Piracy and DRM

DRM means Digital rights management. DRM is placed on files like videos, music, books, etc. DRM is used as a means of access control, modifying, controlling the software or even hardware to work with only certain variation of the files.

Padlock stuck through five cds
DRM in a picture

DRM seems like a solid idea, using a little bit of metadata to reinforce copyright laws, prevent piracy, save profits. Too bad it doesn’t work like that. DRM ends up only really screwing over those who paid for the software, and not those who pirated it. While a pirate can torrent a version of the software with the DRM removed by a beneficent hacker, someone who legally obtains the software will have to deal with the often intrusive DRM. That’s part of the problem, intrusive DRM.

DRM can be EXTREMELY intrusive. Here are some examples of how DRM can be more intrusive than your creepy neighbor.

  • Limited install DRM – Lets you use your CD for only one install. Not that bad compared to the others.
  • Always online DRM – Lets you only use your software only while connected to the internet and to a server. When you’re not connected to the internet, you can’t use it. If you lose connection, or if the server goes down, you will be locked out from using it. This is an especially big problem with gaming. A player could be fighting a difficult boss and nearly have beaten it, then have the server or their internet go down, and be unable to beat the boss as they are disconnected.

Here we have an interview consisting of one question with a guy who’s been suffering with trashy internet in an age where always online DRM is a must.

Matt (Me): Hello.

Aidan: Hi.

Matt: How is it living with cruddy internet while you try to play video games, which often require always online DRM?

Aidan: It’s pretty annoying, because like, with games like TF2 (Team Fortress 2) and Overwatch, I just ping lag all over the place and get disconnected form servers. But in single player games like Dark Souls 3, I get disconnected while exploring or fighting a boss, because I lost connection to the server, and it’s hard to fix. That’s pretty much it.

Matt: Thanks for speaking with me.

Aidan: No problem.

As you could see, it can be tough for gamers to enjoy their games when they can’t even play single player games offline.

  • Removing content on suspicion – Amazon was alerted that a company had POSSIBLY been uploading books to Kindle that they did not have the rights to. They remotely deleted the books from users Kindles without prior notice. Coincidentally the books was 1984 and Animal Farm.

DRM is not a precise tool. It affects the wrong people and often violates their rights and causes them unnecessary trouble.

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