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Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus 311

Posted by kdawson
from the lie-down-with-dogs dept.
It's not news that the media you buy for both Kindle and Zune are protected by DRM. Readers are sending in stories of some of the ramifications of that fact. First, Absentminded-Artist notes an account at Gear Diary recounting what an Amazon rep told one user about download limits on Kindle books. "One facet of the Kindle's DRM has reared an ugly head: download limitations. Upgraded your iPhone recently? Bought a new Kindle? You may not be able to reload your entire library. There's an unadvertised flag: 'You mean when you go to buy the book it doesn't say "this book can be downloaded this number of times" even though that limitation is there?' To which [the rep] replied, 'No, I'm very sorry it doesn't.'" Next, reader Rjak writes "DRM is a bad idea, poorly implemented. One of the many many valid reasons to drop Zune and its marketplace is the DRM validation error you see below. The vast majority of the music I had purchased last year is completely gone. There's no refund, the music doesn't exist on the service anymore, the files are just garbage now. Here's the error (screen capture): 'This item is no longer available at Zune Marketplace. Because of this, you can no longer play it or sync it with your Zune. There might be another iteration of it available in Zune Marketplace.'" Update: 06/23 00:28 GMT by KD : The Gear Diary blog has been updated with what may be more definitive information from Amazon on how the Kindle DRM behaves.
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Kindle, Zune DRM Restrictions Coming Into Focus

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:15PM (#28413171) Journal
    DRM has not been implemented correctly to date. While you might hope that your iTunes or Kindle--being a popular product--will have flawless DRM that will not inhibit you, this is simply not the case. It's always just a time bomb waiting to go off in your face.

    If you gotta buy digital books or music, don't fall for any DRM scheme. Here's an example that even the biggest digital retailers can't get it right. I await a flawless DRM that will work on multiple pieces of hardware--hardware that I choose! I fear I will be waiting for quite some time ...

    And please, I'm sick of responses to my posts with some snide remark that you don't have DRM and yours is free with a link to the Pirate Bay. It's getting old. I want to support the content providers but I don't want to give up or inhibit my rights to access that content.
    • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:18PM (#28413189)

      Buy it once, use the pirated copy thereafter. After all you're purchasing a "license" and a "service" not a product, so all that matters is the license.

      • by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:52PM (#28413457)

        Buy it once, use the pirated copy thereafter. After all you're purchasing a "license" and a "service" not a product, so all that matters is the license.

        I don't understand why you would pay for DRM-infested products, if you don't even intend to use them after purchase. What you are effectively doing there is rewarding the company for making user-unfriendly products. It might seem the "moral" thing to do, but it really just enables the company to remain "immoral" and continue with their anti-consumer policies.

      • by Whillowhim (1408725) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:06PM (#28413577)

        I completely disagree. Buying an item you don't intend to actually use is sending the wrong message. You're rewarding the book publishers for their insane DRM when you should be discouraging them.

        Finding pirated books can be a pain in the ass. If they're going to force me to spend time looking for a copy with bad proofreading and odd line-breaks, I'm going to ask for a refund on the money I spent on the book. Or better yet, just not spend it in the first place. Its not that I'm unwilling to buy ebooks, its that I value my time and spending 10-60 minutes looking through various websites/peer to peer applications is more valuable to me than the cost of the book in the first place.

        And for the record, I've spent just under $1000 at Baen's online store over the last 3 years, because the books there are unencumbered by DRM and are easy to find and buy. I'm more than willing to buy books if I'm given a fair deal. It just seems that a lot of book publishers are so scared by the piracy boogieman that they piss off their real customers.

      • (I am not the GP). Many books I am interested in reading, don't have a decent "downloable version" on PirateBay. The lack of a decent non-DRM service does hurt.

        I have a ebook reader (Hanlin v3), and I am also at point in my life where I have the surplus income to buy all books I want without problems. I could and would pay for books for it. The books I want are not in PirateBay, or just have crappy scanned copies.

        Specially when going on vacations, I would really rather the Hanlin than 10 dead-tree books. E

      • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:54PM (#28413921)

        Buy it once, use the pirated copy thereafter. After all you're purchasing a "license" and a "service" not a product, so all that matters is the license.

        Jamie Thomas just got fined $1.9M for having files on her computer that were never proven to be shared with anyone unauthorized (MediaSentry is a fully authorized download) and owned all the CD's of the songs in question. So just what did she purchase?

      • by Ruie (30480)

        Better yet - buy it once [webscription.net], download in HTML or other format and read as much as you like.

        There are people who get it.

