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. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source – WorthyTricks.co.cc

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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