Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media The Internet Your Rights Online

MLB Fans Who Bought DRM Videos Get Hosed 299

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the digital-restrictions-management dept.
Billosaur writes "Major League Baseball has just strengthened the case against DRM. If you downloaded videos of baseball games from MLB.com before 2006, apparently they no longer work and you are out of luck. MLB.com, sometime during 2006, changed their DRM system. Result: game videos purchased before that time will now no longer work, as the previous DRM system is no longer supported. When the video is played, apparently the MLB.com servers are contacted and a license obtained to verify the authenticity of the video; this is done by a web link. That link no longer exists, and so now the videos will no longer play, even though the MLB FAQ says that a license is only obtained once and will not need to be re-obtained. The blogger who is reporting this contacted MLB technical support, only to be told there are no refunds due to this problem."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

MLB Fans Who Bought DRM Videos Get Hosed

Comments Filter:
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:23PM (#21272731)
    The blogger who is reporting this contacted MLB technical support, only to be told there are no refunds due to this problem

    I smell a class action coming along..
    • EULA? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by finnw (415539) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:31PM (#21272857) Homepage
      Depends whether anyone saved a copy of the EULA they signed when they downloaded the videos.
      If it favours MLB they'll find a copy. But if it doesn't, it would be quite easy for them to say "We've lost all copies of that EULA but our policy back then was to put in a 1-year time limit" and given the small numbers involved, probably no-one will be able to prove otherwise. I think I'll get in the habit of saving a copy before clicking on "I Agree" from now on.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315)
        Their EULA is horrible and long [mlb.com].
        Its also buried away in a tiny text frame and opens up to a novel size.

        however there is one gem which made me smile:

        2. Message Features

        Participation. The Website may offer opportunities for you to transmit messages in connection with various features including, but not limited to, vanity email, auctions, contests, games, blogs, video submissions message boards and chat features ("Message Features"). You must use Message Features in a respon
      • How exactly (Score:4, Interesting)

        by CaptainZapp (182233) * on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @07:32PM (#21274499) Homepage
        Does that jibe with the legal requirement of any business entity to safe keep their legal documentation for a minimum period of seven years?

        Claiming that an EULA is not a legal document sounds somewhat hypocritical.

    • by whackco (599646) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:04PM (#21273339) Journal
      Call 866-800-1275 just to be a pain in the ass. I don't even watch baseball, but I called it to protest their treatment of customers. The guy was nice to me, and admitted they have a big problem, they will try to fix.
  • Translation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phalse phace (454635) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:24PM (#21272743)
    "....there are no refunds due to this problem.""

    It's your problem, not ours.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      -1, troll? Who gave major league baseball owners slashdot mod points? The parent is correct, albeit sarcastically (and I'd have been sarcastic too). It's not a problem to the MLB, they already GOT your money, sucker!

      Now mod me troll too.

      -mcgrew [kuro5hin.org]
    • by Chas (5144)
      It's "Well...we've got our money...*CLICK*"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:55PM (#21273217)
      If the product is defective by design, and you buy it, and it turns out to be defective, the product is working as intended. I don't see what the problem is.
    • Re:Translation? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:03PM (#21273323) Homepage Journal
      There may yet be a chance to settle it.

      If you can dig up the credit card bills, you might still be able to do a charge-back. I know it's kind of pushing it, but my mom does the CC transactions for the family business, and she says that in some cases, there is time limit for a charge-back. It's really brutal for the merchant though, $15 fees per transaction on top of losing the money. Normally, I'd say doing a chargeback two years after the purchase is pretty dickish, this situation is ridiculous. I'd check your card's policies first, but once you know for sure, I suggest that you take it up with the customer service and threaten to do a charge-back before going through the procedure.
      • Re:Translation? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Intron (870560) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:09PM (#21273397)
        Seems reasonable. You got to use the video for two years. They got to use your money for two years. They take the video back, you take your money back. Fair is fair.
      • Re:Translation? (Score:5, Informative)