      • by KeithIrwin (243301) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:39PM (#28414231)

        Unfortunately, this isn't really correct. The way the copyright law is written, you're not buying a license, you're buying a copy. This has several implications. The first is that you don't necessarily have the right to duplicate it onto your portable player, you car mp3 player, etc. Although most people suspect that the courts would rule this to be fair use, this has never been established. If the music were licensed, it would say specifically whether or not this were allowed and would most likely have to allow it to get consumers to buy it. The second is that you don't have to destroy copies upon transfer of ownership. So when you sell your mp3 player, you don't have to erase it. Or if you make a copy of something to discuss it in class (education and critical fair use) you aren't required to destroy it once you're done discussing it.

        Now, what's been happening is that the media companies (RIAA, MPAA, BSA) don't like the second implication of this. So they tell people that they aren't buying a copy, but only a license. This is nonsense. You don't need a license to read a book you've bought and you don't need a license to play an mp3 you bought. If you went to the grocer and he told you he was selling you a license to eat an apple and then handed you an apple, you'd correctly assume that he was being silly and just consider yourself the owner of the apple. This is the same thing which is happening with digital music files. They may say "I'm selling you a license", but what they've actually given you is a copy. You own that copy. It's fixed on your hard-drive, which you own. They may in some cases argue that they can attach a license to that purchase to restrict what you can do with your copy, but they're selling you a copy, not a license.

        • That's exactly my point, hence the "quotes" on license. They're basically selling bullshit by trying to take responsibility for a product but all the rights of a license.

    • DRM has not been implemented correctly to date.

      The idea is almost zen. How to screw the user yet not screw the user?

    • He won't.

      It works when he buys it, so he buys it. When it stops working, he gets angry, but that doesn't stop him. He will buy the next DRMified content because, hey, it's working. Maybe from another vender ("because I'll NEVER buy with those again, they ripped me off!"), but that doesn't mean he won't buy with someone else.

    • by beelsebob (529313) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:44PM (#28413381)

      iTunes
      You mean that totally 100% DRM free music service?

    • by causality (777677) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:44PM (#28413385)

      If you gotta buy digital books or music, don't fall for any DRM scheme. Here's an example that even the biggest digital retailers can't get it right. I await a flawless DRM that will work on multiple pieces of hardware--hardware that I choose! I fear I will be waiting for quite some time ...

      Collectively, we generally don't appreciate and value what you describe there. The minority who does is probably small enough to be marginalized, though it does appear to be growing. That's the reason why (at least in the USA) it's so difficult to use any cellphone with any carrier's network, or why the most widely-used office software doesn't actively try to produce documents in a format that any other office software can use. There are many other examples.

      And please, I'm sick of responses to my posts with some snide remark that you don't have DRM and yours is free with a link to the Pirate Bay. It's getting old. I want to support the content providers but I don't want to give up or inhibit my rights to access that content.

      Just as you have your frustrations with that, the phenomenon itself is born of a frustration with the media companies and their refusal to work with us instead of against us. That refusal is why the very interoperability you describe is not the norm. I will neither defend nor condemn piracy, but I will say that it sums up to a "fuck them then" sort of reaction that, from the perspective of human nature, is rather understandable or at least predictable. The media companies seriously believe that they can view their customers as a resource that they may take for granted, like so much lumber or iron ore.

      They believe they can do so with impunity, and if not for piracy, they would mostly be correct. Again I am not going to say whether it's right or wrong, only that the very companies which complain about piracy have done much to set the stage for it and to create the ill will that makes people feel justified when they infringe these copyrights. No one does anything unless they believe, verily or falsely, that it is the right thing to do, or at least that it is wrong but either justifiable or serves some kind of greater good. Those snide remarks you mention come from this sense of feeling justified, though of course there are better expressions of the same sentiment.

      • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn AT earthlink DOT net> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:22PM (#28413699)

        I pretty much agree. I don't see anything wrong with piracy against the very companies that bought the law that made it a crime. Buying the law was, itself, corruption, so they don't deserve ANY profits as a result of it.

        OTOH, I consider it a reckless lifestyle choice. I'd prefer to just not purchase anything that supports DRM. So I don't. I've also stopped going to movies. I've also stopped buying music CDs. (Except from local bands without contracts with the RIAA or any member company.) And my software CDs are Linux & GPL (plus the occasional GPL compatibly licensed software). I made this choice before the DMCA was passed, though I'll admit that that reconfirmed my decision. (The Sonny-Bono copyright extension act was part of my reason. The rest came from reading the MS EULA for either Windows2000 or Office2000 at work. [My reaction to it was "This is a suicide note for any business that signs it!". The company lawyer's attitude was "No court will uphold this". He wouldn't realize that MS was capable of enforcing the EULA via technical measures, and that this was only to make their actions legal.])

