friends did at the same time.
    If it were not for that stand alone installer guarentee, I can guarentee you I wouldn't have agreed to buy it that way.
    However, I feel the need to take down your representation of Valve a notch to the public you are presenting your argument to.
    The idea of absolutely needing the internet to play is stupid. Allow me to demonstrate with knowledge of L4D, although it is slightly different. You can play L4D in offline mode, meaning that you do not need to be logged into Steam. However, if you do this, you do not get your stats tracked. I am okay with that. However, you can only play by yourself. That the same group of friends I bought it with had to move our little LAN party downstairs. However, we did not have the internet down there. So we boot up L4D anyways. One problem. We can no longer play network. I can maybe understand not being able to play online without being logged into Steam. However, we could not even play the game we purchased the day before over LAN. That is really .. really stupid. We were all rightfully upset. We bought the game. So why can't we even play LAN together? Oh yah, that's right. Even though we handed over our money for the game, we are STILL ALL CRIMINALS. Stupid thinking Valve, and it will way more than likely be the last game I purchase through Valve as well.

    As for your one comment:
    I like the idea that several years from now if I decide I want to go back and play an old game, I have the ability to do so with no hassle.
    All the games I bought and have physical copies of, I simply make an ISO of the game. I can lose the physical copy, and I am still good. So I fail to see how that comment really has any bearing as to make Steam better than anything else.

    For Steam, the ability to have a friends list I do not see as anything big. There are plenty of other programs that do that. For the voice chat, I am already fine with Vent, and most of my group still uses Vent, even when we have Steam up. The only time we don't, is when we are inside of L4D itself since in game it has the ability to do voice chat. Although, it can be pretty fun at times we start up Vent, disable the in game voice chat, and join one of the all chat servers (where both sides hear the other side's voice chat as well). Then they do not hear us, but we still hear them. It is funny because they start asking how we do so well without talking at all about coordination, except we are. Some would call it cheating, but I didn't break or hack anything to do it.
    That makes about the only thing Steam adds above downloading anywhere, which I can install anywhere with my ISOs, and WAY faster than downloading 3+GB, is the ability to just click on your friend, and say "join game" and it auto joins you to their game. You do not even have to find which server they are on. So, overall, I think Steam adds very very little that you can't easily do with everything else that is already out there, and that people (being gamers at this point) already have installed anyways.

    So, I hate Steam's DRM. Mike, you asked Has anyone found any thing that DRM is actually good for yet?
    My answer is yes, I have, it is really good at screwing people who gave the companies their money, giving us incentives to no longer purchase games from them. As I will no longer buy from Valve. One game was enough.

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