At its best, digital rights management (DRM) is an inconvenience. At its worst, DRM is a reminder that the companies selling you digital products don't trust you not to pirate them, and that they're willing to deliberately, actively make those products worse to keep you from sharing them. DRM is so pervasive in the digital things we buy that we rarely think about it, but what if it bled over into the physical world? Meet the DRM Chair. It's a chair that only lets you sit in it eight times before it self destructs, and it makes about as much sense as most other forms of DRM I've seen.Read More
You Can Unlock Smartphones Acquired Before This Coming January, After That It’s Illegal Again [UPDATED]
The way in which the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is enforced only shows just how silly the entire thing is. For example, the DMCA allows the Library of Congress to grant exemptions to the act, allowing folks to circumvent digital rights management schemes, for whatever reason they deem fit. If that sounds horrifyingly arbitrary, that's because it totally is. One of the actions that always seems to be up for exemption is the jailbreaking of smartphones. Thanks to a new set of exemptions, jailbreaking is totally legal, but only under ridiculously specific circumstances.Read More
Digital rights management, often referred to as simply DRM, is the all-encompassing term used for just about anything that's meant to combat online piracy. Part of the greater DRM schema is the current business model that most digital distribution sales actually only license out their content. This can lead to some odd situations. For example, Amazon recently wiped a woman's Kindle and closed her account, because the company had determined her account was "directly related" to an account that had been closed by the online retailer before. When asked to clarify, Amazon merely reiterated their stance.Read More
Of all the publishers in the world of video games, few have put forth as onerous a digital rights management system as Ubisoft. Their stance on PC piracy eventually caused them to require all Ubisoft games on PC, across the board, to be constantly connected to their servers in order to ensure that they weren't pirated. It seems, however, that they might have had a change of heart. According to an interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Ubisoft quietly made the call last year to ditch their always-on DRM scheme.Read More
Winning in one of the categories at the Hugo Awards is basically the science fiction equivalent of winning an Oscar. Yet, in a scenario that wouldn't have been out of place in one of the stories awarded, the Ustream broadcast from Worldcon this past Sunday, September 2nd, was cut off in the middle of Neil Gaiman's acceptance due to copyright infringement. The feed had been automatically dropped by digital rights management software and couldn't be brought back up.Read More
Ubisoft has angered many in the gaming community with its stance on Digital Rights Management and piracy. The release version of all of its PC games -- one of the biggest of which is Assassin's Creed 2 -- now require a constant internet connection in order to make frequent checks with the company's DRM authentication servers, regardless of whether the game requires internet access for gameplay.
It was predicted by many that this latest effort in the arms race between game makers and software pirates would fall out as it usually does: eventually the DRM would be cracked, and the pirates would play, heaping any and all inconvenience caused by the DRM squarely on honest users.
In March, a cyberattack took down Ubisoft's authentication servers for a number of hours, making it impossible for legitimate users to play two of their most popular games. This week, hacking consortium Skid Row published a cracked version of Assassin's Creed 2, one of Ubisoft's most popular titles, that is making the rounds of torrent sites.Read More