    • by TheSpoom (715771) * <slashdot&uberm00,net> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:53PM (#28413471) Homepage Journal

      DRM has not been implemented correctly to date.

      Are you crazy?

      There IS no correct implementation of DRM.

      When a manufacturer puts DRM into a device, it means they want to control the device even when they no longer own it. And that means that at best, you're renting the device with a one time charge that they call a "purchase"... at worst, they're just laughing at you behind your back because you gave them money for nothing.

    • by RMingin (985478)

      I have a Kindle, and on occasion I even buy books from the Amazon store (Note: Amazon: Please make sure Kindle price tracks book price. Knowing that Kindle price is less than hardcover (10$ vs. 30$) means nothing at all once the paperback is out at 1/2 to 2/3 the Kindle price.

      The books I do buy from Amazon, I strip the DRM and use the stripped copy thereafter. I also archive all my books to a NAS with redundancy, and I burn a DVDR of all my books once a year. It works very well, my digital books are probabl

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by node 3 (115640)

      While you might hope that your iTunes or Kindle--being a popular product--will have flawless DRM that will not inhibit you, this is simply not the case.

      I think iTunes current music DRM is pretty much flawless.

  • But then I have all my music in a format which can be read pretty much anywhere.

     

  • by nausea_malvarma (1544887) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:16PM (#28413179)
    Honestly, if you don't like it, nobody's forcing you to buy a zune or kindle. Boycotts are the only way these companies are gonna learn that customers won't tolerate DRM.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by causality (777677)

      Honestly, if you don't like it, nobody's forcing you to buy a zune or kindle. Boycotts are the only way these companies are gonna learn that customers won't tolerate DRM.

      The possibility that concerns me is the other way that companies could handle that realization. They could design a DRM system that is generous on all counts, such that the average person has no pragmatic or material objection to its restrictions. This would make its adoption by customers much more widespread and would present the very convincing illusion of nullifying the arguments against DRM. Certainly it would nullify the reasons against it which are not rooted in principle. Effectively, that would

      • by Drakonik (1193977)

        I have no problem with DRM until it stops me from being able to use my media legally as I see fit. If a DRM scheme somehow prevented me from giving a file to my friends, but let me listen to the song on my ipod, Sansa, or Zune as I wished, that'd be perfectly okay. I don't mind buying products/services/licenses. The DRM that is demonized is the DRM that preemptively treats you like a criminal and unfairly restricts your usage of a PRODUCT THAT YOU PAID FOR THE USAGE OF.

        Your post makes it sound like DRM is b

        • by 0123456 (636235) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:11PM (#28413607)

          "Your post makes it sound like DRM is bad."

          DRM _IS_ bad because there's no way to allow me to use media I purchase in any way I choose (e.g ripping DVDs to my MythTV server) while preventing me from giving those files to someone else.

          DRM simply cannot be 'implemented properly', because it's broken by design; either I control my use of purchased media or the IP Robber Barons do... there's no middle ground.

          Any effective DRM will cripple my use of media so much that I simply won't buy it. For example, I would have bought a few hundred Blu-Ray disks by now if it weren't for the DRM... if it's cracked to the point where I can use those disks as easily as DVDs, then I'll start buying them, but not until then.

        • by causality (777677) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:20PM (#28413683)

          I have no problem with DRM until it stops me from being able to use my media legally as I see fit. If a DRM scheme somehow prevented me from giving a file to my friends, but let me listen to the song on my ipod, Sansa, or Zune as I wished, that'd be perfectly okay. I don't mind buying products/services/licenses. The DRM that is demonized is the DRM that preemptively treats you like a criminal and unfairly restricts your usage of a PRODUCT THAT YOU PAID FOR THE USAGE OF.

          Your post makes it sound like DRM is bad. BAD DRM is bad. Whether or not it can be effectively implemented is another issue; I know you couldn't magically detect the difference between a new media player and a friend's thumb drive.

          All DRM is in fact bad because all DRM carries the assumption that you are incapable of doing the right thing and thus, must be actively prevented from doing the wrong thing. A DRM scheme that prevents you from giving a file to your friends is treating you like a criminal because the assumption behind it is that you WOULD give it to your friends -- they are so certain that you would do this, that they paid programmers to design a system to prevent it. To say that this restriction doesn't bother you because you wouldn't do that anyway misses the point. The point is that your morality means absolutely nothing if you have no ability to be immoral. To support any form of DRM is akin to saying that they are right to treat their customers in this adversarial, dehumanizing fashion.