        by loraksus (171574) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @08:20PM (#21275165) Homepage
        BTW - Discover - the card with the most worthless chargeback policy in the industry (amex is the best) will automatically reject any claim that has to do with a purchase more than 6 months ago.
        While other cards have limits, the "clock restarts" in certain circumstances - for instance, if the product was sold with a 2 year warranty and they refuse warranty service, you're covered for x months after the claimed warranty expires to file a claim regarding warranty.
        So, despite what the wonderful people at MLB claim, you'll probably be able to file a successful chargeback. If you get resistance from phone CSRs, file a written chargeback (crappy banks (chase, etc) can jerk you around a lot more over the phone)
        BTW - Successful chargebacks are punitive to the merchants and a large number can significantly affect them financially, so this is the best way to get back at them.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Fnkmaster (89084)
          Time limits aside, VISA and Mastercard are consumer-friendly to the point of being idiotic when it comes to chargebacks, for non-card-present transactions. My company wins *every* chargeback with Amex - we record inbound calls and just play back the audio where the cardholder agreed to a certain charge/policy when people contest the charges (they are always legitimate charges, we just deal in big ticket items, and it turns out we have a lot of scumbag customers who take advantage of the system). We also w
  • by Wolvie MkM (661535) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:24PM (#21272745)
    Excuse me while I enjoy my NHL feed on YouTube :)
  • A Slow Death (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JBMcB (73720) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:24PM (#21272749)
    I don't think DRM is going to go away until a lot more people get burned by it in this way. Most people don't understand or care, once something like this rears up and bites them in the ass, the outrage machine will start. Thank you, MLB, for being the obnoxious, monopoly-driven organization we've all come to love to hate.
    • Re:A Slow Death (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dachannien (617929) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:49PM (#21273127)
      Digital TV and the assault on the VCR/DVR is going to be the telling moment in the fight against DRM. Everybody's got a TV, and just about everyone has either set their VCR or DVR to record a show or movie for them or gotten their nine-year-old child to do it for them. When the media companies finally get their way and Joe and Jane Sixpack can no longer freely re-watch "It's a Wonderful Life" to their heart's desire every holiday season, there will be outrage. Of course, by that time, the technology will be so entrenched that it will be next to impossible to remove it.

      • Re:A Slow Death (Score:5, Informative)

        by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:00PM (#21273291)

        Digital TV and the assault on the VCR/DVR is going to be the telling moment in the fight against DRM.
        A day doesn't go by when my Series3 TiVo doesn't tell me some HD programming it recorded is not authorized for display over an HDMI connection. (WTF?! Component I could understand, but why the hell would it prevent playing over HDMI?) So far I've managed to get around it by one or more of going back to Now Playing and selecting the recording again, turning the HDTV off and back on, or turning the HDMI switchbox between them off and back on.
      • by mike260 (224212) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:07PM (#21273379)

        When the media companies finally get their way and Joe and Jane Sixpack can no longer freely re-watch "It's a Wonderful Life" to their heart's desire every holiday season, there will be outrage.
        Angry mob: "Hey! Where are those digital rights we gave you to manage? We want them back!"
        Jimmy Stewart: "Well I don't have your rights here, they're in Bill's house, and in Steve's house..."
  • by capt.Hij (318203) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:24PM (#21272751) Homepage Journal
    This is one more reason not to pay money to watch grown men sweat a lot and scratch themselves. A few more of things like this and I am going to just give it up completely.
    • by phalse phace (454635) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:35PM (#21272927)
      Correction. This is another reason why you shouldn't pay money for DRM'ed content.
      • by gclef (96311)
        Yeah, 'cause watching grown men sweat a lot and scratch themselves for *free* is so much better...
    • This is one more reason not to pay money to watch grown men sweat a lot and scratch themselves.

      Hell, I agree. There are plenty of neighborhoods around here where I can see that for free all day long...

    • This is one more reason not to pay money to watch grown men sweat a lot and scratch themselves

      That IS a sport in some countries. Ever watch Sumo wrestling?

    • by lelitsch (31136)

      This is one more reason not to pay money to watch grown men sweat a lot and scratch themselves.
      Oh puh-leeeze. Have you ever seen a baseball player sweat on the field, rather than in front of a grand jury?
  • hmmm. (Score:5, Funny)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:25PM (#21272757)
    In a highly litigious culture, about a sport which borders on an obsession, about access perceived as a right...?

    I predict the big winners in this one will be the lawyers....
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I love how lawyers make money off the screw ups in our society... i guess you could judge how damaged a culture was by saying it was proportional to the average salary of a lawyer
    • Re:hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iocat (572367) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:31PM (#21272853) Homepage Journal
      Access which you purchase with the proviso that it will always be there IS a right. It's fine to make fun of baseball, fans, and our culture, but if someone sold you a book, and told you you'd always be able to read it, and then two years later you couldn't -- well, to it bluntly, that's fucked. MLB needs to provide the access, or refund the money. It wasn't a time-limited purchase, and MLB is on the hook for this.
      • I'm willing to bet that somewhere in the user agreement, there's a provision that lets them do exactly this, and abusive hard-to-read* EULAs that no one really expects people will read, are just as much the problem.

