Once Again, How Does DRM Benefit Anyone?

from the we're-waiting... dept

Drew points us Shane Richmond's blog post about not being able to open legally obtained eBooks due to DRM. There's nothing new in this story -- which has been repeated thousands of times over the past decade or so, but it's just a reminder of the pointlessness of DRM and how the only thing it serves to do is to make the legitimate consumer worse off:
Can we pause for a moment to remind ourselves just how absurd this situation is? It's been a problem for so long that sometimes it's easy to take it for granted but we are being sold products that work in one set of circumstances but not others. And there's no good reason for the distinction. It's not as if this is a piece of software that needs to be re-written for each new platform -- it's just text.

The limitation is artificial and it's only there to prevent unauthorised copying but it's a wasted effort because anyone who intends to share these books can remove the DRM in no time. As always with DRM, it's the law-abiding customer who gets punished.
It really is amazing that anyone still thinks DRM makes sense.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 3:42am

    Well, for one...

    ...it benefits obsolete middle-men. And since most creators would rather die than come up with new ways to release their material, the middle-men have a pretty sweet gig.

    I mean, come on. It's not as if people will stop buying their stuff...

     

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    ECA (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 4:10am

    WELL...

    lets see..
    EA has done it, and SCREW'D themselves many times even with Single player games. Its been cracked and broken TONS of times.

    The only persons reaping rewards are the person SELLING IT.
    Even with the check marks in the program..Audio FAILS if the corp drops out..either one.

    All I wish to say...Is IF' you wish a list of public domains ASK...its a BIG LIST, and free.

    What I LOVE' is when a public option is available and IDIOTS PAY FOR IT.

     

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      Trails (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 6:00am

      Re: WELL...

      How does EA benefit? It doesn't stop "les pirates terribles". It doesn't improve the game experience or value of their games.

      It benefits the DRM companies, but that's about it that I can see.

       

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        Reverend Joe, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re: WELL...

        pretty sure he meant, "the person selling it (to EA)", like Macrovision / Securom / whoever ...

         

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    Simon, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 4:44am

    I know this one.

    Once Again, How Does DRM Benefit Anyone?
    I saves the corn farmers.

     

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    Simon, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 4:45am

    I know this one.

    Once Again, How Does DRM Benefit Anyone?
    It saves the corn farmers.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 4:59am

    The History Of DRM.

    Well, don't forget, DRM used to be called Copy Protection. If you look at its use in package software, where there has been twenty or thirty years time for chickens to come home to roost, Copy Protection has been consistently disastrous to the people who employed it. The stuff always blows up in the face of the wrong person. Copy Protection is in practice inseparable from sabotage. The traditional wartime penalty for sabotage is summary execution, either by firing squad, or by hanging from a convenient lamp post or telephone pole.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 5:16am

    Send Them A Message

    Everybody should adopt a very simple policy -- do not buy anything which has been deliberately crippled by the vendor. If some vendor is offering something with DRM, that means it has been deliberately crippled. Tell the vendor, "I do not buy crippled stuff. Good day to you, sir." Then walk away. If that was happening a dozen times a day to every seller of DRM-infected products, they would soon get the message.

    The advantage of staying right away from DRM-infected products is that, when inevitably the poor sheeple find they have been betrayed and their DRM-infected product stops working, you are unaffected. As a consumer, you should favour only vendors who make their best effort to keep you happy. Vendors have to learn that you hate DRM, you are paying attention and DRM being present will kill any chance of a sale.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

    ...can be found in the increasing number of 'false positives' normal folk run into while doing nothing wrong. Case in point: I purchased a combination VCR/DVD recorder unit primarily to take my own home movies and put them on longer-lasting DVD media. A number of times the unit determined that my home movies, created with a camcorder by me, were 'copy-protected' and refused to duplicate them onto DVD.
    I found, er, a workaround. But I was instantly transformed from a law-abiding content-consuming citizen into a crook, thanks to the DMCA. All because some lame DRM-beholden company decided my home movies were copy-protected when they in fact were not. Happy but ironic ending is that now that I am a crook, I find that I, um, 'enjoy' more things now.

     

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      Joe Magly (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 6:57am

      Re: The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

      I have heard this refrain from so many people I know it's crazy.

      Maybe we should start a marketing campaign:

      "DRM is a gateway drug......to Piracy"


      After all, once you go through the trouble of figuring out how to bypass DRM on something you own you realize how easy it is. Combine that with the ill will one is filled with after having to go through such a process for their own property and all of a sudden it becomes very easy to shrug away any "morality" about it and hit up the Bay.

