The World Series may have wrapped up last week, but there’s still plenty of action in the world of baseball. Owners are considering the use of instant replay, A-Rod is looking for a $350 million pay day, and MLB is finding new ways to torture fans with the careless use of DRM.
The off-season can seem excruciatingly long for baseball fans. With months to go before pitchers and catchers report for spring training, hardcore fans often turn to MLB.com for a quick fix of baseball action. Some fans even shell out a few bucks to download videos of their favorite games. Recently though, fans who have built substantial libraries of game videos are finding out that their video collections have become unplayable.
Allan Wood’s experience is a classic example of the risks involved in buying DRM protected media products. Over the years, Wood has purchased nearly $300 in game videos from MLB.com. He’s recently discovered that those videos are now worthless. Major League Baseball has apparently changed DRM providers — in the process, they’ve deactivated the DRM license servers that validate previously purchased videos for playback.
Wood hasn’t had much luck with MLB’s customer service department. While they won’t refund his money, they will gladly sell him new copies of the game videos that he’s already purchased.
This whole fiasco is not unlike the Google video incident that occurred last August. Google announced that it was dropping support for the DRM system used to protect videos sold through it’s online video service. Consumers who had purchased videos from Google were offered a “credit” on unrelated merchandise. Google finally agreed to provide consumers with full refunds, but only after a major backlash in the blogosphere. Only time will tell if MLB will do the right thing and offer customers a full refund.
It’s arguable that consumers who buy downloadable media aren’t fully aware of the limitations placed on the content they’re purchasing. Many consumers will assume that buying a download is the same as buying a CD or DVD. They mistakenly assume that the content they’ve purchased will be playable as long as they own a compatible playback device. As we’ve seen recently, that isn’t always the case.
via boing boing