        *I'm not just talking about the legalese, but how such screens are inevitably different from reading text in the rest of the product, and how it's hard to scroll through or search through, and there's no standard EULA that it can stipulate a deviation from.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by RattFink (93631)

          I'm willing to bet that somewhere in the user agreement, there's a provision that lets them do exactly this, and abusive hard-to-read* EULAs that no one really expects people will read, are just as much the problem.

          I am no lawyer but selling someone something and delivering something entirely different is fraud. When you start marketing the videos in the same manner as you do DVDs it's not unreasonable for the customer to expect the same lifespan of the product. I just don't see however much wrangling is

      • Agreed, mostly... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by msimm (580077) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @07:50PM (#21274749) Homepage
        But your comparison is a little off. Is someone sold me a book with a fishy modem and a giant electronic lock strapped to it.
    • by fredrated (639554)
      I think the right demanded is the ability to use what you paid for.

      As for the lawyers, they always win, no matter what.
      (With the possible exception of Pakistan, where right now they are being clubbed)
  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:27PM (#21272801) Homepage
    DRM sucks, and inevitiably produces unfair situations like this, where legitimate licencees get screwed. But having said that, what kind of person has so much time on their hands that they would ever want to watch a baseball game from previous seasons? And I thought posting to Slashdot was a time waste ;)

    • by griffjon (14945)
      I knew a guy who'd watch a season of Celtics basketball over and over and over again; they exist.

      I for one welcome our.. er, am happy that the true stupidity of DRM is biting more consumers. remember DIVX (the circuitcity one?) Anything that reminds consumers that they're getting screwed, even if they may not immediately realize it, is a good thing for raising anti-drm awareness. People who played nice with the monopolies and paid for their DRMed content are now SOL, while people who downloaded pirate ve
    • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@slash d o t . f i renzee.com> on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:42PM (#21273005) Homepage
      People who *play* any given sport will often watch old games. If your coaching someone in a sport, showing the players your coaching an old game is a very good way to show and explain examples.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by John Hasler (414242)
      > ...what kind of person has so much time on their hands that they would ever want to watch
      > a baseball game from previous seasons?

      What kind of person has so much time on their hands that they would ever want to watch a major-league baseball game, full stop?
    • Lately, Yankees fans.
  • Whoa now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:28PM (#21272813) Homepage
    I'm pretty sure we're not allowed to talk about this without the express written consent of Major League Baseball.
  • by olddotter (638430) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:33PM (#21272887) Homepage
    I don't want any product hardware, software, or DRM media that must phone home for permission to work. Too much a risk that the company will go out of business, or decide maintaining the service is no longer profitable.

    If this story is true, I think a class action lawsuit is in order...
  • I just want to say Thank you to MLB for this. The more cases of things like this screwing over the consumer the sooner we can see DRM die the death it deserves. So again...Thank you MLB.
  • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by n0dna (939092) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:35PM (#21272925)
    It's MLB.

    The videos already wouldn't play if it was Cold. Or Raining. Or Night. Or Outside.

  • Unlocking Software (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:36PM (#21272937) Journal
    MLB should release unlocking software for the old DRM scheme, even if all the software does is apply the new scheme instead. DRM doesn't have to mean that the files you purchase suddenly become useless, if the company actually takes responsibility for it and fixes it. It's ethically their responsibility to rectify any damage their actions do to other people's property. But there's probably some clause saying that the people don't actually own the video, and are thus under no obligation to ensure the playability of the file. What's worse is that people aren't technically allowed to do it themselves, thanks to the DMCA. I think, however, that MLB is going to learn the meaning of the old saying: "those who aren't permitted to do, sue".
  • Fixed the headline for you.
  • After the judge sides with the plaintiff, he'll take a printout of the sentence "any rebroadcast, reproduction, or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited" and shove it up Bud Selig's ass.

    At least, that's what'll happen in my dreams.

    Rob
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Technician (215283)
      After the judge sides with the plaintiff, he'll take a printout of the sentence "any rebroadcast, reproduction, or other use of the pictures and accounts of this game without the express written consent of Major League Baseball is prohibited" and shove it up Bud Selig's ass.

      It will happen when the plaintiff is shown the credit card bill where the defendant explicitly sold the right for reproduction (Playback at a later time) to the plaintiff. The right was revoked without due cause or compensation. The ju
  • Seriously....