       

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      Patrik, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 9:53am

      Re: The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

      I believe you need to turn off the "copy-protection" on your camcorder. Your camera is adding a "Copyright: xxxxx" line into the code.

      The hidden cost of ignorance.

      User manuals are a wonderful thing.

       

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        kryptonianjorel (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 10:58am

        Re: Re: The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

        But he is the copyright holder, so there should be no problem here...

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 11:09am

          Re: Re: Re: The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

          It's...reverse DRM? Protecting you from violating your own copyright?

          I'm starting to suspect we live in a very stupid place in time.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re: The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

        Thanks. But I made most of those movies in the '80s and early '90s using a technology (full-size VHS camcorder) that I suspect can now be found only in the bins of Ebay.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re: The *hidden* cost of DRM ...

          Just continuing - I don't think that the tapes themselves are DRM-laden or even necessarily coded with a copyright notice. I suspect very much that the complex code that resides on our consumer electronics *these days*, whose sole purpose is to check to make sure we're not doing something we shouldn't be doing, is a little too aggressive in its detection of DRM and finding it where there is in fact none to be found. Again, only some of my home movies were thus treated, others duped to DVD quite smartly thank you. Now that I arrrrr a crook, thanks to this experience, I can copy anything I want now .

           

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    icepick314, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 6:38am

    certainly it makes the stock-holders happy...

    it's false sense of security...

    and it makes them sleep better at night....

    and how can you put price on good night of sleep???

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 6:43am

    Dum de dum dum dum drm!!!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 7:44am

    Ubisoft also feeling the heat.

    http://www.zeropaid.com/news/90365/ubisoft-backs-off-highly-strict-drm-and-uses-steam/

    "there was a period of time where all the pirated versions were the only working copies of the game while all the people that legally paid for their game wound up being locked out of their purchase."

    You got love pirates for that, offering the only functioning pieces available, without them people would be entrapped by control freaks.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 7:52am

    While DRM is at present more aspirational than actual...

    I'm betting it'll become better. They've planned for it. For example, data off Blu-Ray discs is encrypted even on hardware busses inside your computer and the wires from computer to monitor. Just because *for now* you've full access to computer resources doesn't mean that'll be the case two or more generations of computers away. Intel has become big on "security" including on chip encryption.

    However, there's a bigger purpose for DRM, and that's to *create* "pirates". It's very simple: the gov't needs criminals to justify the police state measures, and small ones will do better than large ones: more of them, easier to catch, less risk for the epsilon minuses. Those who evade DRM self-identify as relatively technically adept, and thereby potentially dangerous to the alphas. It's a quite ingenious scheme, with a cover that's also useful in the interim. So expect an increase of DRM because this paragraph *answers* the title question.

     

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    bob, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Ummm

    It makes money for the companies and people who code DRM.
    But it does nothing else but piss people off.

     

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    Danny, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 8:58am

    LoL ebooks...

    And that is even more reason to not invest in an ebook reader. You never have to worry about not being able to read you paperbooks because they've been locked by DRM. People may argue that ebooks are cheaper than paper books. What difference does that make when its a crapshoot on whether you can actually read them or not?

     

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      kryptonianjorel (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 11:03am

      Re: LoL ebooks...

      No, the reason not to invest in ebooks is because there is no secondary market for used ebooks. You can only buy them from a first party (so no yardsale ebooks, or salvation army ebooks). You can't resell the ebooks you've already read. You can't loan them or give them to other people.

      Theyre too much hassle at this time.

       

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        Joe Magly (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 12:01pm

        Re: Re: LoL ebooks...

        Loaning is allowed on the nook, I am not sure about the others.

        FWIW There are a lot of ebooks that you can get unprotected, its just a little more work to get them on the device.

         

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    ECA (profile), Aug 24th, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Music Suppliers

    Who remembers the Music and others that were DRM suppliers, that went broke/QUIT. and all the users couldnt use the music anymore.

    Where are the rights of the consumer?
    Take a Recent CD and digitize it, and Media players grab/check the DRM on the net and encode it. WHY??

    ALL its doing is bulking up the hardware, software, and adding COSTS we dont need. ALL passed onto the consumer.

    from Music, TEXT, movies and games..HOW much does it cost to use it? TONS.

     

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    darryl, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 7:04pm

    Why do we have DRM anyway, DRM hurts honest people, because of the dishonest ones.

    And just think, we would not even have this problem at all if it was not for people willing to steal and take what is not rightfully thiers.

    Its as simple as that, do you think they would bother with DRM is there was not a problem with piracy?

    Ofcourse not.. that would be stupid.

    They see a problem, and have taken measures to rectify that problem. I know you dont see it as a problem, and you expect that it will take "NO TIME" to break DRM, NOT TRUE.

