Thursday, January 31, 2008

Avoid DRM encumbered media

Now I'm not one of these people who has terrabytes of ripped movies and music that they've never actually purchased, but I do want to make sure that can I watch and listen to my digital collections on whichever playback devices happen to have available to me at the time. That's why DRM concerns me and also why I strive to avoid buying movies or music that is DRM encumbered, such as a song from iTunes.

Recently I came across this article and if you do a brief search on Google for DRM problems you'll find a slew of people who are unable to play content that the legitimately purchased because some minor change in their environment caused the DRM software on their PC to collapse like a house of cards.

Of course Apple are just as bad as Microsoft in this respect - but their DRM enforcement isn't so fragile. However, it binds you just as tightly - you'll never be able to play the movie you downloaded from iTunes on a non-Apple player.

So, how do you ensure that your digital collection remains playable for as long a time as possible? Well firstly, avoid buying DRM encumbered content from sources like iTunes and avoid buying DRM encumbered playback devices such as a PC with Microsoft Windows Vista installed on it.

Secondly, when you make digital copies of your CDs and DVDs, use open formats such as Ogg and DivX.

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