Last week I commented on the debacle that Amazon.com created by reaching into Kindle devices and deleting George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984. Read that story again, here, and check out the update in comments.
Bad as that was, and Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has acknowledged it was a mistake, here’s something worse: The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), who watch out for the “best interests” of that business and have spent the last few years terrorizing people who . . . <ahem>, share music, have now weighed in with the opinion that if you buy music on-line, legitimately, and it’s protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM) software, you shouldn’t expect that the computers controlling your rights should stay up and running.
Meaning that what you buy becomes worthless.
So I can buy a physical CD, and as long as I take good care of it have it forever. I can back it up (this is legally protected action in the US, as long as you follow some rules and don’t share your backup with other people), and be protected against accidentally scratching the disk. I can buy non-copy-protected versions of music on-line and not need anyone else to protect them. But if I buy DRM-protected media—which the RIAA champions—I should accept it when the company holding the keys to my vault loses the keys?
I’m not a fan of DRM, and I do my best to protect myself from it. But we have clients who buy DRM-protected music and don’t understand the details—and shouldn’t need to—and have then paid us to fix the problems that crop up because it’s already too hard. Thanks, RIAA. You were already the bad guys. Now you’re standing up and saying so.