Don’t Buy DRM’d Garbage

I’ve been wanting to blog about the Kindle, Amazon’s new eBook reader. Not because of its UI annoyances that got Scoble so upset, or the outrageous fees associated with using it to view free web content, but rather because of its nasty DRM that won’t let you share books in the way you can share a regular book (e.g. I am done with the book, so I will give it to you so you can read it).

Don’t buy a Kindle.

Now today I read about a hard drive by Western Digital that hooks up to the internet so you can view/share your files anywhere… EXCEPT any audio or video files, lest you anger the RIAA/MPAA. The list of file types it won’t serve is insane:

AAC, AIF, AIFC, AIFF, AMF, ASF, ASX, AVI, CDA, DVI, DIVX, FAR, IT, ITZ, KAR, MDZ, MOV, MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, MPA, MPE, MPEG, MPG, MPGA, MPV2, OGG, OKT, PTM, QT, QT1, VOB, VOC, WM, WMA, WMV

Don’t buy a Western Digital ‘My Book World Edition’.

The only way to stop more DRM’d garbage like this from being made in the first place is to not buy it when it gets produced.

Oh and of course, also don’t buy DRM’d audio tracks; if you’re going to buy music downloads (rather than say ripping CDs you bought so as to get higher quality; FLAC is very nice :), do it in a non-DRM’d format, like MP3.

Update July 25, 2008: Oh and I hope you didn’t ‘buy’ any DRM’d music from Yahoo… [update Sept. 27, 2008: or from Wal-Mart]

Update August 15, 2008: Here’s a game author who gets it; regarding ‘piracy‘, I’ve read enough otherwise honest people complain about DRM to see that its probably hurting more than it help’s. I had planned on using the same system for Kudos 2, but I’ve changed my mind on that. I have also removed it from Democracy 2 today. I now use no DRM at all.” [emphasis in original :]

Update October 22, 2008: An article, “25 Arguments for the Elimination of Copy Protection” which is mostly examples.  I love the ending conclusion:

Copy protection by its very definition makes the products it’s applied to worse. Almost all of it is basically disrespectful to paying customers; almost none of it truly prevents pirates from doing what they will. Can we all agree there’s something profoundly wrong with technology that punishes honest people more than it does thieves?

Update Jan 6, 2009: Wow. Apple just decided to kill their iTunes DRM.

Update Jan 31, 2010: “It’s simple: Every time DRM has ever touched anything, it has screwed things up. I know of no exceptions.” — Tim Bray (via Twitter)

5 Responses to “Don’t Buy DRM’d Garbage”

  1. Jim Treacher Says:

    Blogs aren’t free.

  2. Limulus Says:

    Quoting from http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20071119/104101.shtml

    “First, there’s the obvious point that the device’s DRM will make a lot of customers wary of getting locked into Amazon’s proprietary platform. But the even bigger flaw is the pricing model. Apparently, Amazon will charge you $1.99 for public domain books like Bleak House. Kindle also provides you with access to blogs, but only 250 of them (including Techdirt), and you have to pay at least a dollar a month for the privilege of reading what you can see here for free. And you can subscribe to the New York Times, but you have to pay $13.99 per month for that. This really seems like a strange pricing strategy. A lot of consumers will balk at paying for blog content they’ve always gotten for free online. Likewise, giving away public domain books would be a good way to spur adoption of the device at very low cost to Amazon. And it’s weird to charge so much for a digital newspaper at the same time newspapers are dropping their paywalls online.”

  3. Limulus Says:

    Quoting from http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/22/kindle-oreilly-ebooks-technology-breakthroughs_oreilly.html

    “I have a bold prediction: Unless Amazon embraces open e-book standards like epub, which allow readers to read books on a variety of devices, the Kindle will be gone within two or three years.”

  4. Limulus Says:

    Oh seriously, WTF?!?

    http://gizmodo.com/5317180/big-brother-amazon-remotely-deletes-purchased-copies-of-1984-and-animal-farm-from-thousands-of-kindles

    Note to Amazon: May I suggest remote deletion of “Fahrenheit 451″ next?

  5. Limulus Says:

    Kindle’s DRM… BUSTED!!!!!

    “The crack comes courtesy of a piece of software titled unswindle [...] Once installed, proprietary Amazon ebooks can be converted into the open Mobi format. And from there, you can enjoy the content any way you like.”

    Heh… “unswindle” :)

    via http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/23/amazon_kindle_hacked/ which sagely notes:

    “The hack is the latest to show the futility of digital rights management schemes, which more often than not inconvenience paying customers more than they prevent unauthorized copying.”

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