Wouldn’t it be nice if you could download movies and watch them on-demand? While the technology industry is busy working to make this available to you, the media industry has been attempting to foil these efforts from day one.
Users cannot be trusted to protect media that they have purchased. This is the premise behind DRM (Digital Rights Management), where a complex software scheme is put into place in an effort to prevent the consumer from making copies of content they have purchased. Very often this requires a key that is used to decrypt the material, and it is therefore imparitive that these important files are never lost. In the unlikely event of a hardware failure, the user must be able to present a copy of these keys in order to listen or view the content they have purchased. Even if they backup the materials they have downloaded, without the key the material is useless.
This is not a new kind of problem, media conglomorates have repeatedly implemented failed copy protection strategies. Why do we need to do this again with a new media delivery mechanism? It is inconvenient that Amazon Unbox requires a special version of Windows Media Player, or that Walmart wants me to download a key to my computer or that TiVo restricts my television viewing to computers on my local network.
I don’t need that kind of hassel, and I will therefore choose the electronic delivery mechanisms that don’t require any proprietary software technology.