Sunday, July 29, 2012

DRM Frustration and Fail

DRM being Digital Rights Management. The various methods for content providers pissing their end-users off to all heck and gone.

So my local library, in addition to books, DVDs, CD, MP3 on CD and such is also offering e-books and e-audio books.

Makes sense right? Good for the library as no worries about shelf space, damaged discs or vandalized books. In the case of audio CDs, considering as how they get scratched as fast as being looked at, it makes sens to keep it electronic.

In addition, this kind of content is cheap as hell for a content provider - no repeat production, printing or stamping costs as each item is a digital file and if it gets corrupt you can upload another one. Nice, convenient and accessible with no worries about someone else checking it out - what's not to like?

Should be easy right, for them maybe, for a user not so much.

To listen to an audio book, as I planned to do on my iPhone and plug it into my car and listen to it to and from work would have been great.

Not so fast.

First I had to download Overdrive Media Console, which then wanted Windows Media player to be upgraded with some sort of DRM update.

The problem being, it would not update.

After multiple tries with the online help, it wouldn't work. After 2 hours of messing around with it, I finally figured out that it will not update if you try it through Firefox - you must do it through Internet Explorer - note that the help files do not mention this in any way, shape or form.

So I finally get the fisking thing downloaded and it issues the audio book files in protected WMA format - I try to load it up in iTunes to transfer to the iPhone and nope, it doesn't work with an error message that its protected. Of course.

Nor can I get the Overdrive to transfer it to the iPhone as per the Overdrive site: "OverDrive Download Station is not able to transfer to iPhones." Wonderful. So it looks like I've got the capability of sitting in front of my computer and listening to an eAudioBook - wow, that's really handy and useful.

However all is not lost: The program allows you to burn then to a CD and transfer the files in CD Audio format.

Good grief.

After all the fisking time wasted to comply with their stupid DRM model, the end result is a file that has no DRM protection whatsoever and once on the CD could be transferred, ripped back into mp3 and loaded on an iPhone, or given away to the entire universe I suppose.

You are supposed to destroy your CDs when the loan period is up. How many people do that, I have no idea.

I'm personally toying with the idea of mailing them, postage collect, to the publisher with a cover letter detailing how messed up their whole DRM concept is.

Epic Failure from a security standpoint and from a usability standpoint.

All that nonsense to protect content that ends up unprotected once you waste hours making the software behave and then about a half hour burning a few discs.

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