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Why I Don't Run Windows, 8

Digital Restrictions Management.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, of which I am a member, recently pointed in their Deep Links site how DRM is is punishing paying customers rather than "pirates". Clip from the article:

Netflix subscriber Davis Freeberg ran headlong into an incompatibility between Microsoft DRM and ... Microsoft DRM.

The trouble all started when Freeberg bought a new monitor for his Vista computer. When he decided to watch streaming movies from Netflix, Netflix documentation warned him that the recommended means of fixing a problem with DRM-restricted Netflix programming "may remove licenses to other content using Microsoft DRM" -- including, in particular, restricted programming he had already purchased through Amazon Unbox. Trying to resolve this problem just got Freeberg a tech-support runaround, with each company involved pointing the finger at another.

Tech support problems are not unfamiliar to PC users, but where did this problem come from? Freeberg was just trying to use a new monitor with his computer; his reward, apparently, was broken DRM software, which couldn't be sure the new monitor met movie studios' arbitrary requirements (or perhaps just couldn't be sure whether it could be sure). Furthermore, the DRM industry -- which has already spent countless engineer-hours making "approved" and "licensed" products (seemingly at the expense of "compatible" and "interoperable" devices) -- couldn't even offer Freeberg a clear path out of this jam.

Ahh, the joys of running equipment and software is DRM-laden. Unfortunately, I suspect that we'll see a lot more of these stories in the coming year, without the the media market caring one iota, and as the article suggests, DRM is only affecting paying customers, not the so-called "pirates" that are making this DRM content available- without DRM. In other words, biting the hand that feeds you. Good strategy Microsoft!

{ 5 } Comments

  1. Chris Peplin | January 4, 2008 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately, you can't use the Netflix streaming service at all without Windows, compatible DRM schema or not. It's one of the few remaining reasons why I still dual boot.

  2. troll | January 4, 2008 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    This problem is not Windows platform specific at all. DRM can/could exist just the same for Linux as well. This is a problem in the concept of DRM itself, which I have to agree sucks. Even on Windows you can choose to use free media formats that do not contain DRM, just like on Linux as well. You can also install the same open source media players that go past slight bumps with no problems at all.

    In such this argument against Windows as a platform is invalid. It is just an argument against DRM really.

    (Oh yeah, it is entirely different issue how come Windows users often sheepishly fall for every nasty scheme someone pulls on them. But that's what you get for being the dominant platform that the average and even below average users get funneled into using with no real training or knowledge of what they are doing. Sometimes the usability of Windows platform and how it directs its own evolution and how it limits its own capabilities is plain silly. Microsoft however would be sued very fast for fixing some of those problems, the business world isn't really catered on good software and doesn't reward good deeds. But again these were not your points again and do not make your fud blog posting any more relevant.)

  3. Aaron | January 4, 2008 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    @Chris Peplin- And a reason not to use Netflix. 🙂

    @troll- While your argument is sound, this is an argument against DRM, read this article, then get back to me.

  4. Luke Maciak | January 17, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I always said that second you put DRM on your product, you make it less valuable than a "pirate" copy for the genuine customer.

    One of the main reasons why people buy legit movies is the quality and convenience. You get a product that is guaranteed to work, and is superior quality...

    Most DRM is flaky though and it often makes the product unusable for the customer. Furthermore, there is currently no DRM on the market that would be effective (ie. there is a torrent out there for every movie, song and piece of software ever released). So they are really drastically lowering the product quality for mere "appearance" of security.

  5. Scrote | May 13, 2008 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    DRM is over ! Its had its day and at last we can all be safe in the knowledge that the biggest thieves are not the pirates but those who wanted to enforce DRM over and above the wishes and rights of the artists and their fans. It would always be the case that the simplest form of sale always wins and each new technology eventually finds its simplest solution to the problem of distribution and sales. DRM = Dinosaurs Rights Management

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