Ah, the joys of playing by the rules and getting screwed for being honest! That’s what Red Sox fan Allan Wood must be feeling these days. He’s been purchasing and downloading videos of his favorite team’s games since 2003 through the official Major League Baseball Digital Download Service, files that are of course protected by DRM, at a price of $3.95 each. He was a happy camper (or baseball fan actually) up until April of this year when he tried to watch some of the videos he purchased and found that they’d no longer play.
Yep, you guessed it. The MLB folks decided to change which DRM system they were using for their video files and as soon as they did all the videos purchased by fans using the old system could no longer retrieve the needed license file for playback. It’s taken Allan some seven months of phone calls and emails to finally be told that, yes, this is indeed the problem and, no, he shouldn’t expect any refunds:
Just got off the phone with a MLB customer service supervisor.
“MLB no longer supports the DDS system” that it once used and so any CDs with downloaded games on them “are no good. They will not work with the current system.”
Great. Just effing great. … As I told the supervisor, this is right in line with how wrong-headed and stupid and ass backwards MLB does everything.
I was told there is absolutely nothing MLB can do about these lost games. Plus, they said my purchases were all “one-time sales” and thus “there are no refunds”.
Now consider that Allan has, since the service started, bought and downloaded 71 games at $3.95 a pop totaling around $280.45. Ouch. That’s a good chunk of change to have pissed away because the MLB folks decided they’d like to use a different DRM system. Under the new DRM system they’re only charging $1.99 per game, but there’s nothing that says they won’t drop the new DRM for some other DRM in a couple of years and screw baseball fans all over again.
Of course all of those video files are easily available over BitTorrent and other P2P file sharing networks and the pirates never even noticed that the price changed nor the DRM. Once again it’s the honest consumer who’s trying to play by the rules that gets fucked over by DRM and then told “Sorry, no refunds.” And then the Powers That Be wonder why people continue to download pirated media files even though the price on the legit copies is so reasonable.