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
    DanC, 10 Jan 2009 @ 9:46pm

    Re: DRM is a check not a

    Are those people who are so strongly against DRM also against banks insisting on a pin number for their ATM bank card?

    Most people don't have a problem with entering a serial number and/or a one-time check over the internet. But that's not all DRM is, so your comparison to an ATM is inadequate.

    The problem is that DRM makes the illegal pirated version of a game superior to the legitimately purchased retail version.

    DRM is just a check to see that you have the right to use something that someone owns.

    It's quite a bit more than "just" a check. It's also installation limits, unauthorized software installs, unauthorized internet connections, and other unnecessary restrictions.

    In regards to companies going out of business it's the same as in physical life. I bought some shoes with a 5yr guarantee and the store's now closed. Should stores be giving shoes away for free now?

    No, but you can still do whatever you want with the shoes you bought. You can't do anything with the book or mp3 that can no longer authenticate. So the situations are hardly similar.

    Your opinion seems to affirm the common refrain that DRM stands for Digital Rental Media. In which case it should be made clear to consumers that they're only renting the software they believe they're purchasing.

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