DRM protecting me from playing my new video clips
This week one of the customer service team left a comment on one of my previous entries about having trouble buying digital music, which I thought was very pro-active customer service from them. I think it is a good thing for companies, especially those in the digital economy, to be looking at their online brand reputation, and where they feel it is necessary, passing comment. I mention this because I have had problems with another digital music purchase made via the 7digital store, although in this case I can absolve them of any blame themselves, but instead look to the way that the DRM has been implemented in the content I was purchasing.
I wanted to purchase two new tracks by Thom Yorke available on a site called "From The Basement". The site offers music videos that it says 'sets a new standard for music TV production':
"The show is beautifully filmed in high-definition at Maida Vale studios in London with live sound by producer Nigel Godrich. From The Basement has no host and no studio audience, instead the artist and their performance take centre stage."
The show allows the videos to be downloaded for 1.89£ each, in either iTunes or Windows Media Player formats. I was accessing the service over a wireless network, and first of all I tried to download the tracks using the iTunes installed on my laptop. I wasn't able to, though, without upgrading my copy of iTunes first.
Since I was in an internet cafe I didn't really want to be paying for interent access that involved downloading and installing software and rebooting my machine, so I opted to try and download the Windows Media Player format instead. I'm pretty format agnostic, as my intention was to record the tracks to mp3 using Audacity before putting them on my iPod anyway.
This meant going through the "From The Basement" 7digital store, which, as I mentioned earlier, this time worked perfectly for me. I downloaded the two files, which was pretty quick considering they were video content, and left the internet cafe to go home and play my new purchases.
Which is where the problems began.
The files I bought, and paid for, will not play on the machine without dialling home to Microsoft first in order to obtain a security update. Although the FAQ on the site says that you need Windows Media Player series 10 installed to play the material, there is no mention in the purchase process that you might need to be online when you try to play the track for the first time.
Regular readers will know that since I live in an almost-always offline world outside of the office, this a common gripe of mine - applications and the people who build them taking a broadband connection for granted when designing their systems of purchase flows. If I try to play the videos I just get a dialogue box warning.
"The owner of the protected content you are trying to access requires you to first upgrade some of the Microsoft digital rights management (DRM) components on your computer.
Click OK to upgrade your DRM componentes.
When you click OK, a unique identifier and a DRM security file are sent to a Microsoft service on the Internet. The file is replaced with a customized version that contains your unique identifier.
This increases the level of protection provided by DRM"
'This increases the level of protection provided by DRM' - well it sure does that, but at the moment, until I can get that laptop physically into a situation where it is able to go online again, the only thing being protected is me from playing the music I have purchased.