    It will always take SOME TIME, and there will be a point where the time it takes to break it would mean its is simply cheaper and easier to purchase a legal copy.

    DRM does not worry legal users, there are very very few cases where legit users have problems, they do exist. But the system would not work as well as it has if there were major problems.

    And what are you going to do when companies implement hardware encryption, with NO PHYSICAL access to the code or data ?

    Its happening now, that technology is allready developed and it is being implemented.

    There will be NO CRACKING of DRM or copyprotection then, NONE AT ALL. It will not be physically possible to crack.

    Because companies will install encryption in hardware, and before they ship that hardware they will 'blow' the fuse bit on the CPU to physicall disable access to that code. FOR EVERYONE. including the manufacturer.

    And your screwed, nothing you can do, except play by the rules.

    And why do we ALL have to deal with this ?

    Its because of YOU, those who want to break DRM and those who want to break copyright law.

    You are screwing it up for the honest people, but it seems you cant see that is what you are doing.

    That is the really sad part, your screwing it up for everyone else, and you dont seem to care. As long as you get what you want right... F*&^ everyone else !!!..

    Nice attitude..

     

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      drew (profile), Sep 6th, 2010 @ 10:48am

      Re: Why do we have DRM anyway, DRM hurts honest people, because of the dishonest ones.

      Sorry Darryl, you couldn't be more wrong. The people screwing over the customers are the labels / publishers who want to stop you listening to the cd you bought on your computer, or stop you reading the book you bought on your friend's reader. These measures are put in place to stop the legitimate, legal consumer using the product in a way that is convenient to them. It is not, and has never been, about "piracy", it's about trying to make people buy the same thing over and over again.

       

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        Niall (profile), Sep 10th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: Why do we have DRM anyway, DRM hurts honest people, because of the dishonest ones.

        Physical copy protection has been broken before, and will be broken again. Even if it means some supplier in another country supplies a 'fixed' version. Plus, most 'technical' methods will still require some sort of electronics that can be cracked.

        As for the pie-in-the-sky wishing that people won't pirate, it's never going to happen. You'd be better off wishing for world peace, or an end to world hunger. Meantime, I'm afraid you'll have to live in the real world, which the labels and publishers are increasingly struggling to do themselves.

         

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    darryl, Aug 24th, 2010 @ 11:05pm

    Stupidity is a poor defense.

    its often the case that "stupidity" is used as a defense, but it seldom works, and as well it just make the crim look, STUPID.

    "im so stupid that I did not know the law", is right up there with the devil made me do it, or 'voices in my head', or under to influence of some drugs.

    There is little wonder that such defense does not work very often. Ignorance is no excust for breaking the law.

    "Honestly, officer I did not see the speed limit sign",

    So what, it does not change the speed limit here because your too stupid to know what it is !.. here is your ticket, have a nice day..

     

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    Hans B PUFAL (profile), Aug 25th, 2010 @ 12:24am

    In other news

    In other news ...

    In the wake of the crash in the housing market, the furnitures makers are seeing a significant fall in revenues. In a new initiative to recoup their losses, the the FMAA, the Furniture Manufacturers Associaion of America has announced a new technology they call FRM or Furniture Rights Management.

    According to the association, instead of buying new furniture, consumers are simply moving their old furniture from house to house, even from room to room, causing massive losses, billions of dollars according to estimates, to the fruniture industry. The association goes on to underline the vital importance of furniture manufacturing to the economy and security of the nation.

    Using advanced GPS and internet technology, FRM allows the furniture manufacturer to lock a piece of furniture to a specific location. In the event that the furniture is moved more than a specified distance, drawers and cupboards are locked.

    Says the FMAA :

    'Further developments of this technology will allow us to lock other types of furniture such as beds and chairs'

    While the technology is expensive, the FMAA is lobbying for congress to mandate FRM in all new furniture and says that with such a measure the industry would recoup its development costs "within a decade".

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Aug 25th, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Ebooks and DRM

    Right on! I used to read and recommend a lot of books, then the current trend hit.
    I will not circumvent what is legal, but I can and did stop buying books (and going to movies, and ...) except on a very occasional basis, and my extended family is moving that way because I don't want to.

     

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    Pete Braven (profile), Aug 26th, 2010 @ 8:42am

    DRM (Digital Rip-off Music)

    I bought a couple of music album downloads from a 'reputable source' and they came in WMA format only with DRM code. Oh great, so I want to play them in my car as mp3 format,.. and the attempt to convert wiped out the DRM code and they now don't play in anything.
    Total waste of money!

     

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