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9.16.2008

DRM and You!

There has been some drama the past few weeks in the gaming world thanks to a game called Spore, which uses DRM (Digital Rights Management) as a security measure on the software. Many of you may be too familiar with DRM on your iTunes music that you have purchased. You must authorize use of a song when playing on a different computer, you must have an MP3player that supports iTunes format, it's not easy changing the format to something you may like more (like MP3), etc. In Spore, you can only install the game three times based on your computers specs. If you upgrade too many components in your computer (maybe because you want to see the game with better graphics and running smoother), you may be forced to purchase another copy of the game.

When does protection become too much? I know my girlfriend purchased a Foo Fighters album a few years ago and because of the DRM on it, it wouldn't even play in her computer. When she contacted the publishing company on what to do, she was told she needed a computer that met certain specs in order to play the audio CD. Ouch!

I've struggled with how DRM is good for anyone. People who download music and games illegally don't have to deal with DRM. They can install a game as many times as they want. They can listen to their music on any computer and any MP3player they want. In a way, DRM seems to only punish the loyal customers of a product.

DRM is definitely something you will be hearing more about in the coming months and years.


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