MLB Rips Off Everyone Who Bought Games Under Their "Old" DRM

Major League Baseball, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to deactivate its system for “authenticating” downloads, and they apparently expect people to repurchase the games in a new format. What?

From boingboing:

Allan Wood (a baseball megafan who has written a book about Babe Ruth) purchased over $280 worth of digital downloads of baseball games from Major League Baseball, who have just turned off their DRM server, leaving him with no way to watch his videos. MLB’s position is that since these videos were “one time sales,” and that means that Wood and everyone else who gave money to MLB is out of luck — they’ll never be able to watch their videos again,.

MLB shut down the DRM server because they’ve changed suppliers, and now they expect suckers to buy downloads of games in the new DRM format. Anyone who does this needs their head examined — using DRM itself is contemptible enough, but using DRM this way is just plain criminal.

MLB is telling customers it cheated that the downloads were “one-time sales” and that there are “no refunds.”

MLB rips off fans who bought DRM videos [boingboing]


Edit Your Comment

  1. darkened says:

    This is why DRM needs to be outlawed.

  2. jasonorl says:

    They should at least refund their money. I wonder what genius thought it would be a good idea to alienate what are probably some of their most hardcore fans.

  3. LiC says:

    See, this is why I don’t support legal downloads.

  4. Myron says:

    If you lie with dogs you get fleas.

  5. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    The problem is the DRM not the transport.

  6. parliboy says:

    Oh… it’s a sale? So it’s not a license? You mean once we buy it, it’s ours and we can do with it whatever we want? So you don’t mind if we rip it to a different format, because, like you said, it’s a sale, right?

    MLB = Asshats

  7. JustaInput says:

    This should generate a good payoff for some lawyers in a class-action suit and at least some vengence for the customers.

  8. taney71 says:

    DRM stands for?

  9. IphtashuFitz says:

    @taney71: Digital Rights Management or Digital Restrictions Management depending on whether you’re a corporation providing digital content or a customer like these MLB ex-customers.

  10. Steel_Pelican says:

    From the company that brought you “verbal accounts of the game constitute copyright infringement.”

  11. taney71 says:

    @IphtashuFitz: So I guessing by the sound of the name DRM is designed to restrict viewing of certain media? How does DRM work or at least suppose to work?

  12. HeyThereKiller says:

    Baseball Games = iPod Games?

  13. Underpants Gnome says:

    Isn’t there some exception in the DMCA making circumvention of DRM legal if the provider abandons support of it? e.g. it’s legal to rip laserdiscs if nobody makes laserdisc players anymore. If so, does this make cracking their DRM scheme fair game now? Any IP lawyers want to speak up?

  14. supra606 says:

    What they’ve done leading up to this has been nothing short of outrageous. I highly doubt anyone with half a brain is going to take this lying down so now the MLB has two choices: make this right with its paying customers or defend against a class action lawsuit. Either way I hope people take a lesson away from this. Don’t patronize companies that insist on DRM. No good can ever come of it.

  15. RumorsDaily says:
  16. Aston14 says:

    I see a class action suit in MLB’s future… The advertising for the service says that you OWN the videos FOREVER. They are going to have to pay up for sure, either voluntarily or under lawsuit. BTW, this is also why mandatory binding arbitration sucks, if they had an arbitration clause in there when you purchased the videos, then you couldn’t sue, even if they screwed you over like this. Luckily MLB wasn’t bright enough to do that… so somebody call a lawyer.

  17. Trai_Dep says:

    Nice how they taunt discontinued viewers with the names of all the teams they’ll no longer be able to watch after forking over their cash. Classy!

    I think Urban Dictionary needs a new definition for “a person who gleefully bends over table and grips it with a fixed smile every year, while a room of logoed polo shirt-wearing execs wantonly have their way with him.” That would be for “fan”, of course.

    Hey, if any of you kids want to come over and PLAY ball instead of watch it, So Cal has several hundred thousand acres of land available. Just remember, while you can’t smoke in outdoor stadiums any more, no one said anything about the fields smoking!

