Archive for category DRM

Recent Keurig 2.0 w/DRM Demo – get ready for more expensive K-Cups!

Keurig 2.0Update to previous post:  The new Keurig 2.0 with DRM was recently demonstrated, and as Techdirt reported a few weeks ago, the incorporation of pods with Digital Rights Management (DRM) has nothing to do with safety.  Rather, it’s about eliminating competition.  Oh, and by the way, this new Keurig model WILL NOT work with previous model K-cup pods (according to Techdirt).

According to The Verge, since K-Cup patents expired in Sep 2012, “third-party companies have been making pods & selling them at lower prices.

In addition (also from The Verge),

A report from Credit Suisse published this month found that sales of private-label cups grew by 203 percent over the last year, while Keurig’s Green Mountain cups grew by only 12 percent.

This is a particularly threatening form of counterfeiting for Keurig. Like printer companies with their inkjet cartridges, Keurig’s business model is built on selling machines cheap and then reaping huge profits on the refills. Now, bereft of a legal monopoly on pod making, Keurig is trying to establish a technological one: its new brewer, which goes on sale this fall, has a mechanism that scans each pod for Keurig’s markings and locks out any unapproved capsules. It’s essentially digital rights management (DRM) — a mainstay in music and video — adapted for coffee.

So, there you have it.  The ‘Keurig Green Mountain‘ monopoly just wants to suppress any competition, or as a minimum (should it choose to license it’s coffee pod DRM technology), it just wants to ensure that the competition cannot undersell it’s own coffee pods.  Aren’t monopolies just simply wonderful!

What can we do???  Say NO to DRM — in everything you purchase!  There’s plenty of competition for K-Cup brewers, many cheaper in price, and many that are of much higher quality.  As for third-party, non-DRM coffee pods?  I’ve almost always found them as good or better, at a much more reasonable price.

The “free market” is all about competition & innovation.  Almost all monopolies, including Keurig Green Mountain, are all about suppressing competition & innovation.  Do the right thing & don’t let them succeed!

DRM in New Keurig 2.0??? (greedy little bastards!)

Can you believe it?  Applying “Digital Rights Management” (DRM) to lock-down coffee pods?  Why, you may ask?  To prevent you from using K-Cups from competitors! And to think that I was primarily concerned with DRM on purely “digital” products (i.e., ebooks, software, movies, etc.).  Remember…  DRM, in any form, only RESTRICTS your rights or use of a product.

Of course, we can be sure this doesn’t have ANYTHING at all to do with the fact that their K-Cup patent expired, allowing cheaper (& sometimes tastier) competitor “pods” to appear on the market over the past year or two.  A recent lawsuit against Green Mountain by Treehouse Foods, Inc., says it all:

… Green Mountain previously owned certain patents that allowed it to exclude competition for the sale of the most popular format of those “portion packs” — the “K-Cup” format — but those patents expired in 2012.  However, rather than compete for market share on the merits or fulfill its statutory obligation to enable competitors to practice its invention after its patents expired, Green Mountain has abused its dominance in the brewer market by coercing business partners at every level of the K-Cup distribution system to enter into anti-competitive agreements intended to unlawfully maintain Green Mountain’s monopoly over the markets in which K-Cups are sold. …

You can read the entire lawsuit here (beware… it’s 141 pages in length & approx 2MB).

DRM_241x240Gee… like having 85+% of the coffee-pod market isn’t enough? Green Mountain has to have more???  That’s precisely what is wrong with much of corporate America today, be it Comcast, AT&T, Monsanto, etc., basically most any monopoly.  They NEVER seem to have enough, and strive to obtain even more & more… at the expense of? — yeah, us — their pathetic consumers.