          DRM is power. It's power to control markets, to micromanage customers, to dictate obsolescence, and to hold content hostage. It's a power that comes with no concept of due process or innocent until proven guilty. It's a power that is "justified" by the fact that media companies have chosen not to create a business model suitable for the Information Age, which is no justification at all. It's a power that was not given to the companies willingly, but rather was one that they have taken for themselves. It was born not of overwhelming customer demand, but rather, a desire to control.

          DRM is also a sad alternative to restoring the balance that once existed between the temporary monopoly granted by copyright and the benefit of society. Copyright was once only twelve years in duration, and this was when a mechanical printing press was the most technologically advanced method of distribution. We now have the ability to create and sell many more copies of a work in twelve years than we ever could have done before, yet copyright now has a ridiculous duration that has no concept of balance. It is plainly evident that you are dealing with people who are never going to be satisfied, for whom enough is never going to be enough.

          The reason why so many no longer respect copyright is because it is no longer respectable. Those who choose to respect it anyway give it a benefit of doubt that the media companies are not willing to extend to their customers. Restoring the balance that once existed could create a world where people again respect copyright because they can see that it is reasonable and good. Such people would not want to infringe it, and thus, would need no restraints to prevent them from doing so. The fact that this simple, self-evident truth is so hard for so many to imagine is evidence enough that we have gone too far down this negative path that we are on. More DRM, no matter how benign, could only take us farther down that path.

        • by vidarlo (134906)

          have no problem with DRM until it stops me from being able to use my media legally as I see fit. If a DRM scheme somehow prevented me from giving a file to my friends, but let me listen to the song on my ipod, Sansa, or Zune as I wished, that'd be perfectly okay.

          That system can't excist. If you are able to play back content with the player of your own choice, you can surely just use a open source one and dump audio to disk again after the DRM is dealt with? Or you could simply strip away the DRM straight aw

      • If the DRM is so good that "the average person has no pragmatic or material objection to its restrictions" then objecting to it on "principle" alone becomes an exercise in, well, juvenile-wish-fulfillment. In fact, the "average" person has no problem with DRM schemes such as those that "lock" down DVDs or VHS (macrovision), nor those that iTunes had or most software has. I'm not saying that most DRM schemes are there yet, but if DRM is that unobtrusive, then I'd consider it an acceptable part of the real-w

        • by 0123456 (636235)

          "In fact, the "average" person has no problem with DRM schemes such as those that "lock" down DVDs or VHS (macrovision),"

          The average user has no problem with them because they're trivially crackable.

        • by causality (777677) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @07:25PM (#28414561)

          If the DRM is so good that "the average person has no pragmatic or material objection to its restrictions" then objecting to it on "principle" alone becomes an exercise in, well, juvenile-wish-fulfillment. In fact, the "average" person has no problem with DRM schemes such as those that "lock" down DVDs or VHS (macrovision), nor those that iTunes had or most software has. I'm not saying that most DRM schemes are there yet, but if DRM is that unobtrusive, then I'd consider it an acceptable part of the real-world compromise necessary when dealing with the owners. I leave to each person to decide if that deal is Faustian or not.

          My explanation of why I object on the basis of principle can be found in this post [slashdot.org]. Far from being juvenile, it's a recognition that there are timeless things in life which are and always have been far more important than immediate convenience and certainly more important than whether you can play your music. The juvenile approach is the one in which convenience is everything, where all concerns about whether something is wrong are put to rest by access to entertainment. Such an approach knows nothing of principle, or of the difference between what is legal and what is right and good.

          What I'd fear more is the DRM schemes that are designed not to control but to outright discourage the use of digital media. Put on your tin-foil hat with me and ask for a second why content owners would allow online digital providers such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, MicroSoft, and Audible to run a service which can disable your ability to use a license not due to breach on your part but just because they don't want to maintain their servers anymore (and in some cases this has already happened, see Walmart). Any good contract between owner and provider would require that the customer be allowed continued use of the product as sold. Not having those provisions smacks of a scheme by the owners to be able to say "oh, your product doesn't work anymore, well, that's digital downloads for you. Aren't CDs so much nicer!"

