We had two reports last week that provided us with arguments why DRM and WGA will fail in the long run. The first story was about Google Video, a video distribution service that used DRM for videos that you could purchase on it. Google decided to close it down due to the acquisition of YouTube, and users who had purchased videos on the site while it was open were left standing in the rain because they were not able to play those videos anymore on their system.
Great news for customers who wasted precious time selecting and buying videos only to find out that their purchased videos will stop working soon. It is even more important that it was not a small company who had to shutdown their service but a billion dollar company.
This in turn means that it could happen to anyone who purchases products - media normally such as music or videos - that have some sort of DRM integrated in the data.
We already see a shift away from DRM towards watermarked media files which is definitely a step in the right direction. Better of course does not mean perfect but it is heading towards a good direction.
The other occurrence that involved some sort of DRM was when Microsofts WGA servers went down flagging all genuine Windows Vista installations as invalid if a WGA check was performed on those systems.
So, updating your system had the result that your formerly validated Windows Vista was flagged as non genuine which meant that updates could not be installed anymore on the system that required WGA to pass.
Microsoft was able to fix the issue after two days and users are again able to validate their system to download updates for it. Some users claim that Windows Update is not working anymore after re-validating their system which can only be attributed to this process.
The bottom line is this: It is not safe to say that you will be allowed to keep data that you purchased. It can happen that you will lose that data without being able to interfere at all. Would you buy a car, a CD or DVD if someone told you that it could happen that you would not be able to use them in the future if someone decided to stop supporting the product?
I know that it is quite comfortable to download music and videos from the Internet but I personally think that it is not worth it at all. You will lose what you bought in the long run, that is my prediction.
Even if you purchase a product that uses DRM, WGA (replace with other acronyms that will surely replace these in the future)
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.