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. identicon
    Jon, 9 Jan 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Non-obtrusive DRM

    The DRM on the XBox 360 that they use for arcade games is pretty flexible. You can play online or offline and you can use other consoles as long as you know your account information. You could take the console offline permanently and you'd likely never have a problem. You can even play the games on other consoles and accounts under more limited circumstances.

    In the case of video games, I'm not totally against fairly unobtrusive DRM (not like the Spore DRM or the Steam DRM, that is, which are both pretty intrusive). There usually aren't complimentary goods (like concert tickets) that you can buy with video games, and the developers deserve to be paid. If DRM can solve this problem and I'm aware of the limitations as I'm buying the product, so be it.

    I also agree with the fact that DRM isn't bad for rentals, as Kyle pointed out. DRM for permanent music/books/videos is different, though - those media types require both portability and access on a variety of devices, and nobody has adequately solved those issues while still implementing effective DRM. That, and the content is more often than not overpriced.

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