Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why I dislike Digital Rights Management (DRM)

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Digital Rights Management, it is basically restrictions that a company can put on certain digital products they sell you.  Like when you'd buy a song via the iTunes store but you could only play that song on an iPod.

I have a lot of problems with this idea.  You see, when I buy a product, I want it to be mine, I should be able to do with it as I want.  I should be able to give it to a friend, sell it to a stranger, lend it to someone, fool someone into paying more for it.  It's mine, I bought it, I own it.

I've been thinking about this a lot this week because of Microsoft's Xbox One.  They are making it so that you can only trade a game once.  To me this is just unacceptable.

Imagine that you buy a watch, a phone, or any other physical product.  You paid for it, so it's yours,  you can give it to whomever you want, that person can do with it as they wish, they can give it to someone else, or sell it, or whatever, because you gave it to them.

Could you imagine if you couldn't do that?  If you couldn't resell something once you buy it?  If you had to buy something new every time you wanted it? Imagine not being able to sell your car or your home!

I'm sure most companies that create physical products would LOVE it if there was a way to force people to buy their products new instead of used.  However they can't, because it's physically impossible to put such restrictions.

So why are we allowing companies that create digital content to do this?  When it was just an issue with a 99 cent song, I didn't care too much, 99 cents, big deal, but I'm seeing this happening more now with other things.  The other day for the first time I bought a digital movie on Amazon for $10.  So I would like to think that this movie now belongs to me.  I should be able to download the digital file and play it wherever I want, but I can't.  Why not?  If I had paid $10 at the store I would have been able to get the DVD, I would have been able to create a video file and I would have been able to play that file in any device.  As long as I own that DVD my file should be legal for me to use.  Later I would have been able to sell the DVD at which point I would no longer have the right to play the file.

Point is, I paid for the movie, I should have full access to the file.  I am no longer buying any movies online if this is how they are going to handle it.

With the Xbox One, the only way I will consider buying stuff from them is if they do what Steam does and give me amazing deals on games.  If I get an amazing deal, then I won't mind if it's limited, but if they are expecting me to pay full price for a game that is going to be limited, not going to happen.

It started with ebooks and music, lets not allow DRM to keep controlling OUR things that we pay for.  I don't mind services like Netflix and Google Play Music because I'm paying for a subscription, I never truly own anything but I have full access to their library, so that's totally different.

Let me know what you think!

Javier "STUFF" Torres
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