Anywho’s… am I concerned or upset about Keurig’s announced DRM plans?  Not really, as I’m not that interested in single-serve brewers.  If — and I say “if” — I were to consider a single cup coffee brewer, I’d choose only the BUNN MCU Single Cup Multi-Use Home Coffee Brewer.  For about the same price as a Keurig, you get a multi-use brewer that handles K-Cups, pods, coffee grounds, tea bags (or leaves), soup, etc, and IMO is constructed much better than any Keurig on the market.  I bought one for my 90-yr-old resident mother-in-law nearly a year ago & she loves it, using it daily for coffee; tea & soup at lunch; and tea in the evening.

As for me, I’ve been grinding my own beans now for over 15 years and it’s getting harder to accept pre-ground or any “pod-like” coffee.  IMHO, even the cheapest 2.5 lb bag of coffee beans from Costco’s or Sam’s Club tastes orders of magnitude better than any pre-ground or K-Cup brew, and you can’t beat the price advantage — less than 10 cents/cup vs. 45-70 cents/cup via K-Cup coffee.  Even when I’m splurging on gourmet beans, my price/cup seldom exceeds 25 cents.

Here be da scoop:

So… enjoy your cuppa Joe!  No matter how your brew it!

Finally… the REAL Purpose of DRM Exposed!!!

Ian Hickson, who works at Google, put together an excellent post on Google+ that exposes the true purpose of Digital Rights Management (DRM):

DRM’s purpose is to give content providers control over software and hardware providers, and it is satisfying that purpose well.

Mike Masnick @ Techdirt further expounds on this with:

All of this shows a legacy copyright industry that is so focused on holding back innovation so that they have a veto right and control over the pace of innovation. That, of course, is bad for the economy, bad for the public and bad for society. Innovation is important in growing the economy, and due to silly laws around DRM, we are purposely holding it back.

Numerous examples of the negatives of DRM are provided, such as unskippable FBI warnings, previews & ads on DVD/BluRay Players that prevent you, the legitimate BUYER & OWNER of the product, from jumping right to the movie; not being able to transfer your Amazon ebooks to other non-Kindle devices such as the Nook; not being able to view a Netflex movie from two devices at the same time; etc., etc., etc.

For pretty much every example, tools exist to remove the DRM from the content — be it movies, video games, software or ebooks.  In addition, non-DRM versions of most all this content are available on file sharing sites.  Without DRM, you can do pretty much anything you desire to do with your content.  All DRM does is PENALIZE THE LEGITIMATE PURCHASERS of digital content.

DRM is one of the PRIMARY reasons for the existence of piracy, and the content industry is solely responsible for this!

If you’re one of the many who belong to the “More Copyright is GOOD!” and “Piracy is Bad!” crowd, then I suggest you read Cory Doctorow’s recent book “Pirate Cinema” as it might change your mind, or at least get you to think about copyright laws in a new light.  He’s provided free downloads of his book here.  If you like the book, I suggest you purchase a copy, or better yet, donate a copy to a library or school.

Can Copyright Be Fixed? The Content Industry (monopoly) won’t allow it

GIZMODO had a great article on Digital Copyright a few days ago titled Everything Wrong with Digital Copyright (And How to Fix It).”  It provides an excellent summary of many of the biggest problems with copyright today.  Unfortunately, it didn’t mention the obnoxious length of the current copyright term (which is well over 100 years when you include the life of the author/artist/creator).  Despite that shortfall, if you’re one of the majority who think that copyright is just fine the way it is (& that all file sharers are thieves), then I strongly recommend you read this article.

Recently, the head of the US Copyright Office, Ms. Maria Pallante, gave a speech & spoke to Congress about the need for improving US copyright law.  She even proposed reducing the current copyright term from 75 yrs (plus life of creator) to 50 yrs + life of creator.  I’m sorry… that’s still about an order of magnitude too long.  Five years, renewable only once for maybe 5 more years, would be more than appropriate.

