13 Jan 2009 @ 7:22 PM 
It's a one-way street with DRM

It's a one-way street with DRM

I want to share a bit on my current run-in with DRM (Digital Rights Management).  For those who don’t yet know, DRM is evil.  On a more technical note, DRM is some piece of satan spawn which determines arbitrarily whether the piece of digital property you paid for can actually be played by you.

Here’s my story.  Firstly I work with Nokia.  I have a Nokia phone and I buy music from the Nokia Music Store.  But after this, I’ll never buy again.  I have roughly 50 songs from the store (purchased and free).  The songs transferred to the device fine the first time.  But recently I had a new firmware upgrade.  And the nightmare begun.  I have the songs on the memory card and when trying to play the music on the new firmware, it says license invalid.  Fine, I just need to sign in and get the license, no biggie.  Wrong, after signing in, it said license failed and I should buy the song again.  I’m not gonna fork out money again.  So I thought maybe redownloading it might do the trick, since I have them on my download list in my account.

Again, wrong.  Redownloaded music still didn’t want to play.  At this time I thought, hey I have the songs on my PC, why not just transfer them.  Again, DRM sucks ass if you didn’t catch it by now.  Transferring the music from the PC also failed.  It seemed that some DRM creator thought it was a great idea to not allow bought music, which even have limited number of transfers, to be legally transferred.  By this time I thought fuck it, but being the well-mannered gentleman that I am, I decided to search online for help.  Looking in Nokia Discussions, there were others with similar problems.  A suggestion was to transfer the music through Windows Media Player, which I thought might work.

Wrong again.  Media Player spat out an “Unknown error” message.  WTF!  It’s not fucking unknown, it’s the DRM you fuck.  Ok, last chance, I will format the memory card and start afresh.  I have 555MB of data, applications and maps on it.  What a fun night it will be redownloading all the applications and music that I own in the first place.  So, finally after a reformat, the stuff works.  Now I’m redownloading the Maps data and other applications.

So there you have it, another shining example of DRM bringing more trouble to the consumer who actually spent money.  I was wondering why couldn’t I get the license at the first time when it asked me to log in and relicense the music.  After all, a valid login should be enough.  Maybe limit the amount of relicensing per month.  And why should it only work if I have the songs on a PC?  What if my PC is not available with me?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for paying the creators for the music, after all it’s their hard work and it doesn’t cost a bomb.  But if people can just pirate music and have it play without any hassles, ethical consumers will slowly change to the dark side.

I like Nokia products and after all I’m an employee.  But Nokia should really buck up in their services area.  Apple is already offering DRM free music and will extend to their entire inventory soon.  Nokia must start to realise that services are not only focused on quantity, availability and diversity but rather the experience the user has.  I could have wrote this in an internal blog but it’s a hassle to set one up just for a rant.  And of all the solutions, they chose Windows Media DRM.facepalm

And Nokia, I do this because I love you.

Posted By: Kelvin
Last Edit: 13 Jan 2009 @ 07:22 PM

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