    There must be a mom of one of the players that has lost precious video of her son. Get her out to front the issue for the masses ;)

    I hate this kind of trick nowdays. I have a scanner driver that won't work and needs an update that requires being registered...registration page no longer exists :(
  • When this stunt works for MLB, resulting in people buying their <2006 videos again in the "new format", they'll finally roll out those 3D baseball cards. Sure, they need special glasses to view, but that keeps people who didn't pay for them from pirating them. Betcha can't wait for 2009, when they upgrade those goggles to the incompatible "widescreen" version!
  • by cliffski (65094) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:57PM (#21273241) Homepage
    and the idiot who tagged it as such needs to read some history. This is BAD DRM, and sucks, and the people responsible are idiots and should be sued. but to equate not being able to watch sports videos with fascism is just immature bullshit that makes you look foolish. Don't cry wolf.
  • by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:59PM (#21273265) Journal

    If you downloaded videos of baseball games from MLB.com before 2006, apparently they no longer work and you are out of luck. MLB.com, sometime during 2006, changed their DRM system. Result: game videos purchased before that time will now no longer work

    The change was made sometime during 2006, and its now October 2007, and people are only noticing this!?

  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @05:59PM (#21273273)
    DRM - Digital Rights Management.

    It's about THEIR rights, not yours.
    • I always thought DRM meant Digital Restrictions Management.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:00PM (#21273287)
    This happened before. And it will happen as long as people buy cripplified content. ANY content that requires you to contact its maker before it plays has the chance to follow this road. No contact, no content.

    This will happen again, I'm sure. Whenever some media company goes out of biz, whenever some media company decides that they can make more money by disabling everything they already sold, this will strike again. And more people will get pissed.

    Unfortunately at the company that did it, not DRM itself. But given time, people will learn. People are used to "buying" content. They're used to buying a DVD and being able to play it 'til the earth stops turning. Changing this model will not go without resistance. It will take a while for the masses to notice that seemingly minor difference, but they will.

    Unfortunately that takes time. Whether it takes too long we'll see. It will sooner or later fall back on them, though. People will stop buying content, fearing that it will some day stop to "work".

    So what I started to do was to do some spinning myself. Whenever some friend of mine tries to buy something DRMified, I remind him of the time when whatever DRM crippled content backfired on him. Yes, it's another company, but it also got DRM, it just MIGHT do the same, ya know... Yes, it's a lie. Still, for some odd reason my conscience gives me an A-OK for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    To make you pay over and over again for the same content? Do you really think that when you lose your MP3 player with the songs locked to the hardware, that you WON'T have to buy those songs all over again? Do you really think that when you buy a new PC, you'll be able to use the licensed software that ran on the old PC? Face it, if it's got DRM, you didn't buy it -- you're just renting it!
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:03PM (#21273319) Homepage Journal

    Don't give copyright protection to publications that use copy protection. DRM -> PD. Let publishers (and their markets) decide which mutually-exclusive way to go.

    • Mod parent up. I thought I had some moderator points myself, but they've apparently expired. That's a very interesting idea.

              dave

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Wednesday November 07, 2007 @06:49PM (#21273951) Homepage
    Didn't one of the fair use exemptions passed down by the Registrar of Copyrights involve DRM that was no longer supported?

    Or am I totally misremembering?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:16AM (#21277407)
    ...and as an employee can honestly tell you that this latest DRM snafu is just that, a snafu. When the old DDS system has been taken offline, many people within the company predicted that this would happen, but this project has slipped due to technical difficulties. I for one feel really badly about how we're basically screwing the fans out of their money. As much as this is sad, however, I'd like to ask everyone to bear with us and let us work out a solution to this issue. We're not doing this on purpose, and a solution will be found.

    I hope at least some of you would believe me, even though I have to post anonymously. I'm really just another geek working for a big corporation, trying to make ends meet.
    • by aug24 (38229) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @05:05AM (#21278957) Homepage
      You say that *you* feel bad, and that a solution will be found, but I also work for big corporations and while I, the geek, may well want to spend time on doing something that is right, The Man (in the form of the bean-counters) often overrides me because it's not profit-making to do the right thing.

      Maybe a solution will be found without antipathy. Or maybe it'll take a lawsuit to make the MLB bean-counters accept that a solution will be best for the company. Either way I agree that it is going to be found, and maybe the good that comes out of this is that everyone who likes baseball will learn to think twice before buying DRMed media.

      Justin.
    • by runderwo (609077) * <{runderwo} {at} {mail.win.org}> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:27PM (#21282247)

      I for one feel really badly about how we're basically screwing the fans out of their money. As much as this is sad, however, I'd like to ask everyone to bear with us and let us work out a solution to this issue. We're not doing this on purpose, and a solution will be found.
      So MLB refusing refund requests is considered "not doing this on purpose" and "feeling really badly"? Please!
  • Just remove the DRM (Score:3, Informative)

    by klossner (733867) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:24AM (#21277927)
    Use FairUse4WM [doom9.org] to remove the DRM. Problem solved.

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later. -- F. Brooks, "The Mythical Man-Month"

Working...