Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Major League Baseball and its DRM Debacle...

This blog space, like many others, has been clamoring against the use of DRM software since its inception. Now Major League Baseball is demonstrating exactly why DRM should not be used, and why customers should never purchase anything that is DRM-encrypted.

To quickly catch you up, DRM is software that companies use to encrypt music and video files in order to reduce piracy and protect their copyrighted works. With that in mind, consider the following story:

As this Boing Boing article reports, a baseball fan named Allan Wood purchased digital downloads of baseball games over an extended period of time from the official website. To be clear, Wood did everything that media industries claim everybody should do - pay for copyrighted content and not illegally download or pirate the material. So how is Wood rewarded? Major League Baseball today decided to shut down its DRM server, which means that none of the digital files that Wood and others have purchased will ever work again.

An MLB customer service supervisor apparently made a statement that "purchases were all 'one-time sales' and thus 'there are no refunds'.

So customers who played by the rules are basically screwed. This story is quickly making the rounds in the blogosphere today and is sure to only add more fire to people's hatred of DRM and resentment towards companies that use it. This case serves as a classic demonstration of why media companies, in their desire to protect their content, are actually driving would-be paying customers away.

Is it any wonder why illegal downloading on peer-to-peer sites is still flourishing?


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