We all know (or should know) by now that there’s a whole lot of information about us floating out there on the Internet. Companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and others are busy collecting that info from data brokers and using it in ways seen and unseen. But it’s hard to put a finger on just what about you these companies have, something a new bill called the Right to Know Act is seeking to change in California.
Even though huge online players like Amazon and Apple are working on ways to provide users a marketplace to resell “used” digital downloads like mp3s and e-books, neither plan really deals with the most salient problem with reselling digital products — getting rid of the original copy. [More]
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.
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.
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…
20th Century Fox has announced that the special-edition DVD for “Live Free or Die Hard” will include a “DRM-free” computer file of the movie, playable through Windows’ PlaysForSure software. We suppose you can call this DRM-free, but it obviously doesn’t mean it’s not restricted. To access the file, you will have to insert the disc into your computer, then enter an authorization code that’s included in the DVD case. Once it’s copied over, you can play it on your PC or portable media players that use the PlaysForSure software.