Friendly DRM Is An Oxymoron

from the nothing-friendly-about-it dept

While the era of DRM on music may finally be ending, it appears that some other industries still haven't quite come to terms with the three simple facts that a few industries are finally realizing: (1) DRM does not work (2) DRM diminishes the value of your product (3) DRM pisses off your users. Despite these universal truths, every digital industry seems to go through this phase where they think that they can figure out how to do DRM right. A bunch of consumer electronics makers and movie studios are apparently working together on yet another DRM standard that they swear (this time, for real!!) will actually work and will be "friendly." We've heard it before, and the end result is the same (see numbers 1 through 3 above). As per usual, they're claiming that this system will be even better than non-DRM'd content, but fail to explain how that's actually true. At best, they say it'll be more convenient, but it's difficult to see how any limitation adds convenience rather than takes it away.

Filed Under: drm, friendly drm, movies

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  1. identicon
    Logo, 13 Jan 2009 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Steam?

    I wanted to second the AC's post above me. While I generally am against DRM I find the Steam's DRM to be quite fair.

    'Friendly' DRM to me is a situation that's a give and take by both parties. I submit myself to an online game verification check when playing Steam games but in return I get several services:

    -Steam Community and support. I love being able to chat with people in game (with a simple shift+tab) and see when friends log on and what games they log on to.
    -Automatic updates. No need to go download a patch from a website or patch from within the game. I believe Steam will even patch your game when your computer is idle meaning your game may be up to date when you first get to it.
    -Ease of purchase. Purchasing games through steam is a breeze and comes with a fast download to boot.
    -Reformat your computer or buy a new one and you can easily get access to all your steam games again.

    I wouldn't fully call this friendly as there's an issue regarding what happens if steam isn't around anymore (or not available).

    To me there's definitely friendly DRM though. Any video game that you play online and is restricted by CD key is the perfect DRM.

    You'd be crazy to 'pirate' a copy of World of Warcraft, Team Fortress 2, or Warcraft 3. The games are almost entirely useless to you if you can't take good advantage of the online multiplayer aspect (playing LAN, Hamachi-LAN, or on a cracked server is a rather substandard solution). It's something that's unobtrusive to a legit user (other than entering the key) but restricts would-be-buyers from pirating it. It won't stop dedicated pirates but we all know that they aren't going to pay for your software no matter the DRM anyways.

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