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MLB proves that DRM sucks.

Posted by todd at 3:00 PM on November 7, 2007

Major League Baseball has decided to change their DRM provider.  This has been a big job for them, having to build a completely new system and transfer all their content across.  There is also the problem that any company in this situation faces, how to maintain the downloads of their existing customers.  The realistic options are to issue customers with new digital certificates that support the new system, or to keep the old system running for authentication of old content.  These solutions both have their own costs and difficulties, particularly when there is no prospective end date for supporting these videos.

MLB have decided to use a third method, just turn off the old service.  Considering that for a downloaded video to play it needs to authenticate back to MLB this action has blanked any video owned by MLB customers.  When the understandably irate users have complained they have been told the videos were a “one-time sale” and if they want their videos they need to re-purchase.

The arrogance is astounding.  I blogged last week about the US needing better consumer protection, there are few developed countries in the world that would let a company get away with this sort of reprehensible behavior.  My strategy is, that I buy NOTHING that depends on DRM to control my fair use, which includes HD-DVD and BluRay.  We can complain about DRM, but the solution is in our own hands.  As soon as consumers en-mass tell companies with our wallets where they can stick their DRM, the problem goes away.  My boycott has already started, and I am sure that stories like this will ensure I am not lonely.

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