          No tinfoil hat is necessary for that. All you're doing there is making the observation that these companies are still living in the past, a past time when they had full control over distribution. It's a natural consequence they have no interest in correctly dealing with digital media, as you have pointed out. They have not decided that technological progress has created a different world with new possibilities, and that this means they should evaluate whether their business model is suited to this new world. Instead, they still want that old world where they have full control and they are willing to become adversaries to their own customers in order to preserve it. That is the actual problem. Rather than address this problem and become a joy to do business with, they want to apply a band-aid and this band-aid is called DRM. Other band-aids include wielding political clout to purchase laws that benefit their interests at the expense of others, and making monstrous "examples" by financially ruining the lives of people who have done very little harm to anyone. I cannot in any good conscience support this effort, nor any devices designed to promote it. It's not just that it isn't working, it's that it is wrong. No amount of convenience and no degree of music player reliability is going to change that.

        • by init100 (915886)

          In fact, the "average" person has no problem with DRM schemes such as those that "lock" down DVDs or VHS (macrovision), nor those that iTunes had or most software has.

          Are you sure that the "average" person has no problems with DRM? I heard that the main push towards DRM-free music downloads came from the stores themselves, since the DRM systems they previously used caused so much problems for their customers, and thus so many time-consuming support calls, that the profitability on those DRM-protected tracks went down the drain. How does that support your hypothesis that average Joe is indifferent to DRM?

      • They could design a DRM system that is generous on all counts, such that the average person has no pragmatic or material objection to its restrictions. This would make its adoption by customers much more widespread and would present the very convincing illusion of nullifying the arguments against DRM.

        Well, they couldn't. Because it would be the opposite of DRM. DRM and convenient usage exclude each other. I would even say that it's the point.
        I think they already work the hardest, to even get to that level, from the insanity that the requirements of the media industry demand. :)
        When this is not "enough" for the industry anymore, that is when the fun starts. ^^

        It's a vicious circle. Just wait for them, destroying themselves, by attacking the very source of their survival, instead of fixing themselves.

      • by Z34107 (925136)

        They could design a DRM system that is generous on all counts, such that the average person has no pragmatic or material objection to its restrictions.

        Steam! About the only thing you can't do with Steam DRM is sell it to somebody else, which doesn't bother a horder like me.

        I'd argue the steam DRM actually adds value. I can download my entire library of games onto any computer I please without having to dig out the media, enter CD keys, or activate anything. It saves me from doing tech support for my Po

    • by Drakonik (1193977) <drakonik@gmail.com> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:56PM (#28413493) Homepage

      Amen. Nobody seems to understand that we (at least in America) live in a hugely capitalistic society, and that means that we as the consumer hold IMMENSE power. It's all well and good to buy an ipod and then write to Apple complaining about DRM, but that doesn't mean much, because they've got your money already.

      Exercise your capitalistic rights to control the market.

      tl;dr ROW ROW FIGHT THE POWAH [youtube.com]

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        We the consumer may potentially hold massive power, unfortunately in order to wield that power you need to teach a sufficient proportion of the consumer base why something like DRM is bad...

        Unfortunately, it is the media companies who control the most efficient methods for getting the message out, and they will be using their considerable resources to tell consumers the opposite message. Only people who care enough to do their own research, or who have been bitten by DRM themselves and are clued up enough t

        • by init100 (915886)

          unfortunately in order to wield that power you need to teach a sufficient proportion of the consumer base why something like DRM is bad...

          Fortunately, the media companies have provided some help in teaching average consumers the pitfalls of DRM. Case in point: The shutdown of DRM license servers. In an instant, heaps of music became unusable, and that really burned some people who had acquired significant libraries of DRMed music tracks. Some people cannot be taught not to do something that can hurt them, they must feel the pain themselves before they really get the lesson.

    • by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:13PM (#28413617)
      Right on! I don't feel the slightest bit of pity for the suckers that bought the crap. It's got Digital Restriction Management! DUH! It's crippled. Why would you buy crippled equipment and content? The beauty of it is that M$ could ditch the Zune and it's DRM format for another crippled device with a new DRM system totally invalidating all previous downloads....and people would buy it! "A fool and his money are soon parted." -Thomas Tusser
    • Boycotts are the only way these companies are gonna learn that customers won't tolerate DRM.

      When are people gonna learn that boycotts haven't worked for 60 years? We're dealing with multi-national corporations now. Bitching about their products on the internet will get you further than a boycott. If you were going to purchase a Zune and decided against it due to ethical issues, then Microsoft's out $100. If you run a popular blog and bitch about it and get a thousand people to not purchase the product, then Microsoft is out hundreds of thousands of dollars, regardless of whether you yourself have

  • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:17PM (#28413185)

    DRM is a fundamentally broken concept. It relies on the argument that you're purchasing a service and not a product, but then you're treated as though you purchased a product and not a service. In effect what's happening is that the consumer expends money and then literally has no rights whatsoever and, thanks to TOS/EULAs, no recourse either.

