Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories are in sort of an awkward place. Are they part of America, or not? Sure, they can’t vote in presidential elections, but they are on the back of a quarter. This confusion has led to problems for Netflix users in Puerto Rico. Netflix will provide them with DVDs-by-mail service at the same price as service in the 48 contiguous United States, but considerably slower. However, they won’t let Puerto Rico customers stream movies over the Internet, which would be handy while they wait three or four days for their DVDs to show up.
Amazon recently banned a customer for making what they considered too many returns, and when they did this they also disabled his Kindle account, although the returns were never related to Kindle purchases. So what happens when your Kindle account is taken away? Your Kindle still works, and the books you already bought for it will work, but you can’t download those books ever again (better have made a backup on your PC!), you can’t receive your magazine, blog, or newspaper subscriptions on it anymore, you can’t email documents to Amazon to have them converted and sent to your Kindle, and you can’t buy any new books for the device. That $360 device only works so long as Amazon decides it will work.
Want an extra $1,000? The Wall Street Journal has a list of seven things that you can easily stop buying without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Update: It turns out the special chips used in the headphone controls of the third generation Shuffle don’t contain any DRM after all, so any attempts at reverse-engineering won’t bring on the wrath of the DMCA.
Update: Mike writes back to say that after reading the comments below, he checked his purchase history and the album is indeed listed there. What’s confusing is Mike didn’t buy it through iTunes, but through Amazon, but he says that other people did have access to his account and may have purchased it without his knowledge.
Do you play games for more than 3 years? I do! I still like Super Mario 3, and that’s no lie. Well, if you are like me, you might be concerned about the fact that the PC version of Gears of War shipped with DRM that automatically made the game unplayable after 1/28/09.
Apple has dropped DRM from iTunes — and is offering to remove their DRM from music you already bought for the low, low fee of $0.30 per song.
Last month, Walmart announced it was shutting down the DRM side of its online music store, and too bad if you were a customer, because they were also going to turn off the DRM server that authorized your music for playback. Apparently enough customers complained, because they came to their senses—at least for the time being—and decided to keep the server running. Read their email below.
Last week, Walmart sent out emails to its online music store customers letting them know that on October 9th, 2008, they will no longer be able to play any DRM-crippled tracks. Unlike Yahoo, which did the right thing by offering free replacement downloads of unprotected songs when they killed their DRM program, Walmart simply brags about its new unlicensed model and tells you to burn your protected tracks to CD if you really want to listen to them in the future. Good job, Walmart, there goes another betrayed consumer into the welcoming arms of digital piracy. And another. And another…
EA’s DRM spyware on the long-awaited game Spore turns out to have an added side-effect: if you live in a household with multiple players, you all have to share the same account. The game’s manual says otherwise, but after repeated queries on the EA forum, a company spokesperson confirmed this. That’s right—if you’re in a household with several potential Spore players, and you want each of them to have their own account, you will have to buy multiple copies of the game.
Spore, the long awaited new game from SimCity creator Will Wright, has been critically well-received, so what’s up with its Amazon.com score? As of this posting, the game, despite being #1 on Amazon, has 1,494 one star ratings from gamers who are upset about the game’s DRM. Here are some excerpts from the angry reviews:
When Yahoo announced last week that they were turning off their DRM-restricted music store store in September, thereby abandoning customers with songs that would no longer play, people were understantably angry. At the time, Yahoo suggested you burn the songs to CD while you still can, then re-rip them into unprotected MP3 files—but that was a lousy solution that took time and money, and resulted in lower-quality audio files. Now they’ve come back with a proper solution that seems to more than make up for the trouble—especially if we can believe what their spokesperson told the LA Times.
Yet another example of why DRM sucks: Yahoo! is shutting down their music store. Don’t worry, all you have to do is burn all that music to CD then re-upload it to your computer. As Ars Technica says: “Sure, you’ll lose a bunch of blank CDs, sound quality, and all the metadata, but that’s a small price to pay for the privilege of being able to listen to that music you lawfully acquired. Good thing you didn’t download it illegally or just buy it on CD!” [Ars Technica]
As suspected, Microsoft has finally addressed the DRM issue with content you’ve purchased on your Xbox 360. In the past, if you bought a new console you couldn’t transfer the licenses—one customer was told by an Xbox 360 CSR to “buy the content again.” Now you can visit this page on xbox.com and transfer your licenses to a new console. Hooray for progress!
ACTA—the misleadingly named “Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement”—is the worldwide copyright treaty that’s being negotiated behind closed doors, and that will create a sort of global DMCA if continues in its current state. Now Wikileaks has posted a draft of the treaty, and Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow gives his take: