Why DRM is not consumer friendly

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 13, 2007
Updated • Aug 16, 2013
Music and Video

I just read an interesting article on Arstechnica by Ken Fisher who published a comment on the termination of Google's commercial Video service. The termination takes effect in just two days which would not be a big problem if users who bought or rented videos using the service would still be able to play their purchased videos after that date.

This is however not the case. All videos will no longer play after the termination of the service which can be used as a major argument against DRM services. Google - wisely - decided to compensate users by refunding each and everyone

The money will be refunded into a Google Checkout account and expires after 60 days. What this means is that the users who bought videos from Google Video have 60 days to purchase items that they probably do not need from merchants who use Google Checkout. Hardly a fair deal for the consumer if you ask me.

The steps that Google is undertaking to close down their Video service is clearly showing why DRM is not consumer friendly. If the company that sold you items with DRM goes broke, out of business or decides to terminate the service you will realize that your purchased items do not play anymore - and yes, this is also the case with Apple and the songs that they sell that contain DRM.

If you are lucky you get a full refund, if not you might get something that looks like a refund but is basically pushing a different service which is in this case Google Checkout. And if you are out of luck you might not get compensated at all. Does not feel nice to pay a lot of money for items only to find out that you can't play them anymore on your system, doesn't it ?

No one would purchase an item in real life that could stop working if the company selling you the item got broke or quit producing the item but this is exactly what is happening right now.

Google sold you videos, made a strategic decision to terminate their service and decided to push the Google Checkout service by tying the refunds to it.

I think it is helpful that consumers see and hopefully realize that drm media purchased from "big" companies are not guaranteed to work a lifetime which should hopefully push the masses away from DRM.


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  1. JB said on August 13, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I purchased a video of a NBA game a couple years back from GV. Then they stopped carrying the games and I was no longer able to watch the one I bought upon which turning me off from the whole GV thing. *feels used*

  2. Martin said on August 13, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Now this sounds pretty much like the biggest rip-off ever if every user who purchased videos receives only $5.

    Imagine you bought videos for $1k only to receive $5 in return ? Who would not sue Google if that would be the case ?

  3. Roman ShaRP said on August 13, 2007 at 7:12 pm

    Cory Doctorow and BBC wrote that they actually DON’T get a full refund – only $5

    Here are links:


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