I just had four teeth pulled out of my head. For my recovery, I was looking forward to my legally purchased copy of Game of Thrones, Season 3. The plan was to get hepped up on goofballs and watch dragons and palace intrigue. Instead:
I played by the rules. I bought the season pass from Apple. I’m using a fully DRM-encumbered laptop, purchased less than a month old. Nothing’s attached to that laptop, so there’s no funny business with non-compliant cables or external displays. In short: this isn’t my fault.
The fault lies with an apparatus that has its contempt for me built in. That contempt was integrated at the behest of an industry that, ironically, figured out years ago that DRM only hurts sales. For the knuckle-dragging captains of a video industry built on laziness, paranoia and avarice, that lesson remains unlearned. That’s why I’m not watching dragons right now.
Last week, the masterminds of brand strategy at NBC Sports wouldn’t let me watch their customers’ advertising spots, or the Olympics coverage that interrupted them. NBC and their masters at the cable cartels preferred that I instead spend fruitless hours searching for browser plugins and a viable proxy server in the UK that would permit me to “steal” the same Olympics that people with a TV antenna get for free. Tonight, I’m playing the same game on a different field. iTunes’ DRM demanded an unrewarding hour of rebooting, flushing caches, and trawling for advice from illiterates on four-year-old user forums. I don’t have to believe that DRM is categorically wrong to know that its implementation is profoundly broken.
It’s worth mentioning that it took less than one minute of clicking on Google Play to get me the shows I’d already paid Apple for. Google was happy to take my money and show me the dragons I was promised. If there was any DRM in the transaction, it was completely invisible.
So Apple iTunes product management, I’m begging you with tears in my eyes: drop dead. I’ll bury you alongside the NBC/cable cartel that caused me so much grief last week.
Tomorrow, I’m buying a Chromecast and I hope I never have to give iTunes money ever again.