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

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    DanC, 12 Jan 2009 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: Re: DRM is a check not a

    I think you will find everytime you use your ATM card it always verifies your ID otherwise the machine will turn off and give you no money.

    As I said, most people don't have a problem with the simple, basic checks. But that isn't all DRM does. But sticking with your ATM comparison: if the ATM gets shut off, do you lose all your money? Of course not.

    never found anything has been restricted that wasn't in the initial agreement, have you got an example.

    Yes, yes - anyone who's ever had a problem with DRM should have hired a lawyer to decipher the terms and conditions that no one bothers to read before they bought anything. I find the "blame the consumer" argument wholly unconvincing, and incredibly short-sighted from a business point of view.

    Re Shoes - What can you do with a shoe that does not work? please resist the obvious :-)

    A DRM'd media file that can't authenticate with a server isn't broken - it's behaving exactly as it's supposed to. In essence, the content provider chose to "break" your ability to use your purchased content.

    That's why every time one of these companies tries to shut down or switch DRM servers, the customer backlash is a PR nightmare for them. They wind up having to support a DRM system they don't want to use because of their own short-sightedness. So, it's bad for the business, and it's bad for the consumers. That's why people bitch about it.

Add Your Comment

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

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.