    • by schwaang (667808) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:09PM (#28413597)

      Which is why I find it misleading when Amazon shows the price of the kindle version and directly compares it to the price of the deadtree version. They are really two completely different animals, and this hidden download limit is one great example of what makes the comparison false.

      (I try to use my kindle and kindle iphone app with open eyes, but I didn't know about this download limit until now.)

      • by sjames (1099) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @06:17PM (#28414095) Homepage

        The hidden download limit is out and out fraud. They are not giving you what they lead you to believe they were. It's no different than putting 3 pints of product into a bottle marked as 2 quarts.

      • by Drgnkght (449916)

        I hate DRM as much as the next person (or at least the next person who understands it), but this isn't really that different from buying the actual book. If I buy a book from Amazon, I get one copy. If I lose it for any reason (theft, fire, etc.), they will not replace it. That having been the case with physical books, why would you assume that no similar limitation exists with digital books? Does it say somewhere in their terms of service that you can download the books you purchase from them any number of

        • A physical book takes resources to create, data can be replicated (effectively) an infinite number of times at virtually no cost to a business that's already making a profit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Great point.
      I generally hate DRM, unless as you say, the process really fits a service model.
      Zune has since moved away from DRM when you buy music - they now generally give you unprotected MP3s. But if you get a subscription it really is a service - you can download all the music you want but it will expire if you don't keep up the subscription (although you do get to keep 10 songs a month in MP3).
      I think that model of DRM is the only one that I've seen that actually seems fair and works.

  • Euphamism? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by causality (777677) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:24PM (#28413229)

    It's not news that the media you buy for both Kindle and Zune are protected by DRM.

    I hope it doesn't sound like too minor of a gripe, but I greatly prefer to call it encumbered by DRM.

    • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:26PM (#28413253)

      I hope it doesn't sound like too minor of a gripe, but I greatly prefer to call it encumbered by DRM.

      I prefer to call it infested with DRM.

      • Re:Euphamism? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:11PM (#28413611)
        Perhaps you shouldn't. When you say infested by DRM you have made an unnecessarily combative statement as though accusing the producers of something heinous. Granted, you are right, but it makes it harder to carry on a discourse with people who aren't already aligned with your view of thinking. Ditto for almost every alternative to Digital Rights Management listed on the GNU website. I particularly like "Digital Shackles" as a proposed alternative. I mean really? It just makes the whole conversation less civil and people more likely to dismiss your views as those of a zealot.
  • The Zune still exists?

    I'm genuinely not meaning to trash MS, I really thought that the Zune was a dead product. I've never actually even seen one.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sirusjr (1006183)
      I prefer the zune to the IPOD because I never was a fan of the clickwheel and the way the IPOD tends to organize your music. I've had my 30gb zune for years now and it still works great. I'm hoping that it will live long enough so that the ZUNEHD comces out and I can get the 120gb zune for cheap. Plus the zune has a better quality audio jack when it comes to the output you get to regular headphones. Now if only they would come out with a 300gb version that supports FLAC and cue sheets.
  • by fermion (181285) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:26PM (#28413245) Homepage Journal
    For music, the DRM is all but gone. That Zune still carries DRM proves that to MS the end user is never the customer.

    The emerging problem is certainly books and video. Niether of these is going to be trivial to convert to electronic format anytime soon, and the files don't seem be trivial to burn to an unprotected format either. This means that video and books are still on the list, as music used to be, of only be useful as long as the files stay in good shape. It is interesting that Amazon has chosen to take this one step further and limit it to a number of devices. As the article states, since one is to upgrade often, and the files are owned by Amazon, this puts an effective lifetime on the books. Where on can buy a hardback and refer to it for a lifetime, the Kindle will eventually break.

    I think this is a good argument against most e-book readers. The publishers are not going to fully support them, and unless there is special need, the consumer does not get the value. Movies, are another issue, but pretty much I don't buy movies to download. Better value with $5-10 dvd.

    • From what I remember, the Zune pass allows you access to anything in the Zune store library as long as you pay the subscription. Removed from the library? Can't listen to the music. Stop paying? Can't listen to the music. You are not purchasing any music, you are paying money to access a library. The Zune marketplace is a completely different service than outright purchasing music. I believe they give you 10 un-DRM'd downloads per month along with the subscription, so you can see they do see the fact that t
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dreemernj (859414)
        You can go to the Zune Marketplace and just buy DRM-free MP3s if you want to as well. ZunePass is just a different way of accessing it. There is DRMed music there too. I rarely find that the a particular song I want on there has DRM, but it is there. When I encounter it, I try Amazon instead.
  • by -noefordeg- (697342) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:27PM (#28413263)

    To those complaining. Do NOT buy DRM media.
    Every time you pay for an item you support DRM.