  18. RumorsDaily says:
  19. billy says:

    @RumorsDaily: 1201 f deals solely with “a person who has lawfully obtained the right to use a copy of a computer program.” That’s a lot different than ripping the content of a laserdisc (a copyrighted work) because nobody makes laserdisc players anymore.

  20. nursetim says:

    Why would anyone buy videos from MLB now, since they casually discarded one DRM format for another. Who’s to say they don’t do this again down the road.

  21. howie_in_az says:

    Chargebacks will, I’m sure, change their minds… I just hope people use them.

  22. Geekybiker says:

    This is a perfect example of why nobody should ever support DRM. Or at the very least there should be a clause on DRM that says if they ever cease support, DRM content must revert to unprotected content.

  23. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    This is the same company that automatically signed people up for a $100+ subscription without telling them, just because they had bought something within the last year.

    You gotta pay for steroid testing somehow.

    Ticks me off.

  24. diggity says:

    MLBAM (MLB Advanced Media) President: Bob Bowman. I’m not savy enough to find his email address, but I’m sure one of you are. :)

  25. Annath says:

    This is why DRM sucks. I always rip DRM off of any content I buy through an online manufacturer.

  26. Mr. Chip says:

    @RumorsDaily: That video is great!

  27. swedub says:

    @diggity: You can find MLBAM (MLB Advanced Media) President Bob Bowman’s email and phone number posted here. I’m not sure how accurate it still is though.


    I just did a search for ‘Bob Bowman mlb contact’ …


  28. yendi says:

    Assuming the info over at [] is still accurate:

    Bob Bowman

  29. rmuser says:

    Just like when Google Video did it, actions like this absolutely justify DRM circumvention and piracy. What reason would anyone have to purchase DRM-infected content, when this is what happens? DRM presumably exists to prevent theft. When content owners do this, they turn the whole thing upside-down and become the thieves. They’ve catastrophically failed to hold up their end of the bargain, and thus there is no longer any ethical issue with “stealing” from someone who will gladly take your money, then take back what you bought from them.

    Content providers are killing themselves with this behavior. Why should anyone bother to purchase content through legitimate channels if they treat their customers like thieves, and then proceed to steal from them?

  30. Gopher bond says:

    Every year I think about paying so I can listen to baseball games over the internet live. I love re-creating the game in my head, a better game for radio I cannot imagine. But every year I remind myself that the MLB media group is bunch of assholes who will keep charging your credit card long after you try to cancel and then they STILL black out games. On the freaking PAID RADIO!

  31. magic8ball says:

    Wow. I nominate MLB for worst company of the year.

  32. Benstein says:

    MLB has been crap for the past 10 years when it became the Yankee and Red Sox league.

  33. BloggyMcBlogBlog says:

    This is why I fucking hate Bud Selig.

  34. @magic8ball: I second that nomination. When does the next Worst Company of the Year voting begin?

  35. Trai_Dep says:

    @rmuser: well, NO. Google was offering limited-time viewed movies (forced into DRM by the studios), then turned around and rebated EVERY cent they charged, regardless if customers had gotten their money’s worth (as defined by the terms of the deal when they paid).

    Seems that MLB 1) promised lifetime viewing (or let sub’rs think so), 2) were the ones that wanted DRM-crippled clips and 3) is refusing to refund money to ripped off consumers.

    You help the other side if you exaggerate or misstate events – keep things accurate and you’ll be more convincing. :)

  36. kahri says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but doesn’t it seem that consumers are WAY ahead of manufacturers in terms of digital media knowledge? IMO they’re stuck in the old ages (a decade or so), when most of the info researched on items we wanted to purchase was provided by the seller. Nowadays, we know what works best way before companies find ways of providing it (while finding creative ways to not give us full ownership).

  37. dlab says:

    Yeah, i thought this was pretty ridiculous. If Allan had bought all of these on DVD, it would be a different story.

    Allan, if you’re reading this, I’m sure tons of us on here would be willing to send you a Demonoid invite so you can get your game videos back!