But no worries… the content industry (MPAA, RIAA, book publishers, etc.) isn’t going to allow ANY changes which could reduce their monopolistic hold on our culture.  They have Congress in their pocket and have been responsible for all of the copyright extensions over the past several decades.  They’ve pretty much stolen the public domain from… guess who?  Yeah… from us, the public!  Nothing entered the public domain again this year, and won’t until 2018 or 2019 (assuming there’s no more ‘content industry’ copyright extensions).

Speaking of copyright reform, the MPAA Talking Points on Copyright Reform have just been leaked.  As usual, the MPAA does an excellent job of disinformation by completely rewriting copyright history (along with the real purpose of copyright) as pointed out by Mike Masnick at Techdirt.  It’s an EXCELLENT read.

Even worse, with “official” talk of copyright reform, the Copyright Lobby (aka content industry) is doing everything they can to ensure that the Public will have no place in any future copyright policy discussions.  In reality, there is only ONE true stakeholder in copyright policy, and that’s us — the PUBLIC.  I’m afraid that it’s the “content industry” that has NO place in copyright policy, and yet they’ve been writing US copyright law for decades.  It’s time to wise up, folks.  Please read the full article “Copyright Lobby:  The Public Has No Place In Policy Discussions” by Mike Masnick @ Techdirt, which states:

Apparently the public is simply too stupid to understand copyright law and is easily led astray by groups like Public Knowledge.

Taken together, you see both the fear and outright contempt that the copyright lobby has for the public.  To them, the public are interfering with “the industry’s rights” and are apparently stupid, gross and easily led astray and into mob behavior.

It’s high time we, the “public”, got off our arse and put the content industry in their place (which, ideally, is NO WHERE NEAR any copyright policy discussions).  But that’s not likely to happen, so stand by for even more ridiculous copyright law additions/modifications that further lock up our culture and make criminals of millions of more Americans.  Yup… copyright is seriously broken… and you know what’s really sad?  It’s probably just going to get worse.

Is the movie industry really that stupid? (or do they just think we are)

Warner Bros. recently announced a new initiative called “disc-to-digital” to allow consumers to use a variety of methods (e.g., take your discs into stores) to turn their DVDs into digital copies stored in a virtual cloud that they can watch on (studio-approved) Internet-connected devices — for a fee.  And, of course, the files will be digitally protected with UltraViolet, the movie studio’s latest (& useless) digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system.  Take a look at Techdirt & ExtraTorrent reviews of Ultraviolet if you haven’t heard of it.

Really???  Are the movie studios, MPAA, etc., really that stupid?  Or do they just think that the consumers are that stupid?  Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.  Either way, the “disc-to-digital” initiative described above is just plain dumb AND stupid!

As for other related news…  every three years the US Copyright Office considers requests for exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that prevents breaking or circumventing digital locks (making copying DVDs illegal).  Right now Public Knowledge is fighting for an exemption to allow anyone who lawfully owns a motion picture (including TV shows) on DVD to break the digital lock on that DVD in order to copy the motion picture to another device for noncommercial purposes (i.e., smartphone, iPad, laptop, etc.).  While I wholeheartedly support this effort, I’m not going to hold by breath because the entire movie industry (& friends) are fighting this exemption tooth & nail.

Many people started digitizing their (lawfully purchased) DVD collection almost a decade ago, when DVD Shrink first hit the street in 2003.   Many also accelerated their digitization when the movie industry started taking control of their DVD players, by not allowing users to skip over previews and the increasingly annoying & longer FBI Warnings (in multiple languages, no less), among other irritating features.

Unfortunately, by 2008 the studios had added additional copyright protection features to DVDs that thwarted the use of DVD Shrink, which hadn’t been updated since 2006, and many people switched to other software, such as DVDFab (which also allows conversion to many popular video file formats).  There now must be over a dozen different vendors of updated DVD ripping software.  Here’s a review from one site of the top ten DVD rippers for 2012.

So… for those who desire to build a digital library of their (lawfully purchased) DVD collection, the tools are all there (and have been for some time).  As for Warner Bros. “disc-to-digital” initiative?  Good luck with that.