    And when things go awry, you come here complaining?!

    • by Cheapy (809643)

      Please note that this also includes buying things on Steam.

      • Yes, no kidding. I'm so glad this is a music/book related DRM discussion, because I think that if I were to browse ONE MORE game related DRM thread where everyone goes on about how evil DRM is but how awesome Steam is, I think my brain will explode. It's the same thing, in fact in Steam's case it's actually worse, but it's fawned upon by the same tards that regard DRM as the ultimate evil.

        • DRM is the ultimate evil, by the way. My placement of the word tards makes it seems like it's the people that think that DRM is evil are tards, when I meant that it was the people that like Steam and not DRM. It's Monday morning, I haven't finished my coffee. Fuck off.

  • Always be sure that, if you buy DRMed content, there is a crack for it out there. Strip the DRM as soon as you buy it. Problem solved.
  • When the library of classic works available so dwarfs what you can expect to complete in a mere few years anyway?

    http://www.gutenberg.org/wiki/Main_Page [gutenberg.org]

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @04:28PM (#28413277)

    The first thing I do when I download media with DRM these days is strip the DRM. If I can't figure out how to strip it before I lay down my money, I pass. DRM does nothing to enhance my experience and can only serve to detract from my experience.

    Back 7 or 8 years ago, when ebooks were making their first surge, I bought about $50 worth from various vendors and didn't strip the DRM. It was a bit of an experiment to see how it would turn out. One of the vendors shut down just weeks after I made my purchase. I hadn't even activated one of the titles yet so it was a total loss. The other one was only readable as long as that computer lived. Same happened with the rest of the titles eventually. So $50 worth of ebooks I purchased just a few years ago are gone forever. Meanwhile, paperbacks I purchased when I was a kid still work just as well as the day I bought them. Nevermind the hassle of keeping track of each vendor's authentication system and the crap-ton of different software packages I had to install to handle all of those methods.

    The funny thing is this isn't even the first time a major online music "seller" has screwed people by revoking access to purchased media. Wasn't it just a few years ago that some big seller shut down or changed their authentication system and the users got a big FU for all of their lost music?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sirusjr (1006183)
      This is the same reason why I buy all my music in CD format and all my games in Disc format. I am already into some Niche genres as it is (Movie scores, euro-style power metal, heavy metal, Japanese-Pop; and on the game side JRPGS) so what is to stop these companies from removing the Niche stuff from their services because they don't think very many consumers are going to miss them? Sadly one of my cds I picked up used was one of those old DRM'd cds from Sony that I can't rip, but at least I can listen to
    • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

      All you're accomplishing is telling these companies that DRM is fine with you. And the ones you don't download, they figure you're just stealing that. There is no way to get feedback to the company that your purchases are dependent on breaking DRM, or in other words you won't buy anything that has DRM, because you keep stripping it without telling them.

      All of the people who figure it's OK to buy something for one device and have to re-buy it later, and they do exist, appear exactly the same to these selle

  • is the problem in this case. The device is not without flaws, but it seems unfair to blame the device for a flaw with the app store (I'd criticize it more for not being able to handle naturally occurring dates). The majority of users won't use their player for DRM protected content although they should clearly have the ability to do so without worrying about this scenario. Pathetic doesn't even begin to describe these types of restrictions.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      At the danger of angering the iPhone fans, why the outcry over Zune and Zune marketplace, and not Apple and its DRM. It's not on the music anymore, but isn't it still on the video and the apps? My apologies if they don't use DRM anymore.
      • by dreemernj (859414)
        The Zune Marketplace has been moving away from DRM as well. There are a ton of DRM-Free MP3s in the Zune Marketplace. But I don't think enough people use the Zune Marketplace for the popular opinion to be informed of that. Not saying thats a bad thing, use of it is personal preference, but I get the feeling thats happening a lot since a lot of people here seem to think all music on there is locked down with DRM.
  • Vendors who incorporate DRM and who rig it so the songs quit working when certain events happen will be in trouble with the law if they don't advertise this in advance, like "if you buy this song, you may have to buy it again if you upgrade your media device or if it breaks and is repaired."

    Failure to do that is breach of implied contract: You bought the music with the understanding it would work at least for the lifetime of the device on which it was originally installed.

  • for those that buy DRMed music. E-books are another story.

