Categorized | Uh-Oh Bad PVR News

Cory Doctorow on the evils of DRM (Digital Rights Management)

Posted on 30 December 2004 by

Cory Doctorow post explaining why DRM is evil and counter productive in response to comments from Wired Magazine editor Chris Anderson.


….Nope, they’re using it (DRM) to sell you the same crap for more money. Chris loves his Microsoft Media Center PC, “essentially a DVR on steroids” — at least, he loves it so far. That’s because he hasn’t been bitten on the ass by it yet, like this guy, who bought a Media Center PC so that he could catch the Sopranos and burn them to DVD. When he bought the PC, it was capable of doing that. Halfway through the season, the studios reached into his living room and broke his PC, disabling the feature that allowed him to burn his Sopranos episodes to DVD. And if you got suckered into letting your cable company give you a “free” PVR, you’ve got a nasty shock coming this season: your episodes of Six Feet Under will delete themselves from your hard drive after two weeks, whether you’ve gotten around to watching them or not.

If you want to watch all the Sopranos or Six Feet Unders in a row at the end of the season, you’ll have to do it on Pay Per View. You’ll have to buy what you used to get for free: the right to record a show and watch it for as long as you’d like. You get less, you pay more. And the studios can change the rules of the game after you’ve bought the box and brought it home: the only way you can protect your investment is if you can somehow ensure that no studio executive decides to revoke one of the features you paid for back when the box was on the show-room floor. Remember, these are the same studio execs who are duking it out for the right to limit how long a pause button can work for.

Forgive me if I keep beating the no-DRM, anti-broadcast flag drum because it’s an imporant backbeat to the logic and thinking behind the concept of building your own PVR.