    Every single piece of DRMed music is available in some other format, be it a purchasable CD (my personal choice), or via other, possibly less legal means. Get your music in a non-DRMed format and do what you like with it.

    It's not like this is the first time we've heard of customers getting shafted by DRM. It's been going on for years. Learn from it and move on to something you know you can use.

  • Until recently it's only been Slashdot Types that were aware of the evils of DRM. Once the general masses are aware of it, they won't stand for it. Or maybe I give them too much credit...

  • I guess a crappy DRM ripoff is a better deal than $80,000.00 per download with no DRM.....but not much better. You would think that Microsoft was capable of real innovation, but no.... Once you've got lots of shareholders its all about squeezing every dollar out of a weary market, even if its not a very good experience for anyone. I see DRM as the result of greed mixed with technology and music. Too bad they can't just sell us blank tapes like 20 years ago when copyright infringement was a charge placed
  • > DRM is a bad idea, poorly implemented.

    Should be DRM is a bad idea [FULL STOP].

    There is no good implementation of DRM and there never will be. There can't be when you assume that EVERY customer is out to rip you off and you wish to enforce it on everyone, some of which are (or maybe were now) loyal customers. The irresponsibility that is being shown in these examples are just the topping on the cake... but it sure gives your a look inside their psyche. Their point of view is "we're big, we don't have

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:08PM (#28413591) Homepage

    Microsoft seems to be violating their own Zune EULA [zunestore.net]:

    Microsoft may from time to time make available for download from the Services certain images, artwork, photographs, videos, and other content (the "Downloadable Content"). Microsoft hereby grants you a limited, non-transferable, nonexclusive license to download such content solely for your personal, noncommercial use in accordance with these Terms of Use. Such license shall be limited to the specific purpose for which such Downloadable Content was made available (e.g. for use as wallpaper or poster prints, as specified in connection with the download), and you may not modify, distribute, perform, transmit , create derivative works of or otherwise use such Downloadable Content or make any commercial or public use thereof. Downloadable Content shall only include content which Microsoft specifically identifies as being available for download, and you agree not to remove of obscure any copyright notice that appears in the Downloadable Content.

    Note the words "Microsoft hereby grants you a limited, non-transferable, nonexclusive license to download such content solely for your personal, noncommercial use in accordance with these Terms of Use." Microsoft granted you a license. They didn't provide a provision which allows them to revoke that license. They don't have the option, once having sold you a license, to take it back. The FTC was out to lunch during the Bush Administration, but they're back in business. [ftc.gov]

    So if you have a Zune, and it won't play something you paid for, go to the Federal Trade Commission online complaint page [ftccomplai...istant.gov] and start filling out the form.

    The FTC was out to lunch during the Bush Administration years, but that's over. They're back in business. [ftc.gov]

  • ...over the years, thousands upon thousands of dollars for CDs, LPs, cassettes and even 8-tracks, for God's sake (yes, I'm old). My feeling is (as someone else expressed above) if I bought it once, I can download it as often as I like. I have no idea how close or far away that is from "the law" or fair use, etc. But I really don't care.

    In fact, for most of my older favorites over the years I've bought both the LP and CD versions. In which case I really, really don't lose any sleep over downloading a cla

  • by BlackCreek (1004083) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:32PM (#28413769)

    Amazon reps got in contact with the guy.... They simply don't a have a clue of what happens, and may try to change policy. Worth a read...

    http://www.geardiary.com/2009/06/21/kindlegate-confusion-abounds-regarding-kindle-download-policy/#more-34458 [geardiary.com]

  • by macs4all (973270) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @05:53PM (#28413907)
    "There might be another iteration of it..."

    Another ITERATION of it?!?!?!?

    This error message demonstrates EXACTLY why Microsoft Just Doesn't Get It(TM).

    Most people on /. know what "Iteration" means; but PLEASE find me 10 (non-dev and non-IT) people on the street who can give a definition of "Iteration" in that sentence.

    If you have your C++ code jockeys approve Error text, this is what you get.

    You would NEVER see the word "Iteration" (howabout "Copy"?) in an Apple Dialog (unless it was in a dev. tool like XCode).

    "Iteration", INDEED!
    • by IANAAC (692242)

      Most people on /. know what "Iteration" means; but PLEASE find me 10 (non-dev and non-IT) people on the street who can give a definition of "Iteration" in that sentence.

      I think you're giving the slashdot crowd a bit too much patting on the back.

      The word "iteration" has been around a very long time - most high school educated people know what the word means. And if they don't, they've got bigger things to worry about. Really.

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